How are the Award negotiations going?

The Local Government State Award was made by consent of the parties in October 1991 to operate from 1992. It was a significant development in local government, removing separate awards, hundreds of classifications and establishing salary systems to allow employees to progress based on the acquisition and use of skills.

It has been varied by consent ever since - demonstrating that there is generally a common approach in the industry between the employers and the unions about the purpose of the Award, what is important in it and what may need to be changed. It’s an opportunity to fix things that might be unclear, or could be clearer as well as keeping up-to-date changed standards.

The unions rely on their executives and membership for feedback, LGNSW relies upon the expertise (sic) of a consultative group of general managers and HR people to provide input on the employer’s side. LGNSW never discloses the composition of the consultative group, and depa has never really wanted to know. If it’s reflective of the industry, it will comprise the good, the bad and the ugly, but we really don’t know how many of them are good. If any.

Having an historic consensus doesn’t mean it’s an easy process. It isn’t. The three unions and LGNSW as the employer party all have logs of claims for things they would like discussed during the negotiations. Sometimes, there are areas that can’t be agreed but the parties agree to have whichever member of the Commission is managing the process conduct an arbitration. But unlike other arbitrations where they hear submissions and evidence from the union or unions and the employers, we have agreed beforehand that we will accept whatever is recommended by the Commission, forfeiting the usual right to appeal.

This happened to allow the introduction of the requirement that councils pay the costs of accreditation for certifiers by the Building Professionals Board as it was at the time, and its successors, and when clause 9(i) was introduced in the 2020 Award.

We’ve had calls from members wondering what’s happening but it’s a process where agreements are made in principle as we work our way through the various logs, but all subject at the end to what is agreed on a pay increase. The higher the pay increase, the fewer the beneficial changes in the Award.

It is a work in progress, we meet every couple of weeks, we report to the IRC and have Commissioner Muir, on this occasion, try to bring the parties together on those areas where there are difficulties, all with the expectation that we will have a new Award made to operate from the first pay period after 1 July 2023.


It’s in the Minister’s office but nothing’s happening. It has been:

since the Government and the Minister were appointed on 5 April 2023. We are still waiting for the legislative changes required.

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