Human Resources Seminar Success (48/2010)
The HR Seminar held in August this year as part of annual Local Government Convention has been considered a success with feedback from attendees being extremely positive.
The speakers of the day included; Federal Magistrate Toni Lucev, Erica Hartley from Freehills, Helena Bellotti from Roper Gulf Shire Council (NT) and presentations from Workplace Solutions team members.
Presentation notes and slides from most of the presentations are now available on the Workplace Solutions website, www.workplacesolutions.asn.au/workplace_relations
Federal Magistrate Toni Lucev
The Federal Magistrate reviewed the legal decisions, which impact on whether Local Governments are considered constitutional corporations. This included the recent Bankstown Handicapped Children’s Centre Case. The Federal Magistrate in his presentation explained that this decision should be used as it gives guidance on this issue and explained that Local Governments which have activities which could be considered commercial and are “not insignificant” are likely to be classified as a trading and therefore a constitutional corporation.
The Federal Magistrate also explained he believed that the matter would most likely be resolved by a High Court decision, with a formal parliamentary referral of powers less likely. The Federal Magistrate also hinted at a High Court decision likely declaring Local Governments to be constitutional corporations because of the activities test (as first set out in ex parte Western Australian National Football League (Inc) 1979 143 CLR 190 (commonly called the “Adamson” case)) would be used to assess the Local Government and not the function test used by the quasi-judicial WAIRC in the Shire of Ravensthorpe v John Patrick Galea decision.
It was encouraging to hear that the Federal Magistrate agreed with Workplace Solution’s interpretation of case law and he gave a thorough explanation of the current situation and likely solutions along with outlining the key legal arguments he would use if he was to argue the case.
Erica Hartley, a partner at Freehills, gave an interesting presentation on the changes in the bargaining regime - an explanation of how Majority Support Determinations and Scope Orders work and what good faith bargaining requires. Erica then reviewed recent decisions in Fair Work Australia on what does and does not constitute good faith bargaining and reviewed emerging trends.
Helena Bellotti, the Human Resource Manager at Roper Gulf Shire in the Northern Territory gave a riveting presentation on the challenges she faced when nine smaller shires were amalgamated into what is now Roper Gulf Shire. This gave a good outline of considerations that managers should review if faced with the prospect of amalgamation.
During the day both Alasdair Malloch-Smith and Scott Roffey, Workplace Solutions Employee Relations Advisors, presented on workplace investigations and gave a case study of a recent Fair Work Ombudsman investigation. Simon White, Employee Relations Services Manager, gave a review of the Fair Work Act and Fair Work system from the point of view of an industry representative.
Finally the day was wrapped up with an engaging misconduct scenario which required attendees to think through different scenarios and plan a course of action for instances when employees misbehave, lodge formal complaints with regulators and underperform.
Workplace Solutions would like to thank all attendees for taking part in the HR Seminar and making this years’ event such a success.