Other Key Organisations Involved in Employee Relations in Australia


25 Oct, 2016

While the Fair Work Commission and Ombudsman have top billing relating to employment relations in Australia, there are a host of other tribunals and organisations that also have a role.


Federal Court

The Federal Court has jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters arising in the Fair Work jurisdiction.

This includes:

  • Unlawful termination
  • Interpretation & enforcement of Awards
  • Offences relating to membership of organisations
  • Secret ballots & union elections
  • Breaches of union rules
  • Recovery of wages


Federal Circuit Court

The Federal Circuit Court (previously known as the Magistrate’s Court) deals with small claims under $20,000, as well as is used as an alternative to the Federal Court for the enforcement of awards/agreements and unlawful terminations.


Remuneration Tribunal

The Remuneration Tribunal deals with the pay, allowances & entitlements (including travel entitlements) for:

  • Federal Parliamentarians, including Ministers and Parliamentary office holders
  • Judicial and non-judicial offices of federal courts and tribunals
  • Secretaries of Departments
  • full-time and part-time holders of various public offices
  • Principal Executive Officers.


ACCC – Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

The ACCC has overlapping jurisdiction with much of the work of the Fair Work bodies. However, while most parts are specifically excluded by statute from their responsibility, but some bits fall through the cracks.

There is some argument that Enterprise Agreements that restrict competition such as price fixing, cartels, restriction of acquisition of goods & services to certain suppliers, secondary boycotts (2 or more people preventing a third person from dealing with a fourth person) still come under the responsibility of the ACCC. This has yet to be tested before the courts.


AHRC – Australian Human Rights Commission

AHRC has responsibility for a number of pieces of legislation that impact on employment.

  • Age Discrimination Act 2004
  • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984

They have a brilliant series of fact sheets to help employers improve their HR practice https://www.humanrights.gov.au/employers/good-practice-good-business-factsheets


OAIC – Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The OAIC administers the Privacy Act as it relates to employees and candidates.

The main thing for employers to be aware of is unsuccessful candidates can access any information you have on file about them, including referee reports.


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Ingrid: Lead Author, Australian Employee Manual

HR Author and Lecturer with over 25 years' experience in human resources and workplace relations in Australia. Lead Author of Instant HR Policies & Procedures, NDIS Direct Employment HR Manual, and Employee Performance Reviews: Tips, Templates and Tactics.

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