Release type: Media Release


A Better Bargaining System for Australian Workers


The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for the Arts

Australian workers now have access to a better workplace bargaining system that will help lift wages, improve job security and close the gender pay gap.

Some of the key changes to the bargaining system introduced under the Albanese Labor Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay laws come into effect today.

Agreements are good for workers and good for businesses. Workers get better pay and conditions and businesses get more flexibility and productivity.

But under the previous Liberal and National government the bargaining system had become too rigid and legalistic, leading to a decrease in agreement-making. This was part of their deliberate strategy to keep wages low.

We take the opposite approach. We want to get wages moving so workers can get ahead.

Under our reforms, we’re removing barriers to single-enterprise bargaining and providing more options for business and employees to make multi-enterprise agreements. From today: 

  • Workers in low-paid industries can access the supported bargaining stream (formerly the low-paid bargaining stream) to reach agreements across multiple employers
  • The single-interest bargaining stream has been strengthened to stop a race to the bottom on wages and conditions
  • The Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) is simpler, fairer and more flexible
  • The Fair Work Commission has new powers to resolve bargaining disputes
  • Parents and carers will have better access to flexible working arrangements

Importantly these changes will help to close the gender pay gap. 

Women are more likely to work in caring industries such as early childhood education and aged care, which tend to be lower paid. 

These changes allow them access to a stronger bargaining system – ensuring they can get the pay and conditions they deserve.

The Liberals and Nationals said our Secure Jobs, Better Pay laws would “close down Australia”. What we’ll see instead is more agreements and better outcomes for those on both sides of the bargaining table.

The next step is to close the loopholes that undercut pay and conditions – which we’ll do in the second half of this year, following extensive consultation.