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2.9 million Australians benefiting from the Fair Work Act

The number of Australians covered by enterprise agreements in the federal workplace relations system continues to grow, with more than 2.9 million people now benefiting from enterprise agreements made under the Fair Work Act.

 Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the Trends in Enterprise Bargaining Report for the September quarter 2012 shows an additional 200,000 people are now covered under enterprise agreements.

 “Having more working Australians involved in enterprise agreements helps deliver sustainable wages growth and improved productivity which supports both Australian workers and Australian business in staying competitive,” Mr Shorten said.

 Since the June quarter, an extra 2000 enterprise agreements covering an estimated 202,300 employees have been made – a total of 22,500 agreements since the Fair Work Act began.

 “We now have over 2.9 million working Australians covered by enterprise agreements made under the Fair Work Act, providing more people with flexible working arrangements and entitlements that work for them and their employers,” Mr Shorten said.

 “It is encouraging that bargaining between employers and employees at the workplace level has led to better ways of working and is now widespread throughout the Australian economy.”

 Enterprise agreements made under the Fair Work system continue to include a range of provisions to improve productivity in the workplace.

 “As at 30 September 2012, over 48 per cent of agreements contain a clause committing to improving productivity, more than 94 per cent have clauses for flexible engagement of employees and more than 71 per cent provide flexibility in hours of work,” Mr Shorten said.

 Industries which have recorded strong growth in agreement-making under the Fair Work Act include: 

  • Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services with an increase in agreements of more than 89 per cent, and the number of employees covered by agreements increasing by 107 per cent since 30 June 2009.

  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, where the number of current agreements grew by 82 per cent and the number of employees covered by agreements was up by 42 per cent on what it was as at 30 June 2009.

 The report also shows the Fair Work system is delivering variable but sustainable wage outcomes by industry, reflecting their different circumstances.

 “The average annualised wage increase for all agreements approved in the September quarter 2012 stands at 3.6 per cent. Whilst this is down by 0.1 per cent on the previous quarter, wages growth varies across industries showing the flexibility of the Fair Work enterprise bargaining system,” Mr Shorten said.

 “The latest report shows this Government’s workplace relations policies are working to deliver productive and sustainable outcomes for Australian organisations and their workforce.”

 The September 2012 quarter Trends report is available at:


 Minister Shorten’s Media Contact: Sam Casey 0421 697 660