Bill's Media Releases

3.3 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 3.3 million people now benefitting from enterprise agreements made under the Fair Work Act.

The Trends in Enterprise Bargaining Report for the December quarter 2012 shows the Fair Work system is delivering variable but sustainable wage outcomes by industry, reflecting its different circumstances.

The average annualised wage increase for all agreements approved in the December quarter 2012 stands at 3.4 per cent. While this is down by 0.2 per cent on the previous quarter, wages growth varies across industries showing the flexibility of the Fair Work enterprise bargaining system.

Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the report also shows an additional 400,000 people are now covered under enterprise agreements.

“This is the largest quarterly increase in the number of people covered by new agreements since the beginning of the Fair Work Act,” Mr Shorten said.

"Having more working Australians involved in enterprise agreements helps benefit employers and employees by delivering sustainable wages growth and improved productivity.

"We now have more than 3.3 million working Australians covered by over 24,000 enterprise agreements made under the Fair Work Act, providing more people with flexible working arrangements and entitlements that suit their needs and those of their employers.”

"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,” Mr Shorten said.

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

As at 31 December 2012, more than 49 per cent of agreements contain a clause committing to improving productivity, 94 per cent have clauses for flexible engagement of employees and 70 per cent provide flexibility in hours of work.

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 almost 98 per cent, and the number of employees covered by agreements increasing by almost 140 per cent since 30 June 2009

  • professional, scientific and technical services, where the number of current agreements grew by 96 per cent and the number of employees covered by agreements was up by 55 per cent on what it was as at 30 June 2009.

"The latest report shows this Government’s workplace relations policies are delivering productive and sustainable outcomes for Australian businesses and their employees,” Mr Shorten said.

The December 2012 quarter Trends report is available at:

Minister Shorten’s Media Contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804