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Re-elected McGowan Government to introduce a new public holiday

Posted on March 11, 2021
  • Re-elected McGowan Government to give Western Australians a new public holiday
  • An Easter Sunday public holiday will ensure shift workers who need to work are paid fairly
  • WA Labor to continue its strong work in industrial relations reform by working with industry, unions and workers to achieve better outcomes for all

A re-elected McGowan Government will move to make Easter Sunday a public holiday for Western Australians from 2022.

This will mean Western Australia’s Easter weekend will be extended to include three public holidays.

Western Australia will then have 11 public holidays each year, finally bringing WA in line with most of the other states and Territories.

Easter Sunday is already observed as a public holiday in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT.

Employees who are required to work on Easter Sunday will benefit from an increased penalty rate, rising from the ordinary Sunday rate to a public holiday penalty rate.

A re-elected McGowan Government will also continue to implement better conditions and protections for all WA workers covered by the WA industrial relations system and better equip the public sector to keep Western Australia safe and strong.

In consultation with industry, unions and workers, a re-elected McGowan Government will seek to improve mental health awareness in the workplace, progress regulations related to the new Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (Act), and reintroduce the Industrial Relations Reform Bill.

These commitments will build on the McGowan Labor Government’s strong record in delivering better conditions for all Western Australian workers, including industrial manslaughter legislation, initiatives to combat wage theft, new workplace safety laws and more.

Comments attributed to Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:

“In good news for all Western Australians a re-elected McGowan Government will move to make Easter Sunday a public holiday from next year.

“An Easter Sunday public holiday will ensure shift workers who need to work on Easter Sunday are paid fairly.

“It will also ensure hardworking Western Australians have more time to spend with their families and friends, with three public holidays to be included in the Easter holiday weekend.

“A re-elected McGowan Government will also continue its strong work in industrial relations reform by working with industry, unions and workers to achieve better outcomes for all.”

Industrial Relations Policy Commitments:

Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (Act)Enact three sets of Regulations related to the new Act to be implemented from the start of January 2022. Undertake a public campaign to promote the implications of the new Act and will provide union and employer peak bodies $150,000 pa each to assist with the transition to the new Act.
Workers Compensation  Following public consultation introduce a Workers Compensation Reform Bill in line with the recommendations of the 2014 Review. Outlaw employers attending medical appointments. Increase Medical and Health benefits from 30% to 60% of the prescribed amount. Change the point at which stepdowns occur from 13 to 26 weeks. There is no increase proposed to the prescribed amount other than through the normal indexation.
Presumptive PTSD for Ambulance WorkersIntroduce a rebuttable presumption that ambulance workers who claim to suffer from PTSD have developed it in the course of their work.  The definition of PTSD will be in line with reference to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and the diagnosis approved by a Psychiatrist.
Asbestos ClaimsRemove “once for all” damages and introduce provisional damages for asbestos related diseases provision.
Mental Health Prevention in the WorkplaceMake grant funding of $1 million pa available to initiatives such as Mates in Construction and Steering Healthy Minds.
Industrial Relations ReformReintroduce the Industrial Relations Reform Bill. Provide for potential concurrent appointments of suitably qualified Industrial Commissioners as Industrial Magistrates.
Minimum Conditions of EmploymentAmend the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act to provide for 5 days of unpaid domestic violence leave consistent with the National Employment Standards.
Labour Hire RegulationWork with the Federal Government to introduce a strong regulatory framework to regulate labor hire but in the absence of an acceptable regime (and if constitutionally possible) introduce a state based regime.
Public HolidaysIntroduce a new public Holiday on Easter Sunday of each year beginning in 2022.
Construction Long Service Leave Scheme  Undertake to amend the Construction Long Service Leave Act to accommodate construction workers who work on ships and were excluded by the 2016 WAIRC decision. Rectify an anomaly whereby construction workers are not able to accumulate service if they are stood down.
Owner Driver ActBring forward amendments as endorsed by the tri-partite Road Freight Transport Industry Council to promote safe and sustainable road freight operations.
Building and Construction Consultative CommitteeSet up a Building and Construction Consultative Committee with representation from major Industry stakeholders such as building industry peak bodies, employers and trade unions representing building and construction workers.