CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 25 : 17 june 2020


Government changes to IR Act:
On Wednesday 17 June 2020 the Queensland government passed unprecedented laws in state parliament, amending the IR Act to allow for CA19 wage rise scheduled for 1 July 2020 to be deferred, so that it is not paid in the financial year 2020-2021.

COVID19 had already resulted in many unprecedented industrial relations changes both federally and here in Queensland and this unilateral alteration of the way CA19 is to function is possibly the most significant of these unprecedented changes, because it forces a change to a legally binding agreement between your union and the government.

The wage deferral applies to all existing certified agreements for all government agencies (police, ambulance, teaches, nurses, etc).

The UFUQ, and other unions through the Queensland Council of Unions, held multiple meetings with the previous and current treasurer and other ministers, to attempt to negotiate alternatives to this unilateral law change.

Apart from the wage deferral, we were successful to ensure that the 2.5% was not lost forever and I can report it will now be paid in the last year of the agreement.

Wage deferral:

1 July 2020 - 0%

1 July 2021 - 2.5%

1 January 2022 -  2.5% (the amount deferred from 1 July 2020)

No other entitlements, new or existing, affected:
I can confirm that all other entitlements within CA19 that are due to commence on 1 July 2020 and beyond continue to apply, it is just the 2.5% wage rise that has been deferred.

You’re no doubt aware that most new entitlements were agreed to commence in the last year of CA19, and this means very few may have been exposed to impact. 

For example if you are due to move up a pay point at some point in the 2020-2021 financial year, this will still occur, but the rise in your income will be on your current rates.

Defined Benefit:
The UFUQ raised the issue of Defined Benefit losses for our members retiring in the deferral period.  Although I’ve had confirmation verbally that you will not be disadvantaged, I will need it in writing.

I have been told that there is work being done between treasury and QSuper to identify a solution for those individuals, but again, I await confirmation of this in writing.

As soon as I know more about the effects (if any) on Defined Benefit and other superannuation, I will provide a further Code 2.

Where to from here:
I ensure you when I have any more detail on any aspect of this significant change in the way certified agreements work I will share it with you promptly.
Should you seek to review the information on the laws that were passed on 17 June 2020, you can find the Bill and all associated documents 
here for the next 7 days, and I will publish the updated links in any subsequent Code 2 regarding this topic.

John Oliver - General Secretary 

Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary 
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD