The ILO in Australia

Australia was a founding member of the ILO and is also a major budget contributor, notably for projects in the Asia-Pacific region, including East Timor and the Pacific Island countries. The country has ratified 58 ILO Conventions and 1 Protocol, including seven of the eight fundamental Conventions. Australia is progressing ratification of the final fundamental Convention, the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138).

The most recent ratification was registered on 21 December 2011, the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). As at July 2021, the Australian Government is progressing ratification of the Forced Labour Protocol 2014, and also considering ratification of the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190).

The Fair Work framework

Australia has a mature, comprehensive, workplace relations system with a solid tradition of industrial relations and social dialogue. The Fair Work framework is the name used for Australia’s labour administration system, and is constituted by the minimum employment laws and agency bodies that were created by the Fair Work Act 2009, and related legislation.

The key features of the Fair Work system are:
  • 11 minimum National Employment Standards
  • awards that apply nationally for specific industries and occupations
  • the national minimum wage
  • enterprise bargaining
  • protection from unfair dismissal.
Awards, together with the National Employment Standards and the national minimum wage, make up a safety net of entitlements for employees covered by the Fair Work system.

There are 6 bodies that have key roles in the Fair Work system:
  • Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Fair Work Commission
  • Safe Work Australia
  • Registered Organisations Commission
  • Australian Building and Construction Commission
  • Fair Work Division of the Federal Court, and the Federal Circuit Court.

The Government, Workers and Employers’ organizations are firmly committed to decent work, and the tripartite International Labour Affairs Committee meets formally at least three times each year to discuss international labour issues.

The Australian Government has held a seat on the ILO’s Governing Body (GB) almost continuously since 1945. In June 2021, Australia was elected as a titular voting member of the GB for the Far East Asia and Pacific electoral sub region (FEAP).

ILO activities in Australia are supported through the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Tripartite constituents