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Tasmanian Industrial Commission
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T3201 and T3203



Industrial Relations Act 1984
s.23 application to vary an award

Minister for Employment, Industrial Relations and Training
(T.3201 of 1991)

Minister Administering the Tasmanian State Service Act 1984
T.3203 of 1991)


See end of Decision for Awards Varied



3 October 1991

Observance of Recreation Day Holiday


These applications, which were joined for hearing at the outset, were made pursuant to Section 24(20)(e) of the Act by both the Minister for Employment, Industrial Relations and Training and the Minister Administering the State Service Act for amendments to be made to nominated public and private sector awards of the Commission to "remove from the holidays provisions of awards any reference to `the first Monday in November (where Hobart Regatta Day is not observed)' and substituting therefore the words `Recreation Day (where Hobart Regatta Day is not observed'.

The applicants' representative, in his submissions, advised that there were two reasons for seeking the changes:

  • The Bank Holidays Act 1919 had been amended (in 1989) to delete all reference to the first Monday of November as a holiday. At that time it was proposed to make the day (known as Recreation Day) a holiday under the general powers of proclamation in Section 8 of that Act.

  • The Government had already decided that for 1991 "Recreation Day" would be observed on 11 November. This was to coincide with the final day of the Australian Pacing Championships due to be held in Launceston at that time. This decision of the Government was proclaimed in the Government Gazette on Wednesday 18 September 1991.

It was submitted further that "Recreation Day" had no historic, cultural or religious significance, it was merely traditionally observed on the 1st of November, but that date was not immutable. It was also said that the Government had no intention (in this matter) of diminishing the number of public holidays presently prescribed in this State and that the change sought was in the public interest.

As to Federal Awards we were advised that there were five awards to which the State was a party and four of those had been varied by consent. The Government was taking steps to ensure that all 65 other Federal awards are similarly varied but the results could not be guaranteed.

The Tasmanian Confederation of Industries (the Confederation) on the one hand expressed support for the application, but on the other confirmed its condemnation of the Government's unnecessary delay in applying for the changes to be made. The matter was first raised twelve months ago the Confederation said.

The Confederation, however, urged the Commission to put aside any objections in the interests of avoiding the "untold confusion" which would result if the application was not endorsed.

There were now good reasons to grant the claim the Confederation submitted, there were economic benefits accruing from a major event, there was no fundamental reason to object and it was entirely appropriate to have the day moveable. The Confederation noted also that at least half the Federal Awards involved referred only to "Recreation Day".

The Tasmanian Public Service Association (the TPSA) opposed the application and complained that there had been no consultation at all by the Government on the subject. Further, the TPSA submitted that the Government's proposal should more properly have been on the agenda for the current State Service award restructuring negotiations. The TPSA said that the present prescription was a tradition which should not be interfered with and it was also suspicious of the Government's intentions.

The other unions present at the hearing also opposed the application except the Australian Nursing Federation, Tasmanian Branch which was not opposed. The further points raised by the other unions related to the confusion being caused by the Government's actions and the disruption to the social life of many.

In response to the opposing submissions the Ministers' representative advised that discussions with the Tasmanian Trades and Labor Council had taken place in April, but to no avail. The advocate for the Ministers also assured the Commission and the parties that there was no hidden agenda: the intention was to do what was proposed and no more.

The Commission has been put in an invidious position as a result of these late applications in that the only real reason given by the Ministers for the change sought was that the Government wanted the "Recreation Day" public holiday to be reallocated to coincide with the final day of a horse racing carnival in Launceston. In the first instance it is questionable whether or not a horse race is a matter of such vital public interest. This one reason by itself may be insufficient to warrant the amendment sought, but the Commission has been constrained by the pre-emptive actions of the Minister in appointing 11 November 1991 as Recreation Day 1991 for the purposes of the Bank Holidays Act 1919. The result to date has been that, under the Bank Holidays Act 1919, 11 November 1991 is a Bank Holiday across the whole of the north of the State, but also because of the long-standing prescription in the Awards of the Commission, the first Monday in November (the 4th) is an award holiday. Such a situation is ludicrous and has been brought about entirely by Government action.

The Commission is not without the view that there could be merit in the proposed change, for reasons other than the one given, but principally because of the time factor, it would be counter-productive to refuse the application now so as to enable a proper canvassing of the subject later.

The Commission acknowledges the point made by Mr Abey that the Government is deserving of much criticism over its mishandling of this whole matter. In the first instance at least twelve months prior application for the change was warranted because of the potential inconvenience to many, especially as the proposal was announced that long ago. The Government should have taken the opportunity of the provisions of both the State and Federal Industrial Relations Acts and sought a joint hearing so that the matter could have been dealt with expeditiously in one session. Further, even though this Commission has dealt with the matter now, it appears there are still over sixty Federal Awards to be processed. In other words there has been concern and disruption caused already and the blame for all that must rest with the Government.

However, the Commission also agrees with another submission of Mr Abey's to the effect that all parties must rise above any recriminations or an "it wasn't my fault" attitude.

For all these reasons therefore the application is granted and the attached schedule of awards will be varied from this date.

Orders will be processed by individual Commissioners within their respective assignments.


B Newton with J Evans for the Minister of Employment, Industrial Relations and Training in matter T.3201 and for the Minister Administering the State Service Act in matter T.3202.
T Abey for the Tasmanian Confederation of Industries.
D McDougall for the Tasmanian Chamber of Retailers.
R Hunt for the Tasmanian Public Service Association (T.3202)
I Grant for the Australian Nursing Federation, Tasmanian Branch (T.3201).
G Cooper for The Australian Workers' Union, Tasmanian Branch.
G Philp for the Tasmanian Teachers Federation.
D Harding for the Metals and Engineering Workers' Union.
D Pyrke for The Association of Professional Engineers & Scientists, Australia, Professional Engineers Branch, Tasmania.
S Pavlic for the Federation of Industrial, Manufacturing and Engineering Employees, Tasmania Branch.
K Morrow for the Police Association of Tasmania.

Date and place of hearing:
September 30.


P001 Abattoirs
P002 Aerated Waters
P003 Agriculturists
P005 Automotive Industries
P006 Bakers
P007 Barristers and Solicitors
P008 Boarding Schools and Student Hostels
P009 Bootmakers
P010 Broadcasting and Television
P012 Butter and Cheesemakers
P013 Carbide
P015 Cement Makers
P016 Chemists
P154 Child Care & Childrens Services
P164 Clay and Mud Products
P018 Cleaners
P165 Clerical & Administrative Employees (Private Sector)
P019 Clothing Makers
P021 Concrete Products
P022 Dairymens
P023 Dentists
P155 Draughting & Technical Officers (Private Industry)
P024 Electrical Engineers
P025 Electrolytic Zinc
P026 Emu Bay Railway
P027 Entertainment
P028 Estate Agents
P029 Ferro Alloys
P030 Fibreglass and Plastics
P032 Fuel Merchants
P033 Furnishing Trades
P035 Hairdressers
P036 Horticulturists
P037 Hospitals
P038 Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality and Motels
P039 Ice Cream Makers
P040 Insurance
P041 Laundrymens
P156 Leather Canvas & Sheet Plastic Fabrication
P042 Licensed Clubs
P043 Marine Boards
P044 Meat Trades
P045 Mechanical Engineers and Founders
P046 Medical Practitioners (Private Sector)
P139 Miscellaneous Workers
P047 Mining (Lead-Zinc)
P048 Monumental Masons
P144 Musicians
P049 Optical Industries
P050 Ovaltine
P162 Pasminco Rosebery (Mining)
P051 Plumbers
P052 Poultry, Game and Marine Products
P053 Printers
P054 Produce
P055 Public Accountants
P057 Quarrymens
P058 Restaurant Keepers
P059 Retail Trades
P060 Roadmakers
P061 Rubber Trades
P062 Security and Watching Services
P063 Shipbuilders
P064 Shipping
P065 Softgoods
P142 Surveyors (Private Industry)
P066 Textile
P068 Totalisator Agency
P069 Vegetable Preservers
P070 Veterinary Services
P071 Watchmakers
P072 Welfare and Voluntary Agencies
P073 Wholesale Trades
P074 Wireworking

S150 Electrical/Electronic Trades (Public Sector)
S031 Fire Brigades
S085 General Conditions of Service
S093 Hospital Employees (Public Hospitals)
S146 Metal Trades (State Employees)
S147 Miscellaneous Workers (Advanced Education)
S148 Miscellaneous Workers (Public Sector)
S109 Police
S110 Police Departmental Employees and Road Safety Officers
S004 Tasmanian Ambulance Service
S145 Tourism Tasmania Staff