Governance – role of departments, agencies and central agencies

The roles and responsibilities of departments and agencies in the negotiation of enterprise agreements and other industrial relations matters are summarised as follows:

Departments and agencies

  • Departmental Secretaries are responsible for the overall management of industrial relations issues within their department and portfolio agencies (and associated projects), including application of the industrial relations policies. While Ministers will maintain constructive relationships with unions and employees to facilitate successful industrial relations outcomes, they remain outside formal negotiations
  • departments are responsible for ensuring consistent application of policies and practices across agencies in their portfolio
  • departments are the first point of contact for portfolio agencies seeking information and advice specific to their portfolio
  • portfolio agencies are responsible for operational matters
  • departments and agencies are responsible for the timely development of management logs, including funding strategies consistent with the Government policies and the conduct of negotiations with bargaining representatives including unions
  • departments and agencies are expected to report to the Government on any industrial matter which may impact on Government policy, or have budgetary considerations, in order to obtain authority to conclude negotiations. Departments and agencies are to liaise with the Central Bargaining Unit located within Industrial Relations Victoria in the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Treasury and Finance.

Central Bargaining Unit

The Central Bargaining Unit (CBU) is responsible for assisting departments and agencies with industrial relations matters and enterprise bargaining. It ensures consistent advice to employers and stakeholders and compliance with the Policies. Although the CBU will not be directly involved in all public sector negotiations, it will be a resource that departments, agencies and unions can draw upon to assist in the bargaining process. In particular, the role of the CBU is to:

  • implement the Government’s industrial relations policies and provide advice to agencies and unions in relation to those policy parameters
  • oversee bargaining across the public sector
  • become involved in bargaining negotiations to assist the parties to find workable solutions before they turn into intractable disputes
  • assist in the resolution of disputes in accordance with the Government’s policy parameters between departments and agencies and unions
  • provide high-level and strategic advice to government on industrial relations matters

Department of Treasury and Finance

The Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) is responsible for assisting departments and agencies to understand and apply wages policy and cost service delivery improvements and other enterprise agreements costs and benefits. DTF is also responsible for providing advice to the Government on departmental and agency compliance with wages policy.

Department of Premier and Cabinet

The Department of Premier and Cabinet considers whole-of-government implications arising from industrial settlements.