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Circular 2016/2W: Seeking legal advice on workplace relations legislation

Issued 27 July 2016

  1. This advice reminds agencies that before seeking legal advice on workplace relations, it is best practice to consult with the APSC and the agency that administers the relevant legislation. This advice replaces the archived Circular WR 2009/5.
  2. The purpose of the consultation and copying of advice is to have a consistent interpretation of workplace relations legislation across the Commonwealth. Further, it helps the APSC and administering agency to advise agencies on workplace relations matters that may have implications across Commonwealth employment.
  3. Relevant legislation for workplace relations includes the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cwth), the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976, the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 and the Public Service Act 1999 (Cwth).
  4. The Administrative Arrangements Order lists the agencies that administer the relevant legislation.

Responsibilities of non-Corporate Commonwealth entities

  1. Part 1, Section 10 of the Attorney General's Legal Services Directions 2005 requires non-corporate Commonwealth entities to consult with the department that administers the legislation before seeking legal advice.

Responsibilities of Corporate Commonwealth entities

  1. The APSC requests that Corporate Commonwealth entities consult the department that administers the workplace relations legislation before seeking legal advice.

Responsibilities under the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015

  1. The Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015 requires that all Commonwealth agencies consult with the APSC before seeking legal advice on workplace relations legislation, in the context of Commonwealth public sector employment.
  2. Agencies should send all copies of legal advice to their APSC relationship manager and send a copy to legal [at] apsc.gov.au.

Further information and advice

  1. Non corporate Commonwealth entities are legally part of the Commonwealth. Corporate Commonwealth entities are legally separate from the Commonwealth. See part 11 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cwth) for details.
  2. For further information, please contact your APSC relationship manager directly or email workplacerelations [at] apsc.gov.au.

Marco Spaccavento

Group Manager

Workplace Relations Group

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018