Bills Digest no. 19 2007–08
APEC Public Holiday
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Contact officer & copyright details
8 August 2007
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Employment and Workplace
on the day of Royal
relevant links to the Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and second
reading speech can be accessed via BillsNet at: http://www.aph.gov.au/bills/.
When Bills have been passed they can be found at ComLaw, which is
To deem 7 September 2007 a public holiday for
the purposes of certain federal industrial instruments under the
Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the WR Act) but only in
respect of employment in the local government areas in which the
public holiday is to be observed.
to September 2007 Australia is hosting a series of Asia-Pacific
Economic Co-operation (APEC) meetings, culminating with the
APEC Economic Leaders Meeting which commences on 2 September 2007.
During APEC Leaders Week, meetings will
take place at venues in and around Sydney s CBD, including the
Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Exhibition & Convention Centre
and Government House. Throughout the week parts of the city will
operate under event time traffic controls and access arrangements,
similar to those in place during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. A
detailed traffic and transport plan will be implemented throughout
parts of the CBD during the week of 2 9 September by the NSW
Police. Some short-term traffic disruption is expected and will
include the closure of roads, the implementation of clearways and
public transport diversions.
The NSW Government declared a public holiday
to coincide with the APEC Summit to be held in Sydney in September
2007. The public holiday on 7 September 2007 has been declared for
the Sydney metropolitan area within specified local government
Legislation was introduced to ensure the workplace entitlements for
Sydney workers so that where NSW state awards and agreements
provide for public-holiday entitlements, these have now been
extended to cover the APEC holiday.
The NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, the
Hon. John Della Bosca, requested that the Federal Minister for
Employment and Workplace Relations make similar amendments to
federal legislation to take into account the public holiday on 7
September 2007. 
The arrangements will cover people who would
normally work in the Sydney metropolitan area who have been asked
to keep away to assist with the smooth operation of the APEC event.
The Explanatory Memorandum states that the
measures in the Bill would have no significant impact on
Commonwealth expenditure. 
Section 612 of the WR Act provides that an
employee is entitled to a day off on a public holiday, subject to
some qualifications. Section 611(b) of the WR Act provides that
public holiday means, amongst other things, any day (apart from a
day specified in subsection 611(a) of the WR Act) which is declared
by or under a law of a state or territory to be observed as a
public holiday by people who work within the state or
The NSW Government declared that 7 September
2007 would be a public holiday for those persons working in the
Sydney metropolitan area within specified local government areas.
Those persons who are employed under the terms of the WR Act (as
amended by the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act
2005) within the specified local government areas will receive
public holiday entitlements for that day in accordance with section
611(b) of the WR Act.
The statutory public entitlement does not
apply to employees covered by a range of industrial instruments
made prior to Work Choices.  The Bill is directed at those employees who are bound by
these pre-reform industrial instruments.
Clause 4 defines the relevant
terms. In particular, the definition of pre-reform industrial
a transitional award within the meaning of
subclause 2(1) of Schedule 6 of the WR Act
a pre-reform AWA within the meaning of clause 1
of Schedule 7 of the WR Act
a pre-reform certified agreement within the
meaning of clause 1 of Schedule 7 of the WR Act
a section 170MX award within the meaning of
clause 1 of Schedule 7 to the WR Act
an old IR agreement within the meaning of
clause 1 of Schedule 7 of the WR Act to the extent that it binds an
a preserved state agreement within the meaning
of subclause 1(1) of Schedule 8 to the WR Act.
The Bill is directed at employees who are
employed under these arrangements.
In addition, clause 4 defines
the APEC public holiday as 7 September 2007.
Clause 5(1) provides that a
reference in any of the pre-reform industrial instruments to a
public holiday is deemed to include a reference to the APEC public
holiday, but only in respect of employment in the local government
areas that have been specified. This ensures that the APEC public
holiday is treated in the same way as any other public holiday
under a pre-reform industrial instrument. 
Clause 7(1) of the Bill provides
a broad authority to make regulations for matters arising out of
the Act. Clause 7(2) provides that the regulations
may provide that for a specified law of the Commonwealth, the APEC
public holiday is taken either to be or not to be a public holiday.
The subsection has been included to allow regulations to be made to
remedy any unforeseen or unintended consequence that may arise.
In addition, clause 7(3)
provides that the regulations:
may be expressed to take effect from a date
before the regulations are registered under the Act and
even if the regulations are made after 7
September 2007 they may provide that the APEC public holiday is
taken always to have been or not to have been a public
The reason for this inclusion is that any
anomalous outcomes that arise after the APEC public holiday would
only be capable of being remedied through law with retrospective
. E. Tadros, If
you want to make the plane, take the train, police advise ,
Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August 2007, p. 5.
Memorandum, p. 1.
10 August 2007
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