Structure 

This page provides information about the Commission, related courts and jurisdictions to which your industrial matter may be referred.

Structure and hierarchy

The Commission has a Chief Commissioner, a Senior Commissioner, and three Commissioners. This is the minimum number necessary to enable the Commission to exercise its various areas of jurisdiction.

structure of the commission diagram

The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission is comprised of the following:

Commissioner sitting alone

When sitting alone, the Chief Commissioner, the Senior Commissioner and each of the Commissioners all constitute the Commission.  

The kinds of applications dealt with by Commissioner sitting alone include:

  • applications for awards and to vary awards;
  • applications to register industrial agreements;
  • applications for compulsory conferences to settle disputes;
  • applications by individuals claiming unfair dismissal or denied contractual benefits; and
  • applications for orders regarding conditions of employment, procedural matters and other issues

The Chief Commissioner

The Chief Commissioner is the administrative and judicial head of the Commission. The Chief Commissioner is one of two Commissioners who preside over the Full Bench. The Chief Commissioner sits alone to determine matters within the Chief Commissioner's jurisdiction. This includes applications by the Registrar, as well as members and affected non-members of registered organisations for orders regarding compliance with, validity and observance of organisation rules, and matters relating to elections in those organisations.

The Full Bench 

The Full Bench is constituted by three Commissioners, with the Chief Commissioner or Senior Commissioner as the presiding member. The decision of the Full Bench can be by the majority of the members. 

The Full Bench 

  • hears and determines appeals against the decisions of the Commission and the Industrial Magistrate;
  • answers questions of law referred to it by the Commission; 
  • deals with applications for the registration of organisations under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA); and
  • deals with applications for the amendment of organisation rules where those amendments affect the eligibility for membership and other matters to do with organisation.

The presiding member of the Full Bench hears applications for the stay of operation of decisions of the Commission and pending the hearing of an appeal by the Full Bench. 

Appeals against the decisions of the Full Bench are heard by the Western Australian Industrial Appeal Court.

The Commission in Court Session

The Commission in Court Session is constituted by at least three Commissioners and deals mainly with matters of particular importance, including:

  • the State Wage Case, which sets the WA minimum wage;
  • applications for General Orders; and
  • any matter referred by a Commissioner that the Chief Commissioner agrees is suitably important.

The Registrar

The Registrar's duties include registration, monitoring and ensuring compliance of organisations under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA), as well as the registration and processing of all applications and documents to be put before the Commission.

Related courts

The Industrial Appeal Court

The Western Australian Industrial Appeal Court (IAC) is made up of a Presiding Judge and two other Judges of the Supreme Court appointed by the Chief Justice. The IAC hears appeals against decisions of the Full Bench and the Commission in Court Session.

There are limited grounds for an appeal to the IAC. They include that the decision is in excess of jurisdiction, that the decision is erroneous in law or that the appellant has been denied the right to be heard.