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The Fair Work Act 2009 was given royal assent on 7 April 2009 and substantially took effect from 1 July 2009, replacing the Workplace Relations Act 1996 is arguably the most significant change to workplace relations since 1904.
The national employment standards will take effect from 1 January 2010 and will operate as minimum standards of employment for all national system employees, including those on pre-reform certified agreements, WorkChoices AWAs and collective agreements entered into prior to the Fair Work Act commencing operation.
The new unfair dismissal laws took effect from 1 July 2009 and have reinstated a legal remedy for a substantial portion of the workforce who had been unable to access unfair dismissal applications from 27 March 2006.
Since 28 March 2008, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has been working towards drafting new modern awards to replace the multiplicity of federal pre-reform and transitional awards and notional agreements preserving state awards (‘NAPSAs’) currently in place.