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Conferences, Professional development workshops, Seminars and Webinars hosted by irsnsw.

Our programs are designed to inform and encourage members and their guests to add to their knowledge and understanding of industrial relations by bringing together representatives of trade unions, employers and Government, the legal profession and academics

Our presenters are leading practitioners in their field who bring their experience and expertise to our members. Their willingness to share their knowledge, debate their views and answer questions is a highlight at each of our events. Recent Keynote Speakers have included:

    • Commissioner Janine Webster - NSW IRC
    • Tim Mc Donald - Partner - Moray and Agnew
    • Luis Izzo Managing Director – ABLA
    • Deputy President Peter Sams - Fair Work Commission
    • Gerard Dwyer - National Secretary-Treasurer - Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee's Association
    • Senator the Hon Amanda Stoker - Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General, Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations and Assistant Minister for Women

Many events are complimentary or at a discounted fee for members.

Upcoming Events in NSW

    • 26 Sep 2022
    • 5:30 PM
    • Webinar
    Registration is closed

    An Update

    "While most IR practitioners are familiar with minimum wage requirements under Modern Awards, piece work rates also operate under a number of Modern Awards, and employers are required to meet minimum wage standards. Employees covered by the Horticulture Award can be paid either: an hourly rate, piece rates, or both hourly and piece rates.

    Our presenters were involved in the recent Fair Work Commission's proceedings to review the Horticultural Award and will discuss the background for the extensive review of the Award and changes introduced to the Horticulture Award, to meet the minimum wage standards, commencing from 28 April 2022".

    Keynote Speakers

    Dr. Elsa Underhill is a Visitor in the Faculty of Business and Law at Deakin University in Melbourne.

    She has conducted substantial research into the employment and occupational health and safety implications of labour hire employment, and more recently, the employment experience of temporary migrant workers in horticulture.  In 2013/14, with Prof. Rimmer (La Trobe Uni), she undertook the first national study of harvest workers’ wages, which formed the basis for her expert opinion in the successful AWU application for a minimum wage for piece workers in horticultural.  Her research has been published in Australian and international journals, and is regularly cited in government enquiries into labour hire and temporary migrant workers.

    Elsa Underhill’s presentation will focus upon the research findings on wages and employment in horticulture, and the role of that research in the AWU’s successful application to the Fair Work Commission for a minimum wage for harvesting piece rate workers.

    Stephen Crawford  - Acting Assistant National Secretary AWU

    Stephen has been admitted as a lawyer of the NSW Supreme Court and High Court since 2007. Stephen worked as a lawyer for the AWU NSW Branch for 7 years and has worked for the National Office as Senior National Legal Officer for a total 7 years. Stephen has been an elected National Vice-President since 2019 and has been Acting Assistant National Secretary since August 2021. Stephen was also involved in establishing Crawford de Carne Lawyers and was a principal of this firm for 18 months.  

    Please note

    Bookings for this event will close at 5pm Friday 23rd September

    The link for this webinar will be emailed 24 Hours before the event

    • 13 Oct 2022
    • 6:00 PM
    • 14 Oct 2022
    • 3:30 PM
    • Pullman Magenta Shores Resort 1 Magenta Dr, Magenta NSW 2261
    • 39


    13th-14th October Pullman Magenta Shores Resort

    Conference Theme - The Dignity of Work

    “What the dignity of work means economically, psychologically and socially”

    The theme of this year’s conference, ‘The Dignity of Work’, centres on the moral case for work. Essentially that the opportunity of work enables humans to build rewarding and fulfilling lives that satisfies economic, psychological and social human needs.

    The modern employment relationship involves a range of different expectations, more than those just limited by law, expectations including; the right to be given duties, the expectation of meaningful work, and the demand for job satisfaction, all which reflect the social benefits of work, and the increasing importance of these expectations on the employment relationship.

    Work is more than just a financial exercise for humans, work has a deeply moral purpose and enables a pathway to self-sufficiency, psychological wellbeing, social connection, and ultimately human dignity.

    NB Accommodation can be booked via this link

    New Speakers & Entertainers (For Conf Dinner)  Announced.

    Josh Healey

    Josh Healy is a leading researcher and commentator on the future of work. His recent studies focus on technological disruption, work in the gig economy, experiences of younger and older workers, and the living wage movement. Dr Healy’s contributions include influential academic articles, commissioned reports, editorial roles, events and media appearances, and innovative classroom teaching.

    Before joining the University of Newcastle in 2021, Dr Healy held research-focused roles at the University of Melbourne (2015-20) and Flinders University (2010-15), where he undertook several large-scale survey studies of Australian and international workers and workforces. 

    Nigel Ward

    CEO and Director. Nigel Ward is one of Australia’s leading advocates and practitioners in employee and industrial relations with more than 30 years of strategic business planning experience.

    Most recently Nigel has represented ACCI in supporting the introduction of streamlined COVID-19 response measures into 99 modern awards and has been at the forefront of unprecedented employer-union negotiations leading to urgent consent variation of Hospitality, Restaurant, Clerical, and Vehicle Manufacturing/Repair/Retail Awards by the FWC in response to COVID-19 pandemic.

    In his capacity as the leading employer industrial advocate, Nigel appears regularly before the Fair Work Commission in major industry cases for the peak employer association, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other major employer organisations.

    As one of Australia’s leading enterprise bargaining advocates and practitioners, Nigel has been at the forefront of modern negotiations since the late 1980s.

    Cilla Robinson

    Cilla Robinson is a Partner in the Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety Group, with over 20 years' experience advising on all aspects of employment law. She works closely with public and large private sector organisations, adopting a consistently commercial and pragmatic approach to helping her clients manage their workforces, whilst achieving their strategic objectives and minimising employment law risks.

    Cilla's diverse practice and experience, coupled with her strategic involvement in industrial strategies for both corporate and government clients and the management of workforces undergoing transformation, equips her with the know-how to provide prompt solution-focused advice and deal with all of the employment related needs of any business.

    In addition to business transformation and IR strategy, Cilla routinely advises on employment, discrimination and work, health and safety laws, as well as the employment aspects of corporate transactions.  She is an experienced litigator and expert in whistleblowing and modern slavery compliance, with deep experience in workplace investigations and the development of tailored training for her clients.

    Cilla acts for both private and government clients in a range of industries who appreciate her commercial approach to the complex legal issues she advises on and ability to understand their business strategy.

    Nichola Constant 

    Nichola Constant was appointed as the first female Chief Commissioner of the NSW

    Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) in February 2020.

    Prior to her appointment as a Commissioner of the IRC in 2018, Chief Commissioner

    Constant had 20 years’ experience in workplace relations in both the private and public

    sectors, including as the Assistant Crown Solicitor for Employment and as a Director in the

    NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office.

    Damian Sloan

    Damian Sloan is a Commissioner of the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales.

    Damian has a long history in industrial relations. Immediately prior to being appointed to the IRC he was the Group General Manager – Employee and Industrial Relations for the Toll Group, Australia’s largest transport and logistics business. Damian was responsible for managing industrial relations and employment law matters across all of the Group’s operations, with a primary focus on the Australian businesses. 

    Before Toll, Damian worked extensively in private practice. This included being a partner in the workplace relations and safety divisions of several leading law firms.

    In 2000 Damian was accredited by the Law Society of New South Wales as a specialist in Employment and Industrial Law, which he held until his appointment to the IRC.

    Damian has lectured in Employment Law at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Canberra.  He has also been published in text books and articles.

    Rabia Siddique

    Rabia Siddique and former terrorism and war crimes prosecutor, is also a sought-after transformational coach and mentor. A common thread in all her roles is a desire to make the world a better place, to give voice to the voiceless, and to lift up those around her so that they may be the best version of themselves. Taking inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, Rabia lives by the words ‘be the change you wish to see’ in the world.

    The retired British Army officer, criminal and human rights lawyer,

    Having survived a 2005 hostage ordeal in Basra Iraq, Rabia committed to living each day with purpose, serving others, and speaking her truth. Ordered by the British Military to never speak of how she was taken hostage while negotiating the release of captured Special Forces soldiers, Rabia developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her brave action for suing the British Government for sexism and racism, against public ridicule, became a catalyst for policy change to ensure a fairer workplace for women and cultural minorities in the military.

    Today, she is an Australian ambassador for the United States-based Support Veterans Now, Project Peace on Earth as well as several Australian charities.  Read more about Rabia here

    Entertainers for Conference Dinner

    Sarah Gaul:

    Sarah Gaul is a musical comedian and the breakout star of Aussie feature film HOT MESS, which was selected for film festivals all over the world, nominated for Best Indie Film at the 2020 AACTA Awards, and was recently picked up by Netflix.

    As a comedian Sarah has toured internationally and spent a year in New York where she made regular appearances at Gotham Comedy Club, Club Cumming, and Broadway Comedy Club. Sarah was a NSW state finalist in the RAW Comedy Competition and was a finalist in the International Cabaret Competition. 

    She has appeared on TONIGHTLY WITH TOM BALLARD, and stars in web series ON THE FRINGE, which was selected for LA Comedy Festival, Copenhagen Web Fest and Pilot Light TV Festival (UK).

    Sarah recently toured her hit show WIFE right around the country, and released the show as a studio album that is now available on Spotify. 

    Daniel Muggleton:

    Daniel's debut special 'Let's Never Hang Out' aired on ABC Comedy and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, he's supported Jim Jefferies, Steve Hofstetter & Neel Kolhatkar on tour and his stand-up clips have millions of views on Facebook, Instagram & TikTok. Off-stage he’s made appearances on The Feed (SBS), The Checkout (ABC) and been heard on Triple M’s ‘Molloy’ and ABC Radio. 

    Daniel is the co-host of ‘Ask Us Everything’ with US comedian Steve Hofstetter which is a weekly live-podcast on Zoom, and the resident host at Sydney’s #1 Comedy Club, The Running Joke. He’s also a regular at Nowhere Comedy Club, the world’s first digital comedy club, where he’s opened for Bill Burr, Mike Birbiglia, Sam Morril & Todd Barry

    ★★★★★ ‘Brilliantly twists the sometimes dark realities into stomach-grabbing laughter’ - The Advertiser 2022

    ★★★★★ ‘A foul-mouthed prophet’ - The Advertiser 2021

    ★★★★★ 'The calling card of a comedian with something special is the ability to find truth amongst the laughs’ - WeekendNotes

    ★★★★ ‘Not a 6pm comedian' - The Age

    ★★★★ ‘A genuinely exciting talent' - Chortle

    ★★★★ 'Mastered the Art of Crafting a Joke" - Radio Haha (UK)

    ★★★★ 'A Real Talent on Show' - ShortCom (UK) 

    Please note

    Accommodation can be booked via this link

    Bookings will close on October 5th at 5pm


    Thursday 13 October

    Drinks commence 6.00pm

    Dinner 6.30pm

    Friday 14 October

    8.00am registration

    8.30am start

    3.30pm finish  

    Members and Guests booking for this event should read the Event Terms &  Booking Conditions

    Gold Level Sponsor

    Silver Level Sponsor

    • 25 Oct 2022
    • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • TBC
    • 50

    A Face to Face Session (with Zoom options)

    "Since the election in May 2022 the proposed IR reform agenda is taking shape and the recent Job Summit revealed the areas of interest for the government, employers, unions and other interested parties.

    Our panel of 3 speakers will explore these proposals in this face-to-face session (also available on Zoom) and a Q & A session will follow at the end of the panel presentations."


    Peter Sams - IR Consultant and former Deputy President of Fair Work Commission

    Since January 2021 – Peter Sams is the Principal Human Resources Consultant with PJ Sams Employment & IR Services.

    Peter’s professional career highlights include:

    • Appointment as long-time Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission (retiring in Jan 2021)
    • Appointment as a member of the former NSW Industrial Commission and NSW industrial Relations Commission while a dual appointee to the former Australian Industrial Relations Commission
    • Secretary of the NSW Trades and Labour Council.

    Peter is a regular media commentator on industrial relations matter and is a keenly sought presenter on IR developments by various professional associations and industry bodies including:

    • IRS NSW
    • Australian Labour and Employee Relations Association
    • Australian HR Institute
    • Australian Association of Workplace Investigators
    • LegalWise

    Thomas Costa

    Thomas is the Assistant Secretary – Unions NSW since Jan 2016 and is active in recent industrial matters and high-profile disputes in NSW, particularly in transport sector.

    Prior to his current role, Thomas held Senior Legal Officer roles with the Rail Bus and Rail Union and the Australian Workers’ Union and worked as a solicitor with Slater & Gordon and with the HIV-AIDS NSW - Legal Centre.

    Thomas is also an active IRS NSW Executive Committee and has present at our Annual Conference, webinar sessions and IRS’s Practitioners Professional Development Day (Please note - next on 10 March 2023 – watch our website), and is a Non-Executive Director of the Energy Industries Superannuation Scheme.

    Luis Izzo

    Managing Director - Sydney Workplace

    Luis oversees ABLA's Sydney Workplace Relations practice and has over a decade’s experience practicing as a specialist employment and industrial relations lawyer acting for a broad range of employers across both the private and public sector.

    His advocacy experience in State and Federal Courts and Tribunals is extensive. In addition to achieving successful outcomes for clients as an advocate in numerous unfair dismissal and industrial dispute arbitrations, he acted as one of the lead employer advocates in the 2014/2015 Fair Work Commission Annual Leave Test Case as well as the highly publicised 2016/2017 Penalty Rates Test Case. Following heavily contested hearings in both proceedings, Luis ultimately succeeded in securing a raft of amendments to modern awards in respect of both annual leave and weekend penalty rates.

    Luis is the trusted advisor to a number of organisations when it comes to large scale industrial bargaining.  He has conducted numerous investigations for clients in relation to internal employment disputes and bullying and harassment matters and continues to be a lead litigator in the developing General Protections and bullying jurisdictions.

    In addition to working in private practice, Luis has been seconded to the Australian Federal Police and the Fair Work Ombudsman, working on a variety of employment related litigation and prosecutions and is a member of the Law Society of NSW’s Employment Law Committee.

    Please note

    17:30 - Registration - Snacks and Drinks

    18:00 - Panel Session + Q&A

    19:15 - Networking

    20:00 - Close of Event

    • Booking options for non members open on October 3rd

    • Members and guests booking for the Zoom option will be sent the link 24 hrs before the event
    • 12 May 2023
    • 14 May 2023

    The 2023 Conference will be held at the Gibraltar Hotel Bowral

    12-14th May 2023

    Program and other details will be announced soon.

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Industrial Relations Society of New South Wales Incorporated  INC9877445 Copyright 2016
ABN Industrial Relations Society NSW 40 585 849 687


TEL: +61 420 768 736





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