By Michael Taylor –Principal Consultant, HMT Consulting
Since June 2011, when the Queensland Outdoor Leaders Award [State] 2005, was cancelled
there has been no “dedicated” Industrial Award governing the minimum term and
conditions of workers in Outdoor Recreation.
Over the past fifteen months a series of Determinations by Fair Work Australia, (the Fair
Work Commission, since 1.1.13) relating to applications for approval, under section 185 of
the Fair Work Act 2009, of Enterprise Agreements have given strong guidance to employers
and their representatives as to the issue of Award Coverage in this Sector.
In three recent applications, Fair Work Australia accepted submissions that organisations
using staff across a range of functions (clerical administrative, catering, grounds
maintenance and management), and who operated Outdoor Recreation facilities or
provided services to such establishments, could underpin their EBAs by reference to the
Amusements and Recreation Award 2009 [MA00080]. Concurrently, those staff performing
‘Outdoor Leader’ activities were award-free, in which case the terms and conditions
applying to that group would be adjudged, for the purposes of the mandatory ‘Better Off
Overall Test’, against the provisions of the default, Modern Award the Miscellaneous Award
The three agreements in question apply to Queensland and NSW based organisations:
Funston Nominees ATF The Coast Life Trust (NSW);
Apex Queensland Youth Camps.
Most recently, an application was approved by FWA, for an Agreement covering exclusively
‘Outdoor Leaders’ employed at the Bornhoffen PCYC Leadership Development Centre
(reference AG2012/14302). Hereto the Commission accepted the argument that the staff
involved were effectively “award-free”, and therefore the Miscellaneous Award was the
appropriate underpinning document.
A further factor common to all four Agreements, was the approach contained in them to the
engagement of casual staff. Traditionally awards (particularly, Modern Awards), prescribe
hourly rates and minimum engagements and on some, however not all cases, overtime
entitlements, for casual employees.
The four agreements, as have others the author has been involved with, operating in the
Outdoor Recreation Sector, contain ‘daily’ rates. In these Agreements employees can be
engaged as casuals for either ‘short’, ‘normal’ or ‘long’ days; the employee being advised in
advance of the particulars of the engagement. The employment/ engagement is tailored to
meet the operational requirements of working with groups in the field, and over extended
However, the daily payment must equal or better the aggregate of the award-based
entitlements that the employee would have been paid if the award (in these cases, the
Miscellaneous Award 2009) had been strictly applied.
Over the past six years this approach to engaging and paying casual staff has become
increasingly popular with Clients of Outdoor Recreation service providers, employers and
Providing professional services covering Industrial and Workplace Relations concerning small to medium sized businesses.
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