SAET expansion 2017

Established in 2015 to deal with workers compensation disputes under the Return to Work scheme, the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) was also designed to be an agile body capable of broadening its responsibilities to meet future needs.

On 1 July 2017, SAET expanded its jurisdiction to:

  • continue to resolve Return to Work disputes
  • resolve SA employment and industrial disputes
  • regulate SA’s industrial awards, agreements and registers
  • hear SA work, health and safety related prosecutions
  • resolve SA equal opportunity and dust disease matters.

What has changed?

From 1 July, SAET hears matters previously heard in the:

  • Industrial Relations Court and Commission
  • District Court in regards to the Dust Diseases Act
  • Criminal jurisdiction of Magistrates Court in respect of ‘industrial offences’
  • Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts in regards to Common law employment contract disputes and damages under the Return to Work Act 2014
  • Teachers Appeal Board and Classification Review (Panels)
  • Equal Opportunity Tribunal
  • Police Review Tribunal (termination and transfer matters only)
  • Public Sector Grievance Review Commission

Why did it change?

By bringing related jurisdictions together into centralised tribunal structures, better services can be delivered at a better cost for South Australia.

All matters will benefit from SAET’s best practice principles including independence, natural justice, procedural fairness, high-quality and consistent decision-making, transparency and accountability.

How did this happen?

This reform has been legislated through the Statutes Amendment (South Australian Employment Tribunal) Act 2016 and the South Australian Employment Tribunal (Miscellaneous) Act 2017.

Working in consultation with the existing bodies, SAET developed processes and practices to ensure that it manages any new matters in accordance with legislation and the objectives of the South Australian Employment Tribunal Act 2014 (SAET Act), and to ensure that when the jurisdictional changes did commence, it was ready to handle those matters.

Any active matters transferred to SAET, with the exception of the Public Sector Grievance Review Commission, where active matters will continue and be finalised by the Commission.

All parties to active matters were informed of the new arrangements to ensure a smooth transition.

SAET continues to be located on levels 6 and 7 of the Riverside building, and contact details for the Registry will remain the same.