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Government Agency entry Industrial Commission of New South Wales (1926 - 1992)

New South Wales
Regulatory Body


The Industrial Commission of New South Wales was established under the Industrial Arbitration (Amendment) Act on 15 April, 1926. The Commission assumed the duties and responsibilities of the Court of Industrial Arbitration and the Board of Trade. Provision was made for the appointment of an Industrial Commissioner who, whether sitting with other members or alone constituted the Industrial Commission of New South Wales. The Act also allowed for the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner and an even number of members, one half representing employers and one half representing employees.

The Industrial Commission received the power to determine any industrial matter referred to it by the Minister. An industrial matter as defined by the act included matters affecting or relating to work to be done such as wages, hours of employment, sex, age, qualification, status of employment, the employment of children and the interpretation of an industrial agreement or award. In addition the Industrial Commission was required to determine the living wage for adult male and female employees and to hear and determine appeals.

A number of amendments changed slightly the structure and role of the Industrial Commission: The Industrial Arbitration (Amendment) Act, 1932 (Act No.39, 1932) abolished the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and the Chairmen of Conciliation Committees. A Conciliation Commissioner was appointed to assume their duties and responsibilities. In 1936 the Industrial Arbitration (Amendment) Act, 1936 extended the membership of the Industrial Commission from three to four. The power of the Industrial Commission to set the standard living wage was repealed by the Industrial Arbitration (Amendment) Act, 1937. In stead the basic wage determined by the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration would be adopted in New South Wales. The constitution of the Industrial Commission was altered by the Industrial Arbitration and Workers’ Compensation (Amendment) Act, 1938. The Commission was to have five or six persons appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be appointed President. The Industrial Arbitration Act, 1940 consolidated all acts relating to industrial arbitration. The Court was defined as a superior court and a court of record.

In 1955 the Industrial Commission was increased to a maximum of twelve members under the Industrial Arbitration Amendment Act, 1955.

The Industrial Commission of New South Wales was abolished on 31 March, 1992 by the Industrial Relations Act, 1991 which established the Industrial Commission of New South Wales to carry out conciliation and duties and the Industrial Court took the judicial role.


 1901 - 1912 Court of Arbitration
 1908 - 1912 Industrial Court
       1912 - 1926 Court of Industrial Arbitration
             1926 - 1992 Industrial Commission of New South Wales
                   1992 - 1996 Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales (i)
                   1992 - 1996 Industrial Court of New South Wales
                         1996 - Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales (ii)
                         1996 - Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales (ii)

Published resources

Online Resources

  • Industrial Relations Commission, 'Industrial Relations Commission: Historical Background', New South Wales Attorney General's Department. Details

Ross G. Elford