Australian Industrial Relations Commission
abbrev. AIRC, the federal body responsible for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes and the making of awards. Under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, the AIRC can make or vary an award on a restricted set of ‘allowable matters’
The AIRC lost considerable powers under the Federal Government's 2006 WorkChoices changes, including losing its power to set minimum pay to the newly formed Australian Fair Pay Commission.
In 2008 the Federal Government released the National Employment Standards (NES) and an Award Modernisation Request to the AIRC to assist in the task of modernising awards.
There are similar tribunals in each State which regulate State awards (except Victoria which referred its industrial relations power to the Commonwealth in 1996). Changes to industrial law throughout the 1990s and more recently under WorkChoices have sought to restrict the powers of both federal and State tribunals.
The AIRC has been replaced, from 1 July 2009, by Fair Work Australia. After finalising current matters, the AIRC will cease to exist on 31 December 2009.