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BUDGET 2001: A million for mediation

24 May 2001

A million for mediation

The Minister of Labour Margaret Wilson says the additional million dollars allocated to the new Mediation Service in the budget will allow it to continue to meet the promise that it would be "free, fast and fair".

"When the service was set up as a part of the Employment Relations Act we didn't know what level of demand it would face. In fact it has turned out to be an unparalleled success.

"To maintain this level of service almost $1.9 million dollars was needed. Some savings were made elsewhere and these, plus the extra $1 million in the budget, will meet the needs of employers, managers, employees and unions."

In the first six months of the Employment Relations Act, the Mediation Service has received an average of 489 requests for mediation per month - a total of 2,932 during the period.

Margaret Wilson says the service is fulfilling its objectives of speedy and accessible dispute resolution. It completed 2,219 applications in the first six months - 16 per cent within one week, 50 per cent by week four, 67 per cent by week six, 77 per cent by week eight and 92 per cent within 12 weeks.

"Employment disputes can be complex, so I'm more than pleased with the rapid resolution achieved through mediation. I'm sure, too, that the removal of both a fee and prescribed forms has made it easier for a wide range of people to use the Service."

ENDS

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