Industrial Relations Specialist

Townsville, Australia
12 Sep 2018
End of advertisement period
30 Sep 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Position Overview

The Industrial Relations Specialist provides accurate and contemporary support to the HR partnering function by: providing advice on the interpretation of the Enterprise Agreement, policy, procedures and legislation; conducting and supporting investigations; managing complex disciplinary matters; and resolving complaints, grievances and disputes.  The incumbent will provide coaching and advice whilst building sound working relationships with the HR Team, across the University and with unions.

The Industrial Specialist will develop and maintain best practice processes and case management frameworks to enable the efficient and consistent resolution of matters across the University. The incumbent will work collaboratively with the Manager Industrial Relations and Policy, and Business Partners to manage matters at the Fair Work Commission, Anti-Discrimination Tribunals or other external bodies.

Division of Services and Resources

The Division of Services and Resources comprises a number of Directorates and Offices whose activities foster and promote innovation and best practice in the delivery of its services and provide the frameworks and support to assist the Academy and Service Divisions achieve their goals and objectives.

The Division is responsible for overall strategy in relation to: planning, performance and budgeting framework; strategic procurement; financial and human resources; ICT services; business intelligence and statistical reporting; strategic commercial activities, including in relation to the Discovery Rise project and Retail outlets; quality enhancement and policy framework; capital infrastructure planning and maintenance and delivery of capital projects for ICT and the Estate; health and safety management and compliance; provision of campus services including cleaning, grounds maintenance, security and student accommodation.

The Division has a strong customer service ethic and continuous improvement culture. We are receptive to new ideas and ways in which we can enhance our delivery of services for the University.

Human Resources Directorate

The Human Resources Directorate designs and delivers people management initiatives and practices which assist managers and staff to contribute effectively to the Strategic Intent of the University. The Directorate will contribute to the development of an organisation that promotes and embraces diversity, innovation, flexibility and high performance.

The Human Resources Directorate is responsible for all aspects of employment related matters including attracting high calibre employees, developing organisational and people capabilities that are aligned with University needs, and retaining talent. Functions include HR Services, Policy Development, Recruitment, Equity, Organisational Development and Learning, Industrial Relations, Remuneration and Superannuation services and management of the Human Resource Information System (including the provision of information/KPIs).

Organisational Charts

James Cook University  

Division of Services and Resources

Human Resources Directorate

Principal Accountabilities

  1. Support HR Business Partners on key deliverables, with particular emphasis on managing cases and grievances through the provision of advice and counsel on managing performance.
  2. Provide sound advice on employee related matters that may include policy interpretation, grievances and understanding legislative changes to mitigate employee related risks.
  3. Identify IR/ER threats and opportunities and provide sound advice to business partners/consultants, line managers and other employees relating to complex or sensitive issues, including application of legislation, deployment and interpretation of policies to empower managers to make effective decisions.
  4. Develop and maintain best-practice processes and frameworks to provide the partnering team consistent and efficient approaches to case management with accurate reporting and documentation. Work closely with the Partnering Team to implement these approaches including providing coaching and support building confidence and competence whilst ensuring consistency of application.
  5. Develop and train leaders on a range of employee relations matters including case management, policy, enterprise bargaining to ensure a consistent understanding of employment legislation and requirements.
  6. Contribute to building and embedding a common HR culture through active participation, collaboration and engagement with HR colleagues, delivering high-quality people, process and culture outcomes for our clients, our Directorate and the broader University.
  7. Support the University's commitment to the principles of reconciliation, which exemplify respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the valuing of justice and equity for all Australians.
  8. Demonstrate a commitment to the University values and Divisional attributes.
  9. Support the principles of the TropEco program and engage in commitment to JCU sustainability goals and objectives.


There are generic responsibilities that apply to all James Cook University staff. Your specific level descriptor can be found at:

Professional and Technical

Level 8

Generic Accountabilities 

There are generic responsibilities that apply to all James Cook University staff.

  1. The Industrial Relations Specialist is required to observe the lawful and reasonable directions, policies and decisions of the University Council, understand and comply with the Enterprise Agreement, the Statutes and Rules of the University, the policies and decisions of the University Council and other appropriate University authorities, as in force from time to time.
  2. The Industrial Relations Specialist is required to demonstrate a personal commitment to ensure personal safety and the safety of others and contribute to the continuous improvement of our WHS performance. This includes the effective implementation and compliance with James Cook University WHS policies, procedures and safe systems of work, together with all relevant legislation, duties and obligations. Contribute to the continuous improvement of our WHS performance.
  3. The Industrial Relations Specialist is required to exercise proper discretion in all matters affecting the well-being of the University which involve public writing or speaking in accordance with the University’s Code of Conduct.

Selection Criteria

Selection and appointments will be assessed against selection criteria.


  1. Progress towards post-graduate qualifications and extensive relevant experience; or extensive experience and management expertise; or an equivalent combination of relevant experience and/or education and/or training.
  2. Extensive experience in the managing of investigations, performance issues, cases, complaints, disputes and grievances in a large, complex organisational setting.
  3. High level oral communication and interpersonal skills including negotiation and influencing skills, particularly in case management, and including the ability to work with all levels of  management. 
  4. Demonstrated understanding of current employee relations issues and sector practices and the regulatory frameworks including the ability to provide high quality, consistent advice on these matters.
  5. High Level written communication skills including the ability to communicate ideas clearly and succinctly and with regard to complex and sensitive matters that will have significant organisational impact.


  1. Demonstrated knowledge of the Higher Education sector and current issues and trends affecting universities.
  2. Qualifications and experience in alternative dispute resolution and mediation.