Really this was something Australia needed to do to improve our international competitiveness. Prior to the 1980's / 90's Australia had one of the more regulated labour markets in the world.
Centralised wage determination essential meant that everyone across an industry got the same wage increase as negotiated by their unions. People who were on awards basically had no incentive mechanisms built into their contracts and it was difficult for employers to introduce these incentives.
There are a few key reforms that were implemented by the Hawke / Keating / howard governments:
-Accord Mark 1-9 (can't remember exact numbers, but you can look into them if you want) which were basically a series of agreements between the Government (then Labor) and the Unions to scale back wage rises and to better link them to productivity.
-introduction of enterprise bargaining to allow individual workplaces to negotiate workplace specific contracts with inbuilt productivity measures better linking productivity to pay.
-workchoices / workplace relations act (howard era reforms) which further introduced and promoted individual bargaining and a deregulated labour market, however some of these have since been repealed by the Rudd government (but you can be fairly sure that a future coalition government will consider some further workplace reforms).
It should be noted that centralised wage determination has never encompassed the whole workforce. For example anyone earning above minimum wage is unlikely to be affected by it as there is already some performance component built in. That is the same now. So when people talk about wage determination in this context they are talking about low skilled workers.