Meet Dean Wilson, TABMA’s WHS Officer

 

Dean has been part of the TABMA team since 2015, originally in the role of trainer but more recently in the role of Workplace Health and Safety Officer. This year has been somewhat of a challenge for Dean, stepping up and keeping on top of the continual changes that COVID has presented and the implications for you and your workplaces.

 

How did you start at TABMA?

I had been working at a local frame and truss company for several years and was looking for my next challenge. I saw the position being advertised for a trainer in the timber industry and thought it would be interesting to do something different. Now five years later, I am the National Workplace Health and Safety Officer!

 

What skills have you picked up since working at TABMA?

I had never been qualified as a trainer and assessor so I had to complete a qualification to do the role, which was really interesting. I also completed a Certificate IV in WHS while at TABMA so I have picked up quite a few things along the way.

 

What is your favourite part of your role?

I really enjoy going out and visiting all of the members and our trainees and apprentices. It is always interesting to me to see the way different companies do things and how they have come up with new and efficient ways of working. I also enjoy making sure that sites are as safe as possible not only for our trainees and apprentices but also for all workers in our industry!

 

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

America! Without a doubt. I love chicken wings, beer, and sports of any kind so America is definitely my favourite place to visit. I also love their cars.

 

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Katsu curry. Only just discovered it this year but I love it.

 

What pizza topping do you order?

Something spicy and with extra meat usually. Would love to see a Katsu flavoured pizza or a pizza with hot wings on top.

 

Do you have pets? If so what are they called?

We just got a family turtle named Azekiel

 

2020 Federal budget highlights for business

Source – Business Australia

 

Last night the Federal Government delivered one of the most anticipated budgets in history since the great depression. The ‘job-centric’ 2020 budget, aims to help the country rebuild post-coronavirus by supporting businesses to hire new staff, and put money back into their pockets.

Business takes its place at the heart of the economic recovery with a range of measures to support investment and the creation of jobs. The key highlights for businesses include:

Investment boost

Effective immediately (until 30 June 2022), businesses with turnover up to $5 billion will be able to deduct the full cost of eligible depreciable assets of any value in the year they are installed. This is a major incentive for businesses to bring forward investments and represents a $26.7 billion commitment over the forward estimates.

JobMaker Hiring Credit

The Budget announces support for young people looking for work. From tomorrow, businesses that take on a jobseeker will receive a payment of $200 a week for an eligible young person aged 16-29 years and $100 a week for a young person aged 30 to 35 for up to 12 months. Employers must demonstrate they have increased their overall employment. This will help employers get young people back into work, ensuring we do not lose a generation of workers to this crisis. It is estimated the $4 billion scheme will support around 450,000 young Australians into jobs.

Apprentice and trainee subsidy

A skills package for young workers, including a $1.2 billion package for employers take on new apprentices or trainees. The subsidy extends support for existing apprentices and trainees. The 50 per cent wage subsidy will support 100,000 new positions, a vital step towards maintaining a pipeline of skilled workers at a financially difficult time for business.

Temporary loss carry-back

The Government will also allow companies with turnover up to $5 billion to offset losses against previous profits on which tax has been paid to generate a refund. Loss carry-back will be available to around 1 million companies that employ up to 8.8 million workers. This measure is expected to deliver $4.9 billion in tax relief to businesses over the forward estimates.

Business tax concessions:

An additional $2 billion will be invested through the R&D Tax Incentive, including increasing the refundable R&D tax offset and removing the cap on annual cash refunds for small claimants. Larger claimants will be subjected to a streamlined intensity test with the cap lifted from $100 million to $150 million a year. Businesses will also receive FBT tax concessions if they pay to retrain or reskill workers. Businesses with an annual turnover of between $10 million and $50 million will gain access to up to ten small business tax concessions. This will include being able to immediately deduce certain start-up expenses, as well as FBT exemptions for car parking and eligible work-related electronic devices.

Support for the construction sector

With a sharp slump in population growth, the Budget announces several new initiatives to boost construction. This includes additional incentives for first home buyers to purchase new dwellings, boosting arrangements to encourage institutional investment into affordable housing and a capital gains tax exemption for granny flats (where there is a formal arrangement for older Australians or persons with a disability). These initiatives complement the existing HomeBuilder scheme ($25,000 grants for eligible renovations or new builds) which applies to eligible contracts entered into up to 31 December 2020.

Manufacturing-led recovery

The Government will invest $1.5 billion to boost Australian manufacturing in areas where Australia already enjoys an advantage. The Modern Manufacturing Initiative will support Australian businesses to scale-up in priority areas including resources technology, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence and space. Roadmaps to guide investments in these priority sectors will be co-designed with industry. Manufacturing will also be boosted by recent announcements relating to gas supply.

Regional tourism recovery

The Government will invest over $250 million for a Regional Tourism Recovery Package. Regional communities will benefit from $200 million in grants through the Building Better Regions Fund with $100 million of the fund earmarked for tourism-related infrastructure projects that will boost regional tourism.

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemption – employer-provided retraining

The Government announced that certain employer-provided retraining and reskilling will be exempt from FBT. This supports businesses to retain their people by transitioning to new employment opportunities within or outside their business. Effectively treating retaining and reskilling costs incurred by employers and provided to reductant or soon to be redundant employees, as exempt from FBT from 2 October 2020.

 

 

TABMA Meets with the Industry Minister

 

Coronavirus has changed life as we know it in many ways. None of us will be going on an overseas holiday anytime soon, public events remain off limits and the economic fallout is substantial and is testing us in ways we never imagined. For the timber and building materials sector and as you well understand, the impacts are manifesting themselves in many ways.

Some supply chains are being interrupted blocking access to the supply of timber; government stimulus to business, although very much welcomed will come to an end in the near future – what will this mean for the sector, and the trade credit issue remains unresolved at a time when the sector is already feeling the effects of the global pandemic. And the issues will vary depending on where you sit in the supply chain.

On Tuesday 15 September, TABMA on behalf of members, hosted a video conference with the federal Minister for Industry Science and Technology Hon Karen Andrews MP to raise these issues with the Minister. TABMA Chairman Peter Hutchinson facilitated the meeting which included a Q and A session where nominated representative members had the opportunity to speak directly to the Minister. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those members who participated and provided an overview of the issues that are important to us.

Right now, we are doing some follow-up from that meeting, and I will provide more information on the outcomes as soon as possible. TABMA will continue to advocate for the best outcomes for our members. Whilst the pandemic has changed the way many of us are doing business, there’s still challenges ahead and TABMA will continue to press government where necessary on your behalf.

Member Story – Durable Hardwoods

 

This month I chatted with Rod Taverner form Durable Hardwoods, to learn about the great business he has in Adelaide, and how they are continuing to offer their clients  great quality products and even better service, despite the challenges COVID-19 has brought.

Rod is an accountant by profession and spent many years auditing for government departments in both PNG and Australia. While he was working in PNG, he was always interested in their timber. Time came for Rod to semi-retire, and he chose to start a timber merchant business in the late 1990’s importing quality, ecologically sourced timber from PNG. Rod thought it would be rewarding to put something back into a community where had he spent a lot of time.

The business did not start getting serious until about 2005. Durable Hardwoods clients buy quality timber to make items for musical instruments to bridges, wharves and jetties. The timber they buy is durable, fire resistant and fit for purpose. As well as hardwoods, Durable Hardwoods also sell cypress, as it is a timber that suits Adelaide’s conditions and fits the Adelaide market.

Durable Hardwoods does not have ‘customers’, they are all ‘clients’ – ranging from civil construction, builders, government, and some retail. This focus on the person rather than the sale is what he believes sets their business apart from their competitors .  They are not ‘chasing sales targets’ but instead are more focused on helping those who sometimes do not quite know what they need – making sure clients walk away with the right product. But if you think they treat their clients well, Rod believes in treating their suppliers even better. The business would not stand if they did not have quality product to supply, so his suppliers are key to the business.

Durable Hardwoods began as a timber importer. However, Rod reflects that one of the biggest challenges he faced in his business was the decision to cease import and begin exclusively sourcing Australian timber. The decision came about because of the difficulties small businesses face dealing with Customs. Moving to Australian suppliers was a challenge, finding quality product and a quality company to rely on.

While there have been challenges, good business people always look for opportunities. Rod believes that the impact of COVID-19 has created an opportunity for Australian businesses: ‘it is time for Australian businesses to regain some economic sovereignty. Australia is only a small market with a large distance, and we should be focusing on self-reliance a lot more.’

Durable Hardwoods is only a team of two: Rod and his nephew Justin – who is a qualified timber grader and has an eye for quality. They are fortunate to be in a situation to be able to ride out any short-term storms and to continue doing what they do – and better: treating their suppliers and logistics companies with respect and to give the client the quality product they are after.

I asked Rod, why a timber business in semi-retirement? He told me he has always loved the product and the people associated with it. He loved the connection with people in PNG and ‘it sure beats sudoku!’. He loves meeting lots of clients and hearing stories from those who have been using timber for 60 years. Rod enjoys learning about new techniques and reviving the old ones. A most recent old technique he learned was from reading a 1963 CSIRO Timber Engineering and Design Handbook on how to make trusses (finding books on timber in secondhand book shops is a hobby). Rod explains, ‘timber applications have been around for hundreds and thousands of years, it’s good to offer clients different techniques.’

Looking to the future, Rod is a little concerned about the diminishing availability of quality timber. The market needs to look at good quality timber as the absolute premium product – and pay accordingly. There is smaller availability of quality hardwoods and therefore they’re becoming more exclusive. Rod also believes hardwoods should be used for decorative or art forms and is passionate about looking at a wood/plastic composite as an alternative building material. He is currently working with Adelaide Plastic Recyclers to offer this product as an alternative to the premium products. The world is changing and availability of resources is decreasing and recycling needs to increase.

Not only is the market changing and the products available, but so is the world of marketing. Durable Hardwoods has adapted to the way clients are now finding them. They are no longer turning to newspapers and radio, or even internet websites – it is all about social media. The business is currently getting more hits on Facebook in a couple of hours than the website does in one month.

Rod’s advice for those entering the industry. ‘Recognise the nature of the industry is constantly evolving with new products and opportunities. Be ready for change and always look for ways to innovate’. And finally, ‘respect the quality resource and it’s whole of life cycle and remain optimistic in the growth of the Australian economy’.

Pandemic relief – TABMA contributed $711,000 in financial support for host employers to June 2020

 

The myriad of Government incentives which have been introduced to support the economy during the current pandemic crisis has given a much needed boost to businesses and TABMA is delighted to have claimed, administered and distributed $711,000 to our host employers in the financial year to June 2020. 

 

The cash incentive to support apprentices and trainees was based on our host employers circumstances. The claim and distribution was administered by TABMA to provide a $177,000 boost to our host employers to assist in keeping apprentices and trainees in their roles and continuing their training. 

 

The Job Keeper incentive was introduced to give a cash boost to employers and keep their employees connected to them.  The TABMA management team swiftly took the decision to pass this incentive to our host employers as a way of supporting their businesses and preserving the training contracts of our apprentices and trainees.  The industry needs to continue to develop the skills required for economic recovery and the future of the industry.  TABMA has contributed $534,000 to our host employers in the financial year to 30 June 20.  While its too early to say if TABMA will continue to be eligible for the Job Keeper extension, early indications are that this will be the case and TABMA is happy to continue to pass this incentive on to our hosts. 

What does Contract Works Insurance cover?

 

Construction has consistently been among the top few industries with the highest number of serious claims. The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 identified the construction industry as a priority due to the high number of work-related fatalities.

Construction work is defined by SafeWork Australia as any work carried out in connection with the construction, modification, conversion, fitting out, commissioning, renovation, restoration, maintenance, refurbishment, demolition, decommissioning or dismantling of a structure, or preparation of a building site.

A number of elements can go wrong when working on a construction site which can cause serious and considerable damage or loss to your financial position, as well as your businesses reputation.

In order to protect yourself and your business assets, in the case of an incident taking place, it is crucial to manage the different risks that occur throughout the duration of a construction project.

What does Contract Works Insurance cover?

Small, medium and large commercial, industrial and domestic builders, sub-contractors and owner-builders are all recommended to consider Contract Works Insurance.

Contract Works Insurance provides protection to cover the cost of materials, labour, tools and plant hire if something were to go wrong during the course of the project.

Depending on your chosen policy, Contract Works Insurance can cover you against:

 

Cover Benefit
Property Damage Physical loss or destruction of tangible property
Public Liability Sub-contractor liability, products liability and cross liability
Product Liability Third party personal injury or property damage resulting from occurrence caused by your products
Legal expenses/Defence Costs Legal costs you are liable to pay for following legal proceedings brought by or against you
Existing structures Sudden accidental physical damage to existing structures caused by natural events and actions of the builder or contractor

 

 

 

What is not covered by Contract Works Insurance?

Depending on your insurer, exclusion, excess and limits of liability can differ significantly.

In general, policies will not include cover for:

  • Loss after work has ceased for more than the number of days specified in the policy
  • Consequential loss
  • Cost of rectifying or correcting workmanship
  • Work underground or in water unless specifically agreed by the insurer
Why is having Quality Insurance important?

Minimising the potential risks to your business ensures your continuing success, and therefore should be a priority for any business owner.

While added premiums may seem overwhelming, ensuring that your business is sufficiently protected now and into the future is highly important.

How Gow-Gates can help:

Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers has a highly experienced team who focus on finding the very best Insurance policies for our clients which are tailored for you and your business needs. We have excellent relationships with a variety of insurers and can source the most cost-effective policies for you.

If you have any questions about Contract Works Insurance or which policy is the right one for you, do not hesitate to contact us.

Please contact:

Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers

Email: timber@gowgates.com.au

Phone: 02 8267 9921

Recruitment and GTO update

 

The ground-breaking decision handed down in May 2020 by the Federal Court of Australia confirmed that casual employees who work regular and systematic hours with ‘predictable periods of overtime’ are likely to be considered permanent employees. This means that employers could soon face up to six years’ worth of back-pay claims for leave, public holidays, and other entitlements from their casual workers. 

  

As an industry that has long relied on casual employees this is alarming. It is evident in this decision that even having appropriate employment contracts in place is not enough to protect against these claims. The previous allure of paying a 25% casual loading and then having no obligations to pay any type of leave entitlements is no longer guaranteed. As a final blow, employers may also be unable to claim restitution for the casual loading they have paid an employee if a claim is brought against them! Suddenly a casual workforce is no longer the easy solution. Now more than ever is the time to reconsider how we engage our workforce. 

 

This decision, in conjunction with our ageing workforce, means that traineeships are not only the logical solution but also the most practical. Engaging a trainee through TABMA means enjoying all the flexibility previously associated with a casual worker, with none of the risk. TABMA, as the legal employer, assumes all of the risk and effort associated with recruiting and starting a new employee. Our probation periods provide a suitable timeframe for our host employers to consider if their trainee is the perfect fit and if a trainee is handed back to us it is our job to find them other appropriate employment. 

  

Our host employers do not pay their trainees while they are on personal or annual leave or for any public holidays where they do not work.  This arrangement mimics the flexibility and practicality that employers seek in a casual agreement while developing staff and securing a valuable workforce for the long term – often at a lower cost! TABMA offers full-time and part-time traineeships in a range of areas from traditional timber yard hand, hardware sales and warehousing positions through to internal accounts, estimating and design as well as the full suite of office administration and business support roles. For any job you have, we have a traineeship that will fit!  

 

Contact TABMA today on 1800 822 621 to discuss solutions for your business needs and to learn more about our traineeship programs.   

Inaugural BTCA Zoom credit meeting

 

TABMA conducted the inaugural BTCA Zoom credit meeting on Thursday 3rd September. Almost 20 TABMA & BTCA members participated. There was lively discussion and exchange of information about debtors of common interest and exposure. Members also discussed general items including credit insurance, preferential payments and the unexpected stability in overdue debtors given the impact of COVID.

 

Beverly Bullivant Gunlake Concrete/Quarries Credit Manager – “Informative and definitely worthwhile. I encourage all members to attend the next one to judge for yourself.  The more input from members, the more value it will provide.”

 

Martin Giunta Royal Plywood General Manager – “It was great to see all members who attended our Zoom meeting on Thursday 3rd September 2020, to discuss debtors in detail. It is particularly important that the more members will mean more information available, as there is so much uncertainty surrounding the industry in the short & long term. This makes it more critical for meetings to be held on the planned regular basis of every 2 months, with as many members as possible”

 

BTCA intends to hold the Zoom meeting on the third Thursday of every second month commencing at 10:00 am. Like the first meeting, we expect it to go no longer than two hours. If you want to benefit from the exchange of information, then please diarise this date for the last meeting of 2020 – Thursday 19th November.

 

Meeting dates for 2021 are:

 

10:00 am Thursday, 18th February 2021
10:00 am Thursday, 15th April 2021
10:00 am Tuesday, 15th June 2021
10:00 am Thursday, 19th August 2021
10:00 am Thursday, 18th November 2021

 

 

Worker fined for reversing forklift without looking

 

 

A Queensland worker has been fined $3,000, without conviction, after CCTV footage showed him failing to look where he was going when he reversed a forklift into a colleague at a specialty wholesale bakery in Darra.

The colleague, who had just exited a nearby freezer room, was crushed against a second, stationary forklift and sustained soft tissue injuries.

Before Richlands Magistrate Stuart Shearer, the worker pleaded guilty to breaching sections 28 (“Duties of workers”) and 32 (“Failure to comply with health and safety duty–category 2”) of the State Work Health and Safety Act 2011, in failing to ensure his conduct didn’t put the safety of other workers at risk.

In fining the worker just two per cent of the maximum available penalty of $150,000, the Magistrate noted he cooperated with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s investigation, and his employment was terminated after the November 2018 incident.

Magistrate Shearer found that reversing a forklift without looking was an act of “gross stupidity”.

Are you insured during COVID-19 against a Cyber Attack?

by Gow-Gates Group

 

As we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations and their teams are moving from a traditional workplace culture to a more fluid working environment.

As many companies adopt work-from-home policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cyber Security is a growing issue as Cyber Criminals seek to exploit, COVID-19 targeting companies and individuals.

Cyber Criminals are sophisticated in how they access your data, records, servers and networks.

Cyber liability insurance provides protection against the costs inflicted by Cyber Crimes including: hacking, cyber theft, denial of service, ransom attacks and data breach. The cost implications from an attack for the business can be covered, as well as the liability to third parties and potentially any fines associated with the breach of data.

Cyber attacks take organisations by surprise, especially if there is no response plan in place.

Mr Karl Hanmore acting Head Australian Cyber Security Centre, comments that 145 cybercrime incidents are reported with self-reported losses to be just under $1 million per day. He reports that currently, a global criminal ecosystem (consisting of criminal graphic designed and software developed) build viruses that attack multiple online platforms.

Hanmore advises that these experienced criminals have attempted to send COVID-19 warnings and mirror government communications in order to obtain personal and company information and exploit individuals and businesses.

The transition from the status quo has a less obvious yet significant impact on an organisation’s Cyber Security Risk Management. It is imperative to maintain the security of your organisation’s valuable data and prevent costly disruptions.

 

Here’s how businesses and employees can protect themselves online.

3 simple steps:

  1. Allow Network Access Only to:
    • Virtual private networks (VPNs) that are promptly patched as soon as updates become available; and
    • Devices with full disk encryption;
  2. Implementation of multi-factor authentication.
  3. Communicate with employees:
    • Raise awareness of heightened risks that will arise from criminal activity taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Ensure all hardware kept on their person cannot be physically accessed when in public places; and
    • Provide “log off protocols” updates and education regularly.

Your dedicated team at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers can guide you safely through the recovery process. Insurance policies may pay for forensic investigators to provide assistance and advice from the moment you suspect a cyber attack to the completion of a claim.

At Gow-Gates we are consistently available to respond during your times of need, which is what separates us from our competitors.

 

Our 5 step solution from incident to recovery

  1. Organisation suffers a cyber attack;
  2. Notify Gow-Gates of incident;
  3. Organisation notifies the insurer of the incident via Cyber notification app – within one minute of doing so, you will receive a call from a consultant at our Incident Response Centre;
  4. Response management – within one hour of reporting an incident, your organisation will be contacted by an Incident Response Manager; and
  5. Recovery – with an expert panel of vendors working to contain the incident, the Incident Response Team will support you through the recovery of your business activities.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our consultants at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers to ensure you and / or your business is safely protected.

P: 02 8267 9999
E: cyber@gowgates.com.au