12 March 2012

 

Changes to the Personal Property and Securities Act 2009

The passing of the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) heralded the introduction of sweeping changes to the regulation of security interests in personal property.

The PPS reforms, which came into operation on January 30 2012, replace more than 70 registers regulating personal property securities throughout the country with one single national register. The aim of PPS reform is to improve the ability of individuals and businesses, particularly small-to-medium size businesses, to use more of their property to secure lending. PPS reform follows the successful example of other countries such as Canada and New Zealand.  

The introduction of a national system in Australia removes the previous limitations and uncertainty on the use of personal property as security.

Prior to PPS reform, the rules for registering a security interest were different for the Commonwealth and for each state and territory. Each had their own personal property schemes with different laws and many separate registers. The PPS Register replaces the many states, territories and Australian Government registers, and brings them together into one national system.

The PPS reforms change the operation of well-established forms of secured finance, including chattel mortgages, fixed and floating charges, margin loans and other arrangements not traditionally thought of as security arrangements, including retention of title arrangements.

The reforms are likely to provide business with greater certainty about whether an item of personal property is subject to a security interest. The complexity of the changes, however, means that business will have to be familiar with how the new system operates. Under the provisions of the Act, current practices used by lessors may no longer be adequate to protect their title and interest in the goods and movable property they lease or hire. It is therefore imperative for businesses to ensure that their documentation and practices are consistent with the new laws.

For more information on the PPS reforms and how they could affect you and your business please visit www.ppsr.gov.au.
 


Budgeting and Planning - 14 March 2012

Budgets and forecasts are key tools in the management of organisational operations and finances. If you have responsibility for development of budgets and reporting on comparisons of budgets with actual performance, and would like to develop more confidence in your approach to budgeting, this course will step you through the process in a workshop style.

Click here for more information and to register. 
 


Managing Difficult Customers - 21 March 2012

This not to be missed, half-day workshop will provide you with the knowledge and skills to manage all customers more effectively, including difficult and/or angry customers. It will help participants to better understand what customers want and how to deal with upset customers who could take their business elsewhere. It is all about calming unhappy customers and working towards win-win solutions wherever possible.

Click here for more information and to register.
 


Wages and employment conditions: A guide for small business - 22 March 2012

This session, designed specifically for small business, will cover the key minimum entitlements for employees, including entitlements arising from the National Employment Standards and the Minimum Conditions of the Employment Act 1993, as well as an overview of the Award system and contracts of employment.

Click here for more information and to register.
 


Effective Business Writing - 23 March 2012

Writing is an essential business skill. Whether writing emails, letters, preparing tenders or proposals it is important to be able to deliver a message in a way that is clear and focused. This one day course will help you to achieve this, and allow you to return to the workplace ready to apply practical ideas and proven techniques to your written communication.

Click here  for more information and to register.
 


Leadershipfor Onsite Supervisors - 11 April 2012

Managers and supervisors are an integral part of the workplace and an asset to the continual safety development of a company’s safety management system. A competent supervisory level ensures compliance with safety protocols and increased productivity through good leadership and policy enforcement.

Click here for more information and to register.
 


Australian Industry Group Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI®)

To assist in the accurate tracking of conditions in Australia’s construction industry, CCI is supporting the Australian Industry Group in the conduct of the monthly Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI®). This is a national composite index compiled through a survey of construction businesses nationwide.

The Australian PCI® is widely recognised as a leading indicator of conditions in the construction industry. The final report on the findings enables businesses and decision makers to gain the latest information on the industry well ahead of official statistics. It shows how the industry performing on an overall basis as well as highlighting trends for the major sub-sectors including engineering construction, commercial building and apartment and house building.

As part of a rigorous analysis process, the Australian PCI® is adjusted for seasonal factors and is based on indexes of key indicators including sales & activity, new orders, supplier deliveries and employment, with varying weights applied. An index reading above 50 points indicates activity is generally expanding; below 50, that it is declining. The distance from 50 is indicative of the strength of the expansion or decline.

The most recent survey findings show that commercial and residential construction continues to drag on the overall construction sector. Engineering construction, however, remains distinctly stronger than the rest of the industry due in large part to resource-related projects.

CCI would like to encourage your participation in the March 2012 Australian PCI®. The information collected is confidential and all respondents will be sent a copy of the final report.

Please click here to download and complete the survey.

Could you please forward your completed survey to carola.lehmer@aigroup.asn.au or fax to (03) 9867 0262 by Friday 23 March 2012. If you have any queries please contact Carola Lehmer at Australian Industry Group on (03) 9867 0280.
 


There is still funding available for National Workforce Development Fund

The Australian Government’s Skills Connect Program offers industry sectors and enterprises easier access to an innovative and flexible new initiative and co-funding, designed to assist employers build their productivity and enterprise capability through the up-skilling of existing workers and new entrants. Skills Connect is a crucial gateway to information and advice for eligible businesses with Australian Government funding support that is tailored to meet their specific skills, workforce and training needs. 

The principal aim of Skills Connect is to enhance productivity growth and participation in the workforce through the acquisition of job-relevant skills and qualifications. Skills Connect overarches a suite of Australian Government programs including the National Workforce Development Fund, WELL, Accelerated Australian Apprenticeships, Australian Apprenticeship Mentoring and Experience+ Training, which provides funding for employers to train mature age workers who can then take on supervisory or mentoring roles.  Skills Connect enables industry and employer applications to support requirements that draw from a number of these programs. 

Hence, Skills Connect simplifies the process for employers to interact with and seek support and assistance from Government Programs, while enhancing the capacity to submit applications to meet specific business needs. 

At a time when there is significant structural adjustment taking place in industry due to a number of issues including a high Australian Dollar and careful consumer sentiment, there are many challenges facing the current labour market. As a response, industry is restructuring and companies are seeking to remain competitive while productivity growth has slowed. The success of Australia’s economy will depend on employers’ ability to create challenging jobs and training opportunities. 

Significant funds are available in the National Workforce Development Fund but there is some urgency in submitting applications. The National Industry Skills Councils are the brokers between industry and government in guiding application development and submission.  They are encouraging industry and enterprises to take advantage of this opportunity to obtain co-funding support from the NWDF fund to enhance enterprise skills and workforce development.

Innovative and broad ranging proposals welcomed!

While you can apply under NWDF specifically, or any individual program in Skills Connect, emphasis is placed on innovative and broad ranging proposals using NWDF in combination with one or a number of the other programs in the Skills Connect program suite. These may cover:

  • an entire region or industry sector; and/or
  • several businesses applying together; and/or
  • a range of needs within one enterprise.

For example, a proposal might combine the attributes of NWDF with Workplace English Language and Literacy and mentoring for apprentices. Innovative proposals addressing sustainability skill needs are also encouraged, as well as those that can be seen to help accelerate business’ adoption of new technologies and techniques.

More information
If you would like further information on any aspect of the program or application process, please contact Linda Winter at linda.winter@cciwa.com or call (08) 9365 7539.

Please be advised that, while there is an online application process, it would be beneficial for applicants to contact Education Training Advisor, Linda Winter, or the relevant Skills Council beforehand for an initial conversation.
  


Gender equality Bill to increase reporting obligations

Legislation recently introduced into Federal Parliament is set to increase the gender equality reporting obligations for employers of more than 100 employees over the next two years.

The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2011 (the Bill) will require employers to report annually to the new Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

The reports will need to be made available to employees and shareholders and unions must be informed when the public version of the report is lodged. Employers will also be obliged to inform employees and unions that they have the opportunity to comment on the reports.

The reports will need to be signed by the company’s chief executive and must address the following:

  • workforce gender composition;
  • board gender composition;
  • equal remuneration;
  • availability of flexible working arrangements for employees, including those with family or caring responsibilities;
  • employee consultation on workplace gender equality; and
  • any other matters specified by an instrument made by the Minister.

The Minister for the Status of Women, the Hon. Julie Collins, will have the power to introduce industry-specific minimum standards.

The new obligations will be phased in over a two year period, with the first reports due by 1 May 2013 and full compliance with the new reporting frameworks by 1 May 2014.

From next year, employers could face sanctions for providing false or misleading information in a report.

The Bill’s explanatory memorandum reports the average cost of compliance with the new legislation to be $434 per employer, down from $1219 under the current system. The current Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 requires employers of more than 100 employees to develop annual workplace programs aimed at eliminating discrimination and achieving equal employment opportunity for women. Employers must prepare annual public reports about the outcomes of their workplace programs.

The regulatory impact statement suggests the government is likely to introduce further legislation to allow the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to give the Workplace Gender Equality Agency a list of all businesses employing more than 100 people.

As well as the increased reporting obligations, the Bill will:

  • repeal the power of the agency’s director to waive reporting requirements;
  • provide that naming and exclusion from Federal Government contacts will be the main sanctions for non complying employers; and
  • require the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to report to the minister every two years on the progress against the general equality indicators.

CCI will continue to monitor the progress of the Bill and will inform members accordingly.

If you have any further queries, please contact Marcia Kuhne on (08) 9365-7699 or email marcia.kuhne@cciwa.com.
  


CCI Function Centre

Did you know you could also hold your next event or meeting at CCI? The CCI Function Centre is an ideal venue for your next conference or function. Centrally located in CCI’s East Perth building, our modern and professional facilities provide the perfect setting for any function.

Contact CCI Events on (08) 9365 7500 or email functions@cciwa.com  to get your personalised quote today!

Click here to view the CCI Function Centre compendium.
 


CCI-ACCI Corporate Leaders Dinner - 22 March 2012

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI), in conjunction with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, invites you to experience an evening of music and culture at the CCI-ACCI Corporate Leaders Dinner.

Featuring a keynote presentation from the Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, Andrew Forrest, this black-tie event will provide you with the opportunity to network with highly respected business leaders from around Australia, including members from the ACCI board and council.

Showcasing premium Western Australian food and wines, the evening will also include a range of entertainment including a special performance by the Western Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Click here for more information and to register.
  


CCI IR Conference: Employee rights vs employer responsibilities - has the pendulum swung too far? - 27 March 2012

The Fair Work Act was implemented on the basis of establishing fairness and balancing the “interests of employers and employees” and “the granting of rights and the imposition of responsibilities”.

As it approaches its third birthday, employers, employees and their representatives have had the opportunity to put the legislation to the test, both in practice and through the courts and tribunals.

Drawing upon the experiences of employers, unions and academics the 2012 CCI IR Conference will explore if the legislation has achieved its aim of balancing employee rights with employer responsibilities or whether the pendulum has swung too far.

Click here for more information and to register.
 


CCI/Anything Telephones and Data Charity Golf Day - 30 March 2012

CCI proudly invites you to participate in the CCI/Anything Telephones and Data Members' Charity Golf Day 2012.

This sell-out tournament, widely regarded as one of WA's premier events, provides the perfect opportunity for business executives to network with clients and potential business contacts in a relaxed, informal and fun environment.

This popular event is also our major fundraising initiative for CCI's nominated Charity of the Year for 2012, Senses Foundation, with proceeds raised from the day donated to this worthy cause.

Places are strictly limited, so register your place early to avoid disappointment.

Click here for more information and to register. 
 


CCI REPS Sundowner: Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Pilbara Expansion Projects - April 12 2012

Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Expansion Projects in the Pilbara represent the largest integrated mining project in Australian history.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Expansion Projects in the Pilbara represent the largest integrated mining project in Australian history.

Running on schedule and budget to start commissioning over A$9B worth of projects to expand its Pilbara iron ore operations export capacity by 50 Million Tonnes per annum in the latter half of 2013, Rio Tinto Iron Ore has recently approved more funding to commence early works for a further 50 Million Tonnes per annum, planned to start coming on-line in 2015 as part of its 353 Programme.

This work will result in expenditure exceeding A$20B, over four years, on more than 20 major green and brownfield projects across ports, rail, mines, power, water, housing and infrastructure, materials and services to sustain and expand Rio’s capacity to export iron ore from the Pilbara.

CCI proudly invites industry representatives to attend the first REPS Sundowner of 2012 and gain an insight into the future of this exciting expansion and growth project.

Pilbara Projects Chief Operating Officer, Michael Gollschewski, will provide an overview of the Pilbara iron ore Expansion Projects along with an update on its status and an insight into potential opportunities for local industry.

Guests will also have extensive opportunities to network with fellow industry representatives from the resource and energy sector in WA, while enjoying a selection of gourmet canapés accompanied by premium Western Australian wines and beers.

Click here for more information and to register.
 


CCI Leadership Luncheon featuring special guest speakers Benjamin Roberts-Smith, MG, Victorian Cross of Australia recipient and Dr Fiona Wood - 2 May 2012

Inspiration and Motivation
In a survey of more than one and a half thousand managers, people were asked what they would most like to see in their leaders. The most popular answer, mentioned by over half of the managers was ‘inspiration’.

 As well as a thirst for inspiring leadership, there’s evidence to suggest that companies with inspiring, knowledgeable and motivational leaders perform better.

CCI’s Leadership Luncheon is a prestigious event designed to inspire and motivate, by providing an opportunity to hear from two of Australia’s most inspirational and respected leaders. 

They will share their compelling and fascinating story, giving you a glimpse into the minds of these successful leaders. They will explain the challenges they have faced and techniques they have utilised to overcome adversities, providing an insight into how they have succeeded where others have not.

Do not miss the exclusive chance for you and your team to hear from these outstanding Australian leaders live, at this unique event. 

Inspiration
Benjamin Roberts-Smith, VC, MG
With a biography that reads more like an action novel than real life, Benjamin Roberts-Smith is one of our most inspiring and courageous leaders. In January 2011 he was awarded Australia’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross for Australia, for his actions during a helicopter assault into Tizak in Afghanistan, which saved the lives of many in his unit and was instrumental in the success of the initiative. Together with a Medal for Gallantry awarded during a tour of Afghanistan in 2006, this makes Benjamin the most highly decorated currently serving member of the Australian Defence Force.  His distinguished military career, which spans 15 years, also includes numerous tours throughout Malaysia, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. His insights on leadership and achieving success in the most difficult of circumstances are compelling and not to be missed.

Motivation
Dr Fiona Wood
Fitting more into one day than most people could fit into one week, Dr Fiona Wood is truly one of Australia’s most motivated and determined leaders.  As WA's only female plastic surgeon and a mother of six, she is also director of the WA Burns Service, a consultant plastic surgeon at Princess Margaret and Royal Perth Hospitals, co-founder of Clinical Cell Culture, recognised for its world-leading research and breakthroughs in the treatment of burns, and director of Avitamedical involved in commercialisation of spray on skin cell technology.

World renowned for her patented invention of spray on skin for burns victims, she lead a courageous and committed team in the fight to save 28 Bali bombing patients suffering from serious burns, deadly infections and delayed shock. Her exceptional leadership and surgical skills and the fact that she had the vision to plan for a large-scale disaster five years before the Bali tragedy, brought world-wide praise and recognition to the Royal Perth Hospital Burns Unit and highlighted the ground breaking research into burns treatment taking place in Western Australia. This is a unique opportunity to hear from one of Australia’s most respected leaders.

Click here for more information and to register. 

Sponsorship opportunity
Click here to view the sponsorship packages available. For further information please contact Kristy O’Reilly, Marketing Coordinator on (08) 9365 7537 or email sponsorship@cciwa.com.


AICC(WA)'s Innovation Series 2012 major business breakfast event with special guest presenter Don Osterberg, senior vice president of safety, security and driver train - May 21 2012

"The Schneider Story" - Major breakthrough in workplace safety and productivity

Hear how Don Osterberg from Schneider National, one of the largest transport and logistic companies in the USA, achieved remarkable safety improvements, productivity gains and business growth over multiple areas as a result of a new approach to safety leadership.

Click here to register.

Click here to view the flyer.
 


Trade opportunities

The International Trade Centre at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia receives buy/sell offers and trade enquiries daily from overseas.

Click here to view a list of last week’s offers and demands.
 


Join CCI on its next China mission

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) invites companies to participate in a multi-sectoral trade mission to China in April 2012.

The mission will allow delegates to explore opportunities at the China Import & Export Commodities Fair (Canton Fair) in Guangzhou, the largest trade fair in the Asia-Pacific, if not the world. Delegates will then have the option of continuing with the mission to Chongqing, Hangzhou and Shanghai to explore further business opportunities.

Finally, delegates will have the opportunity to visit Hong Kong either at the beginning or the end of the mission.

Click here for full details.
 


Tuvalu enters Australian seasonal worker program

Tuvaluan workers can now enter Australia through the expanded Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last week. 

Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, announced the MOU was signed in Funafuti by the Permanent Secretary of Tuvalu's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Labour, and a senior official from Australia’s High Commission in Suva.

The Scheme offers Pacific workers the chance to work for four to six months in Australian horticultural enterprises that cannot find enough local labour to meet their seasonal harvest needs.

All countries participating in the pilot scheme, including Tuvalu, will be invited to continue as part of the permanent Seasonal Worker Program to begin on July 1 2012.

This program will operate in the horticulture sector and also involve small scale trials with accommodation providers in the tourism industry, cotton and cane growers and fishing operators. 
 


Protecting your IP in China

China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner and export market. In 2010/11, the value of goods exported to China amounted to a whopping AUD $64.8 billion (DFAT, 2011), which is an increase of 39.4 percent over the previous year. With such a significant volume of trade, it is important for Australian exporters to know how to protect their intellectual property (IP) in this vast market. 

China’s counterfeit and piracy market is reportedly the biggest in the world, with many manufacturers so skilled at copying items it can be difficult to distinguish fakes from genuine items. In fact, the so-called ‘fake markets’ have become major tourist attractions in large cities including Shanghai and Beijing.

How can you protect your IP in China?
If you are thinking about exporting to China, or using China as a manufacturing base for your products, then you should be protecting your IP rights in China. IP Australia is responsible for administering registered IP rights in Australia only. In China, there are a number of agencies that are responsible for registering IP rights. The Chinese Trade Mark Office registers trade marks and the State Intellectual Property Office registers patents and designs. 

You have two options if you wish to file a trade mark or patent application in China. Firstly, you can file your application in China directly, either through a Chinese attorney or an Australian attorney who has a Chinese counterpart. Alternatively, you can file using an international agreement such as the Madrid Protocol for trade marks or the Patent Cooperation Treaty for patents. An Australian patent or trade mark attorney will be able to advise you on your best option. 

Protect your trade marks (and their Chinese translations) immediately.
In Australia we follow the ‘first-to-use’ rule, which generally gives the first person to use a trade mark the rights to that trade mark. In China however, the first person to file a trade mark application will generally have priority over an earlier user of the mark (the ‘first-to-file’ rule). This means that even if you are already operating in China, you may have difficulty preventing someone else from registering your trade mark if you do not apply first.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer recently learned this lesson the hard way. When it released Viagra in China, Pfizer chose to market one Chinese translation but did not register a similar Chinese translation that was being widely used in the media. When an unrelated company, Guangzhou Wellman Corp, registered the popular translation, Pfizer became embroiled in an 11-year court battle to claim back the translated trade mark but ultimately lost. (Foley & Lardner 2010).

Be watchful of potential IP violators and respond swiftly.
Once you have secured your IP rights, consider developing an infringement strategy to protect yourself against the unauthorised use of your IP. It is not only important to protect yourself but also to make sure that you do not infringe on the IP rights of others.

Know what your rights are and be prepared to act if they are violated. If you find your IP has been infringed in China you have several options. The Administration Industry of Commerce has the power to investigate trade mark infringement and a decision will usually be reached quickly and relatively cheaply. This generally results in a fine for the infringer or the seizure of the counterfeit products. There are, however, disadvantages with the administrative system especially when dealing with repeat offenders.

Alternatively, you can use the judicial system and take your infringer to court. For a foreign company the court process can be lengthy, due to procedural requirements such as the translation of documents. Damages awarded by Chinese courts in IP matters have been quite low in the past, although the situation is changing.

Chint Group, a Chinese manufacturer of low-voltage electronics, took action against the French company Schneider Electric for infringing its utility model patent in China. The court initially awarded Chint a record RMB 334 million in damages but the case ultimately settled for RMB 157 million (approximately AUD 24 million) (Foley & Lardner 2010). The case is an example of the greater value being placed on IP by both Chinese companies and the courts, and demonstrates how having a strong IP infringement strategy could minimise the risk of your IP being used without your permission.

Enforcement actions in China can be complex as they tend to involve a number of different state and provincial administrative and regulatory agencies. It can be difficult to ascertain which court or other body has jurisdiction over an IP matter, so seeking specialist legal advice before taking any steps is crucial. The Chinese government has also established numerous IP rights service centres around the country in an effort to make it easier to address enforcement issues.

Whatever action you do take, make sure any infringer knows that you are serious about protecting your IP. 
 


Reforms to Australia’s agricultural export industries

The Australian Government is boosting regional economies through $30 million in support and a further $30 million per annum in reduced red tape for agricultural export industries.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the changes to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) export certification services were made under the Export Certification Reform Package, to deliver better and more flexible arrangements for exporters.

“In October 2011, improvements in the meat inspection program introduced flexibility and efficiency through the implementation of AQIS Authorised Officers,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Changes to the meat program will reduce the regulatory cost of export certification by $27 million per annum and are being supported by $25.8 million in transitional assistance.”

“On 1 January 2012, new arrangements commenced for exports of grain, fish and egg products.”

“The government will provide $1.5 million to support efficiencies in the fish and eggs program and $2.5 million to support the changes to the grain export program” he continued.

Minister Ludwig said the changes were developed in close partnership with export groups to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements.

“None of the reforms that have been agreed and implemented could be delivered without an effective working partnership with exporters,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Australia’s agriculture industries support 300,000 jobs in regional communities.”

“I’m calling on the opposition to support these important reforms, including underpinning regulations, and show their commitment to jobs in regional Australia rather than playing politics with regional communities.”

“Export reforms will improve confidence in Australia’s export certification systems and improve the competitiveness of Australia’s $32 billion agricultural export industries” he concluded.

Highlights of the new service delivery arrangements follow. A full report on each project is available at www.daff.gov.au/ecri.

Meat Processors 
The new arrangements deliver up to $27.4 million per annum in efficiencies in addition to the Gillard Government’s $25.8 million in transitional assistance.

Meat exporters were the first to benefit from the implementation of AQIS Authorised Officers, commencing new service delivery arrangements October 1 2011. The new model provides greater assurance to trading partners that Australian export meat satisfies their import requirements, including increased collection of verification data during the production process.

The Government continues discussions with the cold storage and further processing establishments to find additional efficiencies and consider the case for continued assistance. 
 
Grains
Up to $0.2 million in efficiencies are being implemented in the grain export certification program and up to $2.5 million in transitional assistance will also be provided.

The grains program, which includes seeds, nuts, fodder and other plant products, commenced new arrangements on January 1 2012. Grains exporters will benefit from new outcomes based legislation, which enables more flexible arrangements, for inspections to be conducted at various points along the supply chain. 

Seafood and Eggs
Up to $0.8 million in efficiencies are being implemented and up to $1.5 million in transitional assistance will also be provided to benefit seafood and egg exporters.

Export costs will decrease for seafood exporters as they move to one regulatory audit by approved auditors, following conclusion of agreements between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and state based regulatory authorities.

Dairy
Up to $0.1 million in efficiencies are being implemented and details are being finalised to provide dairy exporters with administrative support from the Australian Government to implement a dairy industry strategic plan, developed as part of the reform process.

Horticulture
Up to $0.8 million in annual efficiencies is being implemented and the Government is working closely with the citrus, mango and table grape sectors to pilot AQIS Authorised Officers and demonstrate their efficacy to export markets. 
 
Live Animal Trade
Reforms to the Live Animal exports program are being considered in light of the outcomes and government response to the Farmer Review. Live Exporters will nonetheless benefit from more efficient and streamlined licensing arrangements along with a new IT system known as Tracking Animal Certification for Export (TRACE). TRACE manages the application and approval processes for consignments of all live animals exported from Australia.

All exporters will benefit from updates to IT systems, including the Audit Management System (AMS) and the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR).
  

 


 

Harmonised workplace health and safety laws update

Safe Work Australia continues to develop codes of practice, guidance notes and fact sheets in support of the model Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) legislation. In addition to the guidance materials, a dedicated area of their website has been set up to assist volunteers, volunteer organisations and associations and their board members on how the model legislation applies to their circumstances.

The latest material to be released this week includes:

  1. A revised interpretive guideline on the definition of a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU): The term PCBU is a broad one that is designed to capture all types of modern working arrangements. In terms of a business or undertaking, the duties of a PCBU are reflective of these in determining what is meant by “work” and “worker”. Sections 20-26 of the model WHS Act contain the duties of a PCBU.
  2. Safe handling and use of Carbon Nanotubes: Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) are a type of nanomaterial that can conduct electricity like metals or semi-conductors, are good conductors of heat, can be stiff and are up to 100 times stronger than steel yet much lighter. Whilst nanotechnology is relatively new, there are some early indicators of potential health concerns that could appear many years after exposure. This guideline provides for a risk management approach for the use of CNTs in order to mitigate risk to as low as reasonably possible.
  3. Labour hire - Duties of a person conducting a business or undertaking fact sheet: Many industries and workplaces utilise labour hire workers to supplement their workforce. The model WHS Act broadens the scope of the primary duty of care beyond the traditional employer and employee relationship, and recognises that more than one duty holder may have the same responsibility e.g. a host PCBU and a labour hire PCBU for the safety of affected workers. Duties must be satisfied to the extent that each PCBU has the capacity to influence and control the matter. Both PCBUs must consult and collaborate on how they will meet their duties before documenting their collaborations and implementing them accordingly.
  4. Emergency plans fact sheet: Emergencies can occur at any time and this fact sheet provides guidance on how to determine the appropriate elements of an emergency plan dependant on the nature of the business or undertaking. Such emergencies may include fire, explosion, medical, rescues, hazardous chemical incidents, armed confrontations, bomb threats or natural disasters. The fact sheet is not designed to provide the full scope of guidance for higher-risk workplaces such as Major Hazard facilities, mines or demolition activities, which require additional considerations as specified under the model WHS regulations.
  5. Falling object fact sheet: Falling objects have the potential to strike persons at the workplace, or adjoining areas, where precautions are inadequate, including footpaths or roads. Falling objects can include, but are not limited to, scaffolding, tools and a variety of other materials which have the capacity to result in fatalities. The fact sheet provides information that assists a PCBU to understand the duties contained within the model WHS legislation about the prevention of falls, the necessity of conducting a risk assessment and the selection of control measures.
  6. Slips and trips fact sheet: Slips and trips result in thousands of injuries in Australian workplaces every year, the most common being musculo-skeletal, cuts, bruises, fractures and dislocations. The fact sheet is very informative and provides examples of how the hierarchy of hazard control can be applied, as well as including a slips and trips checklist that can be used in the workplace.

Organisations should prepare for compliance now to enable a strategic, planned program of implementation activities to be rolled out. Such preparation allows an organisation to target priority compliance activities and allocate appropriate resources to maximise outcomes. For advice, guidance or support to meet your needs please contact Safety and Risk Services on (08) 9365 7415.
 


ACCC Small Business Consultative Committee members appointed

The Small Business Consultative Committee (SBCC) is made up of key small business representatives. Members of the SBCC include a wide range of industry associations with a high small business membership base or whose members are engaged with the sector. Small businesses and business advisory groups are also represented.

Members are invited to discuss and comment on the following:

  • the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the ACCC’s role in securing industry compliance with that Act;
  • emerging issues or market developments impacting on the small business sector; and
  • education and information strategies developed and undertaken by the ACCC to assist small business.

For CCI and SEN members representation to this committee is achieved through the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is a member of the SBCC.