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  • 22-Nov-2018 10:02 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    It’s performance review season, and you know the drill. Fill in those long, tedious performance documents, drag each of your direct reports into a conference room for a one-on-one, hand them the performance document, and then start the same, tired conversation. Say some positive things about what the employee is good at, then some unpleasant things about what he/she’s not good at, and end with some more strokes of his/her ego to try to end on a positive note. The result: a mixed message that leaves even your best employees feeling disappointed, and results in little (if any!) change in attitude, behaviours or performance.

    This Performance Management System is broken. Industry leaders including Adobe, Microsoft and Deloitte have all abandoned the traditional system complete with the dreaded annual appraisal, and 70% of corporate employers are either currently reviewing or updating their approach. The question becomes – what do you need to replace it with?

    Many smart companies recognise there is a difference between a performance management system and having conversations that genuinely improve performance. These companies have woken up to the fact that it’s the conversation rather than the system that makes the difference.

    So they are shifting their attention to equipping their managers to have the effective ongoing conversations so crucial to developing and expecting excellence in their people. Such conversations can at times be sensitive or difficult and as a consequence are often avoided by managers. All mediocrity continues and arises as a result of a tough conversation someone didn’t have.

    ‘Performance Conversations that actually work’ is a 2-hour dynamic and practical workshop. In it you will learn:

    • How to give honest feedback without the person becoming defensive or emotional
    • How to set clear and meaningful development goals with your direct report
    • How to ensure they are motivated to achieve these goals and take accountability for doing so
    • How to ask the right questions in the right way to keep your best talent

    You will also have the opportunity to ask your questions and share your experiences or frustrations.

    Don’t spend December and January dreading those Performance Reviews with your team. Instead sign up for this 2-hour workshop:

    4-6pm on Thursday, 17 January

    World Class Teams guarantee that after the workshop you will be able to have the conversations you need to have, and get the results you want rather than the reaction you fear.

    Price:

    World Class Teams would like to exclusively offer WSBC members the special early bird price of $89.00 (if they book before the 31st December) and $109 (if they book from 1st January).

    General Entry: Early Bird $119 (until 31st December); $139 (from 1st January)

    Limited to 40 people to ensure strong interaction

    Book now by clicking here or for more information please call Ramsina McCully from World Class Teams on 1300 085 248.


  • 22-Nov-2018 09:42 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    A new partnership between Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) in Westmead and LogicBio Therapeutics in Boston, is set to fast track gene therapy treatments for children with life-threatening genetic liver disease and also boost Australia’s growing biotech industry.

    The deal, announced this month, will see the partners develop new viral vectors, which transport a healthy copy of a gene into a patient’s cells to either replace or edit the faulty gene. It could dramatically change the lives of children like three-year-old Charlize Gravina.

    Charlize and her twin brother Isaac were born with propionic acidemia, which is a serious metabolic disorder. Isaac required a liver transplant when he was just two years old. Unfortunately, due to post-surgery complications, he died a short time after the transplant. Within months, his family went through the heart-breaking decision of submitting Charlize to the same procedure. She has now had two liver transplants and her parents, Julie and Paul, are so excited to hear about this collaboration.

    “When you are told there is no treatment, no cure,’’ Mrs Gravina said, “all you want to do is change things for other people, so they don’t have to go through what we’ve gone through.’’

    This new program is led by Professor Ian Alexander who is head of the Gene Therapy Research Unit, a joint venture of CMRI and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN), and Dr Leszek Lisowski who is leader of the Translational Vectorology Group at CMRI.

    Prof Alexander, a scientist and a clinician, said they hoped to produce significant outcomes for patients like the Gravinas. They are even using a sample from Charlize’s liver in their research.

    “This technology could translate into saving the lives of infants with life-threatening conditions,’’ Prof Alexander said. “It’s about getting cures into the clinic as soon as we can.”

    “We’re trying to get to a point where instead of a liver transplant in a very young infant, we can genetically repair the liver without major surgery. It’s a very exciting time to be doing gene therapy.’’

    He said the investment from LogicBio was also a good sign for the local industry, acknowledging and supporting the local expertise.

    “It recognises that we are one of the key groups in the world doing this work. I think this is an indication of the growing recognition of the strength of Australian researchers in this highly specialized field, contributing to the globally exciting development of gene therapies. It is further growth of the Australian biotech industry and will have a knock-on effect. We see it as the beginning of something much greater. It is about moving technology into the clinic which, in future, will benefit many more patients by offering new and better treatment opportunities.’’

    Dr Lisowski said the LogicBio deal could help make a difference between therapies being readily accessible to patients or not.

    “At the moment, we can routinely produce vectors in the lab, but to move to much larger clinical scales it is very costly and involves long, overseas waiting times for clinical trials’’ he said. “For one person it could be between $300,000 to $1 million for a single treatment. That means the therapies are not going to be available to most of the public any time soon. We aim to change that; to reduce costs and local waiting times for trials so these cures are more widely and more quickly available. While the initial focus is on liver the technology has the potential to expand to other disease targets, involving the brain, the heart, kidneys, bone marrow and pancreas, for example.’’

    LogicBio CEO, Fred Chereau, said, "We’re optimistic that we can significantly improve the performance of AAV vectors through this collaboration. These next-generation vectors will strengthen our platform and expand our pipeline. We also expect them to bolster other important approaches to genetic medicine, including gene therapies.”

    This latest announcement follows on from the news earlier in the year that the NSW State Government, through the Office of Health and Medical Research, will provide funding to establish start-up facilities that will manufacture gene transfer vectors in Western Sydney. This project is also run jointly by Professor Alexander and Dr Lisowski at CMRI and the SCHN.

    The Gravinas are now focused on providing the best future they can for Charlize and her big sister, Amelia, who wants to be a medical researcher – but they also want to help future generations.

    “There are so many questions where we don’t have answers,’’ Mr Gravina said. “We’ll never stop wanting to help as many people as we can.’’

    If you would like to find out more about how you can support this work, or to organise a tour of the labs, contact info@cmri.org.au


  • 22-Nov-2018 09:12 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)


    Prudence Rehab are the trusted wellness experts when it comes to managing employee health and well-being. Maintaining optimal physical and psychological health of your workforce are integral to business success, and leveraging from our experience and wholistic approach to evidence-based injury prevention and rehabilitation, Prudence Rehab can identify and optimise areas of your business to achieve improved wellness performance.

    In understanding your business, our strategy is simple:

    • reduce absenteeism and the financial, physical and psychological costs associated with employee injury and illness
    • improve the health and wellbeing of your workforce
    • increase employee engagement, satisfaction and retention
    • improve recruitment and increase productivity
    • ensure adherence to work health and safety obligations
    • assist with the development of policies that address barriers to employment
    • reduce claims costs and insurance premiums.

    People who exercise have better mental fitness. Research into the effect of exercise as a prevention strategy and a treatment for depression have revealed resoundingly positive results.

    Regular exercise has been found to change specific parts of the brain involved in memory, anxiety and depression, and has been shown to have protective effects against the development of depression.

    In a landmark study led by the Black Dog Institute, regular exercise of any intensity was shown to be effective in preventing depression in many people, from as little as 1 hour per week, regardless of age or gender. The HUNT study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is one of the most extensive studies of its kind, analysing the effect of exercise on symptoms of anxiety and depression for over 33,000 people over 11 years. People who were not exercising had a 44% increased chance of developing depression than the people who were exercising 1-2 hours per week.

    When prescribed as a treatment, 16 weeks of regular exercise was found to be equally as effective as antidepressant medication for mild to moderate depression, without any of the adverse side effects. For people with severe depression, a combination of exercise, medication and psychological therapy gave the best outcomes.

    Your Brain on Exercise:

    We’ve put together 10 ways regular exercise may alleviate the symptoms of mild to moderate depression:

    • Increasing energy levels
    • Reducing the impact of stress
    • Improving sleep
    • Distracting from worries and rumination
    • Providing social connection, if done in a group
    • Building levels of protective and growth factors in the brain (BDNF)
    • Increases growth of new neurons in part of the brain responsible for memory and mood (hippocampus)
    • Replenishing neurotransmitters that are vital to mood, motivation and memory
    • Increasing natural vitamin D if exercising outdoors
    • Improves self-esteem

    The Prudence Rehab Revitalise Program incorporates exercise as a vital part of restoring life domains essential to good mental health. The program can be used as an early intervention for people who are at risk of depression, or as a treatment program to reduce the severity and duration of depression and restore function and quality of life.

    Are you doing enough exercise?

    To learn more or book contact us: t 02 9283 5552 | e support@prudencerehab.com.au | w www.prudencerehab.com.au


  • 20-Nov-2018 14:12 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    These days one of the biggest drawcards that employers can offer staff is the opportunity to volunteer with a charity. For many companies, volunteering at The Salvation Army’s candle-bag packing is an annual pilgrimage, joining an army of volunteers at Woolworths’ Yennora warehouse to pack 8500 bags of donated treats – and candles – for the Carols in the Domain event on Saturday 22 December.

    Community Fundraising Coordinator Estelle Mansfield says, “Some companies are fantastic; they come year on year. Just yesterday we asked, ‘Who’s candle-bag-packed before?’ and nearly every single person put their hand up. They keep saying, ‘We’re coming back – see you next year’.”

    Proceeds from the bags go to fund Oasis, The Salvation Army’s youth support network. Every five bags sold enables a safe place for someone to sleep.

    Building products company CSR has been a Salvation Army supporter since 2003. This is their third year of candle-bag packing, according to Corporate Affairs Officer Margaretta Adam. “It resonates with a lot of people because it’s Australia-wide and what you support is very wide ranging.

    “The candle-bag packing is fantastic – great energy, great camaraderie and great fun. CSR really values people being able to donate time,” Margaretta adds. “And employees really value being able to donate their time to a great cause.”

    Family history inspires a first timer

    First-time volunteer Michael Babekuhl from CHEP (an international company dealing in pallet and container pooling services) has a more personal reason for taking on a packing shift. “My grandfather and his brother went to New Guinea in World War Two; his brother didn’t come back but my grandfather did. He always said, ‘Thank God for the Salvos’ – they had been alongside him there for years. He passed away last year at 95, and even at his funeral the Salvos were there.”

    The feel-good factor is everywhere. Margaretta says, “You can tell your friends this is what I did today, this is how many of us volunteered, we had a production line. You’re actually physically doing it and when you watch Carols in the Domain, you say, I helped to get that together.”

    To share in the season, you can register for next year – or any of our other volunteering opportunities – by emailing Rebecca Hill on corporatevolunteering@aue.salvationarmy.org

    And don’t forget, by attending Carols in the Domain and buying a candle bag, you can bring hope where it’s needed most this Christmas.

    Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

  • 19-Nov-2018 14:01 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    By Fay Calderone, Partner - Hall & Wilcox

    New rights applying to casual employees came into effect on 1 October 2018 with the Fair Work Commission introducing a model casual conversion term into approximately 85 Awards (Model Terms).

    The purpose of the Model Terms is to provide casual employees who have worked a regular pattern of hours for at least 12 months, without significant adjustment, the right to request their employment be converted to a permanent part-time or full-time arrangement - so what does this mean for employers?

    Under the Model Terms, employers must:

    • provide all casual employees with a copy of the applicable Model Term by 1 January 2019, or if they were employed after 1 October 2018, then within 12 month of their commencement (we note that some Awards differ so employers should review the Award which applies to their workplace to determine their obligations);
    • respond, within 21 days, to any written request by a casual employee to convert to their employment to either full-time or part-time; and
    • where a request is granted, ensure the conversion is recorded in writing and the change takes effect from the next pay cycle (unless otherwise agreed).

    The Model Terms provide that employers can only refuse a request on reasonable grounds, such as where a significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work would be required to accommodate them in full-time or part-time employment under the applicable modern award, or where it is reasonably foreseeable that the casual employee’s hours of work will significantly reduce, or position will cease to exist, within the next 12 months.

    An employee has the right to challenge any refusal using the dispute resolution provisions in the relevant Award and an employer may be liable for penalties for any breach of their obligations.

    What does this mean for your business?

    While the changes seem daunting, practically speaking, many casual employees are incentivised by the 25% casual loading and may not be inclined to request a conversion. Nonetheless, employers need to be aware of their obligations under the Model Terms or risk being liable for significant penalties.

    Regardless of whether your casual employees will request a conversion, employers with casual workers that have worked on a regular and systematic basis for an extended period of time, should take this opportunity to consider converting those workers to a permanent status.

    There has been a recent influx of cases in which a ‘casual’ employee claims they are a permanent employee at common law and seek redress for unpaid annual leave and other entitlements. Earlier this year in the Federal Circuit Court case Apostolides v Mantina Earthmovers & Constructions Pty Ltd [2018]1 a worker successfully argued that they were a permanent employee and the Court held they were entitled to 15 years of back-paid annual leave entitlements.

    In the recent case WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018]2 the Full Court of the Federal Court also found a ‘fly-in fly-out’ worker was not a casual employee for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) leaving WorkPac is liable for unpaid leave entitlements. The Full Court determined that casual employment arrangements are likely to have the following characteristics:

    • no firm advance commitment as to the duration of the employment or the days or hours that will be worked;
    • no firm advance commitment from the employer that the work offered will be ongoing or indefinite and no firm advance commitment from the employee that they will accept ongoing employment from the employer;
    • informal, uncertain, intermittent or irregular engagements;
    • payment by the hour;
    • payment of a casual loading in lieu of entitlements to paid leave; and
    • termination at short or on no notice.

    In response to the WorkPac v Skene decision, WorkPac has commenced another case in the Federal Court seeking a declaration that employee Robert Rossato is a casual employee and should not be entitled to leave. The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union as well as former WorkPac employee, Mr Skene, have applied to intervene in the proceedings to support Mr Rossato’s claim that he is a permanent employee.

    Industrial Relations Minister, Kelly O’Dwyer has also applied to intervene, fearing that the decision in WorkPac v Skene is causing a flood of casual employees trying to ‘double-dip’ on casual loading and leave entitlements, which should be offset against each other in the circumstance that a worker is deemed to have been a permanent employee.

    While the WorkPac v Skene decision remains unturned, employers should be wary that if some of the above characteristics are absent from your agreement with your casual employees, you should consider converting them to a permanent status or risk being liable for back payment of their leave and other entitlements.

    What should you do?

    In light of the recent changes, you should:

    • familiarise yourself with your obligations under the Model Term within the applicable Modern Award or enterprise agreement which is relevant to your employees;
    • provide all current casual employees with a copy of the applicable Model Term before 1 January 2019;
    • provide all new casual employees, who have commenced from 1 October 2018 onwards, with a copy of the applicable Model Term within 12 months of their commencement (or as otherwise specified under the applicable Award);
    • consider all written requests by casual employees to convert to permanent employment and respond within 21 days; and
    • take this opportunity to reflect on your existing casual arrangements and consider whether it would be more appropriate to convert them to a permanent status so as to avoid any future liability to back-pay annual leave and other entitlements.

    If you have any questions relating to this article, or if you would like advice on the new rights applying to casual employees, please contact the author of the article, Fay Calderone, Partner at Hall & Wilcox on +61 2 8267 2800 or by email, fay.calderone@hallandwilcox.com.au

    1 FCCA 279.

    2 FCAFC 131.



  • 16-Nov-2018 15:28 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Based on a survey of senior executives from Australian retailers, the seventh annual Deloitte Retailers’ Christmas Survey 2018 report analyses their sentiment for the Christmas period, key trends and their expectations and priorities for 2019.

    The overall market has performed relatively well in 2018 and, in spite of some dark clouds lurking on the horizon in terms of the broader economy, Australian retailers appear to be carrying this optimism into the Christmas trading period, with survey respondents expecting to increase both their sales and profit margins compared to last year.

    Looking ahead, retailers still remain relatively bullish about their prospects for 2019, with over half of survey respondents expecting consumer confidence to decline in the next 12 months, but more than 90% expect to see positive sales growth in 2019, and nearly a third are predicting growth in excess of 10%.

    Key takeaways

    • 80% of retailers expect to see higher sales this Christmas compared to last year, with 41% predicting growth of 5% or more
    • Online is set to be a key battlefield this Christmas, with 79% of survey respondents expecting to experience growth of 10% or more in online Christmas sales
    • With a further 12 months of trading under its belt, the presence of Amazon in Australia hasn’t seemed to faze Australian retailers, with 83% predicting Amazon will have no impact on their Christmas trading performance
    • There is a continued shift in strategic thinking, with customer and omni-channel being the key strategic priorities for two thirds of survey respondents
    • “Responsible retailing” is also becoming a key strategic focus for many retailers as customers are voting with their wallets and demanding products from companies that align to their own cultural values and beliefs.

    Learn more


  • 16-Nov-2018 14:22 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    PARKROYAL Parramatta has Christmas all wrapped up with packages to suit all your festive needs. 

    Pre-Christmas Dining

    Start your festive celebrations early with PARKROYAL's Pre-Christmas dining packages. Enjoy a Christmas themed buffet lunch or dinner at TABLE 30, or indulge in our premium seafood buffet available every Saturday night. 

    Christmas Function Packages

    Having a Christmas Party? Choose from a range of options including PARKROYAL's set menu, canapé or buffet packages. All packages include Christmas centrepieces, bon bons, a DJ and more.

    Christmas Day Lunch

    Join PARKROYAL at TABLE 30 for a spectacular Christmas Day lunch. Indulge in traditional roasts, fresh seafood, Christmas desserts and more. All children under 12 will receive a visit and gift from Santa.

                 


  • 14-Nov-2018 14:38 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)


    Make organising your Christmas celebrations easy and join ATC for all of the thrill and excitement of a day at the races on Saturday 24th November!

    Located trackside at Rosehill Gardens, be a part of all of the live racing action while enjoying award-winning hospitality with a decadent buffet lunch and beverage package.

    Your race day experience includes:

    • Reserved seating
    • Buffet Lunch
    • ATC beverage package
    • Christmas Theming
    • Access to betting and bookmaking facilities
    • Race book
    • Complimentary parking
    • Complimentary travel to and from Rosehill Gardens on Sydney train, ferry and bus services

    Contact ATC to book today!

    E: hospitality@theATC.com.au

    P: 1300 729 668

    W: www.theATC.com.au

  • 09-Nov-2018 15:16 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 3) Act 2018 (Cth) has introduced new tougher penalties for companies and individuals who breach certain provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

    What are the new penalties for companies?

    The new maximum penalty for companies is the greater of:

    • $10 million; or
    • 3 times the value of the benefit directly or indirectly obtained by the company (and any related companies) which is reasonably attributable to the offence; or
    • if the value of the benefit cannot be determined, 10% of the annual turnover of the company (and any related companies) for the 12 month period leading up to the commission of the offence.

    Previously, the maximum penalty for companies was $1.1 million.

    What are the new penalties for individuals?

    The new maximum penalty for individuals is $500,000 (up from the previous maximum of $220,000).

    Multiple Penalties

    The maximum penalties will apply to each contravention, so companies and individuals could potentially face massive fines if they commit multiple contraventions of the ACL.

    When do the changes commence?

    The changes came into effect on 1 September 2018 but do not apply retrospectively.

    Which aspects of the ACL do the new penalties apply to?

    The new penalties apply to breaches of certain provisions of the ACL including:

    • unconscionable conduct
    • false or misleading representations about goods or services or the sale of land
    • misleading conduct relating to employment
    • misleading conduct as to the nature, characteristics and suitability of goods or services
    • bait advertising
    • misleading representations about certain business activities
    • pyramid schemes
    • supplies of goods or services that fail to meet safety standards
    • supplies of banned goods or services
    • non-compliance with product recalls
    • supplies of goods or services that do not comply with information standards

    What is the rationale for the changes?

    The penalties were increased to bring them into line with penalties for breaches of competition law. ACCC Chairman Rod Sims stated in a press release that the new penalties were designed to:

    • “hit the bottom line so they are not simply seen as the cost of doing business”
    • “be high enough to be noticed by boards and senior managers so that compliance with the law is a high priority”
    • “deter large companies from breaching consumer laws”

    Given the current climate and community outrage over revelations from the Banking Royal Commission, it is likely there will be an increased focus by the ACCC on protecting the rights of consumers across many industries.

    Takeaways

    In summary:

    • businesses should be mindful of the heavy fines that apply to breaches of the ACL
    • businesses should expect the ACCC to more aggressively pursue breaches of consumer law
    • large companies could potentially face fines in the billions of dollars if they are fined at the rate of 10% of the annual turnover of their corporate group

    More Information

    Please contact our commercial law team at Matthews Folbigg Lawyers on 9635 7966 if you require legal advice on the ACL or any other commercial issue relating to your business.


  • 09-Nov-2018 13:53 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)


    What one thing could transform trust and loyalty in your business?

    The business benefits of a clear, inspiring sense of purpose are well documented. It gives every person in your organisation clarity and confidence, and a compelling reason to come to work every day. And that leads to higher engagement, productivity and retention.

    Given the vast majority of employees globally are unsatisfied with their work or simply don’t care according to Gallup’s annual poll (as many as 85 per cent in 20171) – this can significantly impact internal collaboration, as well as customer experience.

    But how do you find your ‘why’? If you’ve ever tried to articulate it, you’ll know it’s not as simple as it sounds.

    We were fortunate to hear from Start With Why’s David Mead at Macquarie’s Perspective event. Over 400 business leaders gathered in Sydney to hear new perspectives on why purpose matters – and what it could mean to the future of your business.

    Click here to read the full article.


    Macquarie has been providing Business Banking solutions for over 30 years and provides SME clients with tools and strategies to grow and develop their business. You can get regular updates by subscribing to the monthly newsletter, Strictly Business by visiting macquarie.com/au/business-banking. If you would like to find out more about how Macquarie can support you to take your business further, call us at our Parramatta office on 0417 518 724 and be connected with one of our banking specialists in your region.

    This information has been prepared by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502 (“Macquarie”) for general information purposes only. This information does not constitute advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. No member of Macquarie accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, consequential or other loss arising from any use of this information.

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