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Christine Nixon IN Canberra Cover story pages 24 – 25
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what to do with the kids?
school holiday program feature pages 18–19
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B2B in canberra business and government magazine
DECEMBER 2009 issue 43
COVER Christine Nixon in Canberra Full story pages 24 – 25
PUBLISHER Tim Benson 02 6161 2751
upfront Read about local business success Earth Day Spa: book yourself in to be pampered
editor Liz Lang firstname.lastname@example.org 02 6161 2751
feature Energy Imaging
Cover Story Christine Nixon in Canberra
ADVICE Advice from the business experts
G2b Chief Minister Opposition Leader ACT Government ACT Work Safety Commissioner Commissioner of Taxation
30 30 30 31 32 33
A2B ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry Canberra Business Council ACT Exporters' Network
Pack and Send: when you want to send 04 anything, anywhere Productivity Places Program: identifying 06 workforce development needs
City Switch: Energetics makes the switch 06 for office energy savings
photography Andrew Sikorski, www.art-atelier.com.au ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES email@example.com 02 6161 2751 0402 900 402
The Australian: Bringing country charisma 08 to the City
opinion Shared parenting at work – the reality
Gavin Howard, Farrar Gesini & Dunn
published by Man Bites Dog Public Relations ABN 30 932 483 322 PO Box 4106 Ainslie ACT 2602 t 02 6161 2751 f 02 6262 7721 firstname.lastname@example.org www.b2bincanberra.com
opinion 12 Passing the business on: how will you exit your business Andrew Sykes, RSM Bird Cameron Profile Lara Corry-Boyd
PROFILE Network Electrical Group
DISTRIBUTED BY Australia Post
feature 18 School holiday programs, fun activities for the kids
PRINTED BY Blue Star Print Group
dining and d experience options
successful conference event
34 36 37
U2b The University of Canberra
C2B Canberra Southern Cross Club
Networking See who's out and about in Canberra
Christmas Gifts Feature Great gift ideas
With seven venues throughout Canberra, we can cater for any variety of event to suit your individual needs. Our new, state of the art Events Centre at Woden is ideally suited for conferences and can cater for 20 to 1000 delegates. What ever type of conference or event you are planning, with the Southern Cross Club your options ns are only limited by your imagination. Southern Cross Event Centre – 6283 7200
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B2B in Canberra | December 2009
"A business is successful to the extent that it provides a product or service that contributes to happiness in all of its forms." Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Don’t stress out at Christmas, book yourself in to be pampered
wner of Earth Day Spa, Jamie Smith, says that she opened her day spa at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in September this year to provide clients with a mini getaway from the stresses of everyday life. When B2B interviewed Jamie, it was 38 degrees outside. But inside Earth Day Spa, it was beautifully cool and tranquilly lit with soft music, running water and candlelight. Clients in the relaxation lounge were enjoying herbal teas in a calming environment. Earth Day Spa is a luxurious resort-style spa set in the lower level of the Crowne Plaza and overlooking Glebe Park. “Christmas can be a stressful time for many people. But by taking an hour or two out of your day for some relaxation and pampering, you’ll find you are better able to cope with the mad rush to Christmas,” Jamie said. “Our gift certificates make the ideal Christmas present not only for staff, family or a special friend. But why not spoil yourself and buy yourself one as a Christmas present.” Earth Day Spa services include customised facials, revitalising body treatments, foot spa pedicures and luxurious manicures, relaxing
are safe for the environment. Jamie was studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in marketing and business management. When the opportunity came her way to buy Earth Day Spa, she seized it with both hands. Her philosophy is simple. “Prevention is better than a cure and therefore it’s really important to look after your body both inside and out. At Earth Day Spa, we want to provide a place where people can come and relax, rejuvenate and recharge before they head back out to the stresses of everyday life.” Earth Day Spa, Crowne Plaza Canberra, 1 Binara Street, Canberra City T: 6262 8185 www.earthdayspa.com.au Owner of Earth Day Spa, Jamie Smith
massages, therapeutic vichy showers and hydrotherapy baths. Treatments range from half an hour express facials to the Timeless Rejuvenation Package which is four hours and includes a spa lunch platter. The day spa uses and retails Pevonia Botanica spa products which contain the finest botanical and marine ingredients and
Pack and Send: when you want to send anything, anywhere
Left to right: Shane Hyland and Ben Lea
ave you ever tried to send a lap-top by courier? It’s not easy because many carriers are unable to transport merchandise with lithium batteries. But at Pack & Send, they can help you. Pack & Send prides itself on being more than a regular freight company. They specialise in providing professional packing solutions, courier services and logistics services to small and large businesses, government departments, eBay shippers, tourists, students and householders. In Canberra, Shane Hyland is the owner of the Braddon and Belconnen Pack & Send businesses. Ben Lea owns the Fyshwick Pack & Send store which has 15 years of trading chalked up. “We specialise in fragile, large, awkward and valuable items that many other carriers find difficult to deal with,” Ben said. “Whether you have a single parcel to be sent interstate or an entire computer department to be relocated, we can help you.” “Much of our business in Canberra is with government departments. We can move an entire server room to one-off end of lease workstations,” Ben said. “We can also send out documents, brochures, or awards to mailing databases that are
provided,” Shane said. “Small businesses are also keen to support our Pack & Send businesses because as owner/ operators, we really understand the needs of small business,” Shane said. With Christmas just around the corner Ben and Shane are anticipating an even busier year than usual. While much of their business will involve sending Christmas gifts, the next few months is also the time where many people, including public servants, diplomats, business people and overseas students pack up their goods and chattels and move home or on to their next assignment. Pack & Send also sells boxes and packaging materials for freight, moving, packing and storage. Some of the more popular items include bubble wrap, wine packaging, moving boxes, packing tape and space bags. “We can send anything and have – including a life size model of ‘The Man from Green Lagoon’, a hang glider and one of McDonalds Golden Arches,” Shane said. Braddon T: 61621989 email@example.com Belconnen T: 61621980 firstname.lastname@example.org Fyshwick T: 62808008 email@example.com
FACT: The proportion of people studying information technology decreased from 9% in 2001 to 3% in 2009. The most common field of education (for persons enrolled in a non-school qualification) was management and commerce (26%) (ABS November 2009). 4
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
Professional Physical Training started with the goal of bringing fitness and wellbeing into people’s lives. They believe that fitness can lead to higher productivity, lower absenteeism and improved employee morale.
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RSM Bird Cameron provides a fitness program for employees. We choose Dan and James to deliver this program – Dan and James choose RSM Bird Cameron to help them get their business fit and healthy.
RSM Bird Cameron Ph: (02) 6247 5988
Growing my business takes effort and passion. So I take RSM Bird Cameron’s advice. Professional Physical Training
"Satisfaction does not come with achievement, but with effort. Full effort is full victory." Mahatma Gandhi
Government program helps combat skills shortage
he local tourism industry has welcomed the Productivity Places Program (PPP) as a good way to combat skills shortages and highlight the importance of training in the industry. PPP is a national partnership between the Australian and ACT governments aimed at increasing productivity through vocational education and training. The ACT Government has responsibility for managing both Australian Government funded places for job seekers and jointly funded places for existing workers. In the ACT around 10,000 additional training places will be delivered over four years. Priorities for implementation are based on the national Priority Occupations List and the Annual ACT VET Priorities which are developed through local industry consultation and endorsed by the ACT Vocational Education and Training Advisory Group. PPP meets a wider range of needs than other government-funded programs and caters for full-time as well as casual workers seeking high level qualifications. Training under PPP is available across a variety of industry sectors including horticulture, transport and logistics, hospitality,
information and technology, health, construction and property services, government and business services. PPP gives employers the opportunity to work with a registered training organisation (RTO) to identify their workforce development needs. RTOs can then apply for funding through the ACT Department of Education and Training. The ACT Tourism Industry Council ACT and Region executive director Joseph Griffiths said PPP was good news for the tourism sector as both job seekers and existing workers have the opportunity to gain new skills and to up-skill in their current jobs. Mr Griffiths stated that the PPP has provided “… a wonderful opportunity to talk with employers and employees in the tourism and hospitality industry about the ongoing skills shortage and the importance of training in this industry. For an industry that generated in excess of $1.3 billion annually in the ACT, it is often overlooked as a serious employer and does not always have the training opportunities available for employees as other industries do, he said. “It is a delight to be able to engage with our industry and discuss all the positives of PPP for both the employees and the employers.”
Canberra Institute of Technology Restaurant, Reid Campus
Energetics makes the switch for office energy savings
ith over 70 per cent of Canberra’s greenhouse gas emissions generated by stationary sources, including office buildings, the ACT's emissions profile is distinctly different from the national profile. The good news is that tenants are in a position to influence up to 50 per cent of the energy use in their offices.
Jon Sibley, Energetics ACT Regional Manager
Simple behavioural changes such as turning off computer equipment and lights, and avoiding standby mode when not in use can make a big difference in energy consumption. . CitySwitch Green Office is a national tenant energy efficiency program which works with tenants of office buildings to reduce their energy use. CitySwitch provides a welcome opportunity for Canberra’s many businesses and government agencies to demonstrate leadership in reducing their contribution to the ACT’s environmental impact, and modelling exemplary behaviour to the Canberra community. Together with CitySwitch, businesses can reduce their impact on the environment at the same time as making significant savings on energy costs. Energetics, a specialist management consultancy in the business of climate change, is the first signatory to the CitySwitch Green Office in Canberra. As part of its CitySwitch commitment, Energetics has committed to achieving a minimum 4 star NABERS Energy rating for its premises and implementing a range of energy efficiency measures. “CitySwitch is a great opportunity for Energetics to demonstrate our vision for sustainability whilst ensuring real reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas generation. Programs such as CitySwitch
are important in educating the business community and reducing our impact on the environment”, said Tony Cooper, CEO of Energetics. “Energetics helps its clients to transition to a carbon-constrained environment by managing risks, achieving cost reductions and identifying new opportunities. Our commitment to CitySwitch shows that we are putting these principles to work in our own operations”, said Energetics ACT Regional Manager, Jon Sibley. CitySwitch does not cost anything to join and businesses benefit from a structured approach to achieving energy efficiency, as well as public recognition as an environmental leader. Targeting electricity consumption is a key step to achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions in the ACT and achieving the ACT Government’s long-term goal of zero net emissions. CitySwitch Green Office is delivered in Canberra by the Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water, on behalf of the ACT Government. CitySwitch Green Office, contact Debra Grogan, T: 62075669 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cityswitch.net.au
FACT: A ustralia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent in October (ABS Nov 2009). 6
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
SETTLE FAMILY DISPUTES OUT OF COURT It’s hard enough when a relationship ends. So the last thing you need is soaring legal costs, protracted, public court proceedings, and your personal affairs being determined by a judge. Consensus provides a better alternative to the Courts. We use collaboration, arbitration and negotiation between the couple to find open-minded solutions that work. It’s discrete. It’s fair. And everybody leaves in agreement. For a new style of dispute resolution which puts you back in control, turn to Consensus. Canberra ACT 2601 T 02 6290 9898 F 02 6257 4382 email@example.com www.cflaw.com.au
"A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts." Richard Branson
The Australian – bringing country charisma to the City
uccessful local businessman of almost 20 years, Jason Graham, has taken over the premises of the now closed iconic Woodstock pizza restaurant and opened something that he believes Canberra has been sadly lacking: a pub/restaurant called The Australian. “Every country town has a pub called The Australian so I felt that Canberra needed one to bring a little bit of the country charisma to the City,” Jason said. And Jason would know as he moved to Canberra 18 years ago from a country town called Wombat. Jason moved to Canberra and took over the Boardroom Restaurant and Bar in Belconnen. After eight years he sold that, bought a Jim’s Mowing Franchise and grew the business to six franchises. He then created Jim’s Fencing and as a Master Franchiser sold more than 30 franchises in the ACT and Sydney. After this enterprise Jason established Wombat Constructions and became a head contractor for ACT Housing, employing more than 20 full-time staff. He then established Baby Wombats in Belconnen and within four years it ‘was the biggest baby shop in Canberra’. He sold Baby Wombats in March and started looking for premises that would be suitable for a good old style Aussie pub/restaurant in Civic
“The Australian pub/restaurant has a homely country feeling for all people that live and work in and around Civic, including public servants, inner city residents, families and singles alike.” with a country home feel. Jason believes he has found this in the old Woodstock premises. “The Woodstock pizza restaurant was a Canberra icon and we believe that will continue with The Australian,” Jason said. Jason has gutted and rebuilt the old Woodstock premises and fitted it out as an Australian authentic country pub. Some of the fittings include custom made 44 gallon drum furniture, redgum bar tops, corrugated iron, recycled timber furniture, wine barrel tables, Jack Daniels memorabilia and the obligatory crocodile head on the bar. “The Australian pub/restaurant has a homely country feeling for all people that live and work in and around Civic, including public servants, inner city residents, families and singles alike,” Jason said. The Australian serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has the facilities for private functions, Christmas parties, parties, functions and meetings, indoor and outdoor dining, tea and coffee from Cosmorex and a range of Aussie beers on tap such as VB, Carlton Draught and Coopers.
The menu includes Aussie classics such as the ‘Big Aussie Breaky’ and the ‘Egg and Bacon Roll’ to tapas/starters such as ‘Bloody Mary Oyster Shots’ and ‘Deep Fried Camembert’, pizzas and pastas and other mains such as ‘Qld Barramundi Fillets’ and 'The Aussie Sausage Sanga'. “We also have an excellent selection of Australian wines provided by Fosters, many of which are not available for the general public to purchase,” Jason said. The Australian pub/restaurant opened in November and has had a fantastic response from the Canberra community. “People love the food, the beer, and the atmosphere and the Australian classic rock music. With the great weather we are experiencing many people are also coming into Civic on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy the atmosphere and relax,” Jason said. For a limited time you can get The Australian VIP Card, which will provide members with savings and benefits, by going online at www. theaussiepub.com.au and joining.
FACT: H alf of Australian households had at least one working bicycle kept at their home. Bicycle ownership was highest in the Australian Capital Territory (66% of households) (ABS Nov 2009).
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
OPINION: FARRAR GESINI & DUNN Shared parenting at work – the reality Many people have a pre-conception that upon separation, their children will spend one week with them and one week with their ex-partner. However, would the court order a shared care arrangement? By Gavin Howard
here are three steps in the court’s consideration of whether or not equal time should be ordered, namely:
1. Is it in the best interests of the child to spend equal time with each of their parents 2. Is it reasonably practicable for such an arrangement to be put into place 3. If the answer was yes to both of the above questions then the court must consider making an order to this effect.
In considering whether the child’s/children’s best interests and whether shared care is reasonably practicable, the court also considers a variety of practical issues such as: • how far apart the parents live from each other • the parents’ current and future capacity to implement an arrangement for the child spending equal time, or substantial and significant time, with each of the parents • the parents' current and future capacity to communicate with each other and resolve difficulties that might arise in implementing an arrangement of that kind • the physical proximity of the two households • the prior history of caring for the child. Have the parties demonstrated that they can implement a 50/50 living arrangement without undermining the child’s adjustment? • whether the parties agree or disagree on matters relevant to the child’s day to day life. For example, methods of discipline, attitudes to homework, health and dental care, diet and sleeping pattern • where the parties disagree on these matters the likelihood that they would be able to reach a reasonable compromise • do they share similar ambitions for the child? For example, religious adherence, cultural 10
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
identity and extra-curricular activities • can they address on a continuing basis the practical considerations that arise when a child lives in two homes? If the child leaves necessary school work or equipment at the other home will the parents readily rectify the problem
before resorting to court, where this agreement should be formalised by way of a parenting plan or court order. Where the parties cannot reach agreement though, how often does the Court actually order shared care when one party asks for it? The answer is – not a lot! In 2008 & 2009 (so far) only
It continues to be the situation that in most cases a lack of willingness or ability to co-operate or communicate will prove fatal to a shared care application. In some cases the court adds a requirement of a level of mutual respect. Where there is high level of hostility or the parties don’t communicate well or cooperate well or don’t have mutual respect, then in most cases there will not be shared care ordered. • whether or not the parties respect the other party as a parent • the child’s wishes and the factors that influence those wishes • where siblings live • the child’s age. It continues to be the situation that in most cases a lack of willingness or ability to co-operate or communicate will prove fatal to a shared care application. In some cases the court adds a requirement of a level of mutual respect. Where there is high level of hostility or the parties don’t communicate well or co-operate well or don’t have mutual respect, then in most cases there will not be shared care ordered. A shared care arrangement may or may not be in the best interests of the child, where there are a range of practical issues that the court considers. However, it is far preferable for the parties to reach agreement between themselves
about 15% of cases where shared care was sought was an equal time arrangement actually ordered. However in many of those cases (about 40% or so) the court has ordered an arrangement whereby the children live with one parent five nights and the other parent nine nights each fortnight. So more often than not (about 55% of cases) the court will order that the children spend five or more nights with each parent. It remains the case that the best way for a family to have an equal time arrangement is to agree to it with your ex-partner. The court still has the view that an equal time arrangement is not likely to be beneficial to children where parents cannot cooperate or communicate effectively or where there is hostility between the parents. This view is supported by research about the benefits of shared tcare where the parents are hostile.
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OPINION: RSM BIRD CAMERON Passing the business on: how will you exit your business? A lot of small business owners spend a life time building up the value of their business to provide for a comfortable retirement.
By Andrew Sykes
ut they don’t always plan their exit from the business. Nor do they plan how this move will be combined with their superannuation to fund retirement. Research undertaken by RSM Bird Cameron indicates that owners who expect to exit their business by passing it on to a family member– one in two are unsure what proportion of their retirement funds will be invested into superannuation. This finding is consistent with the high level of uncertainty about retirement planning reported. Our research on retirement and succession planning revealed some surprising facts: • Around a quarter of SME owners who expect to pass on their business have delayed their retirement because of the economic downturn (23%).
Fewer than one in three SME owners expect to invest some of their retirement funds into superannuation once they pass the business on. • Only one in three SME owners who expect to pass on their business to a family member have a succession plan (33%), although relatively more owners in regional centres and rural areas have a plan compared with owners in capital cities. • The majority has a family member currently in the business who will take over, but more than a third expect to pass the business on to a family member who works outside the business.
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
Barriers to succession planning Our study found there is a large group of small business owners who would like to plan the succession of their business but need to make some key decisions about their future before they can affect an orderly handover: • 45% have not yet identified a successor • 43% think it is too early to develop a plan • 34% always assumed a family member would take over. Gaining information about business value and tax concessions Our research indicates there is still considerable potential for SME owners who have planned their exit from the business to gain more precise information about the value of their business and available tax concessions for retirement planning purposes: • Only one in two SME owners with an exit plan have completed a valuation for their business (45%) • Only one in two SME owners with an exit plan are aware of tax concessions available for small businesses upon sale (46%). Around a fifth of SME owners with an exit plan who completed a valuation of their business expect the sale of their business will contribute more than half of their retirement funds (21%). The economic downturn in the last year has taken its toll on SME owners’ retirement planning, with a sharp increase in the proportion of owners who are dependant on the disposal of their business as their main source of retirement funds. Relying on the value of a small business takes careful planning, for both the exit of the business and the investment of the funds that are realised. Success requires identifying your successor, engaging with them and
then developing an exit plan. It also requires careful consideration with regard the use of sale proceeds, including superannuation.
To establish a strong business succession plan, ensure that the decisions you make, maximise the value of your business and enable it to meet future needs.
Percentage of retirement funds that will be invested into superannuation after sale
1% – 10%
11% – 25%
26% – 50%
51% – 75%
76% – 100%
B2B in Canberra | December 2009
Photo: Andrew Sikorski
Lara Corry-Boyd Lara Corry-Boyd’s advice to anyone considering starting a business is you need to ‘believe in yourself’ and have bucket loads of resilience. As founder and managing director of Brindabella Airlines and a trained commercial pilot, Lara Corry-Boyd has overcome her fair share of setbacks. Lara recalls the time when the chief flying instructor in Canberra told her, that while she would get a commercial pilot’s licence, she would never get a job in the industry because jobs were hard to come by and they weren’t given to girls. Undeterred, when Lara had gained all the necessary flying licences, she loaded up her car in Canberra and started driving north. “I knocked on every airport’s door all the way up to Townsville and asked whether they had a job for a commercial pilot. In Townsville I did get my first job as a pilot but I had to work across two businesses: charter flights and indoor plant hire,” she laughs. “One day I would be flying out to remote western Queensland and the next I would be driving around watering office plants.” Lara’s aviation career spans across charter,
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
bank and freight runs, flying airline routes for Western New South Wales Airlines and Kendall Airlines in Adelaide, and regular VIP charter flights for politicians including former Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fisher. It was during her time at Western New South Wales Airlines that Lara met her husband and business partner, Jeff Boyd, who is an aircraft engineer and Brindabella’s CEO. Fifteen years ago, Brindabella began as a charter company with $1800 in the bank and two aircraft that Lara would hire as required. Over time,
advantage is that with my flying background and Jeff’s engineering expertise, we have a firm handle on what that it takes to run an airline.” Lara added that while regional airlines are a vital part of Australia’s transport infrastructure, they receive virtually no government support. She says that when governments decide to cut budgets, and buy cheaper rather than flexible fares, this has a serious impact on the business bottom lines of regional airlines. With no family history in aviation, Lara says her interest in flying was first sparked by the
With no family history in aviation, Lara says her interest in flying was first sparked by the helicopter in the children’s TV show Skippy. But she never consciously set out to be a pilot. In Year 11 at Narrabundah College, Lara went on a trial instructional flight at the Canberra Aero Club and from that moment on she was ‘completely hooked’. the charter work increased and after gaining a regular passenger transport licence, Brindabella Airlines flew its first airline flights in April 2003. Brindabella now operates more than 150 scheduled flights weekly and has direct flights every day between Canberra, Albury, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane and Tamworth. When asked what it’s like to operate in the aviation industry, Lara says, “The industry is a challenge with the compliance levels placing a huge burden on the resources of small companies such as ours. But I believe our competitive
helicopter in the children’s TV show Skippy. But she never consciously set out to be a pilot. In Year 11 at Narrabundah College, Lara went on a trial instructional flight at the Canberra Aero Club and from that moment on she was ‘completely hooked’. In her early days of flying, passengers would frequently ask Lara, ‘Where is the pilot?’ after she had locked the doors of the plane. With fifteen years experience of running a regional airline, there is no doubt as to who is the managing director of Brindabella Airlines.
. DID YOU KNOtraWin.. ing for their
That employers can access Places Program? employees under the Productivity
For more information contact: Melanie Selems, Program Manager on 6205 7053 or firstname.lastname@example.org Conditions apply and funding is limited.
Man Bites Dog Public Relations 1109
. Australian and ACT governments the en we bet ip rsh tne Par al tion The program is a Na people already in the gram is to raise the skill level of One of the objectives of the pro sectors. across a range of ACT industry ty tivi duc pro se rea inc to rce workfo deliver nationally Training Organisations (RTOs) to d tere gis Re ds fun m gra pro The lifications. loma and Advanced Diploma qua recognised Certificate III, IV, Dip seekers. Funding is also available for job
"The time to be toughest is when things are going the best." Donald E. Keogh
Electrical apprentices names up in lights: Hume company success Electrical contracting business, Network Electrical Group, has experienced great success with apprentices over the years with many winning industry and government awards and accolades.
"The best thing about being an apprentice with Network Electrical is the amount of time, money and passion that the company has invested in me to help me be the best I could be." Sasha Smee back. Geoff says that he enjoys the variety of work offered by the company and the team environment that the managers have created within the company. Network Electrical Group consists of two companies: Network Electrical Services and Network Electrical Solutions. Established in 1991, Network Electrical Services focuses on the commercial building industry. Past projects have included
Photo: Andrew Sikorski
ost recently, company apprentice, Geoff Hepburn took out the 2009 ACT Training Excellence Awards Apprentice of the Year Award. What are the factors which are sparking success for this company? According to Sasha Smee, 2008 National Electrical and Communications Association ACT Apprentice of the Year and multiple award winner, it is the company’s passion for training and strong interest in apprentices that has made all the difference. “The best thing about being an apprentice with Network Electrical is the amount of time, money and passion that the company has invested in me to help me be the best I could be,” he said. Geoff Hepburn admits that the company took a bit of a risk when they took him on as an apprentice at sixteen but has never looked
L-R: Mick Rose, Neil Mason, Scott Lovelock, Mick O’Malley, Geoff Hepburn, Mark Cullen, Dane Miller, Sasha Smee and Daniel Barbarious
the Tuggeranong Police Station, the Playhouse Theatre, and more recently the Queanbeyan Hospital, Bimberi Youth Justice Centre and several of the new office buildings at Brindabella Business Park. Network Electrical Solutions concentrates on minor commercial projects and maintenance. Business partners Mick O’Malley, Neil Mason and Scott Bennett currently employ 17 electrical apprentices and are backed by a team of 50 staff. Network Electrical managing director, Mick O’Malley, says the company has a strong belief in the potential of apprentices and considers them a vital part of its growth. “A key part of our business planning is to create career paths and opportunities for the apprentices who work with our business,” Mick said. ”By doing this, we hope that they will stay with us after their apprenticeships are over and help shape the future of our business.” “The quality of the young people coming through the trades is impressive. They bring enthusiasm, new ideas and suggestions to improve the business which is great for business growth and morale,” Mick said. Mick acknowledged the contribution of his team of tradesmen who are working with the apprentices every day, passing on their skills and developing them as people and tradesmen.“Our success in the awards is also due to the calibre of those tradesmen and their mentoring,” he said. At the time of going to print, Network Electrical was waiting to hear whether apprentices Geoff Hepburn and Scott Lovelock had been
Award winners and finalists ACT Training Excellence Awards ACT Apprentice of the Year 2009 – Geoff Hepburn 2008 Finalist: Sasha Smee NECA ACT Apprentice of the Year Commercial/domestic category 2009 – Geoff Hepburn Finalists: Mick Rose and Mark Cullen 2008 – Sasha Smee Finalists: Caitlin Evans and Andrew Knight 2007 Finalist: Chris Hayes, Kellie Cronin, and Dan Smith 2005 – Dane Miller 2003 – Ben Murphy 2000 – Ernie Turner WorldSkills Australia 2009 ACT region entrants – Geoff Hepburn and Scott Lovelock 2008 ACT region winner – Sasha Smee 2008 ACT 3rd Place winner: William Bates successful in the ACT regional final of WorldSkills. This international competition gives young Australians aged 23 and under the opportunity to gain new skills and compete against their peers in their chosen trade. Network Electrical 2/32 Raws Crescent Hume T: 62601993 email@example.com
FACT: T he number of persons looking for full-time work increased 3,500 to 501,100 and the number of persons looking for part-time work increased 7,600 to 169,000 (ABS Labour Force, Oct 2009).
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAMS
he school holidays are rapidly approaching and the challenge to find safe and entertaining activities for the children is once again upon us. The Rising Star Tennis Academy will be offering tennis programs over four weeks of the DecemberJanuary school holidays. A variety of programs are available to cater for all children from four years old, whether a tennis novice or budding Grand Slam Champion. Tennis Australia qualified and certified head coaches Brett Lennard and Frank Calabria each have over ten years experience in providing high quality programs to both children and adults. Brett says “Our programs are designed to empower participants with the tactical and technical skills to serve, rally and score from the moment they step onto the court. Our holiday programs are divided into two sections, formal lessons focusing on game tactics and technical execution in the morning are followed by an “Our programs are designed to afternoon of supervised match empower participants with the tactical play to enable players to explore and discover the subtleties of the game.” and technical skills to serve, rally and Mindful of the fact that the score from the moment they step onto hot January days are almost upon us, all the kids are given the court.” the opportunity to rest and recharge their batteries, with fruit and water always available, as well as canteen facilities and a bbq lunch on the final day. Some afternoons the water pistols get as much match play as the tennis racquets do! RSTA’s holiday tennis programs are conducted at the beautiful gardens of Old Parliament House and also at the Forrest Tennis Club on Dominion Circuit, so there is sure to be a venue close to your work. Programs commence at 9am, although supervision is available from 8:30am to make that morning rush a little bit easier. Two hour, four hour or full day programs are available, as well as afternoon sessions, with all equipment and racquets provided if necessary. Booking information and further details may be found on the RSTA website www.risingstartennis.com.au or by contacting the holiday program coordinator, Brett Lennard on 02 6277 1113 or 0402 469 891.
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
Competition weekly prices starting from $85.00 ensure that entertaining the kids won’t break the budget. Modified pricing for single days and short weeks are also available. For those bitten with the tennis bug, RSTA also offers a full range of term lessons conveniently scheduled after school or on the weekends. It’s never too late to pick up a racquet, with lessons also available for adults of all skill levels. Tennis truly is the game for life and a great way to get the whole family active. Week 1 Monday 14th – Friday 18th December 2009 Week 2 Monday 21st – Wednesday 23rd December 2009 Week 3 Monday 4th – Friday 8th January 2010 Week 4 Monday 11th – Friday 15th January 2010
FUN ACTIVITIES FOR THE KIDS Fun for creative, imaginative and artistic kids of all abilities
anaging and Artistic Director *Mathew Long and Artistic Director **Teffany Thiedeman established Aeoncademy holiday programs five years ago, at Yarralumla Primary School, to meet a need for specialist programs for creative and arts oriented children. “If you are looking for a holiday program for children who are creative, imaginative and artistic, then Aeoncademy is for your child,” Mathew. Aeoncademy is fully licensed in the ACT and approved as a service for the Child Benefit and Child Rebate. This means that you may get a fee rebate of nearly 50 percent. Aeoncademy run three holiday programs. These are: Creative Catalyst; Vala Club and Shifting Sands. • Creative Catalyst – visual art - nurtures children and young people’s creativity, adaptability and natural intelligence through a unique system of participation in the visual arts. • Vala Club - fantasy role-playing and writing - presents in a new form some of the oldest methods known to develop expression and writing skills, to safely explore diverse experiences, and to turn
weaknesses into strengths. • Shifting Sands – models, miniatures, stop motion animation and movies - Experience the wonder of working behind (and beside) the scenes. From construction to camera- develop highly valued skills and have great fun. The programs are open to children aged 5 – 15 years (Minimum age Vala Club and Shifting Sands is 8 years). “Our programs are totally inclusive in terms of ability and range of interests in the arts. We just want the kids to come along and have a really good time,” Mathew said. All of the programs are fully catered and run from 9am – 5pm (time can be extended an hour at either end of the day). Kids can enjoy anywhere from a one-day program (costing $120 of which 50 percent may be rebated) to a 14 day program (costing $1380 of which 50 percent may be rebated). “What’s great about this program is that young people participate in something they really want to do and they have a full day to see their projects through to completion,” Mathew said.
*Mathew Long studied anthropology at ANU and then established the Creative Catalyst Program and then the Aeoncademy. **Artistic Director Teffany Thiedeman background is in visual arts and has won numerous awards including Queen’s Trust, ACT Arts Grants and ACT Contemporary Arts Members Show. For further information and bookings: www.aeoncademy.com or Mathew@creativecatalyst.com.au or phone 02 61621354.
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Offered at four Canberra locations: NICHOLLS (Kelleway Ave, Nicholls) NORTH AINSLIE (Majura Ave, Ainslie) ST. VINCENTS (Bindel St, Aranda) TAYLOR (Marconi Cres, Kambah)
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B2B in Canberra | December 2009
How business, government and homeowners can save energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions from heating and cooling buildings If you are a homeowner or commercial building operator, then you should take note of new Canberra business, Energy Imaging. This company has the technology to dramatically reduce your energy use, lower your costs and save tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Canberra scientists, Jenny Edwards and Andrew Cleary, formed the company in 2008 and are using the latest high-tech air leakage analysis and thermal imaging technologies, proven in Europe and America for over 20 years, to deliver energy savings to Australian homes and commercial buildings. “The potential for reducing energy use and emissions in Australian buildings is enormous. We want to let Canberra businesses, government agencies and homeowners know about the potential savings they can make using our technologies,” Jenny said. With the Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, recently announcing a new national scheme to improve the energy efficiency of commercial office buildings, and a Emissions Trading Scheme about to be introduced, there is no better time to use this ground breaking technology. Almost a quarter of Australia’s total green house gas emissions are a result of energy demand in the building sector. Yet, according to the United States Department of Energy, 40% of the energy used to heat and cool the average building is lost via uncontrolled air leakage through the building envelope. “An astonishing 9% of Australia’s energy consumption may be wasted every year due to leaky buildings,” Andrew said. The key to building energy efficiency is a wellinsulated and airtight shell or envelope. While the importance of insulating to stop heat loss or gain
Photos: Andrew Sikorski
through building materials is well understood, few Australians understand the significant impact of air leakage between building materials. If air can move directly through cracks or holes in a building, it wastes energy used to heat or cool and causes uncomfortable drafts. Until air leaks are sealed the level of improvement expected after installing insulation, or other measures such as double glazing and expensive window dressings, cannot be achieved. “Imagine your well insulated fridge trying to maintain the correct internal temperature without door seals. It’s the same with a building. You can have the best heating, cooling and insulation, but if your building leaks then energy freely flows out and your costs soar,” Andrew said. Overseas research recognises that air leakage is the most cost effective way to reduce building energy use. In 2008 the Australian Government acknowledged this in the 4th edition of Your Home: Design for Lifestyle and the Future: ‘It is estimated that Australian buildings leak 2-4 times as much air as North American or European buildings, suggesting a tremendous opportunity for energy savings in Australia.’ “Our air leakage testing program on Canberra houses shows that local homes actually leak three to five times more than North American houses, and don’t come close to meeting the UK’s new maximum air leakage standard,” Jenny said. Air leakage occurs when there are differences between internal and external air pressures. The three main drivers are: 1. wind 2. stack effect (the fact that warm air rises) 3. mechanical heating and ventilation systems “Any combination of these driving forces will cause conditioned air to leak through any cracks or gaps in a building,” Andrew said. A groundbreaking report published in 2005 by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that existing US buildings could benefit significantly from air-sealing retrofits.
The study looked at the airtightness of commercial buildings and their heating, ventilation and air conditioning use. It confirmed that air leakage could be reduced by as much as 83% and energy use for heating and cooling by up to 40%. “This study is directly applicable to our situation here in Australia,” Jenny said. As well as direct energy loss, other problems caused by air leakage include: • uncomfortable drafts • moisture and maintenance issues • poor air quality due to fumes and dust entering the building • allowing embers to enter during bush fires • difficulties balancing air conditioning and ventilating systems, • noise transfer.
Andrew Cleary – Business Development
An astonishing 9% of Australia’s energy consumption may be wasted every year due to leaky buildings. How does it work? Energy Imaging’s technologies reveal the location of otherwise undetectable air and energy leaks, as well as moisture build up, and determine which areas in a building need sealing or improved insulation. Thermal Imaging Thermal cameras detect and visually display surface heat variations. Using an infrared camera that integrates a thermal image with a standard digital image, Energy Imaging records surface temperatures within a building and analyses the visual information to locate areas of heat loss or gain. Without disturbing the customers or the building they can quickly find where draft sealing or insulation is needed.
Jenny Edwards – Managing Director
B2B in Canberra | December 2009
Air leakage analysis The air leakage analysis equipment consists of a powerful fan and sensitive pressure gauges mounted into an external door or opening. Under the control of specialised software the fan draws air out of the building. This causes air from outside to flow into the depressurised building through any gaps and cracks. A computer connected to the fan calculates the building’s rate of air leakage in accordance with international standards. Thermal imaging while the fan system is causing
According to the United States Department of Energy, 40% of the energy used to heat and cool the average building is lost via uncontrolled air leakage through the building envelope. warmer or cooler external air to flow into the building, allows Energy Imaging to detect subtle and wellconcealed leaks. Since forming Energy Imaging, Jenny and Andrew have been working with members of the building industry and encouraging government to take note of this extremely cost effective method of improving construction and reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Recognising the huge potential for energy savings in the commercial sector, Jenny and Andrew and the company’s new third Director—commercial builder and engineer—Livi Krevatin, attended a course in the US on sophisticated air leakage testing protocols for large multi-unit, commercial buildings. The course at The Energy Center University was only the second of its kind ever to be run. “As a result of this training we will soon take possession of much higher capacity air leakage testing equipment and more sensitive thermal imaging equipment that will enable us to test buildings as large as the National Library or a Westfield Shopping Mall,” Jenny said.
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
• • • • • • • • • •
Reducing air leakage is THE most cost effective way of reducing energy use Draft sealing and insulating are the priorities for energy efficiency and comfort Australian buildings are very leaky: more than 30% of a building’s energy is often wasted 5% gaps in insulation reduce effectiveness by 50% – how do you stack up? Leaks occur in unusual and hard to detect areas that Energy Imaging's technologies can find Energy reductions from a simple draft sealing retrofit can save 25–40% on energy bills Comfort is dramatically improved when air leaks are sealed Controlled ventilation is much better than uncontrolled air leakage Draft sealing will not reduce indoor air quality – in fact, it may improve it Draft sealed buildings are less prone to ember attack during fires
Energy Imaging is a meeting of the minds of its founders Jenny Edwards and Andrew Cleary. They have managed to combine their passion for the environment with their concerns about climate change. “We believe that understanding the effects of air leakage, and how to reduce the phenomenon, will allow business and government to take active steps towards addressing climate change and create more sustainable buildings,” Andrew said. Energy Imaging Jenny Edwards, Andrew Cleary, Livi Krevatin 02 6100 4014 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Christine Nixon, Chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority and former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, will be the keynote speaker at the Ernst & Young, Women with Ambition Breakfast on Tuesday 16 February. Mark this date in your diary now as itâ€™s an event not to be missed.
2B spoke with Christine to gain an insight into the life of a woman who is driven to make a difference in her public service career.
What prompted you to join the NSW Police Force? I got to a point where I decided that I wanted a different future than would have otherwise come from a fairly normal upbringing during the 1960s in Sydney. My father was a detective sergeant in the New South Wales Police when I thought about joining, and it was at a time where I was wondering what could be possible for women. Did you have a belief that you would achieve such heights, when you started out as constable at Darlinghurst Police Station? I joined the NSW police force in the 1970s when I was 19 years old. There were only 130 women â€“ it was a completely different place. Since the early days of being a police officer I certainly was thinking about how I could make a difference for
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
women in the force and more broadly. Breaking barriers for women has been incredibly important as well as challenging but I've had a real commitment to domestic violence issues in the police, to child abuse issues and to bringing them out and having them dealt with far better than they had been. It has been more about making a difference than setting out to rise to great heights. You have a strong belief in the power of coalitions and community involvement. Can you discuss this with reference to the Victorian bushfire recovery effort? Strong communities that have opportunities to have their say are essential to our society. We need to provide ways and means to support them. In terms of the bushfire recovery it became evident early on, through experiences elsewhere, that the best recovery was led by the community, and communities recovered best when they were involved in determining their own futures. Thatâ€™s why the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority (VBRRA) has supported the model of a community led recovery process. We currently have 30 Community Recovery Committees who we work and consult with. They are best placed to understand what their communities need and what is important for their recovery, rather than having these ideas pushed on to them by the authorities.
"Christine is one of Australia's most recognisable examples of women breaking through the glass ceiling," Greg Field, Canberra Managing Partner, Ernst & Young. The Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority recently released the Nine Month Report. What is your assessment of how the reconstruction and recovery effort is progressing?
e c en
The reconstruction and recovery of communities devastated by this year’s bushfires is on track, with community plans in place and homes and businesses starting to be rebuilt. Activity is continuing to take place in bushfire-affected towns with the implementation of the $193 million Rebuilding Together Plan. This plan for the statewide bushfire reconstruction and recovery sets out the future projects and priorities identified by communities during many months of consultation and planning. Communities have taken time to ensure that rebuilding and recovery projects important to their future recovery have been identified in this plan and will work closely with the Authority and government departments to implement these projects. While work starts on the public and community buildings funded, and as businesses continue to reopen, we anticipate more people will make decisions around rebuilding their homes and moving back into their communities. What are the major lessons learnt from the Victorian bushfires and how can these lessons be applied to regions such as Canberra? A number of interim findings from the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission are already being adopted across the nation, including the new national emergency warning system. The comprehensive and all-encompassing review is resulting in more useful advice that will be shared with other bushfire-prone parts of the country including Canberra. Were the major learnings from the Canberra bushfires in 2003 incorporated into the Victorian emergency response to the bushfires? Canberra was certainly one of the places we looked to in the aftermath of the disasters. It has been extremely important to learn how other places responded to a disaster and importantly how they succeeded in the recovery and reconstruction efforts after such events. We also looked to the United States and other parts of Australia.
You will be in Canberra just after the seventh anniversary of the bushfires – and for many the memories are still raw. Do you think governments and communities will be better prepared if and when another major bushfire strikes? Unfortunately it takes significant natural disasters to learn some incredibly important lessons about the fu-
"Christine has a track record for delivering on her promises. It will be terrific to hear at the breakfast how she has managed to navigate through the conflicting views of politicians and community members and reach the right outcomes." Greg Field. ture including how to cope with such significant events. There is little doubt however, that we now have much better processes in place to build community resilience as well as a better understanding of how we can assist those affected in the immediate aftermath of such devastating events. Do you believe that it is still hard for women to break through the glass ceiling and take up executive positions whether in business or government? I think it’s easier in government than in the corporate world. We’ve seen a significant change in the public sector, seeing politicians like Julia Gillard and public servants soar to great heights. The last change that needs to come about, the last ceiling we need to tackle is corporate boards and once that is broken through women will really be able to achieve what is possible.
Women with Ambition Breakfast (Men most welcome to attend) 7.15 am–8.45 am, Tuesday 16 February 2010 T: 6267 3810 email@example.com
B2B in Canberra | December 2009
In the cloud about cloud computing?
Work on the business – as well as in the business
By Arun Raghu
By Andrew Sykes
loud computing has emerged as the latest phenomenon in the technology world. It broadly refers to the ability of individuals and organisations to make use of services provided through the Internet (‘the cloud’) by a third party. This is actually not a new concept. People have been making use of cloud computing services for some time such as now ubiquitous webbased email and social networking tools. What has changed is the greater range and sophistication of services now offered in the cloud, such as access to remote software applications and file storage repositories. The potential benefits businesses and individuals can gain through the use of cloud computing services include increased ease of use and reduced cost overheads. However, it’s important to be aware of some of the potential issues with cloud computing. In particular, use of these services often involves the disclosure of sensitive information that might be transferred to and stored in a different country without the knowledge of the person or organisation to whom it belongs. Imagine, for example, an insurance company that asks you to fill out an online application form detailing all health related issues you have had in the last 10 years. The insurer may make use of a cloud computing service to store that sensitive information in a foreign jurisdiction. This is a potential concern because that jurisdiction may have different legal, moral and cultural rules which affect the degree to which the information is regarded as private. This in turn could affect what security measures are taken to protect that information from unauthorised access meaning that its privacy could possibly be compromised more easily than if the information were to have remained within Australia. Because cloud computing offers significant potential benefits, efforts are being made to address these issues. The Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum, for example, is embarking on a project to develop a set of common rules that will apply in all of its member economies to manage the handling of sensitive information that flows across international borders. Similarly, the Australian Law Reform Commission has recommended reforms to privacy laws to ensure that Australian organisations transferring personal information offshore remain responsible for its protection in most circumstances. The growth of cloud computing undoubtedly represents a significant development in the evolution of the Internet. At present, however, a significant amount of uncertainty remains with respect to the full implications the use of these services will have on the use, dissemination and handling of sensitive information belonging to individuals and businesses. While this uncertainty remains, organisations and individuals should favour using services that provide assurances that sensitive information will be protected to an acceptable standard (for example, in accordance with Australian privacy laws). This will require closely reading the terms and conditions as well as privacy statements provided by an organisation before disclosing any sensitive information to them.
Arun Raghu is a consultant and researcher at stratsec. For your small business information security needs, contact stratsec T: 6260 8878 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stratsec.net.
26 December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
usiness planning correlates with higher rates of growth. The discipline of examining the market, the organisation’s competitive positioning, its products and services and opportunities for growth is an essential prerequisite to systematically pursuing and capturing the opportunities the organisation faces. Businesses that avoid this practice because they either don’t have time, or think they know the market so well that this process is unnecessary, are achieving lower rates of growth than those that do adopt, adhere to and revise as necessary their business plans. Plan to spend at least 20% of your time working on the business. Planning and management time is time well spent. Business planning disciplines are weakest in recently established enterprises, with owners citing time constraints as the most significant barrier. At the time when SME owners should be examining the market they are trying to penetrate, the competitors they are trying to defeat, and the customers they are trying to capture, they are pushing those activities aside in favour of working in the business. The implications of this approach for longer term growth are clear; • capital is more difficult to obtain if your business lacks a well documented plan and a story for the lender, • breakthrough strategies are missed if the time is not invested in examining the market thoroughly and searching for real differentiation. Failing to plan for business growth and development is a false economy. Without planning, businesses miss the opportunity that results from this practice. In the absence of a plan it is not possible to reflect on what the business did and did not achieve, and the enterprise may well be underperforming through missing growth opportunities. What this means to you Business planning is an essential prerequisite for long-term business success. Extensive research has indicated that businesses that plan effectively have a greater likelihood of being in business 10 years after commencement. A good business plan includes a statement of business objectives, a marketing plan, a production plan and a financial plan. When completed, a plan should be reviewed frequently to ensure that actual business activities are in line with the plan. Be prepared to change your plan if there are major shifts in the industry, market or general economic conditions. The lesson for SME owners is to recognise that you wear many hats, and all these roles require attention.
Andrew Sykes is a partner at RSM Bird Cameron. For information on business improvements, contact the experienced team at RSM Bird Cameron, 103-105 Northbourne Avenue Canberra, T.6247 5988. www.rsmi.com.au
AICD DIRECTOR AND BOARD DEVELOPMENT
Showing leadership in the public sector
Foundations of Directorship
Guide your company to prosperity
By Phil Butler
hallenges’ was the recurring theme from speakers at the inaugural Public Sector Governance Conference recently hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors in Canberra. The conference was opened by the Hon Lindsay Tanner, federal minister for finance and deregulation,. Delivering the keynote address, Professor Patrick Dunleavy from the London School of Economics, provided an analysis of public sector service delivery in the United Kingdom and why it needs fundamental change. Professor Dunleavy argued the case for ‘Digital Era Governance’, as he believes that the current service delivery model – which favours outsourcing and decentralisation, is causing unnecessary fragmentation of services and dysfunctional competition. According to Professor Dunleavy, one entry point for all government services should be the overall goal. In other words, embarking on a new era of digital governance would see a shift back to centralised processes, with service delivery designed around client needs on a fully electronic basis. Government departments would enhance website capability, leveraging social media features and online transaction facilities. Citizen engagement with government service delivery – that is making citizens do more for themselves rather than expecting government to do it for them – is another concept advocated by Professor Dunleavy. Experts from Australia’s public sector also shared refreshing ideas at the conference. Acting public service commissioner, Carmel McGregor spoke of innovation, with citizens at the centre of government policy and a federal public sector culture of increased openness and transparency. She spoke of traditional boundaries being challenged across public sector jurisdictions, to improve responsiveness in service delivery and engaging stakeholders as joint decision-makers. Paul McClintock, Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, spoke of working across jurisdictions as a priority in the Government’s effort to create a seamless national economy. Starting with an agenda to harmonise financial and legal frameworks, COAG will monitor the new architecture for federal and state financial relations and report ustralian Institute of Company Directors on its performance. Public sector risk management was addressed is Australia’s membership institute for by Professor Steven Bartos, who identified reputation and political damage as the two ors delivering and continuing highestknowledge risks for the public sector. Bartos advised delegates that private sector risk models g in the fieldProfessor of directorship. do not work in the public sector and resilience to cope with the unexpected is the first line of defence. more information, contact Laura AICD is committed to staging high quality events such as the ey on 1300 764Governance 633 orConference visit the Public Sector on a regular basis as part of our mission to improve the quality of governance and directorship. We ite at companydirectors.com.au look forward to building on the success of the inaugural conference with other initiatives to support those working in the sector.
How to add value and guide your organisation towards success
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As a director you need to know your role and perform it well from day one. This course is the start you need. Course details Governance Programs for New Directors Thursday 25 February 2010 For more information or to enrol on this course, contact Renee Heins on 1300 764 633 or visit the website at www.companydirectors.com.au
Phil Butler is state manager of the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ ACT Division. For more information about AICD's course programs and events, call 6248 5954.
AICD’s Governance Programs for New Directors offers a practical introduction and overview to the strategic planning and risk oversight management duties and responsibilities of a director and board.
B2B in Canberra | December 2009
Going on holidays – is everything in order?
Recognise staff skills and up-skill your employees for long-term success
By Stephen Bourke
By Jerome de Rose
s the festive season approaches, we’re all starting to think of holidays. But one thing that we all should do is make sure our essential legal paperwork is up to date or completed. For example, is your will up to date? Have you completed your enduring power of attorney? Your will is an important document and central to your estate plan. It sets out how you want your assets distributed upon death and who is to be your executor. Completing your will is one of those things that it is all too easy to put off. If you do not have a will or it was made at a time when your circumstances were quite different, it’s probably time for a review. If you die without a will, you are said to die ‘intestate’ (not interstate where you might be having a holiday). The law then decides how your estate is to be distributed. If you want to make that decision yourself, then attend to your will so that the distribution of your estate is not left up to what the law says but what you actually want. Your personal and financial circumstances will change over time. You may have made a will some time ago, either before children were born or when they were very young. You may have built up your assets over that period and want to ensure the assets are not squandered when passed to the next generation. In that case, you should consider a testamentary trust in your will. A testamentary trust in a will is a bit more complex than a will without a trust. You need to take time to consider and understand the testamentary trust, so it should not be rushed. But an investment today will result in your estate plan being more secure, protecting your assets from being squandered. Your Power of Attorney: An enduring power of attorney is a vital, but often overlooked, element of an estate plan. An enduring power of attorney is a document that appoints someone as your decision maker (attorney) in circumstances where you do not have the ability or capacity to make decisions yourself. In the ACT, your attorney can make any decision about your financial, personal or medical care. If you are involved in a terrible accident and find yourself in hospital, there are many decisions that will need to be made. Do bills have to be paid? Do you need an operation? Even the small things need someone to make a decision. If you are in a coma for a significant period you will need nursing care. Your enduring power of attorney covers these eventualities. Going on holidays should not be a time when you are worried about whether everything is in order. Attend to it before going away. Your time can then be more relaxed and enjoyable.
Stephen Bourke is a director in the boutique firm, Certus Law, specialising in superannuation, trusts and estate planning. He also consults to other practitioners through the consulting practice, SuperSplitting. Level 5, 28 University Avenue T: 6268 9090 www.certuslaw.com.au
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
ecognition provides employees credit for knowledge and skills gained from the workplace and previous work and life experiences. The Recognition process maps out skills and knowledge possessed by the employee and highlights skills gaps which could then be addressed by targeted training. Skills recognition is a viable option and a great strategy to assist in retaining your skilled staff. Through acknowledging your employees skills and knowledge, your business has the opportunity to: • Motivate and improve staff morale and self confidence. • Increase your organisation’s capacity and capability. • Identify current skills and gaps to target future training. • Increase business reputation and productivity. • Save time and money in achieving a qualified and skilled workforce. • Boost your productivity ensuring a competitive edge. • Achieve your business objectives quicker. • Connect with a greater variety of work and expand into new markets. The recognition process is a straightforward, flexible and streamlined approach where the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), forms a strategic alliance with your business to assist with your training and development needs. We work collaboratively with you and your employees with very little interruption to your daily business. The process is simple, efficient and effective. It involves us: • Working with you to clarify the process, ensuring you business needs are met. • Informing your staff about Skills Recognition. • Offering on-site service – ‘we come to you’ • Offering access to our subject experts who support staff through the assessment process. • Providing specialist advice on evidence collection that is wellorganised and proficient. • Developing the program of training to address skills gaps and to ensure employees gain qualifications. Achieving a nationally recognised qualification and identifying you have qualified staff that meet or exceed industry standards, is a great way to market your business. Choosing a quality registered training organisation is important. CIT can work with your business to customise training, which in turn may assist in achieving a part or full qualification for your employees and that is a good business outcome for all concerned.
Jerome de Rose is the director of the CIT Centre for Business. Call 6207 3542 to find out how CIT can work with your organisation to up-skill your staff. http://www.cit.act.edu.au
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Staying fit over Christmas
By Sam Gupta
By Chris Males
Gaining a high search engine ranking is one of the constant challenges faced by business. Especially how do you ensure that your business appears before your competitors on search engines such as Google? The answer is search engine optimisation or SEO as it is commonly known. A professional SEO service involves analysing and fine-tuning more than 100 factors that affect your website’s ranking on search engines. Aside from the professional SEO tune-up, there are five key factors that will help your search engine ranking. Content, content, content I can’t stress enough the importance of having great website content. Quality, keyword rich content will help your website gain a high ranking on search engines. If a copywriter helps develop the content of your website, make sure that the content is not just built for search engines but it’s also interesting and informative for website visitors. Attracting website traffic is one thing. Your content will need to work in such a way that visitors to your site will become customers. Meta tags/meta data Meta data alone doesn’t help with search engine ranking. But combine it with good content and you’re onto a winner. Choose your keywords carefully and then build your content. Website links Build-up incoming links from other websites. Ask your suppliers or partners or supporting companies within your industry to link back to your website. Also gain links from the various social media websites. The general rule of thumb is, the more websites that link to your website, the better it is. However, the quality of the links is more important than the quantity. You will get better results when you exchange links from highly ranked websites or websites with high traffic. Professionally designed websites Building a basic website is easy. There are many tools available on the internet that can help you build a website even for FREE. However, a website design or development company is more likely to provide a search engine friendly website. Server speed Search engines such as Google take pride in presenting results to their users fast. When search engine robots are crawling through your web pages, it’s important they can retrieve content quickly. Server speed will also help you gain a higher SEO ranking. Make sure your website is hosted on a good server. Avoid hosting your website on an office network unless you have a really good network infrastructure. SEO is here to stay and very much part of how businesses compete for customers. So it is worth spending time thinking about how your business can improve its SEO ranking.
Sam Gupta is the managing director of Synapse Worldwide. Contact Sam on email@example.com or call 1300 785 230, if you would like help with your SEO ranking.
s fun as the Christmas season is, it can be rough on your fitness program. Hot weather, increased stress, and a lack of time can drain your motivation, and travelling and catching up with family can distract you from your fitness goals. It's little wonder that many people gain weight in November and December, only to regret it on January 1st. Below I have created a 3 point plan to help keep you on-track over the Christmas break. 1. Manage your time Scheduling your workouts in advance, either with a printed workout calendar or just within your phone calendar is always a good idea. Working out in the morning, before the craziness of the day takes hold, is often a great way to fit in a workout. 2. Eat real food for real energy! Loading up on high-carb holiday foods can cause blood sugar fluctuations that leave you feeling tired and worn out. But regular, high-quality meals and snacks will keep you running at top speed, whether you're working out or fighting your way through the shopping malls! Be sure to eat plenty of raw vegetables and drink lots of water.
Also, watch the alcohol as the standard glass of wine or beer requires approximately a 2 km jog to burn off. 3. Travel right It’s a great time of year to take a vacation or visit family—but without advanced planning your fitness regime might suffer. Avoid this by doing these two things: 1. Do a quick and simple workout in your hotel room. I have a client who does 100 push ups, 100 squats and 100 sit ups everyday he travels. This keeps him in great shape. 2. Organise healthy activities; go for walks, go for a swim or kayak in the ocean, or go for a family bike ride. Ultimately, this time of the year is about having fun with the people you care the most about. So if you miss a day's exercise, don’t worry, just get back into your good habits the next day. Who knows, you might be a source of inspiration for your whole family. Have a great Christmas!
Chris Males is one of the country's freshest corporate speakers on the topics of health, stress management and productivity. He is also the managing director of Pro-Fit Corporate Health, a national corporate health and wellbeing provider. To contact Chris please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 6291 5902.
B2B in Canberra | December 2009
Jon Stanhope ACT Chief Minister
ACT Opposition Leader
s I write, I am just back from a government-led trade mission to the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. And as always when I spend quality time with our local business community, I have come away from the mission deeply impressed by the variety, innovative nature and entrepreneurial spirit of the national capital’s business community, as it pursues a slice of the global market. As with previous trade missions, the feedback from participating businesses on this latest foray has been extremely positive, with a number of Canberra businesses now eagerly following up opportunities created over the two-week mission, and some finalising deals with new customers in the Middle East and England. Recruitment Systems, one of the nine Canberra companies participating in the mission, walked away from the Middle East’s largest ICT trade fair with agreements in three new markets — Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, while Poachers Pantry has returned home to a rash of inquiries and potential orders from five-star hotels and high-end supermarkets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The CIC Group, another of the participating companies, already has a return trip to Abu Dhabi scheduled for February, and has received requests to tender for work. You can read more about the success of the trade mission elsewhere in this edition of B2B. The success of a trade mission is deeply dependent on the site selection and business-matching skills of Austrade. And again, they have excelled.Both the UAE and London were chosen because they are important as strong potential markets for the kinds of services and products in which ACT businesses excel. Both are also important as potential entry-points for additional markets in Europe and the Middle East. The journey was also an opportunity for me to take a look at some of the things happening on the urban sustainability front, beyond our shores. I was intrigued to visit Masdar City — a zero-carbon, zero-waste planned city in Abu Dhabi that depends entirely on renewable energy. A stark lesson in what is possible even with existing technologies and existing human knowledge, for those with the luxury of starting a city from scratch. But there was inspiration enough too for those of us working from a far-from-perfect template, and an existing inventory of infrastructure. We may not all be able to create a city from a blank slate, but there is much we can do to make this city of ours work better and more efficiently. While in the UK I had the opportunity to see some of the sustainability initiatives being pursued in that part of the world, including the work being done around electric cars. With Canberra recently named by the global Better Place organisation as the first Australian destination for the roll-out of its electric car infrastructure, it was encouraging to visit communities that have already begun the exciting transition.
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
he ACT Liberal Opposition has maintained an open mind about the proposal to purchase Calvary Hospital and sell Clare Holland House while we have sought to separate the fact from the fiction, scrutinise the details of the deal, and discuss the proposal with all of the affected stakeholders. The Canberra Liberals have reached a point where there is sufficient information available to make a decision on our position, that we will oppose the deal. Our most important consideration has been improved health services in the ACT. It is vitally important to remember that Calvary is already currently delivers public health services to the ACT, and does so very well. Merely changing where it appears on a balance sheet will not improve that health service one iota. The Minister, under questioning, admitted there would in fact be ‘no change.’ (Hansard 17 July 2009). Next, we examined whether there would be economic benefits. RMIT economist Professor Sinclair Davidson described the Government’s budgetary arguments as 'simply nonsense' and Terence Dwyer, with a PhD in economics from Harvard, concluded that “…far from saving money, the proposed Government takeover of Calvary Hospital means the people of the ACT are to be made to pay extra tax to the tune of $160 million extra in cold hard cash.” Therefore, the ACT Labor government’s claimed ‘savings’ are completely illusory, and it will actually cost the taxpayers to the tune of $160 million on top of the $77 million purchase price. The 600 plus people who have been waiting over a year for elective surgery might ask why we are not using $77 million to reduce elective surgery waiting lists that are the longest in the country. Nurses who are working overtime might ask why some could not be used to recruit more staff. People who can’t access a GP might wonder how $77 million could be used to roll out some of the 30 recommendations arising from the GP Task Force. The Labor government has no answers to these questions. The government has also included the sale of Clare Holland House, apparently as a $9 million bargaining chip for the Calvary proposal. This has raised serious concerns from palliative care providers and the community. It also highlights a contradictory position for the Greens, who have indicated it is their policy to obtain operation of Calvary on the basis that public health should be held in public hands. However, they have failed to apply the same test to the provision of public palliative care. The ACT Labor Government has also shown their contempt for the Canberra community by hiding their plans from us all at the last ACT election and by running a sham consultation that is fooling no-one. In short, this proposal will cost taxpayers $77 million in up-front cash, and as much as $160 million in on-going costs. This is a bad health policy, bad economic policy, and the Government has followed very bad process. The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting this proposal.
Supermarket Competition Policy Review: What will it mean? The ACT Government is set to overhaul its Supermarket Competition Policy following its acceptance of the recommendations of a Review conducted by Mr John Martin. In this article the former Commissioner of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) explains to B2B the implications of the Review. What were the main drivers of the Review? In broad terms they were to increase supermarket capacity and competitive tension in the ACT through the introduction of a framework for planning/zoning reform and coordination of the planning, land allocation and development processes to better reflect market signals. It was also a direct ACT response to the National 2008 ACCC Grocery Inquiry recommen-
dations to reduce planning and zoning barriers to entry of new retail supermarket competitors and recognise the advantages of a second major wholesaler to compete with Metcash.
frequent comment received during my Review was criticism of planning hierarchy rigidities. The planning and zoning restrictions had until very recently, effectively prevented no more than one supermarket establishing in the 17 group centres and constrained expansion of local centres. Community and stakeholder input to the Review highlighted a deficiency in capacity and choice of full line supermarkets and support for an expanded supermarket format in some local centres. Were other competition issues similar to those outside the ACT? Yes, other than some of the localised planning issues, like the rest of Australia, Woolworths and Coles dominate the ACT scene. Woolworths is particularly dominant in the ACT with 51% of the market while Coles has 21%, ALDI 9%, Supabarn 8% and the 50 plus smaller independents have around 11%. There is virtually no competition at the independent wholesale level which is dominated by Metcash. The smaller independent supermarkets have 25% of floor space in Canberra. However, these smaller independents compete on factors other than price with larger supermarkets. In Canberra the larger format supermarkets have traditionally been housed in the group and town centres. The major new competitive dynamic has been the advent of the limited range, keenly priced ALDI stores. This has meant that competitive pressures have been increased around centres where ALDI has located. Are you pleased with the response? The Review undertook very extensive stake-
It is currently developing an implementation plan for its revised Supermarket Competition Policy and this is expected to be announced this month. What outcomes can we anticipate? The processes recommended to free up zoning restrictions, and where relevant government land allocation in shopping centres, will go a long way towards addressing the supermarket competition deficiencies in the ACT. They will complement the September announcement by the ACCC of an agreement it has struck with Coles and Woolworths to end existing restrictive provisions in supermarket leases with shopping centre owners throughout Australia. In addition to freeing up site availability in the ACT, the Review recommended taking a procompetitive approach to land allocation for some full line supermarket ‘bottleneck’ sites by applying competition based measures, and eligibility criteria to facilitate new entry of independent retailers. Overall the policy should encourage ALDI, and other independent operators, to establish more stores in Canberra. There has already been a positive response to the Review from potential new entrants in the Canberra market. As the policy is implemented it will necessarily involve regular review and assessment with stakeholders. It is my view that the new approach while maintaining the integrity of good planning processes can create a vibrant supermarket sector with increased opportunities for additional investment, promoting more competition and diversity for Canberra consumers.
Community and stakeholder input to the Review highlighted a deficiency in capacity and choice of full line supermarkets and support for an expanded supermarket format in some local centres. What were the barriers you found in the ACT? The ACT’s rigid planning system has for 30 to 40 years tended to impede allocation of sufficient supermarket retail space. An unintended consequence has been ‘protection of existing competitors’, rather than ‘promotion of competition’. For planning purposes the ACT is broken down into town, group and local centres. The most
holder and community consultations. The feedback during and since the review, has been frank and generally positive. The Government is to be congratulated on being the first jurisdiction in Australia to develop – via commissioning, and now acceptance of my recommendations – a positive response to the ACCC’s Inquiry. B2B in Canberra | December 2009
Act WORK Safety commissioner
Contracted workers firmly within scope of new Work Safety Act Mark McCabe ACT Work Safety Commissioner From 1 October 2009, the Work Safety Act 2008 protects the health, safety and wellbeing of residents at work in the Territory.
he Work Safety Act 2008 outlines a range of health and safety duties, or responsibilities, for employers, a person in control of a business or undertaking, workers, and others. While in the past, many employers have believed they can ‘outsource’, or diminish, their health and safety obligations through the use of contract workers rather than direct employees this is not the case. Obligations under the Work Safety Act 2008 make this clear. Depending on the circumstances, both principal contractors and subcontractors can be regarded as persons in control of a business or undertaking, with the While subcontractors may also be employers in associated safety duties. Subcontractors may their own right, with their own safety obligations, also, depending on the be workthey are also considered to be workers and have circumstances, ers for the purposes of the Act. In such situaa safety duty owed to them as well. tions the principal contractor will have responsibilities in relation to them and they in turn will have their own responsibilities under the Act as workers. Who is responsible for what in a particular situation will usually be dependent on the specific circumstances applying at that time in that place. ACT Work Safety Commissioner Contracted workers (wherever they sit in any pyramid P.O. Box 158 or multi-subcontracting arrangement) are ‘workers’ for Canberra City ACT 2601 T: 6205 0333 the purposes of the ACT’s health and safety laws, just as F: 6205 0168 direct employees are. They are owed the same obligations E: email@example.com as employees are by their employer, and they in turn have the same responsibilities as other workers themselves. For health and safety information and guidance A contractor, and, indeed, even a subcontractor, can also fall within the definition of a person conducting a www.worksafety.act.gov.au business or undertaking. www.safetyforum.org.au Primarily, a person conducting a business or underwww.safeworkactawards.com.au taking must take all reasonably practicable steps to prowww.actsafetyshow.com.au tect the health, safety and welfare of their workers by managing hazards and the associated risks to health and 32
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
safety. A health and safety obligation to a worker is owed equally to a direct employee as it is to a subcontractor. A complex layering of sub-contractors in some type of pyramid or similar structure does not alter this obligation. The term ‘principal contractor’ applies to a person or organisation who engages a contractor to carry out work. When, in the course of trade or business, a principal engages a contractor to carry out work, the principal is the person conducting the business or undertaking and the person in control of the workplace and therefore the employer of the subcontractor. Under these circumstances the principal has the legal responsibilities of an employer towards the contractor and any workers of the contractor (or other persons engaged by the contractor). This applies as if the contractor and his or her workers were workers of the principal. However, the principal’s duty applies only in relation to matters over which the principal has control or the capacity to have control. For example, a principal on a building site, who engages an electrical contractor to work at height would have a duty to protect the contractor from the hazard of falling from that height. The principal would have to implement appropriate systems and ensure installation of the necessary structures to ensure that adequate fall protection was in place. These are clearly matters over which the principal has the capacity to exercise control. In summary, employers cannot divest themselves of their health and safety responsibilities by using contractors rather than direct employees. While subcontractors may also be employers in their own right, with their own safety obligations, they are also considered to be workers and have a safety duty owed to them as well. For more guidance on how to comply with the territory’s health and safety laws, go to www.worksafety.act.gov.au .
Australian tax office
Tough year behind, hope ahead
Michael Dâ€™Ascenzo Commissioner of Taxation The year 2009 has been a difficult year for many, particularly those affected by the global financial downturn.
n such times it is even more important for the Tax Office to be empathetic to the needs of the community. To this end, the tax office implemented a number of new initiatives to support small businesses such as temporary tax deferrals. The Tax Office also introduced a new computer program, Is your business tax-ready? to help small businesses ensure their business practices meet their tax obligations with no added fuss. This year also saw the Tax Office and tax professional bodies working together to implement new government initiatives, keeping the community informed about the education tax refund, distributing the tax bonus payments and the small business tax break. The administration of ABNs has been recently improved by tightening the process for people applying for ABNs. Since March over 25,000 applications have been refused as the applicant was unable to show that they were establishing a business or conducting an enterprise. The Tax Office has also been contacting and cancelling existing registrations that no longer show signs of business activity, or have never shown signs of activity in the business community. Of course, this has to be put in context of the 250,000 ABNs issued during that time. A number of measures and a self-help decision making tool have also been introduced to help people determine if they are eligible for an ABN, as it is important for genuine businesses to be able to access their ABNs quickly and easily. Next year we will see the start to see the fruits of the Standard Business Reporting project. Current reporting requirements impose a significant burden on business and both government agencies and businesses can expect benefits from the streamlined reporting that SBR will bring. SBR is a multi-agency initiative that will simplify business-to-government reporting by making forms
easier to understand, using software to automatically pre-fill government forms, and introducing a single secure way to interact on-line with participating agencies such as the Tax Office.
Next year we will see the start to see the fruits of the Standard Business Reporting project. Current reporting requirements impose a significant burden on business and both government agencies and businesses can expect benefits from the streamlined reporting that SBR will bring. Businesses will have a faster, more efficient reporting mechanism. Key benefits to business will include reduced time and effort spent preparing reports for government, and reduced time and effort spent filing reports for government. With the economy now moving into recovery as well, there is much for businesses to look forward to in 2010.
fo: For more in ov.au www.ato.g 8 66 or call 13 2
B2B in Canberra | December 2009
Act and region chamber of commerce and industry
More changes to the workplace relations landscape Greg Schmidt Director, Workplace Relations
Business owners and operators should be aware that this year and last year have both been times of significant change in the Workplace Relations framework for 'National System Employers' – that is, for all employers in the ACT and the majority of employers elsewhere in Australia.
he Rudd government has progressively implemented aspects of the workplace relations policy that it took to the 2007 election, with only some minor variations. The most significant change for this year ocEmployers should review their existing curred on 1 July, when Workplace Relations policies, contracts and workplace agreements the Act 1996 was repealed, and most provisions of to confirm that they are consistent with the the Fair Work Act 2009 commenced. The new National Employment Standards and any Fair Work Act ushered in applicable Modern Awards. some substantial changes, such as a new framework for making workplace agreements, and altered arrangements for handling Unfair Dismissal claims lodged by former employees. Industrial Relations practitioners are still feeling their way through the changed provisions and their ramifications for employers. However, another major set of changes under the Fair Work Act 2009 is soon to arrive. Commencing from 1 January 2010, the National Employment Standards and the system of Modern Awards will come into operation. The National Employment Standards (or NES) are a set of legislated minimum conditions of employment. Because the NES are enumerated in the Fair Work Act itself, they will apply to all employees covered by the national system. The 10 elements of the NES are broadly Corporate Sponsors similar to the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard ACTEWAGL, 104.7 / Mix (which they will replace), but the NES will go further. From 106.3, Prime TV, The January 2010, the National Employment Standards will Canberra Times, The include not only familiar entitlements like Annual Leave, Good Guys Tuggeranong, Personal/Carers Leave and Public Holidays, but will also Duesburys Nexia, Synapse introduce new entitlements such as: Worldwide, B2B in Canberra. • Community Service Leave – which allows employees to be granted leave for the period Associates and Affiliates required for the employee to participate in Retail Traders Association, community service obligations such as Jury Service Australian Industry and/or volunteer emergency management activities Defence Network • The right to request Flexible Working Foundation Member Arrangements – which gives eligible employees Australian Chamber of the right to request changes to their working Commerce & Industry 34
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
arrangements, which must be agreed by the employer unless there are reasonable business grounds to do otherwise • The right to request an extended Parental Leave absence beyond 12 months. The other major change due to occur on 1 January 2010 is the commencement of the Modern Awards. It is intended that Modern Awards will cover the majority of National System Employees (but not 'high-income' employees) including some employees who are currently award-free. Modern Awards generally should have clearer and simpler provisions than many of the awards and notional agreements that they will replace. However, it will be worthwhile looking very closely at the provisions of the relevant Modern Award because some provisions are not straightforward. In particular, transitional arrangements will apply for more than four years in situations where the award rate of pay or award loadings are different under the Modern Award than they are under the current arrangements. The transitional pay arrangements may oblige an employer to pay more than the wage rate specified in the Modern Award, or conversely may authorise the payment of a lower rate of wage or loading. Every employer should carefully consider the transitional arrangements that apply in their own case based on their former award and the relevant Modern Award. Employers should review their existing policies, contracts and workplace agreements to confirm that they are consistent with the National Employment Standards and any applicable Modern Awards. From commencement, the NES will prevail over any provision of a contract or agreement that purports to provide a lesser benefit for an employee than the NES entitlement. The Workplace Relations team of the Chamber has a long history of supporting members to navigate through the complexities of the Workplace Relations environment. To become a member of the Chamber please call 6283 5200 or visit www.actchamber.com.au.
We’d like to wish the Canberra business community and government agencies a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
for your support of B2B this year. We’re looking forward to being bigger and better in 2010.
BOOK YOUR ADVERTISING SPACE NOW FOR 2010. Tim Benson and Liz Lang Publisher and Editor
As Ted Turner famously said ‘Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.’
Canberra business council
The light at the end of the tunnel By Chris Faulks Chief Executive Officer The global economic downturn appears to be over and the recovery seems to be in full swing. The Australian economy is leading the developed nations on the path to recovery, with a forecast GDP growth rate set to reach 2.75% by 2010â€“11.
Principal Members Actew Corporation, ActewAGL, Bank West, Bega Cheese, Bluestar Printing Group, Clayton Utz, Cre8ive, Ernst & Young, eWay, Health for Industry, Hindmarsh, HolisTech, KPMG, Master Builders Association, National Australia Bank, National Museum of Australia, NEC Australia, Staging Connections, The Village Building Co, Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems Australia
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
ustralia's main trading partners in Asia are recovering at an even faster rate, with the IMF's latest World Economic Outlook predicting average growth rates of 5.75% in the region by 2010, while China is tipped to grow by 9.0% and India to reach a 6.4% GDP growth rate over the same period. Even the United States, one of the countries to bear the full brunt of the global recession, is showing promising signs and is expected to return to a modest 1.5% GDP growth by the middle of next year. With Asia pulling the world out of the downturn, and with Australia well positioned to take advantage of the recovery in the region, the Reserve Bank of Australia has started unravelling its numerous decreases in the cash rate. Since March 2008 the RBA systematically slashed interest rates, down from 7.25% to 3.00% for much of 2009. It is inevitable that interest rates now start their slow march upwards again, and the RBA has confirmed as much with its recent rate increases, signalling more to come as the recovery gains pace. This can be taken as a clear sign of the RBA's confidence in Australia's economic strength. But what of the impact of these global and national events on the ACT economy? You may recall that in earlier articles I cautioned against the often ill-informed and sensationalist cries of doom and despair which were ringing out during the height of the global recession. That the Australian economy, and to a lesser degree the ACT economy, felt the sting of the downturn is in no doubt, but by the same token, I highlighted the resilience of the ACT economy given our unique circumstances. The strong, stable presence of Government as a major employer and purchaser in the region, a highly educated workforce, and a range of innovative and adaptable businesses have all contributed to the ACT coming out of the downturn in much better shape than the rest of the country. The ACT has exhibited the lowest unemployment rate in Australia throughout the downturn, peaking to date at 3.6%, compared with the peak rate of 5.8% nationally. Retail trade turnover growth has been consistently positive in
the Territory since the start of 2009, with a trend growth rate strengthening to 1.2% in recent months, while other states have experienced greater variability and periods of negative retail growth during the past year. The ACT's annual inflation rate sits close to the national average. All the signs indicate that the Capital Region is at the forefront of Australia's economic recovery. However, just as I warned of the dangers of overhyping the impact of the downturn on the ACT, I must also counsel against taking a wholly rosy view of the recovery. There are a range of potential risks which are present and must be kept in mind when making business and consumer investment decisions. The first I've already noted: further interest rate rises by the RBA are inevitable. Price rises are also likely to occur â€“ indeed inflation is rising again, and in particular the prices of established houses across Australia are starting to show very strong growth rates. Canberra house prices have risen by 12.3% over the past year, the largest annual increase across all states and territories. Not all sectors will share equally in the benefits of recovery. The strong Australian dollar is causing problems for export-orientated industries for example, of which there are many in the ACT. In particular our beleaguered tourism sector, which has already been hit with a disproportionately larger share of the downturn's impact, is suffering from the dollar's strength. Other risks to the ACT economy are related to any cutbacks in employment or the procurement of goods and services from the private sector that the ACT and particularly the Federal Government may make to return their respective budgets to balance over the next few years. In closing, I reiterate the message I gave during the downturn: confidence is the key. To that I add the following: strategic partnership is a necessity. Canberra Business Council, local businesses and the ACT Government must continue to work together to capitalise on the opportunities emerging during the recovery. Otherwise just as the downturn was not as severe as predicted in the Territory, the recovery may also be less fruitful than anticipated.
Act exporters' network
'A Tale of Two Economies'
By Brent Juratowitch President, ACT Exporters' Network I recently had the privilege to travel with the Chief Minister and a group of local ACT companies, on a business mission to the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
he mission centered on Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE and London in the UK, both markets are of particular interest to ACT businesses due to their strong focus on services and both are major entry points for multiplier markets in the EU and Middle East. However this is where the similarity ends. While not quite to the extremes as described by Dickens, and it is always dangerous to over-simplify any analysis, the UAE and UK are currently operating in vastly different circumstances. The UAE is an economy based upon the energy sector. Initially oil and increasingly natural gas the UAE has assured income as long as the Western World continues its passion for the internal combustion engine. Certainly the UAE is experiencing the GFC. Twelve months ago, getting a taxi in Dubai and then avoiding the inevitable traffic jam was nigh-on impossible. This year with the economic downturn (combined it must be said with the introduction of a new metro rail system) my taxi travel was both fast and efficient. Kym Hewett, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in Dubai characterised it as in the boom times the commentators were writing in trillions of dollars, now they are talking in billions. I understand that one project on the drawing board is a fast train linking the Gulf States with Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey and on into Europe. For some companies on the mission, the major highlight of the UAE component included the GITEX IT and Electronics Trade Show. Over the course of five days over 133,000 people attended this show an increase on 2008. While the numbers of people from Dubai may have been down on usual this was more than made up by the number of visitors from other countries in the region. As an indication of this, the company I currently manage was able to negotiate agreements in three new markets—Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. We also took enquiries from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran. On the other hand the UK is feeling the impact of the GFC far more acutely. In a briefing we received from the Commonwealth Bank’s representatives in London, they stressed that the UK has the highest debt levels in the western world, which means that consumer spending is very much subdued. Relationships are taking a longer time to develop, local presence and support is important, and
any non-resident company must be able to demonstrate that they are in the UK for the long term. Like the UAE, government spending is important and the British Government is leading the world in supporting a number of new environmental initiatives. The mission benefited from being able to inspect first hand the sustainable electric transport initiatives being developed in London, and meeting with the UK’s National Housing Federation to compare strategies for addressing affordable housing and initiatives to assist low and moderate income purchasers. Concepts, ideas and proposals from both of these initiatives can be seen in recent ACT Government announcements. Therefore what can we make of this whirlwind tour of two economies. Firstly, the Middle East offers significant opportunities to ACT firms. These opportunities are not just limited to Dubai but beyond into other Emirates and beyond that into other Gulf States. The UK is certainly not travelling as well as it did a few years ago. However for companies prepared to make the longterm investment in the market there are opportunities particularly in new technologies. If you’re interested in talking more about either of these markets contact Chris Horsbrough from Austrade, Dita Hunt from the Chief Minister’s Department or the companies below who I am sure would be more than happy to speak about their experiences: • Academy of Interactive Entertainment • CIC Group • Canberra Institute of Technology • eWay • John Walker Crime Trends Analysis • Poacher’s Pantry • QuintessenceLabs • Recruitment Systems and • The Wise Academy. Finally I’d like to express my personal appreciation to the Chief Minister, his team at Business and Industry Development, Chris Horsbrough and the team at Austrade in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and London for supporting ACT Exporters and putting together such an interesting and engaging business development mission.
The ACT Exporters’ Network would like to thank its platinum sponsor, the ACT Government, its silver sponsor the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies and its bronze sponsor AusIndustry for their ongoing support and commitment. If you would like more information on the ACT Exporters’ Network mentorship programs please visit www. actexportersnetwork.com.au or contact Brooke Anderson on 6247 4199.
B2B in Canberra | December 2009
THE UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA
Work integrated learning
Carole Kayrooz Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education
Work integrated learning is firmly embedded in the University of Canberra's programs and is central to addressing skills shortage issues in the ACT.
For further details about the Work Integrated Learning project, please contact Dr Laurie Grealish at the University of Canberra on (02) 6201 2229.
December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
he University of Canberra has a proud tradition of releasing highly employable graduates into the ACT, surrounding regions and Australian communities. It is recognised for its strength in preparing students for professional life and, as a result, they are among the most employable and highest paid graduates of any university in Australia. Over many years, the University has consistently received significant recognition for employability and the commencement salary of its graduates. In fact, in 2007, the University was one of only four Australian universities to receive the maximum five star rating for Getting a Job and Starting Salaries in reputable rankings based on data from the Graduate Careers Australia. The University has a strong focus of developing and delivering undergraduate programs highly relevant to the ACT and regional market. As a result, quality teachers, nurses and allied health professionals, accountants, IT professionals, architects and designers have each benefited from a focused approach on work integrated learning. Employability of university graduates is clearly an Australian Government priority, reflected in the recommendations emanating from the Bradley Review of Higher Education. Industry also acknowledges that higher learning integrated within the workplace provides for more astute employees. Indeed, industry plays a significant role in shaping the future needs and structures of education, not only at the higher educational level, but across vocational and senior secondary schooling. To this end, the University of Canberra was successful in winning a grant under the Australian Government’s Diversity and Structural Adjustment Fund. This has enabled the University to develop strategies that meet both student and employer demand for work based education, and also has enhanced the capacity of the University to deliver and embed work integrated learning programs across professionally oriented courses. This initiative aims to develop a strategic and best practice approach to work integrated learning at the University which ensures students graduate with an allround professional competence that guarantees a high level of productivity from of the first day of employment. By expanding the involvement of industry, work integrated learning aims to make a positive contribution to addressing skills shortage issues in the ACT and surrounding regions. The initiative seeks to contribute to shortage issues in professional areas by closely linking the needs of
industry with teaching outcomes and practices. Of course, many of the University’s courses already provide students with opportunities for work experience. Courses such as teaching and nursing already have a strong tradition of work placement that is bound by professional accreditation requirements. However, others have the flexibility to enable students to undertake a wide range of work placement activities that have the potential to accrue academic credit. Work integrated learning is mutually beneficial to both educators and employers. It introduces students to the workforce environment and brings specific workplace needs into the curriculum. It also provides opportunities for students to gain theory-related, work-based experience, creating opportunities for curriculum innovation through the integration of programs conducted within the workplace. The higher education sector faces a number of challenges over coming years including the need to provide improved accessibility, flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness to the real world needs of industry. It is recognised that work integrated learning is part of the new learning landscape and challenges the traditional ways that courses are conceptualised, designed and delivered. The initiative is advised by an Industry Reference Group that is in final stages of being assembled, and comprises representatives from industry, including the Public Service Commission. This reference group will: • provide advice on the strategic direction of the initiative • support an agenda of improved engagement between the university and industry • identify and address industry related issues and interests, • advise on the communications plan. The Work Integrated Learning initiative will support up to ten faculty-based projects. The aim is to: • develop faculty-based capacity and systemic change • recognise and value interdisciplinary differences and similarities • promote interdisciplinary collaboration within faculties, • promote processes for faculty engagement with the ACT region and beyond. The University of Canberra places strategic value in addressing the skills requirements of the community, and contributing to a highly trained and educated society within a global market.
Canberra Southern Cross Club
Christmas joy – but business has chance to give all year round Carol Sawyer General Manager
Giving is part and parcel of Christmas. It’s one of the joys of the festive season, but in the corporate and business world the opportunity to give is available all year round.
ontributing socially and environmentally, not just financially, is an aspect of club life that can be, and should be, a benefit to the community. Club members and others in the community can all take part, contribute and benefit from the activities, partnerships and support networks offered by their local clubs. With Christmas now only weeks away, it’s a good time to look back to see how this ‘giving’ could be made better so that its benefits are felt even more widely. The Canberra Southern Cross Club (CSCC) supports many community activities, delivers initiatives and assists an extensive network of community organisations. Our annual community grants program supports more than 90 organisations community programs and events. These organisations include bushfire brigades, support groups for people with health and welfare needs, youth groups, choral, dance and music groups, special interest groups and multicultural and church groups. "Christmas and hot weather go hand in hand, and the threat from bushfires is always increased at this time of year. The support we receive through the Canberra Southern Cross Club gives us a real boost. It helps us train our volunteers and this way we can be confident that we'll be able to help when we need to," Brindabella Rural Fire Service volunteer, Bob James said. "Our group now has a fantastic venue for our events. We just approached the Canberra Southern Cross Club and asked if they would support us. It was that simple," president of BosomBuddies, Sally Saunders said. The CSCC also has community partnerships in place with Karinya House, Marymead and the Australian Catholic University. Each of these partnerships provides financial support over a period of three years. The three organisations received funding for specific programs. • Marymead for its Circle of Security group – a 20 week intensive group counselling course which helps to build bonding and attachment between parents and young children. • Karinya to run its ‘Caseworker-Education Connection’ project for the Mothers and Babies Program. • The ACU to provide assistance to young people and families through two scholarships (Aloysius Morgan and Canberra Southern Cross Club scholarships) to assist talented but disadvantaged ACT students.
The environment is also our responsibility Supporting groups is part of the responsibility of a club. The environment is an issue high on the agenda of communities around Australia and this is no less true in Canberra. We have entered into an MOU with the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) to examine energy and water usage, waste generation and management at two of our venues. Recommendations are to be made for the reduction of greenhouse gases, environmental and commercial sustainability and the improvement of operational efficiencies. It will make environmental performance a cornerstone of organisational policy at all Southern Cross Club venues. The Club will continue to provide an ongoing financial commitment to projects and training for staff. We have also appointed an environmental manager and joined the ClubsNSW ECO Clubs Program. “It’s great to work with the Canberra Southern Cross Club team. Everyone is supportive of the environmental efforts being made at all of the club sites,” CSCC environmental manager Bruce Grimmond said. Under the ECO Clubs Program, we have achieved a number of initiatives including a project to reduce watering of lawns and gardens at our Woden venue through installation of water tanks to collect and use water for the maintenance of lawns and gardens. The Club also converted the fairways at its Pitch and Putt facility to warm climate grass which reduced the amount of water required to maintain the course. Organic food waste is collected from three CSCC venues and is used by a local worm farm. High level support Maintaining the high level of support during the next financial year ($1.6 million in 2008-09 in cash and kind) is important to CSCC and we won’t be resting on our laurels. We look forward to continuing our community involvement. Ideas and suggestions we receive from community and other groups will ensure we maintain and build on the work done in the past. Have a happy and safe festive season. For more information: Canberra Southern Cross Club Woden T 6283 7200 Tuggeranong T 6293 7200 www.cscc.com.au
B2B in Canberra | December 2009
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December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
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B2B in Canberra | December 2009
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December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
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December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
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Want to keep it local? Well so do we! Hamper Art has a range of Gourmet Hampers supplied and stocked only with products from Canberra and the surrounding region. Simply buy one of our Local Gourmet Hampers and you are supporting a minimum of six local businesses. So lets work together and do what we can for our community.
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December 2009 | B2B in Canberra
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