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EDITION 5-2013 http://www.mba.org.au/ files/view/?id=594 MASTER BUILDERS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL President – John Haskins AM Treasurer – Frank Porreca Chair, Commercial Builders’ Sector Council – Valdis Luks Chair, Suppliers and Subcontractors’ Sector Council – Grace Ferreira Chair, Residential Builders’ Sector Council – Frank Porreca Chair, Civil Contractors’ Sector Council – Andy Crompton Chair, Professional Consultants’ Sector Council – Hans Sommer MASTER BUILDERS MANAGEMENT TEAM Executive Director – John Miller Deputy Executive Director – Jerry Howard Director Industrial Relations – John Nikolic Senior Management Accountant – Louise MacCallum Senior Manager - Marketing & Membership Services – David Leitch MASTER BUILDERS GROUP TRAINING General Manager – Wendy Tengstrom

ACT building approvals rise but post-election outlook uncertain RECENT BUILDING APPROVAL FIGURES SHOW A STRONG IMPROVEMENT BOTH NATIONALLY AND IN THE ACT. THE IMPROVEMENT WAS WELCOMED BY MASTER BUILDERS-ACT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JOHN MILLER. The strong approvals follow a recent regular survey of state economic performance which showed the ACT had lifted to the number 2 position after Western Australia.

economy in the nation with little slippage in the ranking over the past three months. However the big change has been the lift in the ranking of the ACT to second.”

However the outlook for the ACT economy is cautious with a recent survey of local businesses showing low levels of business confidence in the ACT.

The CommSec report is based on an assessment of consumer spending, equipment investment, unemployment, construction work done, population growth; housing finance and dwelling commencements, and compares each state and territory’s performance in the previous quarter with its own longer term performance.

The July Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals published in early September showed a national seasonally-adjusted increase of 10.8 per cent in building approvals. The ACT recorded a 12.6 per cent increase – one of the strongest performances of any of the states and territories. Commenting on what represented one of the strongest months reflected in the ABS data in more than two years, MBA-ACT Executive Director John Miller attributed the seasonally-adjusted rise to the more predictable and lower interest rate environment and a move beyond the doubts which traditionally accompanied Federal Budgets. He said he was particularly heartened to note the 3.9 per cent increase in approvals for private sector houses, albeit that the majority of growth had been generated by 24.4 per cent increase in multi-unit developments. “Even taking into account the fact that the July figures reflect the allocation of new budget outlays with respect to major projects, these are strong figures which are very welcome,” Mr Miller said.

Master Builders Association of the ACT 1 Iron Knob St, Fyshwick ACT 2609 PO Box 1211, Fyshwick ACT 2609 Tel: (02) 6247 2099 Fax: (02) 6249 8374  Email: canberra@mba.org.au Web: www.mba.org.au

Mr Miller said he expected that there would be a further firming in sentiment after the Federal Election as people moved further beyond the uncertainty which had marked much of the first half of the year. In its recent quarterly ‘State of the States’ state and territory economic performance report, CommSec said “Western Australia remains the top-performing

The stronger ACT performance reflected an improved job market in the ACT. “The ACT economy is now the second strongest economy with the main strengths being housing finance, equipment investment and population growth. The ACT is now third strongest on unemployment, up from eighth in the past report,” CommSec said. However a recent survey of ACT businesses in the lead up to the Federal Election found deep pessimism about the economic outlook among its respondents. The survey was conducted amid forecasts that an incoming Coalition Government would make deep cuts in public service jobs. The survey of 125 local businesses by the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry found the majority expected the economy to be weaker or much weaker. Most of the companies, drawn from across the city, and a broad range of industries and sectors, predict sales, profits and employment are going to stagnate or decline in the next year. The survey found that a majority of respondents believe that both the national economy (50 per cent) and ACT economy (65 per cent) will be somewhat to much weaker over the next 12 months, resulting in a drop in general business conditions, sales revenue and profitability.


THE

HAMMER hits the nail on the head

HAMMER TITLE With change comes change. That is going to be evident with Election 13 behind us. For many in the building and construction industry, some of that change can’t come soon enough. The country has seen a period of chaos and turbulence possibly never witnessed before and most Australians would never want to see again. This chaos and turbulence was largely the result of personalities rather than fundamental or structural reform. Australia is a progressive country and has witnessed its fair share of change. Neither major political party can claim exclusive ownership of all things that have made this country great. The reality is both have brought to the table reform that has helped us become the envy of many across both advanced and developing economies. Both have done things that have set us back on our heels from time to time. Neither however, has been pulled apart as has been witnessed through the turmoil of the Rudd-Gillard era. This has had particularly detrimental effects on the building and construction industry through the industrial relations process and the internal climate change tug of war. As the bidding war was raised during the leadership struggles of the major protagonists, the building and construction industry suffered more and more.

The waxing and waning of the leaders meant that the unions were significant beneficiaries as they stepped up to the plate with their demands in return for support. Out the door went “the strong cop on the beat” of the building and construction industry, the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Independent contractors became a key target, granted was easy access to sites for ulterior motives, good faith bargaining delivered a smokescreen, award modernisation enshrined complexity and emotion not reality ruled in delivering a death-blow to apprentices. In just around six short years the country has lost balance. Restoring the balance is going to be one of the biggest challenges for the incoming Abbott government. That alone will ensure that there is plenty of change coming. Whilst plenty were ready to sell the Australian Building and Construction Commission as a one-sided story, it wasn’t. It was about changing culture and bringing balance to an industry desperately in need of change. The reconstitution of a like body will be difficult but necessary. The onset of the global financial crisis was not helpful and fortunately Australia was positioned well to deal with it. After an initial burst of speed in dealing with the financial turmoil, we have lurched from

one crisis to another and without ever a sense of regaining our feet. Building and construction fared well in some parts from the Economic Stimulus Package but for many it has been a missed opportunity as it was crammed into a tiny window. It now leaves many hanging on by a thread. We’ve had the highs and then the plunge. The change of federal government might restore some of our lost momentum but there is probably still some bumping around on the bottom whilst both the international markets improve and our own rebalancing takes place. This may still leave some turbulence to deal with but the fervent need is for the chaos to disappear. The chaos has undermined confidence and ensured that more change is on the way. It is clear that without change to restore the balance the building and construction industry locally and nationally will continue to get hammered.


What is Adequate Site Supervision? WORKSAFE ACT GUIDANCE NOTE

JERRY HOWARD STATES THAT ADEQUATE SUPERVISION OF CONSTRUCTION WORK FOR DELIVERING BUILDING QUALITY OUTCOMES ON-SITE IS NO DIFFERENT TO THE PROVISION OF ADEQUATE SITE SUPERVISION OR ACHIEVING A SAFE WORKING ENVIRONMENT. Builders must provide the degree of supervision necessary for work on their sites to be carried out safely and without risks to health. The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 requires builders, and other employers, to provide information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect their workers from health and safety risks arising from their work. In order to comply with work health and safety WHS [sometimes called OHS] law, the supervision provided by the builder must be effective, meaning that it should be clearly delegated, competent and timely. This guidance note seeks to assist builders to determine the adequacy of the WHS supervision they provide on their housing construction sites.

1. SCOPE This guidance applies to the construction, renovation or extension of: a) detached houses, and b) attached dwellings, separated from each other by a fire resisting wall, such as

terrace, row or town houses, and c) boarding or guest houses and hostels or similar with a floor area of <300 m2, and d) ancillary buildings to the above, such as private garages, gazeboes and carports. Note: The above are based on classes 1, 2 & 10 of the Building Code of Australia. Multi-storey buildings (i.e. above 3 habitable storeys are not included in the scope of this Guidance Note).

2. WHO NEEDS SITE SUPERVISION? The builder’s own workers need

supervision. So do the builder’s contractors and their workers. Under WHS law, even though the contractor will also have responsibility for their workers, these are also the builder’s workers. Visitors to site also need supervision.

3. WHAT IS MEANT BY SITE SUPERVISION? Site supervision means the general direction, coordination and oversight of the on- site work processes. In particular, WHS supervision on housing construction sites involves: • deciding when particular contractors or phases of the construction process can commence, and when it is necessary to suspend a process, • providing the necessary coordination and general instruction for work associated with one process so as not to endanger persons engaged in other processes, • upon becoming aware of a dangerous work practice or situation, issuing prompt directions necessary to safeguard site personnel and/or the general public from harm, and • monitoring the general conduct of work for compliance with the builder’s and/ or contractors’ WHS procedures and safe work method statements (if required).


The builder’s contractors also have a duty to provide the necessary degree of supervision to their workers to enable them to perform their work in a manner that is safe and without risks to health.

4. WHAT IS CLEARLY DELEGATED SUPERVISION? For supervision to be effective, the supervisor should have the clearly delegated authority of the builder to: • make prompt decisions on behalf of the builder

• a general understanding of the construction sequences, processes and work practices associated with the type of construction being undertaken at the site, and • a general awareness of the hazards and risks associated with the types of materials, chemicals, plant and equipment used at the site, and an understanding of the minimum controls necessary to safeguard site personnel and the general public from harm. Note: Safety supervisor training courses are conducted through the Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Associations and other organisations.

by phone, fax, internet, and/or twoway radio communication. If the usual supervisor knows they will be un-contactable for a short period, however, arrangements should be made with key site personnel to effectively delegate urgent decision-making responsibility and supervisory responsibilities pending the supervisor’s return to availability.

7. RECORDS OF SUPERVISION To avoid doubt, it is recommended that supervisors keep brief but clear records, such as:

• issue directions on matters that could adversely affect the health or safety of onsite personnel or the general public, and

6. WHAT IS TIMELY SUPERVISION? Supervision is timely when:

• diary notes of site visits and verbal WHS instructions, and

• in all other respects, act on the builder’s behalf in discharging the builder’s on- site WHS responsibilities.

• the supervisor monitors on-site work practices, processes and procedures, and

• copies of any written WHS site directions issued.

• delivery drivers, contractors and workers can seek and obtain the supervisor’s direction in the event of uncertainty on what is required to safeguard health and safety. Whilst the supervisor’s physical presence on-site is the optimum way of ensuring timely supervision, full-time on-site supervision may not always be necessary.

8. COMPLIANCE WITH WHS LAW

5. WHAT IS COMPETENT SUPERVISION? Supervision is competent when the supervisor has: • a general knowledge of the WHS rights and responsibilities of the builder, and of those engaged on site, or providing goods or services to the site,

The advice provided in this Guidance Note is consistent with WHS law in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, and with the National Code of Practice for Construction Work.

Between site visits, supervisors can continue to exercise timely supervision

Sustained Recovery In Housing Market Still Some Time Off Despite Rise In Housing Finance A sustained recovery in the residential housing market is still some time away despite an encouraging seventh consecutive rise in housing finance,” said Master Builders Chief Economist Peter Jones said today. “The strengthening in housing finance for July follows a lift in building approvals and confirms the favourable impact of lower interest rates on the housing market,” he said. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the total number of dwelling commitments rose by 2.4 per cent in July while commitments for the construction of new dwellings fell by 2.1 per cent seasonally adjusted. “But there was a welcome 5.9 per cent rise for newly constructed dwellings showing that demand for new housing is returning,” Peter Jones said. Nationally, loans for construction of dwellings and for the purchase of new dwellings combined rose by 0.7 per cent and 15.5 per cent for the year.


Theft of hot water units. Tackling a major issue. Deputy Executive Director, Jerry Howard, congratulates the ESDD and in particlar Mark Frazer, Manager Plumbing & Gas Inspectorate, for his pro-active approach in facilitating a satisfactory outcome regarding the installation, inspection and sign-off of installed continuous Gas Hot Water Systems. The correspondence below from ESDD explains the process.


Recent changes to Legislation effecting the Building Industry JASON GRIEVES - TECHNICAL SERVICES MANAGER

On 13 August 2013, the ACT Legislative Assembly passed the Construction and Energy Efficiency Legislation Amendment Bill 2013. This Bill includes the following amendments to the Building Act 2004 (the Act) and Building (General) Regulation 2004 (the Regs). The Bill also included changes to the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004 (COLA) and the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Regulations 2004. These amendments are summarised as follows and came into effect on 1 September 2013.

New requirements for Builders’ notification of completion of stages Under sections in Division 3.4 the Act requires a builder to give the building Certifier notice that a prescribed stage of building work has been reached. It is an offence for a builder to do building work beyond a stage if the builder has not given notification and the certifier has not inspected the building work and given written permission for the work to proceed. The changes in Division 3.4 now require that the notification from the builder at an inspection stage to the certifier: •

is in writing, is dated with the date it is given to the certifier and states that the stage has been reached and;

includes a written statement that the building work done for the stage was carried out in accordance with approved plans and section 42, and;

if the building work involved handling asbestos or disturbing friable asbestos, includes plans that comply with this Act in relation to the asbestos.

Builders are reminded that if an amended plan is required, this should be obtained before any work that differs to the approved plans is undertaken as it is a breach of the Act if this were to occur. Changes to the Regs permit the Registrar to (through a Regulation)

require documents such as inspection request records and inspection records be submitted at a specific time and not on completion of the project as in past. Should the work not be in accordance with the approved plans, the Certifier must issue a non-compliance notice under section 50 to the Registrar and a direction to the builder. Certifiers will need to lodge the inspection request notification as part of the documentation required on completion of work under section 48 of the Act. Information received by the MBA is that this requirement may be satisfied through text message. However the MBA would not advise that our members use this method as it may be difficult to provide the added proof of the date it was sent and include the required statement regarding work complying with Section 42. Certifiers and Builders may need to consider which electronic forms they will accept/use so that notifications can be stored and supplied to the Registrar on his request. It is a possibility that the Registrar may create a form under section 151 which if he does it must be used. Changes to section 80 of the Construction Occupations Act 2004 state that these records must be made available to compliance Auditors should they request them under provisions of section 80.

Alternative Solutions under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) Alternative solutions under the BCA have previously been required as part of documentation provided in a Building approval. Under changed provisions of the Regs an Alternative Solution is to be clearly documented in documents submitted prior to the issuance of a building approval. This includes written evidence from an expert in addition to the assessment method used and test results used to demonstrate how the alternative solution meets the affected performance provisions of the BCA. The plans must also clearly identify the alternative solution and include a statement that it is an alternative solution under the Building Code.

Changes regarding licence applications and renewals LICENCE APPLICATIONS Changes to the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004 now give the Construction Occupations Registrar (Registrar) powers to refuse a licence application to the applicant, a Director or nominee on the following grounds; •

they are prohibited from providing a construction service under a corresponding law,

they are the subject of occupational disciplinary action under the Act,


TECHNICAL SERVICES

the Registrar believes that they had surrendered a licence in order to avoid occupational disciplinary action under the Act or,

the applicant has contravened or is contravening a Rectification Order,

that they cannot be the nominee for a company for a stated period of time,

the applicant hasn’t completed an assessment as instructed by the Registrar,

the applicant cannot supervise trainees or other licensees,

• •

the applicant has an outstanding debt owing to the Territory,

the applicant must be supervised by another licensee.

the Registrar believes it is necessary or desirable to protect the public.

The Registrar may also grant a licence for less than the maximum period if he believes it is necessary or desirable to protect the public. LICENCE RENEWALS Previously the Registrar was required to renew a licence application as it was submitted and issue a licence for a new period for the same category but now the Registrar has new powers which enable him to refuse a licence renewal as follows; •

the applicant has contravened or is in contravention of an order made by a court or the ACAT,

the applicant has contravened or is contravening COLA or a licence condition,

the applicant is prohibited from providing a construction service under a corresponding law.

The Registrar may also refuse the licence renewal or grant a licence for less than the maximum period if he deems it necessary or desirable to protect the public. The Registrar has previously had powers to place conditions on an Occupations Licence and this remains in place. However under a new section he may now, where a licensee has had their licence previously cancelled for longer than 1 year on application condition that applicant as follows;

The Registrar may also include any other condition he deems is necessary or desirable to protect the public. For detailed information about the changes through the Construction and Energy Efficiency Bill 2013 please go to :

http://www.legislation.act.gov au/b/db_47840/default.asp


ELECTION

promises Coalition to reinstate ABCC HOWEVER THE RETURN TO THE ABCC AND THE ABOLITION OF THE FAIR WORK BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INSPECTORATE, WITH WHICH THE LABOR GOVERNMENT REPLACED IT, REQUIRES LEGISLATION WHICH COULD BE BLOCKED BY THE SENATE. The Greens have already flagged post-election they will oppose the reinstatement. If Labor – which has yet to declare its position post-election – also opposes the reinstatement, the

THE INCOMING COALITION GOVERNMENT HAS PROMISED TO REINSTATE THE AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION (ABCC). He said the Working Group “will ensure that, if elected, a Coalition government can hit the ground running in restoring the ABCC boosting Australia’s productivity growth.” He said “If the Coalition is elected, we will restore the ABCC within three months of Parliament first sitting.” Before the election Master Builders Australia CEO Wilhelm Harnisch, announced its “support of the Coalition’s policy to fully restore the ABCC, including the agency, its powers and underlying laws.”

The stand by the Greens, which has the balance of power in the Senate until next July, means key planks of the Coalition policy, including an assault on unions, increased criminal penalties for unlawful conduct, and changes allowing workers to trade off conditions, such as penalty rates, could be delayed until at least next year. "And we won't be supporting getting rid of penalty rates or won't be restoring any of the draconian measures that were there in terms of industrial relations/ workplace relations and the like,” Senator Milne said. "That is a position the Greens took to the election and will reward the

''IF THE COALITION IS ELECTED, WE WILL RESTORE THE ABCC WITHIN THREE MONTHS OF PARLIAMENT FIRST SITTING.” - Tony Abbott

incoming Coalition Government may find it difficult to carry out its election undertaking before new Senators take their positions in July 2014. Master Builders ACT has invited John Lloyd, former Commissioner of the ABCC, to be the special guest speaker at its 2013 Annual Dinner on 17 October. Mr Lloyd will examine cultural change needed in the building and construction industry and why an ABCC should be restored. In August Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott announced the Coalition had established a Working Group to ensure that if elected the Australian Building and Construction Commission was “re-established quickly and effectively following the election.”

He said a report commissioned by the MBA identified the ABCC which operated between 2005 and mid2012 and oversaw improved industrial relations practices which resulted in dramatically increased productivity throughout the national economy, as a key industrial relations reform. He applauded the Coalition’s oftenstated policy to re-establish the ABCC and its powers. “In reality the FWBC is all bark and no bite,” Mr Harnisch said. However since the election, Greens leader Senator Christine Milne, when asked about the ABCC said: "Well, we don't support it being reinstated.''

faith that people put in us to stand up for what we campaigned to achieve.'' If Labor votes with the Greens in the Senate, the Coalition will not be able to implement other key planks of its workplace policy, including a proposed "independent'' registered organisations commission. Mr Harnisch said the Coalition's victory had clearly given Mr Abbott a mandate to reinstate the ABCC as he had made the commitment in all his major speeches leading up to the election.


Coalition’s small business changes THE INCOMING COALITION GOVERNMENT HAS PROMISED A CUT IN COMPANY TAX AND REDUCTION IN BUSINESS RED TAPE BUT WILL ALSO DISCONTINUE THE SMALL BUSINESS $6500 INSTANT ASSET WRITEOFF AND $5000 ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION ALLOWANCE FOR MOTOR VEHICLES AND SCRAP THE GOVERNMENT'S TAX LOSS CARRY-BACK. The Coalition announced that if elected “a Coalition government will lower small business taxes, cut red tape, remove structural impediments, encourage small business finance and change the culture of government, so that small businesses can grow and employ more people.”

However the Institute of Chartered Accountants expressed concern that in its government savings measures announced shortly before the election the Coalition had foreshadowed the abolition of a number of recently introduced small business tax concessions. Michael Croker, Head of Tax Policy at the ICA said the Coalition’s 28 August announcement of “further additional Coalition savings indicates that small businesses will bear the brunt of the tax consequences flowing from the abolition of the mining tax package." The key business tax changes announced are: •

Master Builders Australia Chief Executive Officer Wilhelm Harnisch welcomed the Coalition’s Small Business policy which he said included proposed reforms which would boost the confidence of small businesses in the building and construction industry.

Discontinuing the Government's tax loss carry-back measure, described by the Coalition “as an inadequate substitute for Labor's scrapping of its long-promised company tax cut."

Discontinuing the instant asset write-off ($2.9 billion) and removing accelerated depreciation for motor vehicles.”

“Small business accounts for nearly 98 per cent of the building and construction industry and they would benefit from the Coalition’s promised company tax cut and the measures … to make it easier for small business to lift productivity and employ people.

“Business will be very disappointed to lose tax concessions to which they have only recently become entitled,” he said. “The Coalition statement is vague on the implementation date of the proposals, and timing should be clarified as soon as possible because tax returns are currently being lodged which claim tax concessions now under threat.”

“Protecting the right of independent contractors to carry out the skills of their trade according to their choice is particularly important to the building industry and Master Builders welcomes the Coalition’s commitment in this area,” Mr Harnisch said.

SMALL BUSINESS MEASURES ANNOUNCED BY THE COALITION DURING THE ELECTION INCLUDED: •

Abolition of the carbon tax

Extend unfair contract protections for small business

Cut $1 billion in red and green tape costs every year

Defer by two years the increase in compulsory employerfunded superannuation

Help small business attract good workers by providing their employees with access to the Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme.

Reduce the company tax rate by 1.5 per cent to a new rate of 28.5 per cent Reject Labor’s $1.8 billion FBT changes on motor vehicles Undertake an independent ‘root and branch’ review of the competition framework

Remove from small business the requirement to administer

the government’s paid parental leave scheme. •

Protect the rights of independent contractors and the self-employed

Improve small business access to government contracts

Establish a new Small Business Ombudsman – and specifically work on improving big business “fair commercial conduct”.


Apprentices wages to rise The Fair Work Commission has increased wages for apprentices in the building and construction and other industries. MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA SAID THE INCREASE WILL AMOUNT TO A 20 PER CENT WAGE INCREASE FOR FIRST AND SECOND YEAR AND HAS WARNED THE INCREASE WILL EXCLUDE MANY YOUNG PEOPLE FROM APPRENTICESHIPS. The FWC decision will affect wages only of those apprentices starting apprenticeships after 1 January 2014. Existing apprentices will remain on current rates pegged at 42 per cent of adult rate for first year apprentices, 55 per cent for second year apprentices, 75 per cent for third year apprentices and 88 per cent for fourth year apprentices. Master Builders Chief Executive Officer Wilhelm Harnisch said, “The Fair Work Commission’s decision today will lock thousands of young Australians out of rewarding careers in an industry crying out for more skilled workers over the next decade.” Under the FWC decision first year apprentices starting after January 2014 will receive 55 per cent of the C10 award rate: $398.50 per week or $10.49 per hour. The ACTU and individual trade unions had sought 60 per cent. The rate for a second year apprentice who has completed Year 12 schooling will be 65 per cent of the adult rate. Third and fourth year rates are unchanged at 75 and 88 per cent of the C10 rate.

Mr Harnisch said, “It must be remembered that apprentices are being paid to attain a qualification. “The Commission’s decision will simply price many apprentices out of what is already a tight job market and at a time when the building and construction is struggling and less able to afford to take them on.” “The Commission’s decision could not come at worse time as the numbers of trade apprentices has slightly increased for the first time in two years on the back of falls of 32 per cent over the same period." Minimum award rates for adult apprentices will also be increased so that the rate of pay for a first year adult apprentice will be 80 per cent of the C10 award rate, while a second year adult apprentice will receive the higher of the national minimum wage or the lowest adult classification rate in the award. An employee who has worked full-time for an employer for at least six months, or for 12 months as a part-time or casual employee, before commencing an adult apprenticeship with the same employer, will not suffer a reduction in their minimum rate of pay. Apprentices will also be entitled to payment for excess travel costs for training and reimbursement for fees and text books. The Fair Work Commission said the pay rise is beneficial for apprentices and employees. "We consider that such a differential is appropriate in setting a fair and relevant minimum safety net for apprentices and would recognise the benefits of having better-educated and potentially more productive young people entering apprenticeships," the Commission said in a statement.

Bookkeepers now able to complete Taxable Payments Reports Changes announced by the Tax Office and Tax Practitioners Board will allow BAS Agents – bookkeepers – to compile and lodge building industry Taxable Payments Annual Reports for their clients. Previously the ATO had warned that Agents were not permitted to compile and lodge the reports. The change in the rules to allow BAS Agents to complete and lodge the Taxable Payments Annual Report followed passage of changes to the Tax Agent Services Act

shortly before parliament was dissolved for the election. This allowed the TPB to decide what services BAS Agents could provide. Previously legislation had to be first passed nominating an individual service before BAS Agents could provide it. As the first measure under the new rules the TPB announced that BAS Agents were now allowed to complete and lodge Taxable Payments Annual Reports. The ATO has made changes to its BAS Agents portal, allowing BAS Agents to directly lodge

the reports in the same way they are able to lodge client’s BAS and other returns. The government announced the introduction of Taxable Payments Reporting for businesses in the building and construction industry as part of the 2011-12 Federal Budget. From 1 July 2012, businesses in the building and construction industry have been required to report to the ATO the total payments they make to each contractor for building and construction services each year.


Calls for Government to improve prompt payment for construction projects Master Builders Australia has stepped up its calls for improved rules to ensure prompt payment of builders on Government and private sector construction projects. MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA HAS REJECTED AS INADEQUATE A PROPOSAL BY THE FORMER FEDERAL LABOR GOVERNMENT FOR A VOLUNTARY FEDERAL ‘PROMPT PAYMENT PROTOCOL' AND REPEATED ITS CALLS FOR A PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION INQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE COSTS, COMPETITIVENESS AND PRODUCTIVITY CHALLENGES FACING AUSTRALIA’S BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. In July the Labor Government, through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science Research and Tertiary Education issued a Discussion Paper on the ‘Prompt Payment Protocol’. Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business, Bernie Ripoll said “the release of the discussion paper would encourage businesses of all sizes, in all sectors to have a conversation about late payments.

“However, just focussing on payment terms does not move to reform the industry,” he said. “A full inquiry was committed to by former Prime Minister Gillard but this promise is yet to be acted upon. “A thorough examination of productivity issues facing the industry is important if a stronger building and construction sector is to help drive a stronger Australian economy post the resources boom,” Mr Harnisch said. In its submission on the Discussion Paper, Master Builders expressed support for the ‘Prompt Payment Protocol’ proposal. “However, the voluntary introduction of a Prompt Payment Protocol is just one factor in reforms that should be introduced in the construction industry to assist with a more resilient supply chain”, the Master Builders said.

"Over time small businesses will have confidence in the certainty of payment when dealing with protocol signatories.

Master Builders said it supported a Council of Australian Governments proposal to establish a review panel. That review panel would have been charged with the conduct of “a broad ranging investigation into cost, competitiveness and productivity challenges in the commercial, civil and large scale residential construction industry.”

"Any business - big or small - that signs up will be able to use the goodwill from making a public commitment to promote themselves as business leaders in prompt payment, building greater trust and sustainability."

The COAG announcement was preceded by statements from the then Premier of Victoria that the issue of ‘rising construction costs’ should be referred to the Productivity Commission, Master Builders said.

However in response to the Discussion Paper Master Builders Chief Executive Officer Wilhelm Harnisch said, “Master Builders welcomes commitments by both Labor and the Coalition to implement prompt payment procedures should they be elected to ensure government departments pay their suppliers on time.

The review did not occur, either through the Productivity Commission or via a specially constituted expert panel. “An inquiry is needed,” Master Builders said.

"The protocol will encourage good payment practices between businesses without introducing extra red tape," Mr Ripoll said.

Master Builders also said there needs to be a broader consideration of the issues raised in the Discussion Paper, “a consideration that is specific to the building and construction industry.”


COMING EVENTS FOR 2013 Master Builders ACT Annual Dinner

Date: Thursday 17 October I

Where: National Arboretum, Canberra

Master Builders Australia National Conference

Date: Friday 14 - 16 November I

This year the Master Builders ACT Annual Dinner will be held at the newly opened National Arboretum. Comedian Vince Sorrenti will MC the event, with special guest speaker, John Lloyd, former Commissioner of the ABCC. Where: Canberra

This year, the conference will be in Canberra at the recently refurbished Rydges Lakeside, November 14-16. Delegates will have the opportunity to join in the celebrations of the centenary of our nation’s capital.

TRAINING DATES FOR 2013 SAFETY LEADERSHIP - ADVANCED OBSERVATIONS & CONVERSATIONS SKILLS TRAINING

Date: There are a number of available dates. (Contact Cecilee Miller at cmiller@mba.org.au to book your place)

CERTIFICATE III IN WATERPROOFING

Date: 28 October - 1 November (Contact Cecilee Miller at cmiller@mba.org.au to book your place) The course is aimed at participants who hold a relevant trade qualification or at least three years experience in the application of waterproofing membranes. Current skills of all candidates will be assessed and recognition granted against qualification requirements.

The program consists of three 4 hour modules and two on site coaching seesions. The Safety Leadership Program looks at the way human factors affect the development and maintenance of safety culture. Participants develop awareness and learn skills, to better influence safety culture on site.

SECTOR COUNCIL MEETINGS 2013 COMMERCIAL

15 OCT

CIVIL

19 NOV

RESIDENTIAL

16 OOCT

SUB-CONTRACTORS & SUPPLIERS

12 NOV

PROFESSIONAL

11 DEC

ACT PRIVATE SECTOR BUILDING ACTIVITY $80 $70

MILLION

$60 $50 $40 $30 $20 $10 $0

Sep-12

Oct-12

Nov-12

Dec-12

Jan-13

Feb-13

Mar-13

Apr-13

May-13

Jun-13

Jul-13

Aug-13

The above graph and table below summarise private sector building activity for the various building sectors in the ACT over the past 12 months. The values for each month are depicted in millions of dollars. // To Insert New Data Goto Object/Graph/Data

• Copy and Paste Pivot Table Data into Data Additions and Alterations (Residential) Commercial Building Work Garages, Pools, Decks and Similar Structures Multi Unit New Housing

Sep-12 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Jan-13 Feb-13 Mar-13 Apr-13 May-13 Jun-13 8.2 5.8 7.02 5.00 6.2 6.4 5.02 7.4 6.3 4 27.5 51.27 34.0 38.2 19.2 68.6 24.3 35 27.5 22.3 13.8 15.8 18.3 13.8 11.6 11.4 13 12.5 13 13 1.8 14.6 0 11.2 16.4 10.2 18 28 43 32.6 40 56 72.3 55.5 55.5 43.2 51.2 69 55 60.2

Jul-13 13 45 22.2 17.3 60

Aug-13 3.4 24 5 13 14.2


On site insight 5 2013 online