2017 - TTIA and in­dus­try high­lights

Australasian Timber - - NEWS - Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer TTIA

Yes, an­other year’s sands fil­ter down the hour­glass, which mean it’s time to re­flect on the good, the bad and the ugly in 2017!

Let’s go with the good first. In any­one’s as­sess­ment, it has been an ex­cep­tion­ally busy year in terms of de­mand for the ser­vices and timber prod­ucts for our Mem­bers. It’s def­i­nitely been a while com­ing, but the surge in work and build­ing ac­tiv­ity has been most wel­come and worth the wait! My long-term trusty barom­e­ter of in­dus­try health might not be sci­en­tific, but it’s mea­sured by the num­ber of Mem­bers who have en­quired about the re­dun­dancy pro­vi­sions in our Timber In­dus­try Award as to how things are go­ing. This year, I can’t rec­ol­lect one call or dis­cus­sion on our TTIA hot­line where a Mem­ber was look­ing to ei­ther make an em­ployee re­dun­dant or re­duce their hours due to eco­nomic rea­sons or slack­ness of trade. If any­thing, the lack of suit­able em­ploy­ees to fill po­si­tions due to the in­creased cus­tomer de­mand has been the real topic of dis­cus­sion and source of frus­tra­tion.

In terms of lit­i­ga­tion, we have han­dled a higher num­ber of mat­ters this year for our Mem­bers, rang­ing from de­fend­ing anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion mat­ters, un­fair dis­missals, bul­ly­ing claims, gen­eral pro­tec­tion claims and Fair Work Om­buds­man com­plaints. We have also had a high num­ber of en­ter­prise agree­ment mat­ters and re­cently as­sisted one of our Mem­bers with a Safe-Work in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent in their work­place.

The good news is that most of th­ese claims have set­tled for low amounts at the con­cil­i­a­tion con­fer­ence stage with a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of ap­pli­cants bow­ing out be­fore the con­cil­i­a­tion com­mences. We also had an un­fair dis­missal mat­ter that pro­gressed to a hear­ing be­fore a Mem­ber of the Fair Work Com­mis­sion which was heard in Septem­ber this year. Our TTIA so­lic­i­tor, Janet Gil­bert, man­aged the ad­vo­cacy with skill and prepa­ra­tion and ap­peared be­fore Com­mis­sioner Saun­ders. The Com­mis­sioner re­leased his de­ci­sion two weeks later, dis­miss­ing the mat­ter; so, yet again, an­other good re­sult for one of TTIA’s Mem­bers.

Unique in­dus­try re­source

The Work­place Health and Safety Unit con­tin­ues to be a unique in­dus­try re­source widely utilised by Mem­bers. TTIA now does ei­ther 6 or 12 monthly risk as­sess­ments for a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of our Mem­bers through­out the coun­try. The ma­jor­ity of our Mem­bers can­not af­ford to em­ploy a full-time Safety Of­fi­cer, so reg­u­lar sup­port and ex­per­tise from their in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion is es­sen­tial in keep­ing on top of the chang­ing work place health and safety land­scape.

The feed­back on TTIA’s WH&S unit is uni­ver­sally pos­i­tive and the ef­forts and ex­per­tise of Ken Hock­ing, our Se­nior WHS Man­ager, is well known through­out the in­dus­try.

Re­cip­ro­cal ar­range­ments

Con­trary to a com­ment I was re­cently sur­prised to read, the vast ma­jor­ity of timber re­lated in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions by and large co-op­er­ate ex­tremely well in our in­dus­try and largely fo­cus on their area of ex­per­tise with pur­pose and skill. This ap­proach I be­lieve is prefer­able to du­pli­cat­ing ex­ist­ing in­dus­try ser­vices tra­di­tion­ally of­fered by spe­cific As­so­ci­a­tions on the pre­tence of be­ing the “big­gest and the best”. I know that from a TTIA per­spec­tive we are proud to have nu­mer­ous re­cip­ro­cal service ar­range­ments with many in­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tions and reg­u­larly con­sult with them on any po­ten­tial ar­eas of co-op­er­a­tion from po­lit­i­cal lobby sup­port, stag­ing con­fer­ences and hold­ing joint in­dus­try din­ners. This ap­proach won’t change in the fu­ture.

Enough of the good, I don’t have time to talk about the bad and the ugly (nor I should as it’s Christ­mas and a time to be merry!) so, I will leave that un­til an­other year.

What I will say is it’s been a plea­sure to serve our loyal Mem­bers again this year and con­trib­ute in some small way to as­sist­ing them in the smooth run­ning of their or­gan­i­sa­tion. I’ve said many times at nu­mer­ous meet­ings and public fo­rums that I think we have the best Mem­ber­ship in the busi­ness and I will con­tinue to say it. The cross-sec­tion of the in­dus­try in terms of both sec­tors and States is what makes TTIA unique.

Christ­mas wishes

On a fi­nal note, the fran­tic pace of this year for the in­dus­try makes this Christ­mas and hol­i­day sea­son one that will be es­pe­cially wel­come. There­fore, my hum­ble ad­vice is to en­joy the time off with fam­ily and friends, try to for­get about work for a few weeks and best wishes from all at TTIA to Mem­bers and read­ers of this in­dus­try pub­li­ca­tion. Look for­ward to chat­ting next year!

Brian Beecroft

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