EMPLOYERS are being urged to plan ahead for the 2020 flu season and offer their staff flu vaccinations to reduce sick days and boost productivity, following this year’s record-breaking flu season which resulted in about 812 deaths and 298,120 Australians diagnosed with influenza.

TerryWhite Chemmart CEO Duncan Phillips said absenteeism was currently costing Australian businesses about $33 billion every year, underscoring the results of a 2017 survey where 84 per cent of organisations said reducing absenteeism was a focus for their business.

“Influenza is a major cause of absenteeism and failure to take action can impact your employees’ health and that of your bottom line,” Mr Phillips said. “In 2018, there were 58, 570 confirmed laboratory notifications of influenza in Australia. This year has seen a 408 percent increase in confirmed laboratory notifications making it officially the worst season on record.”

In response to this ongoing cost to business, Mr Phillips said health and wellness programs were becoming more popular, with more than two in five Australian workers (43%) inow being offered a wellbeing program through their workplace.

“Organisations should plan ahead for their wellness programs to support preventative health, reduce the potential for absenteeism and boost worker engagement and productivity,” Mr Phillips said.

“Flu vaccination programs are the most commonly offered workplace health initiatives, with 70 per cent of companies offering programs onsite for employees and 30 per centvii subsidising employees to receive a vaccination offsite.

“At TerryWhite Chemmart, we offer a Corporate Flu Vaccination program that has received very positive client feedback. Employers – who provide flu vaccinations to staff through our electronic voucher system – appreciate how simple and easy the service is. Staff can book in a flu vaccination at any time that is convenient to them during the flu season at one of our participating pharmacies.

“By offering flu vaccinations through a health and wellness program, businesses can positively impact their employees’ health and help reduce absenteeism. Healthy employees not only live better lives, but they also help boost the working lives of their colleagues and help to deliver better work outcomes,” Mr Phillips said.

TerryWhite Chemmart professional practice manager Chris Campbell said the best prevention against the flu was an annual flu vaccination, as flu strains evolved constantly.

“The influenza virus can easily spread from person to person, with infected patients contagious 24 hours before the presentation of symptoms and infectious for up to a week after the onset of symptoms. Flu symptoms usually include a sore throat, runny nose, headache, fever and coughing,” he said.

“The highly infectious nature of the virus means it can have a massive impact on the workplace, with the virus circulating quickly between co-workers and even onward to their family or friends.”

Under the TerryWhite Chemmart Corporate Flu Vaccination program, corporate partners receive coded flu vaccination vouchers to distribute to their employees, with employers only paying for vouchers redeemed. Employees simply book their appointment online at www.terrywhitechemmart.com.au/flu and enter their unique code to receive the vaccination at a time and location convenient to them at participating pharmacies.

TerryWhite Chemmart’s professionally trained pharmacists will administer the quadrivalent flu vaccination, which helps to protect employees against four strains of influenza. The flu vaccination service is completed within minutes in a private consultation space.

https://www.terrywhitechemmart.com.au/corporateflu/

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WASTE SERVICES workers at the City of Sydney have this morning walked off the job in response to management’s refusal to consult with them over a proposal to outsource household garbage collection to a private contractor without an open tender process.

Almost 100 waste services staff voted to immediately stop work this morning after management refused to answer their questions or undertake genuine consultation regarding the proposal to hand over the work to private contractor Cleanaway.

Workers had been seeking meetings with management for several weeks in an attempt to resolve the dispute, before being told this morning that they would not have their questions answered.

The United Services Union said the outsourcing proposal was deeply flawed and had caused a great deal of angst and uncertainty among the City of Sydney’s loyal workforce.

“Workers are concerned by this plan which would see a private contractor take over all household garbage collection across the city without an open and transparent tender process or expressions of interest,” USU general secretary Graeme Kelly OAM said.

“Workers have spent weeks seeking a meeting with management to discuss this proposal, and when it finally took place they were simply told their questions would not be answered and no negotiation would be entered into.

“Waste services workers feel they have been left with no choice but to stop work in an effort to force the City of Sydney to undertake genuine consultation with them.”

Mr Kelly said there were serious concerns about the proposal, the impacts on workers and the community, and the lack of transparency involved in the multi-million dollar contract.

“A proposal that hands over a huge contract to a private company without a tender process or open expressions of interest should ring alarm bells for every ratepayer in the City of Sydney,” Mr Kelly said.

“Management has refused to answer whether this proposal is about cutting costs or even state that it would be cheaper than retaining the current workforce.

“For ratepayers, this plan would mean the loss of the effective and efficient council waste services members who go out of their way every day for the residents of the City of Sydney.

“Our members know their local community, they treat residents with respect, and over many years of dedicated work they have come to know those that need special help.

“If the City of Sydney takes the easy road of contracting out garbage services instead of retaining a well-trained, passionate, committed workforce, the community will be left the poorer for it.”

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MORE THAN 150 working women have converged on Devonport for the bi-annual Women in Male Dominated Occupations and Industries conference, which aims to encourage recruitment, retention, and improved conditions for women.

Over more than 20 years, this affirmative action initiative of the trade union movement has helped inspire hundreds of women and given them the tools needed to enter, advance, and thrive as a minority in some of the toughest workplaces around.

The three day conference will feature talks by high-profile women, including Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus and Member for Franklin Julie Collins.

Maritime Union of Australia National Divisional Womens Officer Mich-Elle Myers said the WIMDOI network had been a vital resource that had helped many women advance in industries once considered “men’s work”.

“In countless industries and occupations that were once considered ‘men’s work’, women are making huge inroads,” Ms Myers said.

“WIMDOI is about providing the support, encouragement, mentoring, and assistance that is needed to encourage more women to enter these industries.

“Run by women trade unionists, we focus on the steps needed to break down barriers, offer support, improve retention, and ensure women receive the same wages and conditions as their male counterparts through collective action.

“Members of WIMDOI have gone on to become highly successful in some of the toughest workplaces around as a result of the support and encouragement of the network.

“Others have become leaders of our unions, using their skills and experience to deliver better outcomes for everyone working in their industries.”

The Spirit of Wimdoi Conference is being held from November 12 to 14 at the Paranaple convention centre in Devonport.

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THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has called for regulatory reform in the franchising sector that "encourages genuine cooperation between franchisors and franchisees and effectively punishes bad behaviour".

Ms Carnell said the Parliamentary Joint Committee report, Fairness in Franchising, highlighted a systemic lack of transparency and accountability in franchising and a breakdown in the operating relationship of many franchise models.

“One of the services we offer is assistance with franchising disputes, and we hear firsthand the issues that are affecting franchisees and franchisors every day”, Ms Carnell said.. 

“There is a need for urgent action in reforming the franchising sector to create a level playing field for franchises and franchisors.

“The franchising sector is worth more than $180 billion to the Australian economy and the 97,000 franchised businesses in Australia employ close to 600,000 people," she said.

“This is why it is important to strike the right balance between regulation and allowing small businesses to grow and prosper.”

The Federal Government has opened the next stage of consultation on the future regulation of the sector and is seeking feedback on the draft Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) by December 6, 2019.

“The release of the RIS gives the franchising sector the chance to create meaningful reform -- it’s critical that small businesses in the franchising sector get involved in this consultation process to ensure their voice is heard,” Ms Carnell said. 

“Small businesses that want to have their say on the future of the franchising sector can access the RIS online and make a submission.

“It is essential we see effective and timely reform in the franchising sector that is squarely focussed on fairness and creating mutually beneficial business relationships.”

www.asbfeo.gov.au

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THE iQ Group Global has announced its equity crowd-sourced funding platform Capital Labs has launched a new investment offer, driving a new era in Australian Healthcare.

One of the first ASIC authorised equity crowd-sourced funding (CSF) platforms in Australia, Capital Labs only partners with companies launching technology and innovations that have a positive impact on Australia’s future. For investors, Capital Labs provides access to early-stage retail investment opportunities in innovative companies and technologies in a variety of sectors for as little as $100.

Capital Labs is excited to announce its partnership with Greenfield MC Global, a medicinal cannabis enterprise focused on the development and distribution of pharmaceutical-grade medicinal cannabis products for the Asia Pacific region.

“At Greenfield MC Global, we strive to help shape this new era in patient care,” Greenfield MC Global chairmand and president Arjun Chhabra said.

“We are delighted to partner with Capital Labs to invite retail investors, who believe it’s time for change in Australia and the Asia Pacific, to participate in this raise,” he said.

Part of bioscience investment enterprise The iQ Group Global, Capital Labs backs innovative companies with a unique full-service crowdfunding raise offering, including investment banking, marketing and advisory services.

George Syrmalis,  iQ Group Global CEO, said the offer aligns with the core mission of Capital Labs.


“Capital Labs is a platform for Australians who believe in investing in positive change,” Dr Syrmalis said.

“Providing retail investors the opportunity to fund companies bringing meaningful innovations to market in sectors alongside life science, Capital Labs exemplifies our commitment to innovation,” he said.

The Greenfield MC Global offer is live now, closing on December 12, 2019. 

https://capitallabs.com/greenfieldmc  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXJMNvRF_gg&feature=emb_title

About The iQ Group Global

The iQ Group Global is a group of companies that find, fund and develop bioscience discoveries to create life-changing medical innovations. The group’s flagship innovation is the Saliva Glucose Biosensor, the first non-invasive replacement for finger-prick blood glucose testing for people living with diabetes. www.theiqgroupglobal.com.

About Greenfield MC Global

Greenfield MC Global is a licensed medicinal cannabis importer and distributor in Australia, with expanding operations in cultivation, research and distribution in New Zealand, South Korea, the Philippines and other Asia-Pacific markets.

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“THERE WAS more good news for the housing market today with the release of figures showing that the value of owner occupier home loans has reached its highest since July of last year,” Shane Garrett, chief economist of Master Builders Australia said. 

“The latest figures indicate that the seasonally-adjusted value of lending to owner occupiers reached $14.24 billion during September, an expansion of 3.2 percent compared with the previous month and up by 5.6 percent compared with a year ago. The value of new home lending was up by 0.8 percent during the month,” he said. 

“The news around the housing market has been largely positive over the past six months and the new figures out today add to the unfolding good news story,” Mr Garrett said. 

“Confidence has been in short supply across the economy over recent times with the subdued state of domestic demand reflecting this.

“The state of the housing market has a huge impact on people’s willingness to spend and invest. The continued improvement in the housing market will assist in this respect,” Mr Garrett said. 

“We still need more from all levels of government so that demand in the economy can be bolstered. Earlier today, the Reserve Bank trimmed its short-term growth forecasts for the Australian economy.

“Part of the problem is that new infrastructure projects are not hitting the ground quickly enough. This is causing economic recovery to be delayed unnecessarily,” Mr Garrett said. 

During September, Tasmania saw the largest increase in the number of owner occupier home loans (+10.3%), followed by Western Australia (+5.6%) and the Northern Territory (+3.6%). There were also increases in Queensland (+3.5%), New South Wales (+1.8%), Victoria (+1.8%) and South Australia (+1.0%). The ACT was the only market to see the number of owner occupier loans drop during September (-1.8%).

www.masterbuildersaustralia.com.au

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BRISBANE students will be encouraged to consider engineering and other STEM careers when they roll out their problem-solving skills today. 

The year 9 students from Coorparoo Secondary College, St Laurence’s College and Kelvin Grove State College will program Lego robots, discover chemical processing, and how engineering is used in environmental management on a mine site. 

The event is being conducted at Coorparoo Secondary College by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA). 

“These practical tasks are linked to current classroom learning and help join the dots between classroom theory and the practical application of maths and science,” said Katrina-Lee Jones, director skills education and diversity with the Queensland Resources Council. 

“It also helps them understand the variety of careers available in the resources sector, and how to step onto these career pathways. 

“We are facing a critical shortage of engineers particularly in mining and we hope that these students will be encouraged to consider this vital and rewarding occupation.” 

QRC is the peak representative body for Queensland ‘s resource sector. The Queensland resources sector provides one in every five dollars in the Queensland economy, sustains one in seven Queensland jobs, and supports more than 14,400 businesses and community organisations across the State, all from 0.1 percent of Queensland’s land mass. 

The QMEA is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program. It has 74 schools throughout Queensland. 

www.wrc.org.au

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THE Victorian and Commonwealth Governments are being urged to back the emerging offshore wind sector in a move that could drastically reduce carbon emissions while providing quality jobs for workers who are already being impacted by the transition out of fossil fuel industries.

In a joint report launched by the Victorian Trades Hall Council this morning, unions from the maritime, energy and manufacturing sectors have outlined a series of steps to not only encourage the use of offshore wind to reduce carbon emissions, but take advantage of the emerging industry to diversify the job opportunities for workers and communities which are currently reliant on coal, oil and gas.

Putting the ‘Justice’ in ‘Just Transition’: Tackling inequality in the new renewable economy focuses on the Star of the South project, Australia’s first proposed offshore wind farm which would use 250 turbines between 10 and 25km off the Gippsland coast to generate up to 20 percent of Victoria’s electricity.

The report, produced by the Maritime Union of Australia, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, Electrical Trades Union, and Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, outlines the steps required to not only support the development of this emerging sector, but to ensure it delivers positive outcomes to communities reliant on fossil fuel industries.

The report recommends:
• the Commonwealth establish an energy transition authority to work with states and regions, develop a stand-alone Offshore Renewables Act, and create an agency responsible for facilitating the development of offshore renewable energy in Commonwealth waters;
• the development of offshore and onshore renewable energy master plans that incorporate assessments of supply chains, procurement and infrastructure;
• ensuring renewable energy financing, targets, contracts, licensing and approvals require the maximising of local jobs, including planning for direct redeployment of workers from fossil fuel industries;
• the Victorian Government establish a just transition group to ensure a well-planned energy transition with the best possible social outcomes by formally consulting with relevant stakeholders including trade unions, employers and communities;
• maximising the social benefit of the Star of the South project by requiring local design, manufacturing, and construction;
• funding of appropriate training and retraining through local TAFEs, along with minimum apprentice ratios; and
• maximising the number of jobs available by ensuring good rosters and reasonable hours of work.

Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Luke Hilakari said addressing climate change must be a priority and political leadership is required to ensure workers and communities currently reliant on fossil fuels weren’t thrown on the scrap heap.

“This transition must be managed in a way that ensures workers and their communities are put front and centre, with clear plans to support workers into new, quality jobs in the manufacturing, construction, and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure, when companies make decisions to close businesses,” Mr Hilakari said.

MUA deputy national secretary Will Tracey said Australia already had highly skilled seafarers and offshore oil and gas workers, capable of constructing offshore wind projects

“Political inaction has seen the decline of Australia’s shipping industry, while the growing shift away from fossil fuels threatens the jobs of skilled workers in the offshore oil and gas sectors,” Mr Tracey said.

“The development of an offshore wind industry gives us the opportunity to transition those highly-skilled workers into the important work of delivering Australia’s clean energy future.”

AMWU Victorian secretary Tony Mavromatis said the implementation of appropriate planning and procurement policies could provide a boon for local manufacturing.

“A renewables sector that relies on bringing in equipment from overseas provides limited economic benefits, but if governments put in place requirements for the use of local content we would see a massive boost in local manufacturing jobs,” Mr Mavromatis.

“By not only fostering the development of offshore wind farms, but actively ensuring these towers and turbines are produced locally, the environmental benefits would be matched by economic and social outcomes.”

Gippsland Trades and Labour Council secretary Steve Dodd said the poorly managed power privatisation and the abrupt closure of the Hazelwood power station and coal mine had a devastating impact on the community.

“The closures in the Latrobe Valley are examples of how not to manage a transition, and we need to learn from those mistakes,” Mr Dodd said.

“But the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, with the support of the Latrobe Valley Authority and the Victorian Government, has been able to train 2,000 workers and help most into new jobs.

“We need to continue this work with the Star of the South project, and show working people that it is possible to undertake major industry reform that puts workers and their communities at its heart by ensuring future low emissions jobs are good union jobs.”

Putting the ‘Justice’ in ‘Just Transition’: Tackling inequality in the new renewable economy: www.mua.org.au/sites/mua.org.au/files/uploads/Submissions/2019%20just%20transition%20offshore%20wind%20report%20FINAL.pdf

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THE Federal Court has disqualified Sydney man David Iannuzzi from practising as a registered liquidator for a period of 10 years.

This is the first time the ATO has initiated Federal Court proceedings using Corporations Act provisions to take on the facilitators of schemes designed to avoid paying tax.

The Federal Court found that Mr Iannuzzi, as the sole director of Veritas Advisory Pty Limited, had been systemically negligent in his responsibilities as a liquidator over an extended period of time and across more than 23 companies.

The Federal Court found that Mr Iannuzzi’s "systemic conduct was certainly reckless; it fell very far short of the conduct that was to be expected of him; it demonstrates that he failed to observe the obligations of candour on him with regard to disclosing relevant circumstances to creditors; it reflects poorly on his character; and it demonstrates that he is not a fit and proper person to remain registered as a liquidator".

ATO Assistant Commissioner Aislinn Walwyn said the outcome demonstrated that the ATO will take firm action to hold facilitators of illegal phoenix activity to account and take steps to remove them from the business environment where they have acted negligently.

“Our taxation and superannuation systems rely on the integrity of industry professionals, including insolvency practitioners,” Ms Walwyn said.

Illegal phoenix activity is when a company is deliberately liquidated, wound up or abandoned to defeat creditors, leaving its debts behind. Its assets are shifted to the controllers or to a new entity that begins trading, often under a similar name.

“Illegal phoenix activity affects the whole community. It rips off creditors and employees and reduces the amount of revenue that could be collected to fund essential community services,” Ms Walwyn said.

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2018 estimated the economic impact of potential illegal phoenix activity to be up to $5.13 billion per year. This includes small businesses and individual contractors or suppliers who are left unpaid, employees who haven’t been paid their entitlements, and all Australian taxpayers who ultimately bear the burden of unrecovered tax debts left behind by phoenix activity

The ATO leads the 37-member Phoenix Taskforce, which aims to protect public finances, as well as honest businesses and employees, by deterring and reducing illegal phoenix activity.

lllegal phoenix activity can be reported at www.ato.gov.au/tipoff or phone 1800 060 062.

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A NEW REPORT, to be released today, will urge the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to back the emerging offshore wind sector in a move that could drastically reduce carbon emissions while providing quality jobs for workers transitioning out of fossil fuel industries.

In a joint report launched by the Victorian Trades Hall Council, unions from the maritime, energy and manufacturing sectors will outline a series of steps to not only encourage the use of offshore wind to reduce carbon emission, but take advantage of the emerging industry to diversify the job opportunities for workers and communities which are currently reliant on coal, oil and gas.

Putting the ‘Justice’ in ‘Just Transition’: Tackling inequality in the new renewable economy focuses on the Star of the South project, Australia’s first proposed offshore wind farm which would use 250 turbines between 10-25km off the Gippsland coast to generate up to 20 percent of Victoria’s electricity.

The report, produced by the Maritime Union of Australia, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, Electrical Trades Union, and Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, outlines the steps required to not only support the development of this emerging sector, but to ensure it delivers positive outcomes to communities reliant on fossil fuel industries.

Workers from fossil fuel industries who would like to transition into a new offshore wind sector will also be available for media interviews.

Launch: Putting the Justice in ‘Just Transition’

When: 10:30am, Friday 8 November 2019

Where: VTHC, 54 Victoria St, Carlton

 

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THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has welcomed the Federal Government’s move to pay e-invoices within five days or pay interest on late payments.

The five day e-invoicing payment policy applies to contracts valued up to $1 million, where both the lead contractor and federal government agency both use e-invoicing.

“This is a game-changer for e-invoicing small businesses that are directly engaged in a contract with a federal government agency,” Ms Carnell said.

“The next step would be to apply this to businesses right down the supply chain. Our Small Business Counts report shows that late payments continue to hamper small business viability, with half of all small businesses reporting late payments on 40% of their invoices," she said.

“This policy will improve cash flow for small businesses so they have the confidence and the capital to re-invest. We encourage small and family businesses to adopt e-invoicing and make the most of the benefits that flow from that, including reduced administration costs and fewer processing and handling errors.

“We know that around 1.2 billion invoices are exchanged in Australia every year. Research shows it costs about $30 to process a paper invoice and about $9 per e-invoice, a significant saving," Ms Carnell said.

“Around 20 percent of traditional invoices are sent to the wrong person and about 30 percent contain incorrect information – delaying payment. In fact, research shows the Australian economy would benefit to the tune of $28 billion over a decade, if all businesses switched to e-invoicing.

“This Federal Government e-invoicing payment initiative sets a benchmark for all states, teritories and big business to follow.”

www.asbfeo.gov.au

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