NATIONAL resource industry employer group AMMA – the Australian Mines and Metals Association  – says the Coalition’s legislative bill to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is a positive move that will help secure the $620 billion of new resource projects in Australia’s investment pipeline.

“Ensuring the rule of law is applied on mega resource sector construction sites is critical to delivering the $620 billion worth of projects currently in Australia’s investment pipeline,” says AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

“Today’s legislation demonstrates to the global investment community that the rule of law will be upheld in building productive infrastructure in Australia. It sends the message that the significant capital being invested into new projects into our country is not being taken for granted.

“The extension of the ABCC’s jurisdiction to now cover the construction of offshore oil and gas projects, which operate in an ultra-competitive and high exposed marketplace, will help ensure a stable and lawful environment in which more nationally-significant projects can come to life.”

With the ABCC established following recommendations of the Cole Royal Commission, Mr Knott says the previous Labor Government erred when it ignored such findings and dismantled the watchdog in 2012.

“The ABCC has never been a political instrument, it was a law enforcement body specifically recommended by a Royal Commission. Any union complying with the law has nothing to fear from a tough regulator enforcing strong legislative compliance mechanisms,” he says.

AMMA also welcomes the move to address unlawful picketing at building sites, in particular so-called “community picketing” which are often coordinated by building unions to deliberately evade legal regulation of their industrial activities.

“The rights of our nation’s citizens to demonstrate peacefully in support of legitimate social and community concerns are too often undermined by a union ‘rent-a-crowd’ actually pushing industrial agendas and illegally disrupting important economic activity,” Mr Knott says.

“It is well beyond time that those unions which regularly engage in anti-social militancy, thuggery and intimidation accept that they are not above the rule of Australia’s workplace laws.

“The restoration of a tough regulator on Australia’s construction sites is long overdue. The resource industry calls on all members of parliament to act quickly and decisively in supporting this legislation.”

www.amma.org.au

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The Search Party has announced the world's first candidate Marketplace, which will transform how employers recruit talent. The Search Party connects Australian employers with the best qualified candidates quickly and cost effectively.

Employers can search a pool of the best qualified candidates and get connected to recruiters who can then arrange an introduction. At launch the talent pool has close to two million certified candidate profiles represented by agencies that have been handpicked to join.

Distinct from existing online recruitment networks that have been growing in popularity, Marketplace candidates are validated by recruitment professionals before organisations see their profiles. Australian employers at launch include two major international telecommunications companies, two out of the big four accounting firms, and one of the world's biggest technology companies.

"The current employment models are out of date and broken," said Jamie Carlisle, CEO - The Search Party.

 "Having the right people working in your business is one of the biggest priorities for all organisations. Yet it takes employers on average 81 days to hire a candidate at a cost of $15K per person. The Search Party provides a solution that is focused on what's important - finding great talent, quickly and cost effectively. We've built an online marketplace that gives employers access to deep knowledge on candidates by using the expertise of the best recruitment agencies to screen candidates. Alongside this we've designed a powerful search and a management function that makes sure only the most relevant candidates are viewed so employers don't get inundated with CVs."

Ben Hutt, Chief Financial & Operating Officer - The Search Party said, "in less than 10 weeks The Search Party has managed to capture 20 per cent of CVs in the Australian workforce and the candidate pool is growing 10 per cent week-on-week. We expect to have the vast majority of the Australian workforce in Marketplace by the end of 2014, represented by some of the most successful agencies in the country. The Search Party is looking to re-shape the global recruitment industry and will open a number of offices across the globe, starting with London in January 2014."

Paul Lyons, Managing Director - Ambition, Australia said, "the recruitment industry is ripe for change. Its business models are failing with our Clients not placing the same value as us on the work we do, especially where we are working competitively and only get paid when we place candidates.

"We need a new solution that will help us deliver better results for our clients and The Search Party's new approach is a game-changer for us. It allows us to focus on what we're good at which is building relationships with great talent and filling live job vacancies - all in a pricing model that's a win for both recruiters and employers."

The Marketplace's collaborative approach allows recruiters or hiring managers in the organisations access to a vast talent pool represented by top agencies at no cost. Employers can pick the candidates they want to meet, determine commercial terms with an agency and arrange interviews, all in the Marketplace. If employers don't find the right candidate there's no cost, and if they want guarantee periods these can be agreed.

 

About Jamie Carlisle - The Search Party, CEO

Jamie Carlisle is CEO and founder of The Search Party. He has over 10 years' experience managing leading technology start-ups as well as experience as a senior recruitment manager. Carlisle is a serial entrepreneur with a talent for using technology to solve real world problems. He started his first business at 19, and has been involved with a number of successful start-ups over the years including Spreets.com which was acquired by Yahoo!7 for $40 million, and GroupByWhat a group buying analytics platform. Carlisle has spent over three years with The Search Party and is responsible for technology, innovation and driving business growth and success.

Carlisle has held a number of high profile online positions, including Manager of National Brands for ReachLocal in the UK and Australia. He was Head of Social Media and SEO at Spreets.com in Australia before founding The Search Party.

He has firsthand experience of the recruitment industry and has held managerial positions in the UK at both Waters Barnes Associates (2007/2009), and Michael Page International (2006/7) where he started a new division.

Carlisle has a passion for neuropsychology, which he studied at UCL in London, and has a skill for taking academic theory into real world social-business situations. He is vocal about education reform and believes that the current conventional systems are failing to maximise the potential of young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

 

About Ben Hutt - The Search Party, Chief Financial & Operating Officer

Ben Hutt is Chief Financial & Operating Officer of The Search Party. He has over 15 years' experience in management consulting and problem solving with top-tier firms including Macquarie Group and PwC Consulting. Prior to The Search Party, Ben worked in a range of different roles in his five years at Macquarie Group, the last two of which were spent building an international team focused on delivering improved cost efficiency across the group.

Hutt is a perennial business problem solver and an expert in improving productivity. He began his career analysing call centre productivity and the impact of changes in technology for one of Britain's banks, whilst completing his final year thesis as a Psychology undergraduate. After that he spent three years at PwC consulting working for financial services and telecommunications clients in Europe, the UK and North America.

www.thesearchparty.com

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PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) congratulates NSW Minister for Small Business and Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson after she today released the Discussion Paper on the Review of the Retail Leases Act 1994.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the ARA has been working alongside the NSW Government to get the review underway for some time now, and is pleased the NSW Government will now undertake a period of public consultation to ensure the most up-to-date feedback is gathered.

Recommendations will then be made to Cabinet, including proposed legislative amendments to the Act.

“The Retail Leases Act 1994 was put in place to regulate the relationship between tenants and landlords by setting minimum standards for leasing retail space. Some of the key areas to be considered in the review include potential misuse of market power, negotiation of leases and issues relating to full disclosure of the terms and conditions of a lease, and introduction of a standard retail lease.

“The review is critical to the retail sector in NSW and a crucial step forward to ensuring more transparency and fairness in the lease negotiation process - which the ARA has been advocating for in order to level the power relationship between landlord and retailer.

“In 2008 the previous government released a retail leases discussion paper to review the Act but never followed through with the review. The ARA thanks Minister Hodgkinson and the NSW Government for their support on this issue,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people.

The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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Representatives of more than 2 million independent retailers have joined Senator Nick Xenophon in his call for a moratorium on fuel dockets being offered by the major supermarket chains.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has pledged its support for this action to be taken urgently by the Abbott Government.

Russell Zimmerman, spokesperson for the informal coalition of small business groups and Executive Director of the ARA said "Australia's small businesses are hopeful that the ACCC's investigation into the behaviour of the chains will prove once and for all that they continually abuse their market power – the fuel dockets scandal is the most obvious example.

“We are becoming increasingly concerned by the ongoing delay – the ACCC has taken months to decide to take action against the chains and while they delay, our retailers are suffering at the unfair tactics of the chains.

"Immediate action is required to give the independent retailers of Australia the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Without a moratorium on fuel dockets, many businesses may have no choice but to close for good.

"We are at an impasse. The cross subsidisation of the chains continues to impact small businesses on a daily basis. The major supermarket chains claim to be doing nothing wrong and acting in the best interests of the consumer.

"As if the cross subsidisation of fuel was not bad enough, recent offers by the chains are also promoting cross subsidisation of liquor" added Mr Zimmerman.

"Our only hope is that a moratorium on fuel dockets might level the playing field again so we have a fair chance to compete on product and price, at least until such time as the result of the ACCC's investigation is announced,” Mr Zimmerman said.

About the Independent Retailers of Australia – a coalition of retail bodies representing over two million small businesses and five million employees. It is a united voice for independent businesses who want action taken to enforce Australian competition laws; opposed to deep discount fuel dockets and the market dominance of the chains at the expense of a competitively diverse retail sector and ultimately consumer choice.

www.retail.org.au

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RETAIL industry alliance the Australian Traders Group (ATG) members lead by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have met with senior State and Federal Government Treasurers over recent weeks on the low value overseas GST collection issue.

Spokesperson for the group and Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the ATG has been in discussions with government and opposition MPs, emphasizing the urgent need for collection on LVIT.

ARA members have directly raised the issue of overseas GST collection with the Prime Minister in discussions over recent weeks.

“We are also in discussions with state government treasurers, officers and federal government ministers to get this issue finally resolved.

“The ATG industry groups fully support NSW Treasurer Mike Baird in his call for the LVIT issue to be fixed as soon as possible. Mr Baird has been pushing for reform on the low-value threshold on GST for online overseas purchases for a long time, and we are pleased to see that online shopping purchases worth less than $1000 will finally be on the agenda when Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey meets his state and territory counterparts this week.

“It is now up to the states and territories to make a case for changes to the goods and services tax (GST). The ARA and ATG members see Australian based online and traditional stores disadvantaged with the current arrangements and with various low cost collection methods on the table, there should be little standing in the way of collection of the tax through a number of methods.

“We want to level the playing field for online Australian retailers who have to charge GST while their overseas competitors do not. If a reduction to $20 in the threshold from the current $1000 collection rate was implemented, around $1 billion GST could be collected in the 2014-15 financial year, according to last year’s LVIT Taskforce report,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The Australian Traders Group (ATG) comprises the following industry bodies: Australian Retailers Association, Australian Booksellers Association, Bicycle Industries Australia, Photo Marketing Association, Australian Music Association, Photo Imaging Council of Australia, Retail Cycle Traders Australia (Inc), Australian Toy Association, Australian Sporting Goods Association, Franchise Council of Australia and Snowsports Industries of Australia.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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Australia’s largest resort operator, Mantra Group, has been appointed to manage apartment letting at the iconic Soul development in Surfers Paradise.

Mantra Group will manage the property as Soul Surfers Paradise to capitalise on the market presence the Soul name enjoys. The change in management will take place in early November. 

Mantra Group is the most experienced operator of integrated and mixed use properties in Australia. Their appointment and the strategic branding approach will ensure investors not only benefit from the continued market presence of the Soul brand but also the powerful distribution platforms that Mantra Group employs.

Bob East, Mantra Group CEO said he looked forward to taking Soul Surfers Paradise to an even greater level of distinction, "Soul Surfers Paradise is a very exciting addition to our network. The property is already recognised as an outstanding development and our vision is for Soul to be considered one of the most iconic and successful integrated beachside properties in Australia."

Soul is an impressive 77 level tower located on the corner of Cavill Ave and The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise. Developed by Juniper, the development – including the apartment letting business - was placed into receivership in October 2012.

Receiver and Manager Michael Fung of PwC said the management appointment of Mantra Group is a strategic step in the ongoing evolution of the Soul development,  "Mantra Group is recognised as having extensive experience in managing strata titled properties. It has successfully operated beachside locations throughout Australia. We are confident that Mantra Group will maximise returns to owners while delivering the five-star experience that Soul has to offer.

“The Soul development is already recognised as a unique and prestigious five-star property Australia-wide and internationally. By operating the apartment letting business as Soul Surfers Paradise, Mantra Group can utilise its expertise to capitalise on Soul’s current profile in the market.”

All two and three bedroom apartments at Soul Surfers Paradise enjoy spectacular unobstructed ocean views, spacious floor plans, exceptional finishes, beautifully integrated indoor and outdoor spaces, superb colour palates, and exclusive fittings.

Soul's acclaimed two-hatted restaurant, Seaduction, has its own wine-tasting room and private dining room and bar, while the vibrant retail precinct offers excellent onsite shopping and dining. For business and entertaining, Soul incorporates well-appointed conference and meeting rooms to host special events of all kinds, including weddings and other celebrations.

A world class array of facilities are on offer for guests, including multiple pool areas surrounded by sun lounges and day beds; spa, sauna and steam rooms; an oasis of tropical gardens and water features; a superbly equipped gymnasium, plus outdoor exercise and recreation facilities.

Mantra Group is a leading manager and marketer of hotels and resorts in Australia and New Zealand with its first foray into Asia being the opening of Mantra Nusa Dua, Bali in March 2013. The Group owns and operates three well-known and trusted brands – Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree - with over 114 properties and 15,000 rooms under management.

www.soul.com.au

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CONTINUING discussions by the Melbourne City Council about the validity of a bike lane on St Kilda Road and Princes Bridge are important to avoid congestion on one of the city’s key transport routes, says VECCI.

VECCI Executive Director of Policy Richard Clancy says, “We are concerned about the serious impact to traffic flow that closing a lane on this high-traffic route will cause.

“We are hearing reports from the trial that congestion has definitely increased and this is exactly what businesses operating in and around the city, and transport businesses and the like, have continually raised concern about since the proposal surfaced.

“We think it is better to offer a separate bike lane or seek some other solution rather than removing a lane very regularly frequented by high traffic volumes.

“We encourage the Melbourne City Council to consider all options in making the best transport networks for all commuters in the Melbourne CBD.”

www.vecci.org.au

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state.

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VECCI welcomes the orders of the Supreme Court of Victoria preventing the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) from hindering access to and from the Qube site at Station Pier.

The peak business body says it is however concerned that yet another Victorian business has had to resort to court action just so it can go about it normal operations.

“Qube has been forced to undertake costly legal action to ensure it can move its freight,” says VECCI Executive Director of Policy Richard Clancy.

“The evidence before the court was that a picket line at Station Pier was having a serious impact on the movement of freight between Victoria and Tasmania and that third parties were incurring substantial losses as a result.

“This is totally unacceptable.

“In recent months there have been court orders in response to picket line activity at Grocon, Little Creatures and now Qube. Everybody has the right to be able to freely access their place of work. Everybody has an obligation to act lawfully and comply with court orders.

“If the dispute between Qube and the MUA concerns the dismissal of certain workers, those workers have legal avenues they can pursue. There is no justification for a disruptive and costly picket line in such circumstances.”

www.vecci.org.au

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THE Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is seeking input from the business community before finalising its draft recommendations on price and fee setting for government-funded VET under Smart and Skilled to apply from July 2014.

IPART’s draft recommendations propose base prices for each qualification according to the efficient cost of providing the training, with government funding 60% of the base price for courses on the Skills List, and students paying 40%.

IPART is proposing that this approach should apply to all student fees, including apprentice and new entrant trainee fees.

This will ensure the level of government subsidy provided to VET students is equitable. Under this proposal, 16% of students that pay the standard fee would see a fee decrease, while around 24% would face increases of up to $500 per qualification (or $250 per year).

A further 37% would face increases of between $500 to $1500 per qualification (or $250 and $750 per year).

Around 22% of students studying in high cost areas will face increases of more than $1,500 per qualification or around $750 per year.

Apprentices and trainees may face larger fee increases than other students because their current fees are much heavily subsidised, particularly if they are undertaking a higher level qualification in a technical or trade-based industry where training costs are relatively high.

Fees for almost all apprentices and about two-thirds of trainees will increase by $1,000 or more per qualification, or $379 per year for a 3.5 year course, and we have recommended that fee increases for apprentices and trainees be initially capped at $3,000 per qualification to ensure that no individual student faces a higher fee increase than this.

In the subsequent years, this cap should be increased by $1,000 per year until the fee reaches a level that reflects 40% of the base price IPART Chairman, Dr Peter Boxall, said the proposed approach seeks to balance the affordability and availability of VET in NSW.

“While we anticipate that trainees, apprentices and employers will have concerns about fee increases, setting fees lower than 40% will reduce the number of government-subsidised VET places that can be made available in NSW,” Dr Boxall said.

“We estimate that, without fee increases, the NSW Government would provide around 61,000 fewer subsidised VET places in 2014/15, compared to if fees are increased, and we are interested in stakeholder views about whether this is the right balance between affordability and availability.”

IPART has also recommended fees for students receiving a concession. They will vary by qualification level – ranging from $100 for a Foundation course to $500 for Diploma or Advanced Diploma.

Submissions are being sought until 27 August, with IPART due to finalise its recommendations to the NSW Government in September.

The IPART review is occurring alongside the development of the NSW Skills List by the Department of Education and Communities that will determine which courses and qualifications receive government funding.

Under Smart and Skilled, fees would be applied equally across TAFE and registered private providers, with final prices to be set by the NSW Government based on both IPART’s recommendations and the NSW Skills List that is being developed by the Department of Education and Communities.

The Draft Report is available on IPART’s website or by calling 9290 8435.

www.ipart.nsw.gov.au

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MANSFIELD QLD 4122