Subcontractors Facing Ruin After NBN Work Stoppages

Union leaders from Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU) have condemned the government and Telstra for the nine-week delay in the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

The delays were due to asbestos problems shutting down work sites such as Sydney’s Penrith and Ballarat in Victoria. According to the union leaders, the stoppages have heightened the risk of financial ruin for some subcontractors.

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Pay Disputes Delay NBN Rollout

The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) has been delayed due to pay disputes between subcontractors and contractors working on the project. These disputes are occurring in parts of Victoria as well as Tasmania.

Visionstream, the rollout manager in Tasmania, is in a pay dispute with six of its contractors. Visionstream wants to change from a daily pay rate to a new fee schedule, but contractors argue that the new schedule is so low that they would end up losing as much as $1,000 per day with each crew.

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Giddings Urges Rudd to Act on NBN Delays

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has urged the Prime Minister and his government to address an issue that is delaying the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Telstra has withheld a number of work sites for around 10 weeks due to asbestos in telecommunications ducts and pits. Hundreds of contractor jobs may be lost if Telstra does not release some of these sites immediately.

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SMBs and Sham Contracting Laws

A Newcastle business was recently fined $280,000 for sham contracting. Happy Cabby Pty Ltd, was found to have incorrectly classified some of its shuttle bus drivers as independent contractors. This led to the bus drivers being underpaid and missing out on entitlements such as insurance coverage and superannuation.

The fine is one of the highest ever imposed for sham contracting in Australia. The decision illustrates how important it is for businesses to ensure that they are engaging workers with the right contract and paying these workers appropriately.

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Mining Giant to Cut Contractor Expense

Australian mining conglomerate, BHP Billiton, is looking to cut costs by performing more operations in-house. Extraneous contractor margins are reportedly to blame as the company hopes to rein in expenses at its Pilbara iron ore extraction site.

The trend towards “in-sourcing” started in 2011 when BHP paid AU$705 million to buy out Leighton Holdings’ HWE mining. The move allowed the mining giant to recruit an additional 2,500 staff and gave it more oversight when it came to managing expenditures.

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How Google Glass Could Revolutionise Workplace Safety

The arrival of Google Glass in Australia has excited developers who are already getting acquainted with pre-release versions of the technology.

Simply put, Google Glass is a pair of glasses in which a computer is attached to the lens over the right eye. A projected image displays over the right lens, allowing wearers to surf the net, capture pictures and even use voice activation to send text messages.

Google anticipates that it will start making apps that will be ready for commercial launch in 2014.

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Suspected Asbestos Contamination Causes Stop-Work on NBN Sites

Work has been halted on a number of National Broadband Network (NBN) construction sites as ordered by federal workplace safety regulators as a result of asbestos contamination fears.

According to Comcare, stop-work orders were issued at several locations and it is anticipated that further stop-work orders related to the NBN will be issued.

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Effective SRM Reliant on Support from the Top

Effective strategic relationship management (SRM) is highly dependent on focused support from those who head up organisations.

At the CIPS Supply Management Awards in 2010, Premier Foods and British Sugar won the award for the most exemplary supplier relationship management, with Premier foods also taking overall winner.

A consensus from the board allowed the the procurement team to take a different approach to supplier management. This approval meant they were able to guarantee surety of supply of a vital category.

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Electrical Contractors Expect Stronger Representation

Two large trade associations in Australia are merging to provide greater representation for electricians. Master Electricians Australia (MEA) and Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) are joining forces to better represent their clients within the industry against exploitative business ventures.

Head of MEA Malcolm Richards said that this is a major step forward. Although representing similar interests, both groups have been largely independent previously.

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Are Your Electrical Devices Up To Safety Standards?

Despite the ubiquity of electrical devices around the average household, there still is a real danger of electrocution due to poor handling or faulty equipment. Figures released by the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council claimed that there were 67 fatalities between 1999 and 2003 due to electrocution caused by faulty appliances in Australia and New Zealand.

Furthermore, between 2002 and 2007, 11,260 significant fires were reported resulting from poor safety features on electrical appliances and wiring. It is estimated that the economic impact from faulty electronics amounts to over AU$489 million per year.

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