Victoria Reports - December 2010
Mandatory soil sampling rules
EPA Victoria requires soil sampling, before soil is removed from a site, in all cases where:
- Soil is of unknown origin that has been brought onto a site or;
- Former uses of that land include agriculture, industry, commerce, mining or;
- Land that may have had manufactured chemicals applied to it.
In all the above cases soil must be classified as category A, B or C or clean fill.
To access the EPA Soil Sampling guidelines and the soil hazard categorisation and management guidelines follow the links on the CCF web site at www.civilcontractors.com/victoria/environment/contaminatedsoilpiw/soilsampling
For any queries please contact Paul Mannix on 03 9819 5170.
Contaminated soil forum
CCF held the first of what will be a series of contaminated soil forums in October. With expert presenters, the forum was a wealth of practical information from a civil contracting perspective. Those who attended found the event to be interesting and relevant, with excellent content.
Presentation topics included:
- EPA: emerging trends, what’s new;
- Understanding environmental site assessments and soil testing;
- Managing remediation projects and OH&S;
- Current soil treatment options and emerging technologies;
- Pre-contract cycle roles and responsibilities, for the contractor and client;
- Disposal of contaminated soil to land fill; and
- Remediation case study and examples.
All presentations from the forum may be viewed at the CCF Victoria website at www.civilcontractors.com/victoria/environment/contaminatedsoilpiw/contaminatedsoilforumoct2010
WorkSafe on procurement safety
WorkSafe Victoria has launched Health and safety in construction procurement - A handbook for the public sector. This provides practical guidance to state government, local government, statutory authorities and other agencies that procure, commission, manage and maintain government building and civil construction projects.
The publication can be accessed from WorkSafe Victoria’s website at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/wsinternet/worksafe/home/forms+and+publications/publications/health+and+safety+in+construction+procurement+-+a+handbook+for+the+public+sector
Fair Work targets Ballarat
Two new education and compliance campaigns will see Fair Work inspectors visiting employers in Ballarat and those in transport businesses in regional Victoria in the month ahead.
Inspectors will check that employers are paying staff their full entitlements and are complying with record keeping and pay slip obligations.
In Ballarat's case, 40 employers have already been notified of the requirement to produce time and wages records for audit and another 60 were door knocked on 23 - 24 November.
In the case of the transport industry campaign, transport companies will be selected from Bendigo, Castlemaine, Ballarat, Horsham, Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, Camperdown, Shepparton, Colac, Kyneton, St Arnaud, Echuca, Swan Hill, Mildura, Seymour, Benalla, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Leongatha, Morwell, Bairnsdale, Healesville, Kilmore and Geelong.
Serious penalties can apply for failure to comply with Fair Work requirements. For example, in recent cases:
- a Mildura restaurateur was fined over $11,000 for failure to comply with a direction to provide employment records;
- a NSW fruit store operator has been fined $85,000 for underpaying employees on top of having to make up around $94,000 in underpayments.
Any employer requiring assistance should contact Peter Maguire on 0438 533 311 or Rick Knowles on 0407 095 007 at Ridgeline HR.
Standardising infrastructure design
CCF Victoria has for some time been working with DPCD and local government to achieve enhanced standardisation of infrastructure design throughout local government across Victoria.
The result of this important advocacy work by CCF and the parties involved has been the development of the Regional IDM which is largely complete, and a similar version for the growth areas municipalities which is approaching completion.
Take-up by local government at this early stage has been excellent and continues to grow. Further information can be accessed at www.civilcontractors.com/Administration/Obout/Editor/Library/documents/VIC/News/151110%20Infrastructure%20Design%20Manual.pdf and at www.designmanual.com.au
Fair Work busy
Annual reports released recently by the Fair Work Authority and the Fair Work ombudsman, illustrate why all employers need to be paying close attention to their employment arrangements and human resources management practices.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has been very busy in 2009-10:
- Receiving over 1.1m phone enquiries about workplace relations matters;
- Having over 370,000 downloads of its online tools;
- Resolving over 21,000 complaints from workers;
- Recovering over $26m for workers in underpaid entitlements; and
- Initiating 53 prosecutions.
The other main government agency in industrial relations, Fair Work Australia also reported an increase in business with:
- A 63% increase in termination of employment claims with a record 81% settlement rate (mainly by phone conciliation which accounted for 92% of conciliations);
- A 62% increase in industrial dispute notifications about 1/3rd of which related to enterprise bargaining;
- A 247% increase in enquiries; and
- The major exercise of creating a whole new set of 122 modern awards a focal point over the course of the year.
So clearly people are going to the Fair Work Ombudsman for advice on their rights and entitlements and Fair Work Australia is seeing a lot more claims being made.
On the subject of unfair dismissal claims, the government maintains that they are not about "go away money" but, with a settlement rate of 81%, there must be a significant number of these which have involved a settlement over and above standard employee entitlements on termination.
That has certainly been our experience in matters that we have assisted members with. The bottom line: assume that your employees will be informed about their rights and your obligations as an employer and ensure that you are meeting them.
If you need help in ensuring that your arrangements are compliant or with advice on a people management issue, call our workplace relations advisors on 03 9819 5170.
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