We are very pleased with the amazing progress being made in Queensland, as trainee and apprentice placements reach record highs and a financial result above budget being achieved for the 2014/15 fiscal year.

These results are completely due to the efforts of QLD Manager Alicia Oelkers, Field Officer Brian Cook, and Office Administrator Brooke Caracciolo. Their hard work is certainly paying dividends.

FITEC Australia
The first meeting for the new Fitec Australia board was held in Brisbane on 31 July. The board members are Andrew Bone (Bone Timber SA), Ian Halliday (ex-Harper Timber NSW), Mark Lourigan (Hyne Timber QLD), Jim Burgess (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries QLD) and Neil Whinton (Langs Building Supplies QLD).

Under the leadership of General Manager June Dunleavy, a Fitec strategy meeting was held in Sydney in May and a strategy to move forward nationally was implemented.

TABMA South Australia
State Manager Alicia Oelkers has announced the appointment of Tony Scarinci to the position of Senior Field Officer. Tony commenced working with TABMA on 6 July 2015.

TABMA National Awards and Industry Dinner
Led by Ian Halliday and Alicia Oelkers, judging for the 2015 TABMA National Awards commenced on 5 August 2015.

The award categories are:

  • Best Frame & Truss Fabricator;
  • Best Timber Merchant;
  • Best Building Materials Centre;
  • Wholesaler of the Year;
  • Most Innovative Member;
  • Sales Representative of the Year;
  • Host Employer of the Year;
  • Trainee of the Year;
  • Apprentice of the Year; and,
  • Member of the Year.

This year the awards dinner will be held in Sydney at Dockside, Cockle Bay, on Friday 6 November 2015.

We are extremely grateful for the financial support being shown by our major sponsors including:

  • Gunnersen;
  • Meyer Timber;
  • ITI;
  • Swan Le Messurier;
  • John Cook & Sons; and,
  • ATS Timber.

Without the support of these companies the dinner would not be possible, so thank you.

Head office premises
We have renegotiated the lease on our premises at 486 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, New South Wales, for another two years at a very competitive rate. Our offices are centrally located on the lower north shore, only 15 minutes from the Sydney CBD.


Fair Work Commission decision
The Timber Trade Industrial Association (TTIA) staff are often asked by members if their award-covered employees can “˜cash out’ their annual leave. Currently, unless that employee is covered by an award or an enterprise agreement that includes a provision for the “˜cashing out’ of annual leave, then this is not permitted under the Fair Work legislation.

But in exciting news, I can now inform you about a positive change on the horizon for employers.

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission met on 11 June 2015, as part of their review every four years and it was discussed that all modern awards will be varied soon to include a model term allowing for the “˜cashing out’ of annual leave for all award covered employees. To clarify, “˜cashing out’ means an employee will be able to receive pay in lieu of taking their annual leave.

However, there will be a number of safeguards, including the following:

  • Only two weeks paid annual leave can be paid out in any 12 month period (this would be a pro-rata amount for part-time employees);
  • Employees must still have a residual balance of no less than four weeks annual leave left after the pay out;
  • There must be an agreement in writing between you and your employee to cash out annual leave, and you will be required to keep a copy of this agreement; and,
  • Employees who are under 18 will need a parent and/or guardian’s signature to validate a cashing out agreement.

The decision of the commission was that all 122 modern awards currently in place should be amended to include this modern term.

The Commission has published draft determinations for this claim, and all relevant parties were invited to make a submission on these. Following this process, final determinations will be published soon and TTIA members will be advised when the changes commence.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the proposed changes, please call the TTIA advisory line on (02) 9264 0011.

It seems that in the timber industry, everyone is cannibalising each other’s customers, rather than looking at the real prize – and focusing on the real opportunity – the “˜bricks and mortar’.

It feels as if we have given up and taken our spot in the renovation sector as a “˜nice to have’, and not a necessity.

Sadly, it seems to be that we lack the ability to increase the pie for timber, because we are just too busy fending for ourselves. Where is the innovation? Where are the opportunities to make the industry strong and progressive?

Interestingly, almost all of the recent books, blogs, and papers supporting innovation highlight the importance of collaboration.

There are a number of reasons for this.

Collaboration increases the chances of ideation and leads to innovative combination.

It has been proven time and again that “˜gifted products’ involve the production of a large number of associations, more or less randomly (or blindly), and increase the chance of “˜configurations’. These are happy combinations that represent just what is needed to solve the problem in question.

The skill is in recognising that a configuration has occurred, and understanding that it offers a solution.

Basically, a collaboration provides more interaction, and the more interaction, the more associations will be created from different perspectives. To say it in other words, everyone’s “˜half ideas’ can come together, creating innovative “˜whole ideas’.

Collaborative feedback speeds up the necessary iterations
An innovative solution often comes from a combination of ideas, from conception to delivery. Studies have consistently shown that creative production results from “˜chains’ of connected ideas that flesh out the original thinking.

Collaboration with others can speed up these chains of connected ideas, resulting in something quite innovative. Speed is the last great competitive advantage, so if you want to deliver something fresh, speed is crucial.

Having open-minded people around you can quickly validate whether the idea will have merit, and help build upon it. They can also help you save time by burning through the bad ideas.

Collaboration results in more positive connections
Successful innovation involves more than a great idea. Even if it’s ground breaking, you need to promote the idea so that others adopt or buy into it. You might need capital. You might need partners.

What you do need is great people to help execute the idea. Collaboration with others expands your social circle of connections, and it makes things happen.

Teams provide energy and help overcome the expected resistance
New ideas are often born into a hostile environment, and a team of people can provide much-needed support to push through the hierarchies of inertia.

If you are employed, good ideas are not invented by management can be seen as a threat, thus, having a group behind you helps push through the expected resistance and doubt.

Team feedback can also provide the right energy to keep each other going through periods of unexpected outcomes.

Collaboration helps ideas reach implementation
Innovation results from implementation of a complete solution or idea. There are a million good ideas floating around in the creative genius of the world that will never get implemented because most people are tied to their paychecks, obligations, and – quite simply – can’t afford the risk.

All of the aforementioned reasons contribute to helping an innovative solution reach implementation.

While collaboration is the key to innovation, convergent thinking is still a risk (because the same solution will arise).

The best way to overcome this is to incorporate diversity into a group, and to let individuals engage in a combination of both autonomous and group work.

Being on the edge of innovation can bring rejection from the populous and, consequently, loneliness, you need to collaborate with others that are open minded or share a similar vision.

Entrepreneurship should no longer mean that you have to “˜go it alone’. Collaborating with others is easy in the 21st century (you can start today online!) and is the key to your success. It will provide the associations, speed, connections, and energy necessary for implementation.

If there is no implementation, there is no innovation. People underestimate the important role your industry association plays in this cycle, so when your preferred association asks you to participate in the collaborative process, embrace it – because it’s your future!