WorkCover has recently released an update on plans to reform workers compensation premiums for medium employers* and large employers* within New South Wales. The changes are due to come into effect from June 30 this year.

At this stage the information is quite limited but at this time we can report:

  • The conventional premium formula will change (no more ICCRs and ECCRs) from 30 June 2015
  • Premiums will no longer be adjusted at the end of a year as a result of claims experience, only wages will impact the adjustment
  • Like general insurance policies, risk will be assessed and set at renewal for that policy period (details around how they will assess risk is unknown at this time)
  • Minimum and maximum premiums will be introduced
  • Incentives for employers who manage injured workers by returning them to work are being introduced. This will be referred to as an Employer Safety Incentive (ESI)
  • Incentives for employers who have no claims for four consecutive years will also be introduced. This will be referred to as an Employer Safety Reward (ESR).
  • We have been advised that further information should become available in April. At this time there is no further detail that can be provided on the above.

For assistance or if you have any questions about how and if this will impact you, please contact our workers compensation team on (02) 8267 9999 or via email at or

* Medium Employer: an employer with a Basic Tariff Premium above $30,000

* Large Employer: an employer with a Basic Tariff Premium above $500,000

Please note, your Basic Tariff Premium can be found on your workers compensation premium notice.


2015 promises to be a big year for both Fitec (RTO) and the TABMA workplace and career development division (GTO).

We have arrangements in place with ITI Australia, Home Hardware, Hardware & General and the Big River group to place and train apprentices and trainees for each organisation and with ITI, Home Hardware and Big River it is on a national basis.

As well, we are currently negotiating with Tasmania’s largest timber merchant to undertake a similar scheme in that state. The 2014 merger with Fitec will result in us not only placing the trainees/apprentices but having the capability to train them as well.


It is with great sadness that we learned on 31 January 2015 of the sudden passing of Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) CEO, Richard Stanton.

Richard was an outstanding CEO of AFS and as a board member I respected his thoroughness and capability enormously.

We pass our condolences to his family and colleagues. He will be greatly missed.


It’s going to be a busy year for everyone: The construction market is tipped to see a rise in investment. There are indications that dwelling approvals are at an all-time high, the Government is potentially reviewing industrial relations legislation (though hopefully with very little change), legal reforms on foreign home buyers being implemented (an important point missed during the shenanigans of the political parties), the dynamic changes in business and consumer behaviour and the effects it has on marketing and sales activities, and the list goes on.

Regardless of which activities most affect members – what it means that for an association such as the TMA is that we must become much more in tune with finding ways to help members access information and data that is relevant and helps the decision-making process.

This is no mean feat. The industry is notorious for its tight-lipped approach to sharing information and data. However there is a way we can understand customer behaviour through the amalgamation of data. Not surprisingly, this is through activity on the internet.

Through the major search engines it is possible to monitor enquiries for products and services. Doesn’t sound like much, but you can tell what type of device is being used, what words are being searched for, and information being searched out and also if that has been turned into a transaction. It’s still not perfect but it’s a start and the advantage is that it’s completely anonymous and consolidated.

It provides trends and from a marketing perspective this is important. As a marketer will know, seeing trends is a more positive indicator of behaviour than looking at responses in a survey (because the survey is often filled out by people wanting to give the right answer and not always reflective of what they do).

So we need to continue to build a solid understanding of the technology that is out there so that not only can we understand the customer, but ensure that we are able to streamline our businesses with the technologies and tools that help to improve response and delivery times, without a great imposition to cost and service.

This year we will focus our breakfast series on technologies and their impact, from reaching the consumer to redefining inventory processes. Our goal is to supply members with the latest information to improve business efficiencies.

Maybe too big a task, but no one can shoot us down for not trying! The first in the series will be held on March 19 – so mark your calendars!



In addition to company-level briefings, the ATIF has started more structured training to assist timber product importers, customs brokers, freight logistics managers and trade association representatives to better understand and comply with the requirements of the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act (2012), the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation (2013) and to utilise the ATIF Legality Compliance Toolkit.

The first structured training session was held in early February at Swan Le Messurier in Smithfield, NSW. Training facilitators were John Halkett, sustainability manager for Timber Development Association Stephen Mitchell and managing director of McInnes International Campbell McInnes.

Further training is being planned.


The Australian Government has announced a $6 million grant to the Responsible Asian Forestry and Trade (RAFT) program.

This funding will support regional efforts to combat illegal logging and bolster trade in legal timber products through building capacity for countries to comply with legality assurance requirements.

This financial assistance for the RAFT program continues Australia’s support to countries in Southeast Asia in order to meet legality assurance and governance requirements.

The funding will allow current work and support of a third phase of the RAFT program that will commence on 1 July 2015. This work will include liaising with businesses, land-owners and regional timber processors to develop certification systems to conduct due diligence for sourcing legally logged timber.

The ATIF will assist in developing projects that meet the aims of the RAFT program, notably within Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, that assist timber product exporters better understand and meet the requirements of Australia’s illegal logging legislation.