Q&A with Kristie Burt

Posted 2 August 2019

Q&A with Kristie Burt

General Housekeeping:

  • Please be aware that due to an increase in call and email enquiries coming through, I might not always be immediately available.  If your enquiry is urgent, please let me (or our lovely receptionist) know and I will do my best to respond to you as soon as I can.  If the query is not urgent, I will endeavour to respond within 24-48 hours.

 

  • Just a reminder that to access the IR & Legal Services provided by MBA, you will need to ensure that you are a financial member for the 2019/20 period.  If you aren’t sure if your membership is up to day, call Kalli on 6175 5900.

 

Q: Can you help with giving me and my team a crash course in topics such as right of entry?

A: Certainly!  I am more than happy to arrange a time to go through a topic of your choosing with you and your team.  You can come to MBA or I can come to you – just give me a call to arrange a suitable time.

 

Some of the recent presentations that I have done for members include:

  • Knowing your rights when dealing with the Union;
  • Engaging new employees under the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010; and
  • How be 2016 Building Code Compliant

 

Q: I have heard about the changes to the whistleblower laws but how can they affect my business?

A:  Changes to the laws governing the protections for whistleblowers under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) came into effect from 1 July 2019 which means they will now apply to corporate, financial and credit sectors.

The changes to the whistleblower protections are summarised below:

  • Revision of the definition of eligible whistleblowers to now include officers, current and former employees, contractors and their relatives;
  • Allows protected disclosures to be made about a range of corporate misconduct or an improper state of affairs, but excludes most disclosures of personal work-related grievances from protection;
  • Provides increased protection for eligible whistleblowers by allowing anonymous disclosures and expanding the prohibition against victimisation or detriment towards them;
  • Increases penalties for breaching whistleblower protections (currently up to $10.5 million); and
  • Requires public companies, large proprietary companies and corporate trustees of superannuation funds to have developed and implemented a whistleblower policy from 1 January 2020. 

If you are a company requiring a whistleblower policy, you should ensure that it contains the following key provisions: 

  • The protections available to whistleblowers;
  • To whom disclosures that qualify for protection may be made and how;
  • How the company will support whistleblowers and protect them from detriment;
  • How the company will investigate disclosures that qualify for protection;
  • How the company will ensure fair treatment of employees of the company who are mentioned in disclosures that qualify for protection, or to whom such disclosures relate;
  • How the policy is to be made available to officers and employees of the company; and
  • Any matters prescribed by the regulations. 

Further information about whistleblower rights and protections can be found here.

 

Q: I am a smaller contractor and feel that their contract is largely favourable to the builder. Aren’t there laws to protect small businesses from unfair contract terms? 

A: In short, there are protections for small businesses from unfair terms and conditions in standard form contracts entered into, renewed or varied from 12 November 2016.  

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission describes a standard form contract as one that has been prepared by one party to the contract and leaves the other party little or no opportunity to negotiate the terms. 

If you think that there is a term in your contract that is unfair, the ACCC recommends that you:

  • Speak with the other party to remove or amend the unfair term;
  • Speak with a solicitor about the unfair term and have them assist you with the negotiation for the amendment/removal of the unfair term; or
  • You can have a chat to the ACCC about your rights and how they might be able to assist. 

Further information about unfair contract terms can be found here.

 

Q: Do you have a summary of my reporting requirements under the 2016 Building Code?

 A: I am glad you asked – ensuring compliance with the Code is a Code Compliant Entity’s priority!  Here is a summary of your reporting requirements under the 2016 Building Code:

 


  

If you have any queries or would like to ask a question, please contact me on 6175 5919 or email kburt@mba.org.au.

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