New good work design handbook online

Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer Michelle Baxter.

Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer Michelle Baxter.

SAFE WORK Australia has launched a new handbook to help businesses meet obligations under the work health and safety laws, reduce worker injury rates, and improve productivity and bottom line.

Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer Michelle Baxter said that that well-designed, healthy and safe work allowed workers to have more productive lives, which in turn drives business efficiency.

Principles of Good Work Design shows businesses how to go about designing out hazards before a worker gets injured, which delivers tangible savings by avoiding the costs associated with incidents that result from poor work design practices,” she explained.

“It is often easier and more cost-effective to address hazards and risks during the planning and design stage. This applies to the places we work in, the things we use at work, as well as to how we design organisational structures, roles and tasks.”

A Safe Work Australia initiative under the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 and led by Comcare and WorkCover Queensland, the handbook contains information about the ten principles of good work design and how they can be applied to any workplace, business or industry.

Principles of Good Work Design is a ‘living’ electronic document that will be updated regularly with links to case studies and practical examples from businesses that have successfully applied the good work design principles.

“The handbook complements a range of existing resources available to businesses and work health and safety professionals,” said Ms Baxter.

“Failure to consider how work is designed can result in poor risk management and lost opportunities to innovate and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of work.

Good work design can radically transform the workplace in ways that benefit the business, workers and clients.”

Principles of Good Work Design is available on the Safe Work Australia website.

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National workplace relations laws need to change, SAWIA chief

A submission from the wine industry to the Productivity Commission’s national workplace relations review has highlighted the need for comprehensive reforms to the federal workplace relations laws.

The detailed submission prepared by the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) in collaboration with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) contains 22 recommendations.

“We have identified a range of changes that need to be made to get flexibility and balance back into the system, lift productivity and cut red-tape and compliance costs, particularly for many of the small businesses in the wine industry,” Brian Smedley, SAWIA chief executive, said. “For example awards are still complex, inflexible and overly prescriptive despite numerous reforms to the award system over the last three decades.”

Smedley said a new approach is required and the award system should be largely replaced by clear legislated minimum standards.

“We need legislative changes that support employers implementing smarter, more efficient and productive work practices,” he said. “Enterprise agreements should reflect core employment conditions and not be used as a vehicle to ban the use of contractors, casual employees or labour hire staff – a supplementary workforce is an essential part of the modern workplace.”

Employers and employees should be allowed to agree to individualised working arrangements that are stable, meaningful and mutually beneficial, according to Smedley.

“Therefore the Individual Flexibility Agreements (IFAs) must be given wider scope to work as intended.”

Smedley said the wine industry also needs a system that caters for seasonal fluctuations.

“For example, vintage is dictated by weather conditions and as such days and nights of the week have no real meaning if grapes need to be picked in the coolness of the evening or pressed on a weekend then employees are needed for these tasks,” he explained. “For cellar doors, weekends and public holidays are the peak periods for tourists. Yet, the award system penalises the industry for weekend and public holiday work, requiring penalty rates of up to 250 per cent per hour.”

Smedley said other recommendations made in the submission were aimed at simplifying the making of enterprise agreements and restoring the balance in relation to employee protections.

“For example, we need the practice of paying go-away money where an employee has been dismissed for poor performance or serious misconduct stopped – it has become normalised even when claims of unfair dismissal lack merit,” he said.

To view the full submission, go to and follow links.

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Penalty rates, hidden compliance costs come out in survey

Source: Grapegrower & Winemaker, May 2015,

A RECENT survey of wine industry employers from across Australia has found the current workplace relations system to be complicated and expensive.

Real-life examples from employers were collected earlier in the year by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) in a bid to
identify the impact of current workplace relation laws.

The move came ahead of an important submission to a national review by the Productivity Commission into Australia’s workplace relations system. As well as finding the current process
complicated with often delayed decisionmaking, employers noted the main sources of compliance costs related to the award system, leave entitlements and termination of employment.

Industry feedback was gathered using an online survey and individuals share their views and experiences in order to give real examples for the case to simplify the system. While the contributors will not be identified in the submission, their experiences will support the comprehensive submission being made to the Productivity Commission, and ultimately to the Australian Government
later this year. Aimed at uncovering hidden costs in the wine industry, the survey also found penalty rates for weekend and public holidays were major costs and caused concern for employers, especially during vintage and for cellar door operations.

The issues led to support for abolishing the Modern Award system and incorporating some of the core award entitlements into the National Employment Standards (NES). The results and feedback will be used by SAWIA as recommendations in their submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry, according to Brian Smedley, SAWIA chief executive.

“So this is a unique opportunity for wine industry employer’s right across the country to have a say on how workplace laws effect our operations and also to suggest ways flexibility and productivity
can be improved,” Smedley said.

“Some areas we know are problematic such as penalty rates and public holidays and we also want to highlight the need to cut red tape and reduce the unnecessary compliance burden on wine businesses.”

More information about the Productivity Commission inquiry can be found at

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Winemakers forced to recruit overseas workers over lack of applications from Adelaide’s jobless

GRAPE growers and winemakers say they are being forced to hire foreign workers because people from Adelaide’s high-unemployment areas seem unwilling to move even temporarily to the country.

More than 105,000 temporary work visas were granted by the Department of Immigration to foreign nationals in 2013-14.

The South Australian Wine Industry Association has told a Senate committee inquiry into temporary work visas that many of its members experience difficulty recruiting skilled and unskilled workers. More


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Return to Work Regional Seminars

Return to Work Regional Seminars

South Australia’s new Return to Work Act will commence on 1 July 2015 heralding the biggest change to South Australia’s workers compensation arrangements in almost 30 years! Every employer must understand and comply with the new laws.

Regional Seminars are being hosted by SAWIA – Barossa (5 May), Riverland (6 May), Clare (7 May), McLaren Vale (12 May), Langhorne Creek (13 May), Adelaide (20 May) or Coonawarra (21 May).

To register Click Here.

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NSW Workcover mentor program open for businesses

WorkCover NSW is calling for small and large businesses across the State to take part in its 2015 Mentor Program.

The WorkCover Mentor Program is a free program which involves large and medium-sized businesses pairing with a small business to help them identify new ways to address safety in their workplace.

Acting General Manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division Peter Dunphy said the Mentor Program not only enabled small businesses to improve safety but also competitiveness and productivity.

“Finding time to focus on safety and make improvements can be a challenge for any small business,” Mr Dunphy said.

“The Mentor Program brings big and small businesses together to create new ways of tackling safety in the workplace.

“Mentors understand the work health and safety challenges mentees face on a daily basis and can suggest innovative solutions to safety, injury management and workers compensation issues.

“Together they participate in one-on-one discussions and onsite visits as well as free WorkCover advisory and educational sessions across a variety of safety and injury management topics.

“If you are a large or medium-sized business with an interest in proactive workplace safety, or a small business that wants to learn more about it, gain a competitive advantage and boost productivity, register for the 2015 WorkCover Mentor Program today.”

Mr Dunphy added that the Program, which generally runs for six to eight months, was flexible enough to fit around mentors and mentees’ work schedules.

“Since 2006, more than 520 businesses have participated in the Mentor Program with more than 90 per cent of mentees improving work health and safety as a result,” he said.

“Through the WorkCover Mentor Program, we aim to have more NSW workers return home safely at the end of the working day and fewer families experience the devastating impact of a workplace injury.”

To qualify as a mentee, a business must employ less than 20 full-time workers or equivalent.

Entries close Monday 9 February 2015.

WorkCover has produced a video featuring the stories of previous mentors and mentees. For further information on the WorkCover Mentor Program, visit or call WorkCover on 131050.

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How to: write a stand-out job description

Pic: Wavebreak Media Ltd 123RF

Pic: Wavebreak Media Ltd 123RF

Source: Grapegrower & Winemaker, January 2015, Emilie Reynolds

THERE has been an article circulating the internet recently, which discussed the influx of ridiculous and over-complicated job titles. A lifeguard position had been advertised as a ‘wet leisure attendant’, while a vacant spot in a local school canteen called out for an ‘education centre nourishment consultant’. There had even been a case last year where Naked Wines advertised for the position of ‘customer happiness manager’, exactly what role had the company been filling? Well, it’s all right there in the title.

While it could be easy for employers to embellish job titles to make them sound more appealing and exciting, Jane McNeill, director of Hays in New South Wales, believed a simple approach would be best.

“The job title needs to be written in a way that would attract the interest of candidates in a language that is honest and easy to understand,” she said.

In short, practice saying the proposed title to yourself a few times. If you aren’t clear what it means one you’ve heard it, perhaps it’s time to reign in the creative license.


Researching the job would allow an employer to advertise for the position, not an individual in the position.

“To write a good job description you need to sit down with the hiring manager and firstly establish what duties and responsibilities are involved in the job,” McNeill said. “You should describe both the duties or tasks, as well as the expected outcome or result that the incumbent is required to produce.”

Any training and development offered by the company should be also be assessed by employers and highlighted in the description.

“Candidates should be aware of career development opportunities and pathways that could be open to them,” said McNeill.


McNeill said it was important to be detailed and include every task, no matter how small.

“Do not be tempted to gloss over tasks for fear that they may appear menial; it is important that the job description accurately reflects the reality of the job you are recruiting for and what tasks you need the incumbent to perform,” she said.

“Often job descriptions will include 30 or more tasks, some also include an indication of how much time should be dedicated to each aspect of the role or task.”

Would heavy-lifting be involved? Would they need to operate machinery or attend after hours events? Filling the profile with detail could make it more appealing to potential applicants and Nick Slape, Yalumba People Department manager, said the more interest in the role, the better. “It’s about reaching a wider potential market,” he said. “If someone responds to the advertisement, it gives us an opportunity to engage with that person and expose our brand and style to them.”


Better known as knowledge, skills and abilities, this section should make up the bulk of your job description. KSA’s give potential applicants an idea of the level of experience, training and education you’re looking for.

McNeill said the more facts, clarity and context you could provide in the job description, the better.

“List the skills and competencies the incumbent must possess in order to successfully do the job and go into more detail about the position where appropriate,” she said.

Would the position require a university degree? Six years on-the-job experience? Fluency in French? Write the KSA’s carefully and truthfully to avoid disappointment on either side.


Employers should be open about the position on offer to ensure potential applicants feel confident enough to apply. McNeill said employers should include information about the organisations culture so candidates could consider whether they were a ‘cultural fit’ with the vacant position, and if they would suit the team and the company’s way of operating.

“If the job description will be given to interested job applicants, ensure that the content sits in line with the company’s employment brand,” she said.

“Lastly, if the salary is not included a salary range should be specified as well as an outline of any other benefits.”

WHERE TO START: Draw out a good plan.

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Get the interview process right – Part 3

Source: Grapegrower & Winemaker, November 2014, Stephanie Timotheou

How can a candidate ‘nail’ their interview?

Christian Campanella, Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ global HR Director:  Interviews can be nerve-racking but it’s really important you use this as an opportunity to give your interviewer an insight into your personality. This will help your interviewer get an understanding of your character, drive, motivations and passion which are all incredibly important in the recruitment process. It’s also important to show an interest in the business or industry you’re looking to move into. This won’t be written in the job specification but interviewers are looking for  you to go above and beyond what you have been provided with to showcase your ability and desire to fulfil the role and stand out from the crowd. You only have one opportunity to make a positive and lasting impression on your interviewer so make sure you put your best foot forward. If you don’t, someone else will.

Lisa Morris, Hays recruitment’s senior regional director for SA: Be prepared. Preparation is critical to job interview success, so it pays to do your homework. You should research the organisation concerned by visiting their website and consulting social media. This helps you gain a better understanding of their business and how your experience and skills match. It’s also important to look professional, act professionally and dress professionally for your job interview. As a rule, you should expect the environment to be conservative and corporate,  to dress conservatively rather than casually or radically.

What mistakes should candidates try to avoid making during an interview?

Christian Campanella, Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ global HR Director: The ultimate no-no, in my opinion, is being unprepared. Not only do you come across like you have a lack of understanding about the company, but it also shows a real lack of motivation and passion for the role. Another thing to keep in mind is your appearance, always make sure you are appropriately dressed and don’t look unprofessional or unsuitable for the role. Finally, and this one might seem like a no brainer, but simple etiquette should also be considered. For example, make sure you are not late, don’t use unsuitable language and don’t insult colleagues, ex-employees or people in the industry.

Lisa Morris, Hays recruitment’s senior regional director for SA: We asked employers for their opinion on what deters them from a candidate in a job interview and the top 10 they came up with were: Poor verbal communication skills; not answering the  question asked; not researching the company or role before the interview; leaving a mobile phone  on; inability to provide solid examples of previous experience; exaggerating experience or skills; focusing on the negative rather than the positive in situations or experiences; inability to answer technical questions; arriving late; and not displaying an interest in the role.


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Reaching the top: Predictors of women in the top roles in the wine industry

Jeremy Galbreath, from the Curtin University School of Business, has been researching the roles for women within the wine industry. She suggest that wineries are yet to reap the benefits of having women filling more senior positions.

The following is an excerpt. The full article can be sourced from Grapegrower & Winemaker December 2014 edition

To explore the research propositions, I studied women in CEO, winemaker, viticulturist, and marketer roles across all wine companies in Australia from 2007 to 2014. The findings suggest larger companies have less representation of women in top roles, the only exception being women in the winemaker role.

Companies with strong environmental sustainability credentials tend to have more women in top roles; namely, in CEO and marketer roles. Lastly, companies with high export orientations reduce the likelihood of women representation in top roles, particularly in CEO and winemaker roles. This is contrary to my prediction.

Much of what we know about women in the wine industry is based on anecdotal evidence and media reports. This empirical study, which examines all wine companies in Australia across an eight-year period, suggests that if women wish to reach the top roles, there appear to be better opportunities in smaller companies than larger ones and those that take environmental sustainability seriously. Alternatively, companies that are exporting high volumes appear to be less likely to have women in top roles.

While the results are modest in that only a few predictive variables were studied, they nonetheless expand our knowledge about women in the Australian wine industry. As noted in my own research, women possess highly valuable human capital, and this capital should be leveraged more effectively by Australian wine companies.


Gilbert, L.A. 2011. California women winemakers, their accomplishments, and their progress in a male-dominated field. Working paper, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, August 2011.

Prestipino, D. 2012. Watershed moment for Margaret River winery. Available at

Ting, I. 2013. Women in wine are pushing open the cellar door. Available at


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Government assistance for employing people with disabilities


Source: goodluz/

The 3rd of December was International Day of People with Disability. Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Minister responsible for Disability Services, wrote to employers on 3 December about this date. He urged all employers to consider that the right person for their organisation may be a person with a disability.

The Government offers the following assistance for employing people with a disability:

  • Funding workplace adjustment costs;
  • Free, practical advice on removing employment barriers; and
  • Assistance from Disability Employment Services (DES) to find employees, provide support in removing workplace barriers and provide on-the-job support.

The Government has produced a package of resources to mark International Day of People with Disability and to support Australian employers that employ people with a disability. These resources are available on the JobAccess website, at

Included on the site are: case studies, videos, information about recruitment and retention, removing workplace barriers and much more.

JobAccess can be contacted at any time for advice or support on 1800 464 800.

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