Annual Report 2021

Trustee for the construction industry long service leave fund


The portable Construction Industry Long Service Leave Scheme has supported the Victorian Construction Industry for more than 44 years. Formerly under the statutory authority banner of the Building Industry Long Service Leave Board, the Scheme adopted the name CoINVEST in 1992 and later privatised on 1 December 1997 to become CoINVEST Limited as Trustee for the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to provide employee workers within the Construction Industry with the benefit of long service leave and address the challenges related to the short-term project based employment nature of construction.


Long service leave provides a critical opportunity for workers to rest and recuperate within an industry that has disproportionately high rates of physical and mental stress. This support contributes to the ongoing wellbeing of an Industry that represents more than 200,000 employees and their families, and contributes $21.6b to the Victorian economy.

All members who carry out construction work in Victoria, including employers, directors, subcontractors, workers and apprentices are required by law to be registered with CoINVEST and comply with the Rules of the Scheme. The CoINVEST Scheme is funded on a contribution model; employers in the industry are required to make a quarterly contribution proportionate to the size of their payroll. Currently, this is 2.7% of the total gross wages of their workers conducting covered activities. In this way, every employer, no matter how large or small, pays their fair share. CoINVEST has supported employees in the industry paying more than $1.6 billion in long service leave claims since the Scheme began in 1976.


CoINVEST's Mission

is to administer long service leave benefits to the Victorian construction and allied industries.

CoINVEST will do this by providing security, accuracy,  and responsiveness to our customers on a cost-effective basis.

Key Highlights

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the CoINVEST portable long service leave scheme over the 2020/2021 financial year.

Membership Highlights


Calls taken


Emails received


Claims paid

4.2 days

Average claim processing


New Employer registered


Active Employers registered


New Worker members registered


Worker members receiving service


Contributions collected and processed


Average quarterly contribution per Worker


Total Worker members with service recorded


Total Worker members with claimable Long Service Leave entitlements

Covid-19 Testing Bus

CoINVEST proudly supported Incolink, along with CBUS, the ETU and the State Government in helping to set up a mobile COVID-19 testing clinic for the construction industry. 

The testing bus visited many sites around Victoria including Government projects like the metro tunnel stations, large commercial offices, hotels and suburban developments. 

While the state was going through some of its most difficult periods of restrictions during the pandemic, the COVID-19 testing bus helped to keep the construction industry moving and keep our members and their families safe.

Sustainability and Carbon Reduction

By transitioning our communications with members from post towards email, we have been able to make a huge reduction in carbon emissions. It is estimated that the average emissions impact of a standard postal letter is 20g of carbon dioxide (Co2), while the average email with no attachments produces around 4g of Co2

Our digital transition has assisted us in averting more than 680 Kgs of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere via typical postal and mail processes in favour of email and digital communications. 

Improvements to our IT infrastructure, such as upgrading to more efficient servers and cooling systems and the upgrade of technology resources, has reduced power consumption costs by up to 80%. This represents an excellent outcome in terms of the energy used for our core processes.

Tobacco Free Portfolios

CoINVEST is a proud signatory of the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge. The pledge highlights the leadership of financial institutions that have implemented tobacco-free finance policies and encourage others to follow suit. 

With tobacco the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, divesting from the tobacco industry is a sensible, ethical, and sustainable step for the management of member funds and provides a positive contribution to improving global health. 

Click here for more information on the Pledge.

Member Engagement Experience

Over the year, Membership Services addressed some key areas with opportunities to improve member experience and delivery expectations with improvements implemented. 

Member enquiry response timeframes were improved with a reduction in abandonment rates, communication response rates and average times, supported by the addition of new staff to these service departments. A dedicated team has been introduced to address member requests relating to missing service which will see an improved processing time allowing members to receive their claims and recorded service in a vastly improved time frame. 

Various IT security measures were deployed along with the introduction of a new website platform ensuring greater security of member data and process governance. The updates to our technology and internal systems has also seen an improvement in performance and reliability all benefiting our members, their security and overall interactions with CoINVEST.

CEO Overview

George Pappas

deputy Chief executive officer , coinvest ltd

With the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020/21 financial year provided continued challenges and opportunities, as it did for many industries and families within our community.  We continued to operate the business in a working from home environment. Upgrades to our IT and phone systems coupled with expanding the resources in the Membership Services team ensured our high member experience standards were maintained and in certain areas improved.

The average time for paying claims continues to improve despite the challenges of working from home and industry uncertainty.  Scheme compliance has also improved with advancements in the administrative process and the introduction of a dedicated Arrears team to ensure our Employer members are supported to meet their obligations and Worker member records are complete and accurate.

Fund Performance was strong with consistent positive returns, with a total return of 14%; a great achievement and well above our target of 4.9%.  Our funding ratio is at 130% which places the fund in a healthy position not only to adequately meet member long service entitlements as and when they fall due but also to weather the uncertainty of the financial markets. 

It was a credit to our management and staff that we were again able to continue to support the construction industry through yet another difficult year.  Our IT systems continued to be flexible, and an adaptive setup allowed all staff to continue to work from home.  This ensured we could support members without interruption.  

In July, John Hartley and Ben Boyd both completed their tenure at CoINVEST.  John was CEO for over 25 years and Ben held senior positions for 28 years, most recently as the General Manager, Corporate Strategy and Systems.  I would like to sincerely thank them for their dedication and contribution to the Scheme.  

Our Chairman, Kate Spargo, retired from the Board after 16 years of service.  I, along with the Board and staff, would like to thank Kate for her contribution and leadership and her important role within the Victorian construction industry.  We wish them all the best for the future.  

With one chapter closing, another new chapter begins.  I would like to introduce our new Chairman, Jenny Acton, and new CEO, Craig Bell.  Both bring a wealth of experience and knowledge that will ensure CoINVEST continues its commitment to, and support of, the construction industry.  Welcome Craig and Jenny.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board for their guidance, our staff for their resilience, hard work and commitment, and all our members and stakeholders for their continued support.  


George Pappas 

Deputy CEO, CoINVEST Ltd


Chairman's Review

Kate Spargo

chairman of the board , coinvest ltd


The impact of COVID-19 continues to affect our world and the construction industry, with many challenges and uncertainties to staff and members in both their work and personal lives. We have continued to further adapt and evolve to ensure superior customer service to members, the security of the fund and the health and well-being of our staff are priorities over this period.

The continued measures taken by the Government and the Industry to keep construction going safely in Victoria meant that there was stability in claims numbers with many members unable to travel, therefore saving the option to take their long service leave. There have been great examples of government, unions, employees, and employer groups working collaboratively to support the industry with fantastic initiatives such as on site COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

The Fund has now been fully funded for over six years with the successful diversification of the portfolio delivering an impressive return of 14.04%. This was achieved through reducing exposure in volatile markets and strong returns in the Real and Alternative Assets portfolios. 

2021 has produced consistent positive returns to the Fund with an excellent return of 14.04% (gross of fees and taxes) which has shown great recovery from 2020’s return of 4.34%, and well above the target of 4.9%. Funding ratio has increased from 116.1% (June 2019/20) to 130.0% at the end of June, which places the fund in an extremely strong position to be able to meet long service leave claims when submitted. 

Contributions were marginally impacted by COVID. Over the year, benefits paid totalled $119.4M compared to $145.3M for 2020 down 17.8%. There were 12,439 worker claims paid compared to 14,585 payments in the previous corresponding period, a reduction of 14.7%.

Operational staff made a huge effort to continue to ensure that eligible workers were able to have their claims processed quickly and as efficiently as possible with an average processing time of 4.2 days per claim, down from 10.2 days for the previous year. 

This period was challenging to staff with the majority of the year in lock down and working from home environments. Business improvements and the commitment to compliance and refining operational efficiencies continued, as outlined in the 5-year strategy which is a reflection of the leadership and quality of staff and strength of CoINVEST’s values.

The safety of our staff and members is paramount. As such we will continue to support the governments direction to work from home until it is safe to return to the office environment. The Board and I would like to express our sincere thank you to staff for supporting each other and our members during this time.

In July 2021 John Hartley completed his tenure as CEO. John has been affiliated with the Long Service Leave Scheme for over 27 years and was CEO for CoINVEST for 25 years of that time. On behalf of the Board I thank him for his contribution and leadership over that period. Also in July, a long-standing member of the Management team, Ben Boyd, retired after a career at CoINVEST of over 28 years. On behalf of the Board, I thank Ben for his commitment to the industry and the Fund as General Manager, Corporate Strategy and Systems over that period. The Board offers both John and Ben and their families our best wishes for the future.

Also, on behalf of the Board, I thank George Pappas for taking on the role of Acting CEO whilst the board found a suitable replacement to lead CoINVEST into its next chapter. I thank George and his staff for their efforts over the year, and in particular for ensuring the Scheme continued to function smoothly in yet again very difficult circumstances.

To conclude, this will be my last Review as Chairman due to my retirement from the board after 16 years, I would like to thank my fellow Directors for their ongoing contributions to CoINVEST and the construction industry.

Kate Spargo

Chairman, CoINVEST Ltd


Fund Snapshot

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the performance of the long service leave Fund over the 2020/2021 financial year.

Fund Highlights


Benefits paid to members


Investment return to the Fund

6 years

Scheme has been fully funded


Funding ratio

Fund Commentary

While the 2019-20 financial year produced a return of 4.34%, the 2020-21 financial year produced consistent positive returns. Our total return for the financial year of 14.04% is an excellent result, well above our target of 4.9%. The Fund at 30 June 2021 has a strong funding ratio of 130.0%; more than adequate to meet member long service leave claims as and when they fall due. The Fund has now been fully funded for over six years.   

The Equities portfolio produced a strong absolute return of 30.13%, well above the benchmark of 28.0%. With the Fund exceeding the Board’s strategic funding range, exposure to volatile equity markets has been reduced over the past three years from 51.1% of the Fund in 2018 to 35.8% in 2021. 

The Real Assets portfolio produced a solid return of 10.36%, exceeding the benchmark of 5.12%. This portfolio includes direct property, listed and unlisted infrastructure and property. The valuations of unlisted real assets within the context of COVID19 were tested in 2020. In 2021, with a return to a greater degree of certainty, valuations were far more positive. The Directors believe that valuations are reasonable considering these conditions. The valuations adopted have been calculated using fair values based on the existing use of the assets.

The Alternative Assets portfolio produced a return of 9.07%, which exceeded its benchmark of 5.12%. This portfolio now includes multi-assets and credit investments, alternative risk premia and the currency overlay program. 

The Australian Fixed Income portfolio produced a negative return of 0.36% but exceeded the benchmark of negative 0.84%. The results of the de-risking program resulted in Fixed Income increasing from 13.2% in 2018 to 26.9% of the Fund in 2021.

Cash produced a small positive result of 0.49% and exceeded the benchmark of 0.06%; a strong result given the level of the official cash rate.

The investment industry has moved proactively and via regulation to higher levels of transparency in the disclosure of cost and fees. CoINVEST is not regulated by agencies, such as APRA, nor bound by ASIC’s RG97 on the disclosure of fees and costs, but does adopt industry best practice. Accordingly, for the 2022 year-end accounts onwards, CoINVEST will adopt a ‘net-of-fees’ reporting approach, rather than the past ‘gross-of-fees’ approach. This will allow for improved transparency.

The Board approved investment strategy continues to implement diversification of the portfolio, aiming to greater protect the Fund’s Accrued Benefits Ratio position, reduce volatility and compensate for risk. 

The Fund regularly reviews its return targets taking into consideration the level of inflation, unemployment, GDP growth, interest rates and the general national and global economic environment. In consultation with its advisors, the Board decided to maintain the return target of 4.9%.

In 2021-2022, the Finance and Investment Committee will review investment values and beliefs and risk appetite which may result in revisions to funding ratio strategic ranges, return targets and strategic assets allocations.

The impact of COVID-19 continues to be a pervasive factor since the beginning of the 2020 calendar year. Its impact on the Victorian construction industry has been uncertain as the State moved through various stages of lockdown. Despite this uncertainty, the unions, employers, employer groups and the state government all worked together to minimise the impact on construction activity. There was no material increase in claims, and contributions received were marginally impacted. 

Management has maintained a strong oversight on the cash position, working with the Finance and Investment Committee and supported by the Board, to ensure the Fund’s solvency. 

The COVID-19 impact on the global economic outlook remains on the downside. There continues to be no real pandemic playbook. What is clear is that the rate of vaccination will significantly affect the course of the pandemic. Interest and inflation are expected to remain low; unemployment will fall as economies reopen; and the ability of economies to return to historically normal growth rates will vary by industry and country. 

The political outlook has significant uncertainty. Issues around the trade/cold war with China and geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East and Asia requires the Finance and Investment Committee of the Board to remain vigilant regarding its investment responsibilities.



Board of Directors

The CoINVEST board has eleven Directors, consisting of eight industry representatives and three independents.

Kate Spargo

Independent Director / Chairman

(Retired 30 September 2021)

Jennifer Acton

Independent Director / Chairman

(From 01 October 2021)

David St. John

Independent Director

Di Fulton

Independent Director

Kate was appointed as a Director on 1 October 2005 and as Chairperson on 1 October 2019. She retired from the CoINVEST Board of Directors on the 30th of September 2021. She served on the Audit, Finance and Investment, and Remuneration Committees of the Board. 

Kate’s background is in law both as a practitioner and in academia. She holds a Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Adelaide University. Kate is a Director of CIMIC Ltd, Sonic Healthcare Ltd, Xenith IP, Adairs Ltd, Sigma Healthcare Ltd and the Geelong Football Club.

Jennifer Acton was appointed as a Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors on 1 October 2021.  

Jennifer has relevant expertise in sound governance, remuneration, corporate culture, and ethical and evidence-based decision-making from her experience in finance, logistics, ports, transport, water and education industries.  

She holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in Economics, as well as Law, and was awarded the Supreme Court Prize in Law.   Jennifer is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and has been accredited as a mediator under the Australian National Mediator Standards.

David St. John was appointed as a Director from 1 October 2019.  David is Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee and serves on the Audit & Risk, and Remuneration Committees.  David has an extensive background in investment management as a practitioner and as a consultant. He currently sits on the Investment Committee at Deakin University and works on a part time basis as an expert advisor at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

David’s career included investment consulting at William M. Mercer where he was a World Wide Partner, and he was Chief Investment Officer at UniSuper for eight years from 2001 to 2009.  He also has past experience as a Member and Chair of Legal Super’s Investment Committee, and as a Non-Executive Director of the Motor Accidents Insurance Board in Tasmania.  David holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (BAgrSc), a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment.  He is a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (SF Fin) and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD).

Di Fulton was appointed as a Director on 1 October 2015. She is Chair of the Audit Committee, a member of the Finance and Investment, and Remuneration Committees. Di is an experienced non-executive Director with a background in the technology and telecommunications sector spanning more than 25 years. 

She has an extensive commercial background as an operational executive working across sales, marketing, customer experience and business transformation. Prior to joining the CoINVEST board, Di was the Executive Director of Global Commercial Operations with Telstra. Di holds a Graduate Diploma of Business and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Robert Graauwmans

Building Trades Workers

Barry Terzic

Metal Trades Workers

Paddy McCrudden

Building Trades Workers

Arron Harris

Electrical Trades Workers

Robert Graauwmans was appointed as a Director on the Board on 1 July 2017.  Robert has been a full time official of the CFMEU since 2006.  

He was responsible for the Western Districts of Victoria for six years, and then moved to Melbourne to represent Mobile Crane Hire and the Inner Eastern Suburbs.  Robert is President of the CFMEU in Victoria.  

Robert is a member of the Audit Committee.  Robert has been reappointed for another 4 year term to the CoINVEST Board.

Barry Terzic was appointed as a Director on the Board on 16 October 2018.  After qualifying as a fitter and machinist in NSW in 1982, Barry worked in the trade for two years.  After obtaining a degree in industrial relations in 1987, he commenced employment at what is now the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union in 1988 as a national research officer.  Barry worked in this role until 2002, principally as an industrial advocate for the AMWU.

In 2002, Barry commenced employment as an adviser to the then shadow minister for industrial relations and shadow attorney general in the Commonwealth parliament.  He commenced employment with the AMWU’s Victorian branch in 2005 as an industrial officer. While there, he completed legal studies, was admitted as a lawyer and currently holds a lawyer’s practising certificate.  Barry has been reappointed for another 4 year term to the CoINVEST Board.

Paddy McCrudden was appointed as a Director on the Board on 22 November 2012.  He is a member of the Finance and Investment Committee of the Board.  Paddy was employed by CBUS from 2005 to 2010. 

He re-joined the Plumbing Trades Employees Union in 2010 and currently holds the positions of Assistant Secretary and Federal President.  

He is also a Director of the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre, the Plumbing Joint Training Fund, the Plumbing Advisory Council and the Indigenous Plumbing and Sanitation Foundation.

Arron Harris was appointed as a Director on 9 May 2017.  Arron has worked in the electrical industry for more than 25 years after completing an electrical apprenticeship and has worked on many multi million dollar projects including major retail centre upgrades and medical projects.  

In 2006 Arron became a branch organiser with the ETU Victorian Branch representing electrical workers in the contracting industry sector.  Arron is also an active member in the community with sporting coaching positions.  

In November 2016, Arron was appointed as an Assistant Secretary of the ETU Victorian Branch.  Arron also serves on the Remuneration committee of the Board.

David Newnham

Building Trades Employers

Michael Purnell

Electrical Trades Employers

Tim Piper

Metal Trades Employers

Grant Donald

Building Trades Employers

David Newnham was appointed to the Board on 1 July 2011 after being an alternate Director since March 2011.  David has 40 years of experience in the construction industry after graduating as a civil engineer.  He has been State Building Manager for AV Jennings.  

After a management buyout of Stonehaven Homes in 1997, he became Managing Director retiring in 2016.  He remains a Director of the company.  David has been a Director and President of the Master Builders Association of Victoria and was a member of the Building Practitioners Board from 1998 to 2006.  

He has also served as a Director of Incolink, the construction industry severance fund.  David is a member of the Finance and Investment Committee.  David has also served as an expert witness for registration appeals at the Victorian Building Authority and mentor for the Victorian Small Business Mentoring Service.

Michael Purnell joined the Board on 16 March 2016.  Michael has a long history of Company Director, General Management and Management Consulting roles with high profile organisations including 21 years in the construction industry.  He has served on the National & Victorian Councils of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) as well as the NECA Industry Advisory Committee.  

He is currently also a Director of Protect and NECA Education & Careers.  He is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Society of Accountants.  Michael is a member of the Audit Committee.  Michael has been reappointed for another 4 year term to the CoINVEST Board.

Tim Piper was appointed as a Director on 1 July 2019 and is a member of the Remuneration Committee of the Board.  He has been the Ai Group Head in Victoria since 2002.  

Prior to the Ai Group he spent five years as the Executive Director at the Australian Retailers Association Victoria and has previously practiced as a barrister and solicitor and worked as a journalist.  Last year he was appointed as an Officer of Australia (AM).  He is also Chair of the Industry Capability Network Victoria and sits on the Boards of the Portable Long Service Leave Authority and GS1 Australia. 

Tim sits on the Ministerial Worksafe Advisory Committee and is Deputy Chair of the Rail Industry Development Advisory Committee.  He has also been an Australia Day Ambassador and received the Centenary Medal for Services to the business community.

Grant Donald was appointed as a Director of the Board on 1 February 2017. Grant is a long-term Director of a family run commercial plumbing business in Ballarat.  

Grant is an Executive Board Member & Treasurer of the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia.  

Grant is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Grant has been reappointed for another 4 year term to the CoINVEST board.

Executive Team

The executive team meets regularly to plan and control the operations and strategic management of CoINVEST’s activities.

John Hartley

Chief Executive Officer (to July 2021)

Craig Bell

Chief Executive Officer (from September 2021)

George Pappas

General Manager, Finance and Investment (Acting CEO July to September 2021)

John Hartley held the position of Chief Executive Officer of CoINVEST Limited for 25 years, vacating the role in July 2021.  

John was responsible to the Board for all aspects of CoINVEST’s operations including investment management, the administration of the Scheme and governance.  

Prior to this he worked in the Victorian Government in a number of Departments in senior positions dealing with Parliamentary and Ministerial responsibility. 

He has a Bachelor of Business Studies from RMIT. He is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a CEDA Trustee, a Fellow of the CEO Institute and a certified CEO (by the CEO Institute).

CoINVEST appointed Craig Bell as Chief Executive Officer in September 2021.  

Craig has over 30 years in finance related roles, across a variety of industries including investment banking, state government, and member-based organisations.  He is also the Chair of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.  

Most recently, Craig was the CEO at Foresters Financial, one of Australia’s largest member-owned friendly societies that offers a range of investment and insurance products.  Prior to this, Craig was the CFO for the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  

Craig is passionate about creating member-centric organisations. He is a Fellow of CPA Australia, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree.  


George Pappas was the Acting Chief Executive Officer between July and September 2021.

George is the General Manager Finance and Investment. He has held this position since March 2012. With his team is responsible for all financial and investment aspects of CoINVEST. Beginning his career with KPMG in 1979. 

He has held executive and directorial positions working in New Zealand, USA, Europe, Asia and Oceania gaining experience in all aspects of leadership, financial and investment management including managing corporate superannuation and pension funds. 

George is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a B.Ec. from Monash University and an MBA from RMIT.

Adam Cusack

General Manager, Membership Services

Ben Boyd

General Manager, Corporate Strategy and Systems (to July 2021)

Adam joined CoINVEST in June 2020 and leads the Scheme compliance, operations and marketing functions for the Fund.

Adam came to CoINVEST from Incolink where he had executive roles as General Manager Member Experience and Special Projects Executive. Prior to that Adam had senior roles at Origin Energy in Solar and Retail Operations and customer experience at ANZ Bank. Adam is currently studying a dual Masters at Swinburne, MBA Executive and Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

Adam is a senior customer experience and digital transformation leader with expertise across operational leadership, strategy, human centred design, program delivery and business redesign. He has a background in Banking, Insurance, Trust Administration and retail Energy experience

Ben Boyd held the position of General Manager, Corporate Strategy and Systems, since September 2019, until his retirement in July 2021 after more than 28 years with CoINVEST.  In this role Ben was responsible for overseeing the strategic issues facing CoINVEST as well as all aspects of its IT Systems. 

Ben joined the Executive team as Manager, Corporate Systems and Company Secretary, in November 2017. 

Prior to that, Ben managed the Business Analysis and Testing team at CoINVEST, and has solid background in both CoINVEST’s technical and business processes.

financial Report

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