FOR EMPLOYERS IN THE VICTORIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
I hope that everyone has had, or is still enjoying, a well-earned break over the festive summer period. Although we have just clicked over into a new year, the focus for employers’ obligations remains firmly on 2022, with Workers Days and Wages reports for the October to December 2022 period due on 14 January 2023.
2022 was a landmark year for CoINVEST, with a new organisational structure and strategic direction, several key appointments in the executive team, and growing our workforce to better meet the needs of our members in the construction industry in Victoria. Our new strategic direction, which was approved by the Board earlier in the year, gives us clarity around our priorities and focus areas to guide us through the next stage of our transformation. The Board also approved a refresh of our business plan, facilitating clearer measures and governance around a renewed commitment to the work ahead.
At the Board level, we welcomed a new Director in Raoul Wainwright from the AMWU, representing building trades workers. Raoul was appointed as a Director on 14 September 2022 and brings with him his extensive experience as an Industrial Advocate, having first worked in the union movement in 1992. Raoul holds a law degree and currently serves on the Victorian Government Purchasing Board. He is a former Deputy Chairperson of the Victorian Adult, Community and Further Education Board.
In September, CoINVEST supported and attended the MBAV international research study tour which aims to identify opportunities and best practices to support Victoria’s post-COVID building and construction industry. The project is seeking to empower people to lead a future-ready industry that builds a better world through captured learnings. This research project was extremely timely, as Victoria’s building and construction industry is being impacted by multiple challenges, including skills and labour shortages, supply shortages, price increases, significant workplace stress and mental health issues.
The research project, and particularly the study tour, demonstrates an investment into the confidence of Victoria’s building and construction industry. It showcases Victoria internationally as a place to work and is gathering knowledge and real-world experience to ensure that Victoria’s building and construction industry continues to be an international leader. The participants on the study tour were given first-hand insights into how key overseas counterparts in the building and construction industry are solving some of the issues which Australia faces and will continue to face in 2023.
There will undoubtedly be many challenges to overcome in 2023, from factors such as rising inflation, investment market uncertainty, and the continuing influence of supply chain impacts on the construction industry. However, with new industrial relations legislation being introduced this year, and the continued reopening of international trade in the wake of the COVID pandemic, there is also reason to be optimistic about what 2023 might bring.
I would like to wish employers in Victoria all the best for a prosperous and positive year ahead as we make our way into 2023.
Chief Executive Officer, CoINVEST Limited
As we say goodbye to 2022 and hello to 2023, let’s take a look at some of the key messages and big talking points from CoINVEST.
The October to December 2022 Workers Days and Wages (WDW) submission is now available for employers to complete on the CoINVEST Portal.
The due date for submission is 14 January 2023.
As the industry regulator and Trustee of the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1997, CoINVEST applies strict legal and financial consequences for non-compliance relating to worker registration and return submission.
All employers should familiarise themselves with the requirements as an employer under the Act and the consequences of non-compliance at our Employer Obligations webpage.
If you require assistance or are unable to submit your WDW before the due date, please call our Member Response team on 03 9664 7677 or 1300 COINVEST.
The October-December WDW submission can sometimes be problematic for employers when submitting payroll data for payments made in advance.
Please remember not to include annual leave paid in advance on your October-December WDW. If the leave taken by or paid to your worker relates to 1 January 2023 or later, this must be included in the January-March WDW, which will be due for submission in April 2023.
It is vital to submit the correct days and wages data for the specified period to ensure each worker has a consistent wage reported throughout the year. This offers the best chance of being eligible for an automated claim if your worker wishes to claim their long service leave benefit from CoINVEST.
As a Regulator for the Victorian Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1997 CoINVEST can seek penalties or convictions for non-compliance to the Act.
A key principle to the Act is that it applies to all employers and workers covered under the Act. Employers who comply with the law should not be disadvantaged by those who don’t.
CoINVEST actively pursues instances of non-compliance with employers engaged in the construction industry in Victoria to ensure that all eligible workers receive their entitlement to portable long service leave.
As part its compliance regime, CoINVEST will be publishing convictions under the Act on the CoINVEST website. CoINVEST also co-operates with other regulators and agencies within the Construction industry to support regulatory compliance across the industry.
CoINVEST continues to make member experience a priority, especially at peak holiday times.
Over 2022 a key focus has been improving our member claims experience for Workers, Working Directors and Working Subcontractors.
This Christmas we have been able to improve claims turnaround times from more than 2 weeks on average pre-COVID to less than a week this year. Some members had their payment within 3 days of submitting their claim and we were paying claims right up to the 23rd of December.
CoINVEST is partnering with RMIT University to deliver articles and insights from around the construction industry. In this issue of CoINVEST News, we look at Bendigo’s potential for transitioning its energy economy with Associate Prof Rebecca Yang and Dr. Chengyang Liu, Solar Energy Application Lab, School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University.
Renewable energy penetration in local communities opens significant opportunities for investment and installation. The impacts on the economy can be generated both from distributed systems (e.g. rooftop solar), and through interactions and transactions with the grid (e.g. Virtual Power Plant or VPP). A typical line of enquiry would be to identify which local community has a better position in deploying these systems and thereby generate good investment and environmental values. The City of Greater Bendigo certainly looked for the answer.
Bendigo, as a regional centre with abundant solar potential and opportunity from the rapid update of renewable resources such as rooftop solar panels, has the potential to become a crucial driving force in the implementation of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA) Loddon Mallee Renewable Energy Roadmap. The City Council has a strong commitment towards a renewable energy transition, both for the operations of the City of Greater Bendigo and for the municipality and wider region. The Council’s Climate Change and Environment Strategy outlines the zero-carbon target across the Greater Bendigo municipality by 2030, with 500% of its energy demand to be supplied through local renewable energy by 2036.
Supported by the Centre for New Energy Technologies and City of Greater Bendigo, we investigated the community’s renewable energy generation and retail options through two types of management strategies, namely Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) community renewable energy trading. The project covers a study area of 235 communities in Bendigo’s urban and peri-urban area. It utilises analytical approaches of geospatial mapping, system modelling and simulation, multi-scenario analysis, and socioeconomic analysis.
With the anticipated growth in renewable energy and the expansion of the renewable-powered economy in the region, it was found that the City has the potential to become a driving force in the CVGA Roadmap to lead the renewable energy transition in the Loddon Mallee regional area.
The existing challenge is that a renewable energy transition comes with requirements for financial capability, as well as community support and awareness. Both VPP and community renewable energy P2P trading have great potential to support the Council’s ambitions in transitioning to renewable energy.
The project recommended that the City advocates for and pursues a rapid growth strategy in both rooftop Photovoltaic (PV) and Battery Energy Storage systems (BESS). The ideal estimated growth rates are 132.5 MW/year for rooftop solar panels and around 7,800 – 8,000 units/year for battery systems (with unit capacity of 10 – 13.5 kWh). With this rate, the urban and peri-urban areas of Bendigo are expected to achieve demand offset of 48.36% in 5 years, and 67.98% in 10 years, based on the demand rate estimated by the Australian Energy Update 2020 & 2021.
With the current level of solar panels and battery system capacity, a community-based VPP is not a financially viable option. However, within 5-10 years’ time, with the expected growth of solar and batteries, VPP has significant potential to support the City’s future growth of renewable energy systems and unlock the distributed system’s value amongst the communities. It is therefore recommended that the City prepare for the potential deployment of future VPP networks. For example, conducting further feasibility studies that cover electricity distribution network infrastructure, frequent updates of renewable energy uptake data, and trial implementation of VPP in the communities.
It is recommended that the Council, or another entity, maintain frequent updates on the renewable energy data, such as installed system capacity, usage, generation, and trading options. This information is of great value for advising future developments and to calibrate renewable energy transition strategies. Alternatively, the Council can advocate to Victorian Government agencies regarding the work performed to date and future opportunities in order to advance data collection and ongoing maintenance moving forward.
This project also produced a web application for knowledge-sharing, which contains the research tools and data for users to interact with. For more information, please see the detailed project report and the RCET Web Tool.
GPO Box 4368, Melbourne, VIC 3001
T 03 9664 7677
T 1300 COINVEST