Archive for March, 2010

Section 9 of the Ombudsman’s report tabled in Parliament on 24Feb10 entitled “Ombudsman’s Recommendations – Report on their Implementation” concerns conflict of interest in Local Government.

 The investigation undertaken by the Ombudsman dated March 2008 identified that the main factors contributing to conflicts of interest issues were:

  • a lack of transparency with decisions inappropriately made in private
  • inappropriate interactions between councillors and officers
  • poor organisational culture
  • poor conceptual understanding of conflict of interest rules; councillors themselves reported having difficulty in determining a conflict of interest
  • poorly worded polices relating to conflict of interest and policies and practices that did not adequately identify conflicts of interest; nor did they sufficiently monitor and control conflict of interest situations
  • the complexity of provisions in the Local Government Act 1989 (the Act) relating to conflict of interest.

As a result of this investigation 17 recommendations were made of which 4 related to review of the Local Government Act and 12 related to councils themselves.  A survey of councils to ascertain compliance with these 12 recommendations is reported.  Amendments to Local Government Act were made as a result of these recommendations effective 2 Dec 2008.

The government also announced that the Essential Services Commission would develop a performance assessment model for benchmarking the performance of Local Government.

More information can be found at the Ombudsman Victoria website

Best Point will sponsor the IPWEAvic AFL Football Tipping competition for 2010.  The competition is FREE to IPWEAvic members with over $1,000 in prizes to be won.  Prizes donated by Best Point are:

  • 1st Prize: $650 flight voucher
  • 2nd Prize: $250 Myer voucher
  • 3rd Prize: $100 Bunning’s voucher

Weekly prizes will include footy match tickets, wine and vouchers all courtesy of Best Point

To be part of this competition you must register with BestPoint.  To register send an email to, subject line: IPWEAvic footy tipping competition and supply your email address.  John Maraia will administer the competition.  You will then be sent an invitation to join the competition, username (ipweavic) and secret password (bestpoint), and directions to fill out your tips.  You can put your tips in at anytime – from now, weeks in advance, right up until game time.  You can even put them in from your mobile phone.   Any problems with access contact BestPoint and John or the lovely Ilana will walk you through the process.

Submissions for the Works & Engineering Conference to be held on 23 and 24 September 2010 in Bendigo are now being invited.  The conference will have a particular focus on the environment in which we work and papers reflecting current work practices, products, technical projects are all welcome.

Please submit abstracts to Stephen Robertson, MWOA, via email

The model Work Health and Safety Act is planned to be introduced 1 Jan 2012 across Australia.

Some of the changes that will occur include:-

  • Moving from employment as basis for duties, obligations and rights
  • New positive duty of care for officers, with due diligence defined
  • Broadened consultation obligations – vertical and horizontal
  • Broadened union right of entry
  • Greater protection against discrimination and coercion
  • Emphasis on graduated enforcement but higher penalties
  • Easier modification of notices
  • Increased powers of questioning and reduced rights of individuals

Barry Sherriff from Norton Rose Australia gave a presentation on this topic to the Civil Construction Alliance meeting on 10 March 2010.  If you would like a copy of his presentation please request by sending an email

The following request have been made to IPWEAvic for placement of engineering students:-

  • A French Civil Engineering Student is seeking a placement in Australia from 20th June to 18th September 2010 to complete his degree and also experience the australian way of life.  CV and further details available upon request to IPWEAvic office
  • CCF is seeking placements for final year engineirng students from Monash University for the week commencing 17th May 2010 for a minimum of 27 hours over a period of 4 weeks.   All students will have completed Construction OH&S Induction Training.  If interested in placing a student under this program please phone Simone at Civil Contractors Federation on 03 98195170. 
  • A recent migrant to Australia, experienced in roads and drainge design and construction type civil works, is seeking employment to gain Australian experience.  CV available upon request to to IPWEAvic office

Over the past 12 months, Local Government Victoria (LGV) has worked closely with Council representatives and peak bodies to develop a suite of resources to equip and support Councils to achieve better practice in Local Law making.

On Thursday 18 February the Minister for Local Government launched the Guidelines for Local Laws resources at the LGPro Annual Conference.

The Guidelines includes a comprehensive Manual, Resource Book, Overview and Training Program to assist councils to achieve better practice in local law making.

The development of the Guidelines for Local Laws resources was a key priority of the  The Better Practice Local Laws Strategy.   The  Guidelines equip councils to undertake best practice Local Law making and achieve a consistent level of performance.

Download the Guidelines and access the training being delivered by LGPro.

The Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development is undertaking a project known as Councils Reforming Business.  This project has identified infrastructure and housing affordability as primary targets for collaborative reform between Local Government, State Government and industry. The Local Government Procurement Strategy developed under the auspices of the DPCD has identified standardisation and improved practice as a key means of achieving cost benefits and delivering better community outcomes.

 The project areas include focus on:

  • Procurement and Financial Management;
  • Infrastructure and Assets – Civil and Community;
  • ICT Strategy and cross-Government Interactions; and
  • Local Laws and Regulations.

 Three related projects are currently underway to deliver improved consistent infrastructure design standards across Victoria.

  • An Infrastructure Design Manual (IDM) has been developed by the councils of Bendigo, Campaspe and Greater Shepparton and is now being considered by a number of regional councils.
  • The 6 Gippsland regional councils are currently working towards implementation of the shared IDM through the Gippsland Infrastructure Design Manual Project.
  • The six growth area councils are working towards the development of a shared Infrastructure Design Manual.

IPWEA Vic is represented on the committee overseeing the management of Infrastructure Design Standards Manuals by Mark Varmalis.

WorkSafe invites your comment on the proposed Guide to Health and Safety in Government Construction Procurement.

This guide has been developed for the purpose of providing practical guidance to persons who have duties in relation to procurement of building and construction projects to meet their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. The Health and safety in government construction procurement guide outlines how best practice can be achieved and strengthen government’s capability to lead and influence OHS outcomes for the building and construction industry. It provides practical guidance and tools for integrating safety into existing organisational budgetary and procurement processes. It is intended for use by practitioners in state government, local government, statutory authorities and other agencies who procure, commission, manage and maintain government building and construction projects.

The guide includes health and safety advice and practical tools for each phase of the procurement lifecycle, including:
1. Planning
2. Design
3. Tender and tender evaluation
4. Contract negotiation and execution
5. Construction
6. Transition and Evaluation

Your comments are now invited on this document.

Written submissions or comments on the proposed guide may be made to WorkSafe up to close of business Monday 29 March 2010. Submissions forwarded or postmarked beyond that date may not be considered. All submissions and comments will be treated as public documents unless specifically and clearly identified as being confidential.

Submissions can be emailed to .

Expressions of Interest are called for an IPWEAvic member to be the ALGA representative on the Austroads Project Delivery Review Panel.

The delegate would need to attend 2 meetings per year with one meeting held in Melbourne and the other in Sydney.  Travel and accommodation costs to be borne by the employer of the delegate.  In addition there are a couple of teleconferences that would need to be attended and some reading and emailing traffic on any Austroads guide review or project proposals that may be developed or are in progress.  Further information relating to the role can be obtained from Bruce Douglas.

If you are interested in being nominated as IPWEAvic representative please email Anne Gibbs before 31 March 2010.

 The National Conference of the Stormwater Industry Association will be held at

 Star City Hotel and Casino Sydney, Australia 9th – 12th November, 2010


The National Conference of the Stormwater Industry of Australia will be held at Star City Hotel and Casino Sydney, 9th-12th November 2010.

The Conference Steering Committee of STORMWATER 2010 are now inviting all stormwater practitioners to submit an Abstract for Conference Papers, particularly those that highlight lessons learned and demonstrate the successful application of those lessons.  Abstracts that focus on the process involved in undertaking the project rather than the outcomes of the project will be highly regarded.  Full details are contained in the Call for Abstracts document found at the official conference website at Creating a Storm: The Future of Stormwater in Australia is the conference title

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