News & Security Advice

National

Protecting crowded places from terrorism report

The Commonwealth Government recently released a report concerning Australia’s strategy for identifying and planning to protect Australian places from terrorism.

Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism report gives a summary on who has a role in protecting crowded places in Australia. It states that stadiums, shopping centres and outlets as well as sites of major events, remain attractive targets for terrorism.

Private security providers play a central role in protecting crowded places. It is common for private security personnel to be directly responsible for strengthening the security of crowded places and to be the first responders on the scene. As such, personnel must be well trained and of a professional standard to undertake their role.

Past attacks on crowded places overseas demonstrate how even basic devices such as vehicles or lawfully acquired weapons can be used with devastating effect and inflict large numbers of casualties. Recent attacks, including those in Las Vegas, are evidence of this, and show that unfortunately not even Australia is immune.

Further information, as well as an electronic copy of the report can be found on the Australian National Security website.

Security Operations Training Package Review – Consultation

Feedback on Proposed Qualification and Units

The review of the Certificate II and III in Security Operations is nearing completion and we are seeking further comment on the updates made to the package following the first round of public consultation.

Feedback from the first round of consultation broadly supported the proposed qualification and unit contents.  Specific feedback from Employers, RTOs and Regulators has been incorporated to address minor gaps in areas such as counter terrorism and the Australian Crowded Places Strategy as well as preserving crime scenes and presenting evidence.

The proposed Certificate II aligns with mandatory licensing for a security officer. License endorsements and career development needs are catered by a new Certificate III qualification.  The addition of a Close Personal Protection Certificate III recognises this area as a distinct vocational outcome.

Draft qualifications and units are published on the Artibus website (link here)

You are invited to review and provide comment on the qualifications and units through our online survey (link here)

Open consultation will close on the 23 February 2018 

Small business cyber security guide released

Cyber Security Best Practice Guide has been developed to help busy small business operators understand the risks and how to prevent cyber attacks.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman published the guide after research showed that 60 per cent of small firms that experienced a cyber breach went out of business within the following six months.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said many small businesses lacked time and resources but couldn’t afford to be complacent about cyber security.

“Surveys have shown that 87 per cent of small businesses believe antivirus software alone is enough to keep them safe,” Ms Carnell said.

“Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and small businesses are particularly vulnerable.

“Online threats are just as real as physical threats. Cyber security needs to be taken seriously, like having locks on your doors and a burglar alarm.”

Ms Carnell said the handy guide produced by her office suggests getting advice from a trusted adviser.

“Accountants, IT specialists and skilled family or friends are the go-to sources,” she said.

“There are also useful websites like www.staysmartonline.gov.au that provide simple, easy-to-understand advice.”

Ms Carnell said small businesses shouldn’t be afraid of “going online” because the opportunities and benefits could be immense.

“Many small businesses have successfully blended their physical and virtual shopfronts to establish sustainable operating models,” she said.

“It would be an incredible shame if small businesses shut themselves out of the online market because of fears about cybersecurity.

“There are risks attached to most activities, even crossing the road. Taking sensible precautions broadens opportunities and heightens the rewards.”

For more information visit www.asbfeo.gov.au/cybersecurity

Security Operations Training Review

In April 2017, the Australian Industry & Skills Committee (AISC) approved a case for change proposed by the Property Services Industry Reference Committee (IRC) to review the Security Operations Certificate I, II and III qualifications.

The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has been established by the IRC to oversee the project and provide technical input. The TAG includes representatives from employers, industry, RTOs and regulators.

The project has focused on occupational analysis as a basis for rebuilding the qualification and unit structure to align with current and emerging work practices and to support a more consistent regulatory approach. The TAG has recommended the deletion of the Certificate I.

The TAG has also undertaken a full redevelopment of the Certificate II as a licensing qualification, a redevelopment to the Certificate III to provide a professional development pathway and to house higher skill licensing endorsements (fire arms, batons & cuffs, canine, control room and cash in transit). An addition Certificate III has also be developed for Close Personal Protection.

Feedback can be provided at a package, qualification, skill set and unit level, and survey forms are located at the following links:

Feedback from the draft pack consultation will be incorporated into a second draft which will again be made available for review and input prior to the development of the final pack for submission to the IRC for approval.

A final case for endorsement will be submitted to the Department of Education and Training early in the new year for endorsement by the COAG skills committee.

Key Points

Draft qualifications and units are available for feedback

  • Three qualifications
    • Cert II Security Operations (Security Officer)
    • Cert III Security Operations (Security Officer)
    • Cert III Security Operations (Close Personal Protection)
  • Skill Sets to support additional licence classes/endorsements
    • fire arms
    • canine
    • batons and cuffs
    • cash in transit
    • control room
    • monitoring room (occupational outcome only, no licensing requirements)
  • This approach will see a streamlining of the training requirement and an opportunity for regulators to simplify licensing requirements and reduce red tape while supporting a clear pathway for new entrants into the industry.
  • A focus on appropriate communication and foundation skills will also address literacy concerns identified in many reviews of security training by clearly setting expectations.
  • A Certificate III qualification will support career development and the desire of the industry to be more professionally oriented.

Please submit your feedback by 24 November 2017

Fair Work Ombudsman – Increased penalties for record-keeping breaches

Maximum penalties for businesses that breach record-keeping laws have recently doubled and the Fair Work Ombudsman is helping operators reduce their risk of being exposed to big fines with the release of a new online training course.

The course is available now in the Fair Work Ombudsman’s award winning Online Learning Centre at www.fairwork.gov.au/learning.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the short interactive course will help small businesses understand when, why and how they should make employment records.

“Every Australian employer is obligated to keep accurate employment records,” Ms James said.

“We see far too many cases of businesses failing to get the basics right when it comes to record-keeping and regrettably it’s often workers who get hit the hardest as a lack of accurate records can make it difficult to determine if they have received their correct entitlements.

“We welcome the penalty increase for employers who fail to meet their record-keeping obligations although we would prefer if business operators did the right thing from the outset.

“This is why we have released a new course with advice on how to make record-keeping practical and easy, particularly for time-poor small businesses, Ms James said

The course features practical examples, interactive activities and handy tips. They help businesses understand what records they need to keep, what information to include in pay slips and give practical tips on setting up a record-keeping system.

Last financial year two-thirds of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s court cases involved alleged record-keeping or pay slip contraventions.

In one matter a Queensland labour-hire company and its manager were penalised more than $84,000 for flouting their record-keeping and pay slips obligations, despite having been previously cautioned by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Ms James said she understood that genuine oversights sometimes happen, but the agency would be taking an increasingly hard-line approach with those who make repeated mistakes.

“With the release of our new materials, there has never been so much freely available information to assist employers to understand their workplace obligations.  The time for excuses is over,” Ms James said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Online Learning Centre has attracted more than 50,000 users since it was launched in 2013 and is part of a range of free tools and resources provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman for small business owners.

Other online learning courses cover topics including hiring employees, having difficult conversations in the workplace, managing employees and managing performance. The courses are all designed with direct input from small business people.

Also available are fact sheets and templates, including a self-audit checklist for employers to make sure their records are complete and readily available, which can be accessed through the new course and at www.fairwork.gov.au.

Earlier this year the Fair Work Ombudsman launched the free 'Record My Hours' smartphone app to make it easier for workers to keep an accurate diary of the hours they work, available for download from the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Employers and employees can also seek free advice and assistance at www.fairwork.gov.au or by contacting the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. Small business operators can opt to receive priority service from the Small Business Helpline.

Australian Government Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism

The Australian Government has released a security strategy report on crowded places such as stadiums, shopping centres, pedestrian malls and major events will continue to be attractive targets for terrorists. Australia is not immune. Terrorists have plotted similar attacks here, including on crowded places, and we expect more will occur.

Australian governments work with the private sector to protect crowded places. Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are well-equipped to detect and disrupt plots, and they have a strong history of stopping terrorist attacks. Owners and operators of crowded places have the primary responsibility for protecting their sites, including a duty of care to take steps to protect people that work, use, or visit their site from a range of foreseeable threats, including terrorism.

The strategy highlights the need for business owners to engage qualified experienced private security professionals who hold security licences and have security industry association membership.

Read report 

Fair Work Commission Casual Conversion Clause

On 5 July 2017, a five-member Full Bench of the Commission handed down its decision concerning part-time and casual employment as part of its four year review of modern awards. Both unions and employer representative bodies alike submitted a broad range of changes to the awards.

As part of its decision, the Commission will insert a model casual conversion provision into over 80 modern awards which do not already contain a casual conversion clause, including the Security Services Industry Award. The proposed clause enables casual employees to request to convert to full-time or part-time employment, subject to certain rules and restrictions.

The draft model clause includes a requirement that casual employees are to be provided with a copy of the model clause within the first 12 months of the employee’s engagement with the employer.

The casual conversion clause will allow a casual worker to convert to part-time or full-time employment if:

  • a qualifying period of 12 calendar months is met;
  • the casual employee must have worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis over the 12 month period which could continue to be worked on a full-time or part-time basis without significant adjustment
  • the employer must provide all casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause within the first 12 months after their initial engagement.

It also allows employers to reject a request for conversion on ‘reasonable grounds’ which include:

  • it would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee’s hours of work to accommodate them in full-time or part-time employment under the applicable modern award; or
  •  it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the casual employee’s position will cease to exist; or
  • the employee’s hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months; or
  •  on other reasonable grounds based on facts which are known or reasonably foreseeable.

Where an employer refuses a regular casual employee's request to convert, the employer must provide the employee with the written reasons for the refusal within 21 days of the request being made. Disputes arising from the refusal can be dealt with in accordance with the dispute resolution procedure in the modern award.

The Full Bench is yet to issue determinations in relation to this decision and has invited parties to make further submissions about certain proposals including its draft model conversion clause. It not anticipated the changes will take effect until after August 2017.

Employers should be mindful of the Commission’s decision and start thinking about what they will need to do when the final model conversion clause does come into force in a wide range of awards. This should include considering the mechanisms they will need to have in place to properly address each request for conversion, as well as reviewing their ‘on boarding’ procedures to ensure employees receive the correct information required, once the Commission’s decision comes into effect.

Australian Skills Quality Authority Training Provider Briefing Webcast

As part of its schedule of Training Provider Briefings for 2017, ASQA hosted three webcasts for VET sector stakeholders that could not attend one of the 24 face-to-face sessions.

A recording of one of the webcasts – hosted by ASQA’s General Manager, Regulatory Operations, David Garner and Principal Compliance Auditor Lyndell Griffin – is now available for viewing below, or on ASQA’s YouTube channel. A transcript of the webcast will be published shortly.

Don’t forget, you can also view the PowerPoint presentation used at the briefings and the animation explaining ASQA’s student-centred audit approach.

Contracting labour and supply chains – Fair Work Ombudsman

Businesses sometimes contract out work (eg. labour or services) to another business. This can help businesses lower their operational costs, focus on core services, and access specialised knowledge and skills. If the business that they contract the work out to then subcontracts that work to another business, this can create a contracting network or supply chain.

In this section we explain contracting labour and supply chains, why you should manage your labour contracting and supply chain, and the practical steps that businesses can take to minimise their legal or reputational risks. We have information, tips and tools to help you (and your contractors):

You can also read about what we do when it comes to contracting labour and supply chains.

Understanding labour contracting and supply chains

When you contract another business to provide you with workers, or services that include labour, this is labour contracting. For example, you could contract out the cleaning of your business premises.

Sometimes the businesses you contract labour out to then subcontract that work to another business. This can create a 'supply chain' or 'contracting network'.

There are different ways workers could be engaged by a business. For example, a business could contract out work to a contractor who in turn engages workers as employees or independent contractors, or a combination of both. Businesses can also engage workers through a third party labour hire service provider.

It's good business practice to understand how the workers in your business and your supply chain are engaged so you can minimise the risk of non-compliance with workplace laws.

Why should I manage my labour contracting?

It makes business sense to manage your supply chain and use contractors who do the right thing and follow workplace laws. This helps protect your business against risks such as:

  • damage to your business brand and reputation
  • being held legally responsible when your contractor or a subcontractor in your supply chain is not complying with workplace laws. This is known as 'accessorial liability.'

What is accessorial liability?

Businesses may be held legally responsible when their contractor (or subcontractor) is underpaying their staff. It's not just direct employers who can be held liable for contraventions such as underpayments - any person knowingly involved in contraventions could be found legally responsible. This could extend to directors, managers, accountants or businesses involved in the supply chain.

Find out more about accessorial liability and what it means for individuals and businesses.

Example: Contracting

Money Makers pays a low contract price for workers being provided by Business Pty Ltd. Money Makers thinks that the price must be too low to cover the overtime and penalties the employees should get but they don't raise the issue with Business Pty Ltd.

If Business Pty Ltd does underpay its workers, Money Makers may be involved in the underpayments because it has done nothing. Money Makers could face court action as a person involved in breaches of the law. If found liable, they may be required to fix the underpayments as well as pay a penalty. If the workers raise the issue publicly, Money Makers could suffer reputational damage and lose customers.

Take steps to make sure your business and contractor is compliant with workplace laws to:

  • minimise the risk that your business will be held legally responsible for underpayments or non-compliance by a contractor or subcontractor
  • minimise the risk that your brand and reputation will be damaged by the actions of a contractor or subcontractor
  • build sustainable relationships with your contractors
  • help improve service quality
  • help improve employment terms and conditions, as well as engagement and motivation, for people working in your supply chain.

We've developed resources to help you do this. Download our:

Perth security company allegedly underpaid guards $200,000

A Perth security company is facing Court for allegedly underpaying its guards more than $200,000.

Click here for the full story