HR Nicholls Annual Dinner Report

The HR Nicholls Society successfully held its Annual Dinner on the 24th of November, with keynote speaker Stephen Sasse.

Workplace Express provided the following coverage of the event($):

Adopt Victorian code nationally, says IR consultant

A lack of managerial capacity is to blame for the huge cost blowouts on major publicly-funded infrastructure projects such as the Wonthaggi desalination plant and Melbourne’s Spencer St Station upgrade, and could have been prevented if the current Victorian construction code was in place, according to IR consultant Stephen Sasse.

 

Sasse told the HR Nicholls Society’s annual dinner in Melbourne last night that the Victorian code, which established a new benchmark that should be adopted by all state and federal governments, “is designed solely to modify contractors’ behaviours”.

 

“It exists to protect the short and long term interests of taxpayers by forcing contractors to take some responsibility for the effective management of labour productivity and labour costs” and ensure value for money.

He said the Victorian code is “designed to counteract the moral hazard that contractors may have a vested interest in de facto collusion on labour costs and productivity” while ensuring “that unacceptable industrial behaviour meets with appropriate consequences”.

 

“And it is the only practical way that inflationary construction costs can be brought under some semblance of control”.

 

Implementing such a code “is the minimum that one would expect from a large, informed and sophisticated consumer of construction services” but is required because clients are “simply incapable of strategic industrial relations management”.

 

Sasse argued that the Victorian code is not anti-union but “pro-taxpayer”.

 

State governments, he said, are the construction industry’s largest client. States such as Victoria, with a $27 billion construction program, “want to be pretty astute when it comes to managing value for money”.  “If you can achieve a modest 1% lift in productivity from your $27 billion then you have saved $270 million”.

Read the rest here (paywall protected)

You can download the Sasse paper  HERE

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