Be proactive with your energy

Be proactive with your energy

In our industry, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your business succeed. The amount of energy it takes to sell/produce our goods and keep the lights on can be overwhelming. With all the lighting, air conditioning and heating, machinery and compressors required, as a wholesale or retail operation your energy running costs can go through the roof.

What if there was a more sustainable way to achieve a thriving business.

We have once again partnered with Business Australia to offer a free service which is designed to help you save on your energy consumption costs. 

Business Energy Advice Program (BEAP) is a consultative service that reviews your business energy consumption and provides you with a detailed report tailored to your business so you can make positive changes.

As part of the program, you also receive tips on ditching old habits and applying new practices. You’ll gain insights on reading your energy bills and have access to a wealth of resources including case studies and fact sheets.  Everything you need to make smart choices on your energy consumption.

As a government initiative delivered by Business Australia, it’s available to all small businesses of six to 20 employees, full time equivalent (FTE). Plus, zero to five FTE equivalent if the business self-assesses as being drought affected. If you have more than one business unit, each may be eligible for its own consultation if it has its own ABN and meets the employee size ranges required.

Meet Mike LoRicco

Meet Mike LoRicco

Through his experience of owning his own hardware store and now in a senior role for HBT, Mike, bringing a unique perspective to our industry and association.

He has held several key roles in our association and in the previously the Hardware Association of New South Wales. He is the current Chair of our New South Wales Committee and leads his services to cohost our NSW Awards each year.  

We found out more about Mike and why he continues to advocate for our industry.

What is your position within your business and what do you do?

General Manager Member Services for HBT.

When and how did you enter the hardware industry?

42 years ago

What do you love about the hardware industry?

You need to learn about so many different trades, meeting people and helping them solve their problems and projects. Now helping stores with their businesses.

Why did you join Hardware Australia and the committee?

From the beginning of the amalgamation or the combining of the states. Before that, I have been involved with the state bases since the late 80s

What benefit do you think HA brings to its members?

As HA grows HR, Training and knowledge on everyday issues of running a business

Where do you see the future of the industry?

There will always be independent hardware stores while there is a need to renovate and build.

Any words of wisdom?

Learn to network, listen and talk to someone that’s doing business better than you. Be ready to change your business to stay current. Take those blinkers off and have fun with it.

Meet George Demourtzidis

Meet George Demourtzidis

George Demourtzidis

George has been involved in the Hardware Australia committee since the beginning 6 years ago. Previous to that he was on the board of the Hardware Association of South Australia (HASA). Over the past 2 years he has held the position of Treasurer for Hardware Australia and is the current chairman of our South Australia Committee.

This month we sat down with George to find out more about his experience in the industry and where he sees the future of hardware.

What is your position within your business and what do you do?

Business Manager for Trio Australia – a fancy name given to a family business member that ends up being responsible for everything that goes wrong. That aside, I play an integral role in the macro planning and strategic direction of the business. I love numbers and the ‘facts’. Lastly and most importantly I manage a small portfolio of key clients- which keeps me grounded and ‘in touch’ with customers, the market and the real world.

When and how did you enter the hardware industry?

I started in the business 21 years ago after completing my tertiary studies. I was welcomed with open arms into the family business after receiving my Corporate Finance degree! I thought I was destined to work in a big banking tower somewhere in London, Hong Kong or New York, however this was not my destiny. The hardware industry was calling and I guess I couldn’t resist!

What do you love about the hardware industry?

The people! First and foremost the people I work with. I love them all dearly and I thank them for the 8 to 10 hours a day I spend with them! Their passion drives me and their characters keep me entertained. Secondly, the people, the customers and the communities we serve! I feel very honoured and privileged to work for a 45 year old business that has such a great reputation in the hardware market.

Why did you join Hardware Australia and the committee?

To further entrench our family and business roots and knowledge in the Australian hardware market place. To be at the forefront of change and progress of our industry. To be able to collaborate with ‘like minded’ organisations and people that see a great and bright future for hardware.

What benefit do you think HA brings to its members?

It definitely needs to be its member services and its networking events. These services and events are second to none- and I encourage everyone who hasn’t attended one of the HA events to do so this year.

Where do you see the future of the industry?

Firstly, It would be remiss to think that our industry will not be affected by the digital revolution that is upon us. Whether it is in the products and services that we offer or the way we serve our customer base or communicate and transact with each other. Technology will enhance all of these aspects and we need to embrace the changes (not resist them). Secondly, I believe there is still further room for consolidation within our market place- both on the supplier base and the retail/ shop front end. Watch this space!

Any words of wisdom?

Enjoy the ride of 2021 and beyond!  With the year that has past, we have all been very resilient, patient and optimistic – just keep it going.

New Home Sales Go Through the Roof in December

New Home Sales Go Through the Roof in December

HIA Media Release – 19 January 2021

“New Home Sales reached remarkable heights in December, nearly doubling compared to the number of sales recorded in November,” stated HIA’s Economist, Angela Lillicrap.

The HIA New Home Sales report – a monthly survey of the largest volume home builders in the five largest states – is a leading indicator of future detached home construction.

“This is the second strongest month of New Home Sales in the 20 year history of the survey, only exceeded by March 2001,” added Ms Lillicrap.

“This surge in sales can be attributed to HomeBuilder as households finalised contracts to build a new home before the 31 December 2020 deadline to access the $25,000 grant.

“The extension of the timeframe to commence building from three months to six, which was announced in November, played a significant role in December’s results.

“New Home Sales in 2020 increased by 32.5 per cent compared to 2019. This is an exceptional result given the nature of the pandemic and the effect that it has had on the broader economy.

“It is not expected that this remarkable volume of sales will continue into January. The extension of HomeBuilder to allow contracts to be signed before March 2021 with a grant of $15,000 will support the sales of new homes into 2021, but not at this elevated level.

“Low interest rates, improved lending assessment and growth in the price of established homes will also support demand for new homes in 2021.

“The monthly increase in sales has been broad-based across the states with the exception of Western Australia which declined by 9.5 per cent.

“Western Australia has been the strongest performing state since the announcement of HomeBuilder and the state government’s Build Bonus grant in June. Despite the underperformance relative to other jurisdictions, the December results are still elevated compared to previous years, with sales in the December 2020 quarter double the same time last year.

“The strength of New Home Sales is a positive sign that home building will support jobs on the ground throughout 2021,” concluded Ms Lillicrap.

Across the country, new home sales in the December quarter were higher in all regions when compared with the same period in 2019: South Australia (188.3 per cent), Victoria (103.1 per cent), Queensland (99.9 per cent), Western Australia (99.2 per cent), and New South Wales (61.7 per cent).

2021’s Hot Workplace Relations Issues

2021’s Hot Workplace Relations Issues

Article by HR Advance

2020 was a year with many workplace relations issues and it looks like 2021 will be no different. Our workplace advice team delve into some the issues you may run into over the next 12 months.

COVID-19 vaccine: no jab, no job?

On current progress, it looks very likely that vaccines for COVID-19 will become widely available sometime in 2021. Many employers currently have a policy regarding flu vaccinations for employees, but in many cases having it is optional. Arguably the risk of harm to other employees or the community generally is greater with COVID-19 than with the flu, so there is likely to be a greater degree of compulsion in the decisions made.

Employers will have to deal with each of the following issues:

  • To ensure a safe workplace, should it be compulsory for employees to be vaccinated?
  • If so, should employers arrange and pay (the latter if required) for vaccinations, or leave it to employees to arrange?
  • What if some employees refuse to be vaccinated?
  • What COVID-safe precautions at the workplace will employers have to continue to take?
  • Changes to Fair Work Act on the way?

Last month saw the federal government announce various proposed changes to the Fair Work Act 2009. The changes have been predictably controversial and it is uncertain whether they will make it through Parliament, at least in their current form. However, negotiations and debate will continue during 2021 and employers need to keep up to date with developments and evaluate the implications for their own businesses.

Other issues

A summary of the proposed changes affecting the following areas are:

  • Part-time employees in the accommodation, food and retail industries will be guaranteed a minimum 16 hours per week, but if they do extra shifts they will not receive overtime pay.
  • Casual employees who work regular shifts for at least 12 months will gain a right to apply for conversion to permanent employment (some of them already have something similar). However, the Fair Work Commission will not be able to force employers to convert them. Businesses that use casual employees will need to make their plans with these provisions in mind, for example to foresee the possibility that casual employees may eventually become permanent. Also, the government is again attempting to reverse some recent decisions that held that long-term casual employees were entitled to payments for leave as well as their casual loading. To do so, it proposes changing the definition of a “casual employee”.
  • As part of an attempt to revive enterprise bargaining, employers may be able to bypass the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) for enterprise agreements for up to two years if they can prove there are circumstances adversely affecting their business (including COVID-19-related impacts) and employees agree to the proposal. This appears to be the most controversial of the proposals, so probably the one least likely to happen.

Increased penalties for deliberate underpayment of wages

One change that is definitely going ahead, however, is that the Fair Work Commission will be reviewing pay rates in the awards covering the club, retail, restaurant and hospitality industries. The aim is to examine the feasibility of trading off penalty rates in exchange for higher base pay rates.

Plan for the end of JobKeeper

The government still intends to end the JobKeeper assistance scheme on 28 March 2021, now less than three months away. This means businesses will be expected to return employees to their pre-COVID-19 arrangements of one year earlier. Employers need to assess whether and how they are able to do this, plan accordingly and maintain communication with employees.

Other ongoing challenges

The above issues can be described as “unique to 2021”. However, there are also several other ongoing HR/employment challenges that will continue to require attention this year:

  • Working from home. A lot of people had their questions about working from home arrangements answered one way or the other when such arrangements had to be made last year. There will be pressure from many employees to make working-from-home arrangements permanent, or at least to work out a suitable compromise that combines both working in an office and working from home.
  • The so-called “gig economy”, which will continue to be a battle between attempts to regulate employment in it to ensure workers are fairly remunerated, and attempts by some operators to cut costs by operating outside the law. This battle has implications for those that have to compete with “gig economy” businesses.
  • Diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity will continue to be prominent issues regardless of the prevailing economic climate. Businesses that fail to take them seriously may suffer for it, eg “shaming” on social media and perhaps loss of access to public sector contracts.
  • Legal compliance and regulation will become more, rather than less complex. The proposal above to increase sanctions for underpayment of wages is one example, and a reminder to businesses to ensure that their payroll management systems remain fully compliant.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Our workplace advice team can help you with expert advice and solution for all things HR, workplace, and industrial Relations. Whether you are onboarding new employees, managing performance, or monitoring compliance, we have professional phone advice, wage guides, and employee documents.

Members can call our advice line on 1300 391 426,

Not a member? Join today! 12 months membership is only $440 inc GST.


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