Vol 7 Issue 9 May 20 2009

  • Date:09 May 2009
  • Type:Boardroom Report

AICD welcomes national OH&S agreement

AICD has welcomed the agreement by state and Commonwealth governments to go ahead with uniform national Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) laws.

The agreement by the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council for a harmonised national framework based on model legislation was reached on Monday by all governments except Western Australia. It will remove some of the worst aspects of the current state and territory laws.

BCTR calls for growth focused tax reforms

The review of Australia’s Future Tax System should focus on tax policy and design measures that improved productivity and encouraged economic growth, urged John Stanhope, chairman of the Business Coalition for Tax Reform (BCTR), of which AICD is a founding member.

In the BCTR’s response to last week’s Federal Budget, he noted that such a focus was critical because the goal of restoring the budget surplus in the medium-term and improving the employment prospects for all Australians would be largely dependent on the country’s future rate of economic growth.

NEDs should be more full-time

The global financial crisis has shown that non-executive directors (NEDs) may have to lift their skills and become more like fulltime “independent directors”, according to Hector Sants, CEO of the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Speaking at the Securities and Investment Institute Conference 2009 in London this month, Sants said: “Evidence from the current crisis indicates that some NEDs have struggled to fulfil their role of providing strong independent oversight of the executive management. NEDs will therefore need to commit to raise their technical skills in order to exercise rigorous oversight. Ultimately, they will need to demonstrate competence with regard to risk management, regulation, and importantly, the business model of the firm... Clearly, this will require NEDs to work on a more full-time basis and be compensated appropriately.”

Warning signs that all is not well

The litany of economic problems facing business in the current tough economic climate requires intensified diligence by directors of small to medium-sized enterprises to ensure their businesses can weather the current downturn.

Protecting your reputation as an employer of choice

Directors have an important role to play in ensuring their organisations sustain their reputations as employers of choice in both good and bad times, says Hugh Davies, managing director of Macfarlan Lane.

He says the key to sourcing and retaining talent is attention to detail in the ongoing implementation of the HR policy. “The winners understand, from the board down, the importance of a policy that factors in respect for individuals. Like other areas of governance, directors can positively influence management by drawing the CEO’s attention to how HR is being managed,” says Davies.



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