At the end of November, The Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) released its long-awaited Sham Contracting Inquiry Report 2011.

The result of an extensive year-long Inquiry spearheaded by the ABCC, the detailed report is the culmination of 21 written submissions and five roundtable discussions with building and construction industry participants around Australia. According to the ABCC, “Sham contracting occurs when an employer attempts to disguise an employment relationship as an independent contracting relationship, to avoid obligatory rates of pay and other entitlements, and gain an unfair competitive advantage.”

Over the years, the ABCC has played a pivotal role as the workplace regulator for the nation’s building and construction industry, and is instrumental in addressing sham contracting. A number of unions, who boycotted the Inquiry, remain unenthusiastic about the report, calling it a “‘sham, sham contracting report’.”

The entire Sham Contracting Inquiry Report 2011 can be downloaded at

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

July 14, 2020, 1:11 PM AEST