Note: Definitions in this glossary have been prepared to assist readers in understanding the annual report of the FWBC. They should not be regarded as comprehensive or legally authoritative.

accrual accounting

System of accounting whereby items are brought to account and included in the financial statements as they are earned or incurred, rather than as they are received or paid.

administered items

Expenses, revenues, assets and liabilities managed by agencies on behalf of the Commonwealth. Agencies do not control administered items. Administered expenses include grants, subsidies and benefits. In many cases administered expenses fund the delivery of third party outputs.


The terms “agency” and “the agency” are used in this report to refer to Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC).

annual appropriation

Two appropriation bills are introduced into Parliament in May and comprise the budget for the financial year beginning 1 July. Further bills are introduced later in the financial year as part of the additional estimates. Parliamentary departments have their own appropriations.

APS employee

A person engaged under s.22 or engaged as an APS employee under s.72 of the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act).

Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC)

The AIRC was a national tribunal dealing with employment issues including dispute settlement, unfair dismissal and the setting of wages and conditions. The AIRC ceased operation on 31 December 2009. The functions of the AIRC are now carried out by Fair Work Australia.

average staffing level (ASL)

ASL is the average number of employees receiving salary/wages (or compensation in lieu of salary/ wages) over a financial year, with adjustments for casual and part-time employees to show the fulltime equivalent.


Documents that set out the minimum wages and conditions of employees. In some cases awards cover a specific issue such as superannuation or long service leave. FWA oversees federal awards, while state industrial tribunals are responsible for state awards. Sometimes, both federal and state awards can apply to the one workplace, although to different classifications of employees.


Broadbanding describes the action of combining two or more non-SES Australian Public Service classification levels into a single, broader group of duties within an agency.

Building Code

The Building Code is the set of rules that replaced the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry on 1 February 2013.

The Building Code sets out the Australian Government’s expected standards for building contractors or building industry participants involved in Commonwealth funded construction projects. It applies to building contractors and building industry participants who have submitted an expression of interest or tendered for Commonwealth funded building work.

building employer

An employer who employs, or offers to employ, building employees.

building industry participant

Any of the following:

  • a building employee
  • a building employer
  • a building contractor
  • a person who enters into a contract with a building contractor under which the building contractor agrees to carry out building work or to arrange for building work to be carried out
  • a building association
  • an officer, delegate or other representative of a building association
  • an employee of a building association.

building work

FWBC has jurisdiction over a very broad definition of building work throughout Australia. The few exceptions encompass mining and drilling operations and operations related to singledwelling homes. This leaves FWBC with jurisdiction over practically all other aspects of building work, ranging from off-site prefabrication through construction and repairs to landscaping and finishing off. Importantly, it has jurisdiction over commercial building and significant residential building projects.

collective agreement

A legally enforceable agreement about terms and conditions of employment between an employer and a group of employees or between an employer and one or more unions.

Common Law Contract

An individual contract of employment between an employer and an employee that is not lodged or certified under federal or state legislation but is subject to award requirements and provisions.

Commonwealth authority



  • a body corporate established for a public purpose by or under a law of the Commonwealth
  • a body corporate incorporated under a law of the Commonwealth or a state or territory, and in which the Commonwealth has a controlling interest.

corporate governance

The process by which agencies are directed and controlled. It is generally understood to encompass authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control.


Meaning as given by s.12 of the FW Act.

employee organisation

An organisation of employees within the meaning of s.12 of the FW Act.


Meaning as given by s.12 of the FW Act.

Enterprise agreement

An agreement made under the FW Act (on or after 1 July 2009) between one or more employers and a group of employees in relation to terms and conditions of employment for those employees.


The total value of all resources consumed in producing goods and services or the loss of future economic benefits in the form of reductions in assets or increases in liabilities of an entity.

Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act)

The FW Act provides a comprehensive set of rules for industrial regulation in Australia. On 1 July 2009 the FW Act replaced the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WR Act).

Fair Work Commission

Fair Work Commission (FWC) is one of the two regulatory bodies, the other being the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), which on 1 July 2009 took over the functions of six government agencies responsible for industrial regulation.

Fair Work Ombudsman, the (FWO)

Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is one of the two regulatory bodies, the other being Fair Work Australia, which on 1 July 2009 took over the functions of six government agencies responsible for industrial regulation.

Federal Court

The Federal Court of Australia.

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act)

The principal legislation governing the proper use and management of public money and public property, and other Commonwealth resources. FMA Regulations and FMA Orders are made pursuant to the FMA Act.

financial results

The results shown in the financial statements of an agency.

freedom of association

The freedom of association provisions of the FW Act prohibit victimisation or discrimination on various grounds, including a person’s membership or nonmembership of an industrial association, or the exercise of a person’s rights under industrial laws. The provisions abolish preference in employment and compulsory unionism.

full service regulation

Use of a broad suite of regulatory tools, designed to affect cultural change and promote lawful workplace behaviours in the building industry.


Commonwealth financial assistance as defined under Regulations 3A(1) and 3A(2) of the FMA Act.

industrial body

Meaning as given by s.12 of the FW Act.

industrial instrument

An award or agreement, however designated, that:

  • is made under or recognised by an industrial law
  • deals with the relationship between employers and employees, concerns the relationship between an employer and the employer’s employees, or provides for the prevention or settlement of a dispute between an employer and the employer’s employees.

National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry (the National Code)

The National Code is a set of principles that governs the manner in which the Australian Government deals with the building and construction industry. The National Code applies to all construction activity undertaken by or on behalf of government departments and agencies, and aims to emphasise the maintenance of the highest ethical standards in all construction activity. The National Code is now compulsory to qualify for tenders for Commonwealth work.

non-ongoing APS employee

A person engaged as an APS employee under s.22(2)(b) or 22(2)(c) of the PS Act.

ongoing APS employee

A person engaged as an ongoing APS employee as mentioned in s.22(2)(a) of the PS Act.


Meaning as given by s.12 of the FW Act.


The results, impacts or consequences of actions by the Commonwealth on the Australian community. They should be consistent with those listed in agencies' Portfolio Budget Statements and Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.


The proficiency of an agency or authority in acquiring resources economically and using those resources efficiently and effectively in achieving planned outcomes.

performance information

Evidence about performance that is collected and used systematically which may relate to the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency and the extent to which an outcome can be attributed to an intervention.

Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)

Statements prepared by portfolios to explain the budget appropriations in terms of planned government outcomes.


An activity or group of activities that delivers benefits, services or transfer payments to individuals, industry/business or the community as a whole and are the primary vehicles for government agencies to achieve the intended results of their outcome statements.

Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act)

The principal Commonwealth law providing for the establishment and management of the Australian Public Service.

purchaser/provider arrangements

Arrangements under which the outputs of an agency are purchased by another agency to contribute to outcomes. Purchaser/provider arrangements can occur between Commonwealth agencies or between Commonwealth agencies and state/territory government or private sector bodies.

right of entry

The FW Act and the various state acts contain provisions regulating the right that certain individuals have to enter worksites. The exact provisions vary from state to state.

Service charters

A service charter is a public statement about the services that a department or agency will provide and what customers can expect. In particular the service charter advises what the department or agency does, how to contact and communicate with the department or agency, the standard of service customers can expect, and their basic rights and responsibilities. It also advises how customers can provide feedback or make a complaint.

sham contract

“Sham contract” describes the situation where an employer attempts to portray an employee as an independent contractor, often for the purpose of avoiding employee entitlements such as minimum rates of pay and leave provisions.

Statement of Strategic Intent (SoSI)

The SoSI outlines FWBC’s goals and strategies which are designed to inform resource allocation, priorities, business practices, systems and capability.

unlawful industrial action

  • Building industrial action is unlawful if it is:
  • industrially motivated
  • constitutionally connected
  • not excluded action.

wages and entitlements

As applicable to workers in the Australian Building and Construction Industry under agreements or awards that set out their payment and conditions.

workplace laws

Commonwealth Acts and Regulations in relation to the building and construction industry.