Table of Contents

Message from the Director

Photo of Nigel Hadgkiss
Photo of Nigel Hadgkiss

I, Nigel Hadgkiss, as the accountable authority of the Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate (commonly known as Fair Work Building and Construction [FWBC]), am pleased to present FWBC’s 2016–17 Corporate Plan. The Corporate Plan covers the periods of 2016–17 to 2019–20, as required under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

The Corporate Plan is FWBC’s principal planning document. It sets out:

  • the purpose, activities, and priorities we will pursue;
  • the results we expect to achieve; and
  • the methods by which we will measure our success.

The Corporate Plan creates the framework to drive and monitor our day to day performance, while providing the flexibility required to enable the agency to respond to rapidly changing environments.

FWBC’s planning framework strives to provide a clear view from FWBC’s key performance measures through to every business unit and staff member in the organisation. This means that our people can better understand the bigger picture of why we do what we do, and also how their work and the work of their business unit contributes to achieving agency goals.

In line with the principles of the PGPA Act, the Corporate Plan allows FWBC to be transparent and accountable. It enables managers, accountable authorities, the Minister, the Parliament, and the public to use our performance information to draw clear links between the use of public resources and the results we have achieved and plan to achieve.

We will report against this Corporate Plan in the Annual Performance Statement that forms part of the FWBC Annual Report, tabled in October each year by the Minister for Employment.

Signature of Nigel Hadgkiss

Nigel Hadgkiss
Fair Work Building and Construction

1. Role of FWBC

FWBC promotes harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations in the building industry by ensuring compliance with designated building laws and the Building Code 2013.

2. Purposes

In accordance with its responsibilities under the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 (FWBI Act), FWBC:

  1. enforces workplace relations laws in the building and construction industry through the provision of education, assistance and advice, and where necessary, civil penalty litigation in the courts; and
  2. ensures compliance with the Building Code 2013 (Building Code) by educating the industry, monitoring compliance, and where appropriate, seeking rectification by or sanctions against non-compliant contractors.

These purposes are achieved through five activities:

  • providing education, assistance and advice to the industry;
  • undertaking compliance activities;
  • pursuing enforcement activities;
  • using information and analysis to inform decision making; and
  • providing quality corporate services.

By measuring its success against the objectives of each of these activities, FWBC demonstrates the achievement of its purposes and fulfilment of its role. As a result, FWBC can contribute to a fairer and more cohesive building and construction industry, promoting increased productivity for the benefit of all industry participants and the broader Australian economy.

3. Operating environment

The Australian building and construction industry is vitally important to the Australian economy and to the wellbeing of the nation. In the March 2016 quarter the industry contributed more than $32 billion to the economy, making it the nation’s third largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product, behind mining and financial services. The industry employs more than one million people, making up nine percent of Australia’s total employment. As a result, it is the third largest employer behind the health care and the retail sectors.

As a regulator in the building and construction industry, FWBC must anticipate changes in the complex and ever-shifting industrial landscape and adapt as a consequence. FWBC achieves this through regular environmental scans that drive internal decision-making and policy direction. While pursuing a proactive intelligence-led regime, the agency must also remain responsive to those unexpected changes that are driven by unpredictable external factors. FWBC manages this challenge by promoting an agile and adaptable workforce that is responsive to change and has the means to efficiently deploy resources to where they are most needed.

The mining, oil and gas sectors currently account for 51% of the total value of projects currently in construction, however the same sectors represent just 43% of the value of projects currently in the pipeline. Conversely, infrastructure projects represent 31% of the total value of projects currently in construction, and 43% of projects in the pipeline. Over the coming years this may signal a shift in focus away from major mining, oil and gas projects in remote locations, and a move toward infrastructure projects in more urban areas, with a particular spike in New South Wales and Victoria predicted.

In the March 2016 quarter, the construction industry recorded by far the highest number of working days lost to industrial disputes per 1,000 employees across all industries. The construction industry saw an average of 13.8 days lost per 1,000 employees compared with 2.6 days across all industries. This predisposition toward industrial unrest drives up the cost of building and construction projects in Australia—a cost which is borne by governments through to consumers.

While contributing to the nation’s economic wellbeing, FWBC operates in an environment of political uncertainty. With the bill to re-establish the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) - one of two bills that triggered the 2016 Double Dissolution election, still unresolved as at August 2016—there is an ongoing uncertainty around the future operations of the agency. FWBC continues to operate business as usual in the meantime.

FWBC’s compulsory examination powers are an essential mechanism for FWBC to be effective in its investigations and to be successful in its court proceedings. The powers have enabled evidence to be gathered that could not otherwise have been obtained by the agency. Used only as a last resort, these powers are essential to combat the code of silence, which continues to prevail across the industry. The powers were due to expire on 1 June 2015, however were extended by the Parliament until 1 June 2017 pending the resolution of the ABCC bill.

FWBC operates within a broader regulatory framework and works with other Commonwealth and State Government agencies that also have a role to play in the building and construction industry, including the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and state work health and safety regulators, among others. FWBC will refer matters to other agencies that are outside its jurisdiction or are better suited for response by another agency.

The key challenges that shape FWBC’s outlook and strategy over the coming four years are:

  • the environment of political uncertainty, with FWBC’s future strongly impacted by the proposed ABCC legislation, an issue that remains unresolved as at August 2016;
  • continuing to effectively regulate the industry in the event that the compulsory examination powers expire prior to the resolution of the ABCC bill;
  • the ongoing trend of industrial lawlessness and recidivism perpetuated by some participants in the industry, as current penalties prove to be inadequate for specific or general deterrence;
  • utilising the full weight of agency compliance activities as a proactive driver of behavioural change on construction projects; and
  • educating the critical mass of building industry participants in such an expansive industry.

These complex factors and challenges are considered in formulating the key strategies FWBC will use to pursue the achievement of its purposes over the reporting periods of 2016–17 to 2019–20 covered by this Corporate Plan.

4. Performance

4.1 Mapping of role, purposes and activities

Diagram to describe relationship of FWBC role, purposes and activities Mapping of role, purposes and activities

Download: Table of mapping of role, purposes and activities (PDF - 24K)

4.2 Overview of activities

FWBC’s three core activities are:

  1. Education, assistance and advice
    Educate building industry participants about their rights and responsibilities under Australian workplace relations laws and the Building Code.
  2. Compliance
    Conduct activities that assess and improve compliance with the Building Code, including seeking rectification by, or sanctions against, non-compliant contactors.

  3. Enforcement
    Where necessary pursue civil penalty litigation in the courts for alleged breaches of workplace relations law.

The agency’s core activities encompass the services provided to the building and construction industry by FWBC in the pursuit of its purposes. The primary key performance indicators (KPIs) that assess FWBC’s delivery of these external-facing services are contained in the Portfolio Budget Statements and Corporate Plan, with several other internal measures reflected under the same headings in the agency’s Business Plan.

FWBC’s core activities are supported by two enabling activities:

  1. Information and analysis
    Analyse internal and external information sources to support the agency’s goal of being an intelligence-led organisation.
  2. Corporate services
    Support the business by providing quality corporate services.

The agency’s enabling activities provide the support required to ensure that the business makes strategic decisions based on solid evidence, and has the personnel, training, and equipment required to achieve the best possible outcomes. The enabling activities are outlined in the Corporate Plan for context; however the KPIs associated with these internal functions are contained in the agency’s Business Plan.

The KPIs and targets set out in FWBC’s 2016 - 17 Corporate Plan have been selected using research, past performance data, and legislative and policy requirements. FWBC’s performance will be evaluated using various methodologies, including data analysis and external surveys. In line with the requirements of the PGPA Act, the performance outcomes contained in the Annual Performance Statement will be submitted to the Minister and published in the Annual Report each year.

4.3 Relationship between core activities

FWBC aims to provide education to the industry in the first instance. An educated industry will naturally lead to higher rates of compliance and self-regulation among building industry participants. The largest number of activities undertaken by FWBC will be aimed at educating the industry.

FWBC’s compliance activities, including site inspections and audits, will assess the levels of compliance with the Building Code in the industry. Compliance-based activities will represent a smaller number of activities than education; however they also represent more complex and targeted work. Non-compliance will be addressed through voluntary rectification by contractors, or by the pursuit of sanctions. Trends in non-compliance will be identified, and more targeted education activities may take place as a result.

Where there are alleged breaches of workplace relations laws, enforcement options including civil penalty litigation will be pursued. Enforcement activities will represent the smallest number of FWBC’s activities, but the most complex and resource-dependent.

triangle with enforcement at the top, compliance in the middle and education at the bottom, and an arrow connecting each
Figure 1 – Relationship between core activities

4.4 Key performance indicators

Table of key performance indicators
Core activity KPI Measure Performance Target PBS KPI
      2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20  
1 1 Percentage of clients who are satisfied or highly satisfied with the quality and timeliness of advice and assistance provided. 75% 80% 80% 85% 2
1 2 Number of formal presentations delivered to stakeholders. 125  150  175  200  4
1 3  Number of site visits undertaken nationally. 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 n/a
1 4 Education activities continue to meet the needs of building industry participants. 75% of surveyed industry
participants are satisfied or highly
satisfied with contact by FWBC
aimed at promoting appropriate
standards of conduct.
75% of surveyed industry
participants indicate that
presentations, advice and/
or materials provided by
FWBC have improved their
understanding of workplace
rights and responsibilities
80% of surveyed industry
participants indicate that
presentations, advice and/
or materials provided by
FWBC have improved their
understanding of workplace
rights and responsibilities.
85% of surveyed industry
participants indicate that
presentations, advice and/
or materials provided by
FWBC have improved their
understanding of workplace
rights and responsibilities.
2 5  Number of compliance activities to improve compliance with the Building Code 2013. 300 300 300 300 3
2 6 Number and percentage of
enterprise agreements assessed for
compliance with the Building Code
2013 within target timeframes.1
Conduct internal benchmarking. Based on internal
benchmarking, determine and
meet appropriate goal.
Improve on 2017–18 figure. Improve on 2018–19 figure. n/a
2 7 Percentage of registered enterprise
agreements that are assessed as
compliant with the Building Code
Conduct internal benchmarking. Based on internal
benchmarking, determine and
meet appropriate goal.
Improve on 2017–18 figure. Improve on 2018–19 figure. n/a
2 8 Identified non-compliance with the
Building Code 2013 is addressed
through voluntary rectification or
recommendation for sanction.
100% 100% 100% 100% n/a
3 9 Legal proceedings in court within 12
months of complaint being lodged.
75% 75% 75% 75% 1

The assessment of enterprise agreements against the Building Code 2013 is a new role. The timely assessment of agreements is an important measure of FWBC’s responsiveness. Internal benchmarking will occur in the 2016–17 period
and based on the results firm target timeframes and goals for achievement will be incorporated in future Corporate Plans.

The assessment of enterprise agreements against the Building Code 2013 is a new role. The percentage of registered enterprise agreements that are assessed as compliant with the Building Code 2013 will demonstrate the effectiveness of FWBC’s assessment of draft agreements. An increase over time in the number of compliant agreements will reflect effective education leading to improved compliance among stakeholders. Internal benchmarking will occur in the 2016–17 period and based on the results the appropriate KPI measure and firm targets for achievement will be incorporated in future Corporate Plans.

5. Capability

The capability of FWBC is described in a range of strategies and plans that the organisation will use to achieve its purposes over the four reporting periods covered by this Corporate Plan.

5.1 Key plans and strategies

FWBC has an important regulatory role within the building and construction industry and it is critical that the organisation engenders a strong leadership culture and empowers staff to deliver excellent service to building industry participants. It is also critical that the organisation has the right staff in the right place at the right time, and that those staff are adequately trained and supported.

FWBC’s Workforce Plan is the key document underpinning the agency’s development of a cohesive and high-performing workforce. It sets out the high level trends and issues affecting the workforce, the workforce capability requirements and gaps now and in the future, and the strategies to integrate and optimise human resources to achieve FWBC’s purposes over the four years covered by the Corporate Plan.

Strategies to address agency capability issues are put into place on an as-needs basis in line with FWBC’s responsive and adaptive workforce. Such strategies include a focused Leadership Program which aims to build leadership capabilities in current and future leaders.

Recruitment, learning and development, workplace health and safety, and workplace relations are central to the agency’s development of a high-performing workforce. APS Values and Code of Conduct refresher training are delivered annually to all staff.

FWBC has an Information Technology (IT) Capability Plan in place to support the delivery of agency services and to increase the productivity of staff. The goals of the IT Capability Plan are to:

  • set the business context for the agency’s IT offerings;
  • outline internal and external trends in IT;
  • deliver IT tools at an affordable and sustainable level that allow the business to achieve a high level of performance; and
  • drive efficiencies and continuous improvement in the agency’s operations.

FWBC’s Property Management Plan strives to promote the efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of Commonwealth resources in the delivery of the agency’s property requirements. The Property Management Plan outlines the existing and future needs, risks, gap analysis, and accountability for the agency’s property management.

Capital investment is funded using departmental capital appropriation or internally funded from our own sources. Details of available capital resources appear in the ‘Departmental Capital Budget Statement’ in the Portfolio Budget Statements (Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements).

5.2 Corporate structure

The 2016–17 reporting period is a transitional year for FWBC, moving away from a purely functional corporate structure to a regional structure with a number of supporting groups that operate nationally. The aim of the regional approach is to maximise efficiencies and synergies by eliminating the silos that sometimes occur when interdependent functional areas have independent lines of accountability. Over the periods from 2016–17 to 2019–20 the agency expects to see the new structure optimise operations and contribute to the efficient and effective achievement of agency goals. FWBC’s organisation chart is shown overleaf in Figure 2 below.

Diagram to describe FWBC corporate structure
FWBC corporate structure

Download: Chart of FWBC corporate structure (PDF - 31K)

Regional structure

The restructure of the agency’s Senior Executive Service took place early in the 2016-17 period, with a Regional Manager overseeing all activities appointed in the Northern (QLD), Eastern (NSW and ACT), Western (WA, SA and NT), and Southern (Vic and Tas) regions. These multidisciplinary groups have carriage of matters from proactive compliance and investigations through to legal proceedings, with the single line of accountability for all activities ensuring that key decisions are made at the earliest opportunity and that staff members are adequately supported to achieve optimal results at all stages of the case lifecycle.

Office of the General Counsel

The legal functions of the regional structure are supported by the Office of the General Counsel (OoGC), which provides practice management, professional leadership and high level technical advice. With the assistance of a small administrative function, the General Counsel empowers a ‘community of legal practice’ promoting professional mentoring, guidance and development.

Office of the Director

Reporting to the FWBC Director, the Office of the Director (OoD) comprises a variety of functions that support the FWBC Director and provide broader governance and internal audit services to the agency. Under the Chief of Staff, the Melbourne-based branch of the OoD provides strategic planning, media and stakeholder engagement, parliamentary, and communications services. A national Professional Standards Unit operates under the Manager, Professional Standards, providing internal audit, risk identification and management, and professional standards.

Building Code Group

Led by the National Manager Building Code, the Building Code Group (BCG) is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Building Code. The agency has a strong focus on using the Building Code as a proactive driver of behavioural change on construction projects. FWBC’s investigators conduct and report on Building Code compliance activities with support from the BCG’s specialist operations, legal and education officers. The BCG also assesses new enterprise agreements for compliance with the Building Code, as well as undertaking proactive educational and stakeholder engagement activities to help the industry comply with the Building Code.


Under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer, the Corporate Group provides supporting services to the agency through the delivery of Human Resources, Information Technology, Planning and Performance, Finance, and Business Support services. Corporate Services are primarily based in Melbourne, servicing the agency nationally.

The Human Resources (HR) Team manage Workplace Health and Safety compliance, return to work case management, recruitment and induction of staff, the procurement and provision of learning and development activities, and performance management. Payroll is managed by the Fair Work Ombudsman under a Memorandum of Understanding.

The agency’s Information Technology Unit ensures that the agency has the systems and tools required to support the agency’s business. The technology, infrastructure and services are provided by the Shared Services Centre through a Memorandum of Understanding and fee for service.

Data reporting and analysis is provided by the agency’s Planning and Performance Team. This team maintains and develops FWBC’s case management system which records the agency’s investigative and legal activity. The Planning and Performance Team produces reports on agency performance for the Director and Executive Team and analyses internal and external data sources to produce reports that help inform strategic direction.

The Business Services Unit is responsible for records management, accommodation, fleet management, security, and other business services.

6. Risk management and oversight systems

The Risk Management process used by FWBC is in accordance with the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and consistent with the International Standard ISO 31000. FWBC monitors and manages risks that affect the agency’s ability to achieve strategic objectives and successfully carry out operational activities. Risks are considered over the four-year outlook of the Corporate Plan.

The FWBC Risk Management Framework allows for accountability for all levels of risk to be assigned to the right manager, at the relevant level of the business, as illustrated in Figure 3. It also provides a mechanism for risk exposures to be escalated to the relevant level of the business for direct oversight, additional action, and appropriate resourcing, if necessary. The Enterprise Risk Register is reviewed each quarter by the Executive Team to ensure that significant emerging risks and existing controls are assessed, and that appropriate action is taken.

FWBC assesses its risk maturity annually through the Comcover Benchmarking Survey. Over the next four reporting periods covered by this Corporate Plan, FWBC aims to achieve the Risk Maturity Targets outlined in the 2016–17 survey results, and continue to build on the solid foundations already in place.

Business Continuity Plans are in place for each operational area. An Emergency Response Plan and team are in place for each office to assess the impact of events and coordinate activities. The Crisis Management Team is responsible for strategic direction during disasters or damaging events and for activating Business Continuity Plans.

FWBC’s Fraud Control Plan provides a framework for identifying, reporting, investigating and deterring fraud. Fraud risk assessments are conducted regularly to identify emerging risks and to test existing controls. All staff are required to undertake fraud awareness training.

The head of the Professional Standards Unit, with the assistance of external service providers, evaluates FWBC’s systems, controls and practices through a comprehensive program of quality assurance and internal audit reviews. An Internal Audit Strategy and an annual Internal Audit Work Plan are developed to guide these activities.

The Audit Committee reviews the agency’s governance arrangements, internal controls and risk environment and monitors the internal audit program. This oversight activity allows the Audit Committee to provide independent advice and assurance to the Director and Executive Team.

diagram of risk management accountability structure
Figure 3 - Risk management accountability structure

Download:  Chart of risk management accountability structure (PDF - 31K)

7. Corporate governance

FWBC’s corporate governance framework is comprised of the agency’s enabling legislation, the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 (FWBI Act), other relevant legislative instruments, policies, strategies and procedures and practices.

FWBC’s corporate governance framework determines how the agency exercises its authority and the way in which it will deliver outcomes, initiatives and programs. The framework promotes and upholds the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct.

FWBC has in place a number of corporate governance practices to ensure clear lines of accountability and well-defined, effective management of the agency’s performance. These practices are overseen and supported by the following boards and committees.

Executive Team

The Executive Team is the peak decision making body of FWBC, and is comprised of the FWBC Director and all SES officers. EL2 managers are invited to attend Executive Team meetings on a rotational basis. Meetings are held monthly and the outcomes are made available to staff through the intranet.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the Director and the Executive Team on the agency’s internal audit program, risk management, quality assurance, fraud control framework and its external accountabilities.

The Audit Committee is also responsible for the oversight of the annual financial statements preparation.

Health and Safety Committee

The Health and Safety Committee advises the Director and the Executive Team on the implementation of policy matters concerning the work health and safety (WHS) of agency workers. It also proactively reviews and reports on the implementation of relevant WHS legislation, policies and practices.

The Health and Safety Committee consists of four management representatives, including the position of Chair, who is appointed by the Director, and three employee  representatives elected by staff. The Committee meets quarterly.

People Committee

The People Committee advises the Executive Team on strategic, agency-wide people issues. It does this by working to find innovative solutions to resolve people matters and to proactively improve agency engagement and performance.

The People Committee consists of the Chair, who is nominated by staff and appointed by the Director, and eight employee representatives who are selected to represent a fair and proportional spread across regions, work levels and business groups. The People Committee meets six times per year.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is established under section 23 of the FWBI Act, and its role is to provide recommendations to the FWBC Director regarding:

  • policies to guide the performance of the Director’s functions and the exercise of the Director’s powers;
  • the priorities of, and the programs to be implemented by, the Director; and
  • any matter that the Minister requests the Advisory Board to consider.


Need more information?

For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or