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Update from Product Safety Australia – Toppling Furniture

20 May 2024
15 Min Read

Furniture suppliers will be required to provide safety warnings to consumers about the dangers of toppling furniture, after the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon. Stephen Jones, made a new information standard for toppling furniture, the Consumer Goods (Toppling Furniture) Information Standard 2024.

This new standard applies to certain types of furniture and will require suppliers to attach a permanent warning label to furniture; include safety information and advice about anchoring furniture in manuals and assembly instructions; and provide warnings about the hazards of toppling furniture in furniture stores and online.

Suppliers must comply with these requirements from 4 May 2025.

Products the mandatory standard applies to

Freestanding household furniture can be dangerous if it falls or topples over.

Warnings and safety information must be provided when supplying these 3 categories of furniture.

Category 1

A clothing storage unit or bookcase with a height of 686 mm or more. A clothing storage unit is an item of furniture intended to primarily store clothes. It has one or more doors or drawers.

Category 2

Entertainment units of any height typically used for housing televisions, home theatre systems or gaming consoles.

Category 3

Hall tables, display cabinets, buffets, and sideboards with a height 686 mm or greater.

Products the mandatory standard does not apply to

The mandatory standard excludes:

  • furniture that was bought by a consumer and is being resold
  • second-hand furniture, including furniture that was previously bought and used commercially
  • furniture designed to be fastened to a wall or other structure and that can’t be used unless it’s attached.
15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

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New Model WHS Regulations Agreed for Engineered Stone Ban by WHS Ministers

15 May 2024
15 Min Read

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

These amendments give effect to the engineered stone ban from 1 July 2024 and provide further regulation of all materials containing crystalline silica from 1 September 2024.

The first set of amendments to the model WHS Regulations includes 2 new national frameworks relating to the implementation of the engineered stone ban, one for notifying a WHS regulator about permitted work with legacy engineered stone and the other for applications for exemptions for certain types of engineered stone, from 1 July 2024.

The second set of amendments will give effect to stronger regulation of all materials containing crystalline silica, from 1 September 2024.

Individual jurisdictions must make the amendments within their respective work health and safety laws to implement the ban in their jurisdiction from 1 July 2024 and the stronger regulation of all materials containing crystalline silica from 1 September 2024.

Western Australia and South Australia will have transitional arrangements in place from 1 July 2024 to 31 December 2024. Queensland and Victoria will not have a transitional period for the ban, with all other jurisdictions yet to confirm. For an outline of timelines, an overview of jurisdictional transitional arrangements, links to jurisdiction-specific resources, and frequently asked questions, please click the link below to the Safe Work Australia engineered stone ban website:

Safework Australia are also currently developing guidance to support PCBUs understand how the amendments to the model WHS Regulations will affect them. It is expected this guidance will be released by Safework Australia in early June 2024 to assist PCBUs and workers understand and comply with the engineered stone ban, ahead of the 1 July 2024 implementation.

To read the full details of the communique from the WHS ministers meeting click the link below:

ACFA will continue to keep the industry updated in relation to the ban on engineered stone and will continue to raise our industry challenges through representation on the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Work Health and Safety Committee and Silica Reference groups.

If you haven’t already done so, ACFA would encourage you to speak with your supplier on alternative options as more options continue to become available that may suit your business or customers. 

ACFA Members

ACFA members, can contact our workplace advice team for assistance in relation to employment matters which may impact your business.

Members can also view and download resources from the ACFA Member Portal WHS/ Crystalline Silica Tab – please remember to enter your username and password to be able to access the member only resources

Please contact our workplace advice team either by email at membership@acf.net.au or phone our toll-free number on 1300 342 248.

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2024 ACFA Industry Awards | Why Enter

09 May 2024
15 Min Read

Why Enter the ACFA Industry Awards?

The 2024 ACFA Industry Awards nominations are now open, and this is why you should consider entering:      

Recognition and Exposure:
  • Showcase Excellence: Display your outstanding projects and skilled team members, highlighting your commitment to quality and innovation.
  • Achieve National Recognition: Gain acknowledgment for your achievements within the industry, setting your business apart.

Marketing and Promotion:

  • Benchmark Excellence: Compare your efforts with peers and competitors to showcase your industry leadership.
  • Enhanced Visibility: Increase business awareness through extensive marketing opportunities and media exposure.
  • Media Features: Have your business and achievements prominently featured in: Industry magazines ACFA’s Award Digital Magazine ACFA’s newsletters, website, and social media channels

Networking Opportunities:

  • Celebrate Success: Attend the prestigious Awards Presentation and Gala Dinner. This event is not only a great opportunity to showcase your business achievements but also serves as a fantastic morale booster for your team.
  • Build Connections: Network with industry leaders and peers, opening doors to new collaborations and opportunities. These connections can provide new ways to work together, find suppliers, or get advice that really makes a difference to help your business stand out.

Exclusive Rights:

  • Leverage Achievements: Use the ACFA finalist/winner logo to enhance your business’s credibility and attract new clients on your marketing materials and digital platforms.

Additional Visibility:

  • Continuous Promotion: Enjoy ongoing promotion through ACFA’s media releases and social media activities before and after the Awards Dinner, maximising exposure.
  • Enhanced Online Presence: Increase your business’s online visibility. Being a finalist or winner can enhance your brand’s presence on various digital platforms, drawing attention from potential clients and industry professionals alike.

Project Eligibility:

  • Broad Eligibility: Open to projects completed between January 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024, including those not previously entered.
  • Reappraise Past Projects: A chance to submit projects that missed last year’s deadline.

ACT NOW!

Early Bird Advantage: Nominate your projects and standout staff members before the Early Bird deadline to take advantage of discounted entry fees.

Enter the ACFA Industry Awards to shine a spotlight on what you and your team have achieved. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate your hard work and success— get your entries ready today!

15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

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Sharpening your personal saw!

23 Apr 2024
15 Min Read

ACFA’s New Business Finance course is designed with owners and managers of Cabinet and Furniture Making businesses in mind. 

Gain a deeper understanding to make educated decisions to ensure the best outcome for the growth of your business!

The ever changing landscape we operate has led ACFA to develop the first of multiple short business courses to empower business owners and managers to further their knowledge and take the time to understand their business in greater depth. 

Designed to be easy to understand with industry examples

Why Complete the course?

  • Gain knowledge to make informed business decisions and plan for the future,
  • Formulate plans for growth and manage fluctuations to avoid financial pitfalls
  • Enables business owners to allocate resources efficiently
  • Manage risks effectively by having all the right information,
  • Communicate confidently with stakeholders, 
  • Help your key employees understand what it takes to run a business.  
  • Ensure your understand your responsibilities as a Director of a Business under the Corporations Act 2001 

This course utilises ACFA’s Online Learning Tools, meaning you can learn at your own pace in your own time. 

How can this course benefit Me?

This course is easily accessible for anyone looking to upskill in business finance, whether you have a basic understanding, new to running a business or want a refresher – this course has been designed to cater for all learning levels. 

Already have a strong understanding? This course is a great way to upskill and resource your team better by training senior employees and administration teams so they understand the factors that go into business decisions only makes your business stronger. 

Each Module takes between 1 & 2 hours to complete. This means you can progress at your own pace with one module at a time or undertake larger blocks – whatever suits your schedule best!

The exercises are designed to be thought provoking, allowing each person undertaking the course to use their experience to enable them to make changes across the business to save money, become more profitable and maximise cash flow.  

15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

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Prohibition of the use of Engineered Stone | Next Steps from Ministers

25 Mar 2024
15 Min Read

Commonwealth, State and Territory Work Health and Safety (WHS) Ministers met on Friday 22nd March 2024 to agree on a number of key implementation matters associated with a prohibition on the use of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs and to endorse a stronger regulatory framework to manage the risk of exposure to respirable crystalline silica from other materials and products.

Ministers agreed draft amendments to the model WHS laws to give effect to the prohibition on the use of engineered stone from 1 July 2024. These amendments:

  • make clear that the prohibition applies to engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs,
  • specify that all sintered stone and porcelain products (including benchtops, panels and slabs) are excluded from the prohibition, and for the avoidance of doubt, clarify that porcelain products and sintered stone for this purpose are products that do not contain resin, and
  • clarify that finished engineered stone products (such as jewellery, garden ornaments, sculptures, kitchen sinks) which do not require processing or modification, and pose minimal risk to the health and safety of workers, are not prohibited

Ministers agreed jurisdictions may adopt a transition period for contracts entered into prior to the announcement of the prohibition. This means that work that involves the supply, installation or processing of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs between 1 July 2024 and 31 December 2024 would be exempt from the prohibition provided the work is carried out under, or for the purposes of, a contract that provides for the installation of engineered stone entered into on or before 31 December 2023. Activities undertaken during this period must be appropriately controlled and will be subject to stronger WHS regulations for high-risk crystalline processes, also agreed at the meeting

Once amendments are finalised, Ministers agreed to implement these regulations by 1 September 2024 for all work with substances containing at least 1 per cent crystalline silica. In the interim, regulations prohibiting uncontrolled processing of engineered stone, sintered stone and porcelain benchtops, panels and slabs will continue to apply.

Safe Work Australia will provide advice relating to further development of the exemption framework to WHS Ministers for consideration by the end of April 2024.

Ministers agreed to meet again in May 2024 To read the full details of the communique click the below link, Friday 

Supporting the Industry

ACFA will keep the industry updated in relation to the ban on engineered stone and developments from further Ministers meetings and will continue to raise our industry challenges through representation on the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Work Health and Safety Committee and Silica Reference groups.

If you haven’t already done so, ACFA would encourage you to speak with your supplier on alternative options as more options continue to become available that may suit your business or customers

15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

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Energy Bill reflief fund for small business

25 Mar 2024
15 Min Read

NSW Energy Efficiency Grants for Small Business – Round 2 – Businesses have until April 8 to apply for the $25,000 grant

Round 2 of the Energy Efficiency grants are now open to small and medium businesses in NSW. 

The grant provides eligible businesses with up to $25,000 to purchase energy efficient equipment to reduce and manage energy usage and costs.

This grant aims to support businesses to upgrade or replace inefficient equipment to improve their energy efficiency and will cover up to 100 per cent of eligible expenditure.

Grants will be awarded to suitable applicants on a first come, first served basis until the funding is exhausted. There is a total of $41.241 million available in Round 2.

Applications are open to businesses with a headcount between 1 and 199 employees. Businesses who received grant funding from round 1 of this program are not eligible to apply for this grant.

Applications close Monday 8 April 2024 5:00pm AEST.

NSW Energy Efficiency Grants for Small Business – Round 2 – Businesses have until April 8 to apply for the $25,000 grant

Round 2 of the Energy Efficiency grants are now open to small and medium businesses in NSW. 

The grant provides eligible businesses with up to $25,000 to purchase energy efficient equipment to reduce and manage energy usage and costs.

This grant aims to support businesses to upgrade or replace inefficient equipment to improve their energy efficiency and will cover up to 100 per cent of eligible expenditure.

Grants will be awarded to suitable applicants on a first come, first served basis until the funding is exhausted. There is a total of $41.241 million available in Round 2.

Applications are open to businesses with a headcount between 1 and 199 employees. Businesses who received grant funding from round 1 of this program are not eligible to apply for this grant.

Applications close Monday 8 April 2024 5:00pm AEST.

View the full list of requirements and apply for the grant at business.gov

15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

News Industry News

Prohibition of the use of Engineered Stone | What is Next!

22 Feb 2024
15 Min Read

On 13 December 2023, work health and safety ministers agreed to Safe Work Australia’s recommendation to prohibit the use of engineered stone in Australia.

WHS ministers unanimously agreed to prohibit the use, supply and manufacture of all engineered stone with the majority of jurisdictions to commence the prohibition from 1 July 2024.

To keep our members informed and to give effect to that decision, Safe Work Australia is drafting amendments to the model WHS Regulations. These draft amendments will be provided to WHS ministers this month. Each jurisdiction will need to implement these amendments in their own WHS laws for the changes to take effect.

Repairs, minor modification, and removal of engineered stone products previously installed, will not be subject to the prohibition. Safe Work Australia is developing a national framework to ensure the safe handling of previously installed engineered stone products.

Safe Work Australia will develop guidance to assist PCBUS and workers in understanding the WHS impact of these changes and help them prepare for them.

Until the prohibition comes into effect, if workers and businesses continue to work with engineered stone, they must do so in a controlled manner. This includes the use of:

  • Water suppression systems
  • On-tool extraction
  • Local exhaust ventilation systems, and
  • Respiratory protective equipment for workers.

Businesses are encouraged to be mindful of the upcoming prohibition on the use of engineered stone products and to avoid entering into contracts for these products that may not be able to be fulfilled by the prohibition deadline.

ACFA will keep our members informed as new information becomes available and once the guidelines are released. ACFA are here to help our members understand how the amendments to the model WHS Regulations will affect them and support them in preparing for the upcoming changes.

Further information on the prohibition of engineered stone can also be found on the prohibition page from Safework Australia page.  To find out more about workplace exposure to silica dust go to Safe Work Australia’s Clean Air. Clear Lungs. web page: swa.gov.au/clearlungs

ACFA Members

ACFA members, can contact our workplace advice team for assistance in relation to employment matters which may impact your business.

Members can also view and download resources from the ACFA Member Portal WHS/ Crystalline Silica Tab – please remember to enter your username and password to be able to access the member only resources

15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

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NSW Native Forestry

11 Oct 2023
15 Min Read

AN UPDATE : NATIVE FORESTRY & THE TIMBER INDUSTRY IN NSW

As an integral part of ACFA’s commitment to industry advocacy, we actively collaborate with allied associations such as Timber NSW, who represent sectors crucial to the entire timber lifecycle. These partners play a significant role in tandem with our industry’s endeavours.

Timber NSW serves as the premier representative organisation for the timber and forest products sector in New South Wales. They have recently offered an informative update on the pressing issues surrounding native forestry and the timber industry within the state.

These issues possess the potential to affect various phases of the lifecycle, impacting both upstream and downstream processes, including our industry. We kindly invite you to look over this valuable information and consider showing your support by adding your name to the conversation. Your involvement can make a meaningful difference.

Regards,

Dean Brakell

ACFA CEO

A BRIEF UPDATE FROM TIMBER NSW

Given the ongoing co-ordinated environmental protests and misinformed media reports about native forestry in NSW, we have reached a point where the future of our industry in NSW is in doubt and people’s livelihoods are in jeopardy. We’re seeing the exploitation of a lack of forestry knowledge to fuel miscommunications and falsehoods via slogans and campaigns. The Industry goes to great lengths to protect the fauna and flora within the production forests. It is in our interest to do so.

There is a real risk NSW may follow Victoria and Western Australia in closing public native forestry, which would cripple timber supply and wipe out most of the $2.9B the industry contributes to the NSW economy each year.

Therefore Timber NSW, along with the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA), Timber Development Association (TDA), Timber Trade Industrial Association (TTIA), South East Timber Association (SETA) and Forest & Wood Communities Australia (FWCA) have made a joint public submission to the NSW Premier and key Ministers in support of native forestry in New South Wales

 The submission makes three key points:

  • Native Forestry is Essential: Any proposed closure of public regrowth native forestry and a ‘transition’ to hardwood plantations is completely unnecessary and unfeasible. The alleged benefits of such a closure on biodiversity, tourism and climate change do not exist.
  • Recognise the 21st Century Potential of Timber: Australia is the sixth most forested nation on earth and has best-practice ESFM forestry regulation. There is huge potential in the NSW timber industry to meet the growing demand in Australia for a sustainable, renewable, recyclable resource like timber. We need to realise this nation-building potential.
  • Educate & Inform Citizens About Forestry: When falsehoods and misinformation are being spread about legitimate Government activities – like native forestry operations undertaken by the government-owned Forestry Corporation – we expect that Government will seek to counter and correct these misguided assertions in a timely and accurate manner. This is not currently happening in NSW.

We’re calling on the NSW Government to work constructively and consult fully with the industry and communities in support of an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable timber industry in NSW. You can read all the details in our joint submission, here.

Successive governments have ensured that public forests have been protected in National Parks and conservation reserves. The production forests managed by Forestry Corporation for multiple values have gradually reduced in size over the past thirty years, but dramatically increased in regulatory controls. The native forest industry in NSW is already one of the most highly regulated in the world.

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT

Almost three-quarters (72%) of Australians agree that the timber industry is legitimate (Stollznow Research 2023). You can read recent social licence research conducted re the timber industry here.

We know that the current extreme protest activity does not represent the views of ordinary Australians. It’s causing major disruption to our industry.

Our collective effort is vital to keep the industry open while activists continue to block forests and roads, delay or stop timber supplies, target our workplaces and misrepresent the facts. 

Currently, our members and their communities are making their views clear by contacting the NSW Premier. We are asking you and your members to add your voices to our campaign by contacting the NSW Premier Chris Minns and key members of his Cabinet.

ACFA members can join the campaign at www.timberfacts.com.au, where you’ll find campaign resources to add your voice in support quickly and easily. They need to hear from us now about what is at stake.

15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

News Industry News

Changes to the Law on Unfair Contract Terms

28 Sep 2023
15 Min Read

Changes to Australian Consumer Law will prohibit businesses from proposing, using, or relying on unfair contract terms in standard form contracts with consumers and small businesses.

Courts will be able to impose substantial penalties on businesses and individuals who include unfair terms in their standard form contracts. Currently, a court can only declare specific terms of a contract unfair and therefore void.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission are encouraging all businesses to review their standard form contracts and remove or amend any unfair contract terms before new penalties take effect.

The changes apply to standard form contracts made or renewed on or after 9 November 2023 or to a term or a contract that is varied or added on or after 9 November 2023

While some of the changes will not apply to contracts until they are renewed, or a new contract is entered into, businesses should be proactive in reviewing their standard form contracts now.

The changes will also expand the coverage of the unfair contract term laws to apply to more small business contracts than before. The threshold for small business contracts will increase and apply to small business that employ fewer than 100 persons or have an annual turnover of less than $10 million.

Updated Home Building Contracts

ACFA have updated the Home Building Contracts to reflect the new laws which can be found under the Resources Tab.  Members who purchased a Home Building Contract previously will receive a complimentary updated contract/(s)  based on their previous purchase.  This is just one of the many benefits of being an ACFA Member.

Businesses can view information about changes to the unfair contract terms laws on the ACCC’s website.

15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

News Consumer News Industry News

Continuing to Raise the Bar

18 Sep 2023
15 Min Read

The 2023 ACFA Industry Awards Night was a clear demonstration of the way our industry continues to raise the bar with the outstanding examples of what our industry is producing.

The 2023 Awards were held on Friday 15th September 2023 in Sydney, to recognise outstanding achievements within the furniture, joinery and cabinet-making industry. The awards showcase the hard work, dedication and craftsmanship of individuals and businesses across the country.

The ACFA Industry Awards are an important event for the Australian furniture cabinet-making industry, as they provide a platform to showcase the best of what the industry has to offer. The awards also help to raise awareness of the industry and its importance to the Australian economy.

Jim Snelson, CEO of Polytec, Premium Partner for the ACFA Industry Awards, paid tribute to all those who had entered the awards; “Tonight is an opportunity to acknowledge, reward and cheer on all of those companies and individuals who have done an outstanding job over the last few years”

The ACFA/AWISA Cabinet Maker of the Year went to Northern Kitchens and Joinery, who was thrilled to take home one of the major awards of the night. “This award means so much to me and my team. It really is a reward to my whole team for the hard work they put into each job we produce. This is certainly a team award”

In addition to the awards themselves, the ACFA Industry Awards also provide an opportunity for networking and socialising within the industry. The awards night is a well-attended event, with 300 guests in attendance this year.

In his speech, the ACFA CEO Dean Brakell made the important acknowledgement “to thank all the industry suppliers who support and sponsor the ACFA Awards each year. Without you, this night cannot be the success it is. We look forward to seeing what projects 2024 has to offer”

2023 ACFA Industry Awards Highlights
15 May 2024

On Friday 10 May 2024, WHS ministers agreed to 2 sets of amendments to the model WHS Regulations, which will help protect workers from silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These amendments give …

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