The safety net for the building and construction industry.
Annual Report 2022
A message from our chairman, Brian Boyd.
Worker and employer members
Dedicated Women In Construction program
Enhanced Bluehats suicide prevention program
Gambling Awareness Campaign extends Don’t be a mug like Doug
Training sessions supported by Incolink Training Grants
Planning for the industry of the future
As a trusted partner Incolink brings together unions and industry to solve problems across the construction sector. In the past year, we worked with stakeholders to plan for the future skills needs of the construction industry. Some of the initiatives Incolink is supporting include:
- The plumbing industry Hydrogen Centre of Excellence, to ensure workers skills advance alongside new technology.
- A new CFMEU Training and Wellbeing Centre, focusing on training to fill construction industry skills gaps and improving mental health in the sector.
- The Master Builders Collaboration and Innovation Centre, which will increase training capacity, boost diversity and inclusion within the industry, and encourage the use of better work practices and new technologies.
- Supporting women in construction with targeted training and direct connections with employers.
Member professional development
Incolink is committed to bringing together industry and unions to tackle industry challenges together.
As part of this, Incolink runs training programs for our members, funded through returns on investments.
Invested in industry training
Women in construction
The number of women in the construction industry is increasing – a trend encouraged and celebrated by Incolink. But increased diversity isn’t just important for its own sake – it’s critical to boost national productivity and build a better industry.
With Incolink’s support, the Victorian Government has introduced its new Building Equality Policy, which came into effect on January 1, 2022, and lays the groundwork for improved gender diversity in the construction industry. Tailored training and recruitment initiatives are providing employers with access to new pools of talent.
Unions, educators, employers, and industry bodies are working together to create new pathways and opportunities for women.
We’re pleased to be collaborating with organisations that recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce.
Backed by our stakeholders, Incolink will now be the connection point between employers and women job seekers via an enhanced job-matching platform which we have invested in this financial year. We also facilitated a range of events with government and key stakeholders to provide a platform for critical discussions about how to capitalize on the opportunity of women in the construction industry.
Find out more here.
Enhanced support for members
We provided critical support for members affected by COVID-19 and industry shutdowns, including through counselling, advice on accessing government support, and the $2,000 renewable Incolink COVID-19 Payment for workers and apprentices stood down or required to self-isolate.
We also listened to member feedback and have updated the Incolink app. It’s now even easier to generate your Membership Card in the Incolink App.
27,824 redundancy claims
6,008 Covid-19 payments
21,317 claims made online
979 portable sick leave claims
Enhanced Bluehats training
Those working in the construction industry are over 50% more likely to take their own lives. Suicide in our industry is a major issue which requires an industry-led solution.
First launched in October 2018, Bluehats was designed by industry, for industry as a peer-to-peer support network providing education, training and support to workers on a site-by-site basis.
In 2021, we announced a refreshed Bluehats training model with the ability to deliver both on site and digitally.
In FY22, despite challenging circumstances our education sessions managed to reach 16,585 workers across 416 sites.
Your financial wellbeing
At Incolink, we’ve been the financial, health and wellbeing safety net for the construction industry for over 30 years.
We are expanding our services with a range of simple to use financial calculators to help members to make good financial decisions.
Last year we also launched our gambling awareness campaign centred around Doug, a relatable construction worker who’s journey mirrors that of many workers with gambling.
In FY22 the campaign grew, with Doug making another appearance, helping raise awareness among young apprentices and construction workers about problem gambling and how to get help if you need it.
Advocating for our industry
Bringing together industry and unions, Incolink advocates on behalf of the construction sector as a whole, speaking up and providing support.
In FY22 Incolink:
- Saw the defeat of the Proper Use of Worker Benefits Bill, which would have limited the services Incolink could deliver, threatening our training programs and even our free COVID testing services.
- Advocated for the adoption of a national portable leave entitlements scheme which was embraced in a recommendation of the Senate Select Committee on Job Security, in its inquiry on the impact of insecure or precarious employment on the economy, wages, social cohesion and workplace rights and conditions.
- Published a research report on the impact of construction shutdowns on the economy, and a cost-benefit analysis of on-site vaccinations to underpin support for Incolink’s vaccination rollout.
- Worked with all levels of Government to secure vaccination supply for the construction industry and to support our onsite vaccination program.
Investments and finance
Incolink invests across a wide range of diversified asset classes selected by our investment experts to ensure risks are balanced and returns are maximised.
Read the full FY22 Financial Performance Summary here
Incolink’s financial performance is largely dependent on the returns from our investment portfolio. As such a critical business model function is to prudently invest redundancy contributions held in trust in order to fund a broad range of services provided to members and construction industry stakeholders. These outlays include:
- the ongoing costs of administering Incolink’s various worker entitlement funds
- delivering a comprehensive suite of wellbeing and support services to members
- subsidising a range of tailored insurance benefits for our members
- making significant recurrent grant funding available for essential Industry based training for our members and investing in industry OHS initiatives to ensure safer workplaces
- subsidising a redundancy scheme for Apprentice worker members
The Operating Loss (before Grants) for the year ended 30 June 2022 (FY22) was ($17.6m).
The Balance Sheet Net Assets ratio for the group remained at a healthy level of 112% as at 30 June 2022.
Incolink supported the industry during COVID-19 lockdown periods and remained cashflow positive in FY22 with contributions of $175.1m and claims outlays of $143m. (from Note 15, pg 19 of the accounts).
FY22 saw a significant retracement of most asset class valuations, driven by global inflationary pressures and central banks globally raising interest rates rapidly as a response.
The war in Ukraine and economic tensions within China have also added to the market volatility and uncertainty.
Investors remain worried about high inflation, slowing growth and the potential for an aggressive US Federal Reserve to spark a global recession.
The widespread sell-off in most asset classes was unique with the Australian bond market also declining by 10.5% for FY22 and posting its worst yearly return in decades, at the same time as a strong pullback in Global and Australian equities.
The investment portfolio returned a negative 2.9% due to the aforementioned economic and market environment for FY22. Notwithstanding this result, Incolink targets consistent, long-term performance with a diversified portfolio capable of withstanding the inherent volatility of investment markets and meeting the liquidity needs of the Fund.
Investment performance (gross) over the rolling 4 years to 30 June 2022 was 5.0%, ahead of the market benchmark and in line with our investment return objective.
Incolink maintains a diversified investment portfolio to meet our risk/return objectives and the asset allocation at 30 June 2022 is set out in the chart below. The total value of the portfolio was $957m at 30 June 2022.
Investments and finance
While the pandemic, inflation, and interest rate pressures have all had a major impact on investments and operational activities during FY22, we have taken strong action to protect workers funds and strengthen our position despite the headwinds.
We have used the strength of our financial position to protect members with new services across our portfolio, including in mental health, problem gambling awareness and keeping the industry running with COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs.
Our investment losses for FY22 amounted to $29.6m equating to a -2.9% investment return for the year – our first investment loss year since FY2009.
Investments and finance
The past year has been a challenging one for financial markets and investment managers. At Incolink, we have prioritised the protection of workers’ funds above all.
Our careful financial management means the Fund remains in a strong position with more than $885M under management.
Our board and governance
Brian was a Director since 1992 through to the end of 2019. He is the immediate past Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council and Convenor of the Building Industry Group of Unions (BIG).
Earl has been actively involved in the plumbing industry for 30 years. In 2001 Earl was elected State and Federal Secretary of the Plumbing Trades Employees Union, and he has held both roles ever since. Earl is also Chair of the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre and Indigenous Plumbing and Sanitation Foundation, and is a Board Member of the Victorian Building Authority Plumbing Advisory Council, the Building Industry Consultative Committee, Incolink, CBus and the Plumbing Joint Training Fund.
Erik has been in leadership positions in the private sector, unions and politics for more than twenty years. Prior to joining Incolink in 2019, he worked as a Chief of Staff in three jurisdictions, held senior management positions in public relations, professional associations, political parties and the union movement.
He has worked in the investment banking sector in London, and while managing public relations firms counted some of Australia’s largest corporates, unions and NGOs amongst his clients. Erik sat on the Board of Andrew Denton’s charity, Go Gentle Australia and played a senior role in the marriage equality postal survey. He studied at UWA, Murdoch and Griffith Universities, collecting Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Communications, Australia and the Asia Pacific. He is a member of and is currently completing his AICD course.
Chief Financial Officer
Niall oversees the end to end investments, accounting, financial reporting, treasury, financial planning & analysis, audit, tax and corporate administration functions at Incolink. He has worked closely with the CEO and Leadership team since 2014, driving and implementing significant business transformation initiatives.
Niall has over 25 years of experience building and leading finance teams spanning a number of organisations with significant operating scale and complexity. Prior to joining Incolink, Niall was CFO at multi-boutique fund manager, Perennial and previously at Victorian Funds Management Corporation. Niall is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in both Australia and Ireland, holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Monash University and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Tri Duc Nguyen
General Counsel & Company Secretary
Tri is a highly experienced corporate lawyer responsible for the critical portfolios of legal, risk, governance & compliance, people & culture, industry grants and members insurance. He brings to Incolink his diverse legal and commercial expertise gained from Executive roles in ASX listed entities and Government. Tri is a Fellow member of the Chartered Governance Institute. He is a passionate supporter of world Indigenous cultural preservation through education and empowerment.
Chief Operations Officer
Ashleigh is an executive manager with vast experience and knowledge in member services organisations and superannuation funds. She is responsible for Incolink’s digital development, IT, business development, operations, marketing and communications and member engagement functions.
Ashleigh, working closely with her colleagues in the executive team and CEO, has led significant change across the organisation, driving a focus on the member. This includes the simplification of communications and processes to help build a stronger connection to our worker and employer members. Ashleigh is a mentor to women across a range of industries and an avid reader. Ashleigh holds an Executive MBA from the University of Melbourne.