Unemployment is at a low point in Australia that has not been seen in over 50 years. 

This is great in terms of people being able to find work and earn a great salary. It’s not so great if you are an employer because skilled people are hard to find and are well-placed to negotiate in terms of their salary package. 

To address the issue caused by low migration and very few international students (thanks COVID), the Australian Government held a Jobs Summit in early September. The goal of this summit was to: 

  • keep unemployment low, and boost productivity and incomes
  • deliver secure, well-paid jobs and strong, sustainable wages growth
  • expand employment opportunities for all Australians including the most disadvantaged
  • address skills shortages and get Australia’s skills mix right over the long term
  • improve migration settings to support higher productivity and wages
  • maximise jobs and opportunities from renewable energy, tackling climate change, the digital economy, the care economy and a Future Made in Australia
  • ensure women have equal opportunities and equal pay.

Here are some of the key announcements that followed the summit: 


An additional $1 billion in joint Federal-State funding will go towards fee-free TAFE in 2023 and accelerated delivery of 465,000 fee-free TAFE places, with 180,000 to be delivered next year. 

There will be improved access to jobs and training pathways for women, First Nations people, regional Australians and culturally and linguistically diverse people. This includes equity targets for training places, 1,000 digital apprenticeships in the Australian Public Service, and other measures to reduce barriers to employment.

The Government has also pledged to develop a comprehensive blueprint with

key stakeholders to support and grow a quality VET workforce. 

Migration & Visas

An increase in the permanent Migration Program ceiling from 160,000 to 195,000 in 2022-23, should help to ease widespread, critical workforce shortages. 

The extension of visas and relaxation of work restrictions on international students will hopefully strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour, and provide additional funding to resolve the visa backlog.

Increased duration of post-study work rights will allow two additional years of

stay for recent graduates with select degrees in areas of verified skills shortages

and strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour in Australia.

Fair Work

The Fair Work Act will be amended to strengthen access to flexible working arrangements, while unpaid parental leave will be made more flexible and will strengthen protection for workers against discrimination and harassment. 

The Fair Work Commission will also be given the capacity to proactively help workers and

businesses reach agreements that benefit them, particularly new entrants, and small

and medium businesses.

Women in the workforce

Businesses with 100 employees or more will be required to publicly report their gender pay gap to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. 

Existing reporting standards will be strengthened, to require employers with 500 or more

employees to commit to measurable targets to improve gender equality in their


Pensioner working hours

As shared by the ABC, pensioners will be able to earn an additional $4,000 during the 2022/2023 financial year without losing any of their pension. This is on top of the $480 fortnightly earning limit that currently applies.

As a small business owner, these changes will hopefully give you a deeper talent pool to draw from. In the meantime, the challenge is to hold onto the people you have and make your business a place people want to come to each day. Need help with freight so your staff can focus on other tasks? Talk to EFS about freight and logistics services today.

At EFS, we play a small role in Australia’s constantly moving supply chain, helping business owners to deliver goods to suppliers and customers. 

While every business is important, the transport of food around the country is essential to support our entire community. We thought we would go ‘back to the source’ and do some research about how Australia’s food producers are changing their approach to sustainability and technology. 

Sustainability and the importance of regenerative agriculture

The term sustainability refers to helping things last for longer. Regeneration, however, takes things up a level and ensures what is taken gets replaced. 

According to climaterealityproject.org, The agriculture sector is one of the biggest emitters of CO2, the greenhouse gas (GHG) most responsible for the changes we are seeing in our climate today. Together with forestry and other land use, agriculture is responsible for just under 25 per cent of all human-created GHG emissions. However, agriculture also has a vital role to play in helping us create a safe, sustainable future without carbon pollution. 

Regenerative agriculture looks to minimise damage to soil and replace what gets taken out of it so it can be used by future generations. 

Some of the practices that facilitate soil regeneration include: 

  • Reducing what’s known as ‘tillage’/ploughing. If a farm practices minimum or zero till, it cuts back on this activity, so the soil is disturbed less frequently and is able to remain productive. This technique prioritises the use of organic fertiliser, relies more on biological pest control and reduces the use of chemical fertilisers (more about that shortly).
  • Planting diverse crops in order to create more nutrient-dense soil and increase crop yield
  • ‘Cover crops’ which ensures soil is not left ‘empty’ to dry out and wash away. Farmers with a regenerative focus have a strategy around rotating crops and planting cover crops to keep soil healthy
  • ‘Biological pest control. This approach resolves the need for pesticides by releasing ‘good’ insects to take out the ‘bad’ ones. 

The upside of these practices is healthier crops and more nutrient-rich food. 

Speaking of chemical fertilisers, a product called urea is used in agriculture. This product is also used to create AdBlue, an additive that is relied on by many freight vehicles in Australia. 

At the moment, urea is in short supply. If farms can reduce their dependence by switching to less fertiliser-reliant methods, it’s good news for all of us. 

The rise of ag-tech

If you thought fridges telling us we’re out of milk was cool technology, you’ll find the goings-on in agriculture very exciting. 

Here’s a quick rundown of a few ways the digital world is transforming the age-old practice of farming: 

All the above is not just fascinating to read about… it’s encouraging to see some good news stories that influence our food supplies and our overall well-being. 

Want information about playing your role in Australia’s supply chain in a cost-effective way? We help businesses by helping them connect with the most suitable freight providers. Contact EFS to find out more. 

Follow us on social media to keep up to date with freight and logistics news and updates in Australia.

Want to make sure your parcels and consignments reach their destination as expected? Here are some tips from an Australian freight broker. 

The distance most goods travel to reach their final destination can be surprising but often it is those last few kilometres or even metres of a journey when things go wrong. 

The delivery process has been refined and improved so much over recent years but there are still steps required to help minimise loss and confusion. The following are some of the recommendations we often make as a transport management company that handles a range of different deliveries across Australia: 

Work with a freight broker 

Your freight broker will take the stress out of the parcel delivery process by actively following up on consignments on your behalf. If something is in the network for more than a couple of weeks, there is a higher chance it will go missing or end up in an unidentified area. It’s hard to keep track when you’re busy with other things, which is something we proactively help with. 

Your freight broker also works in conjunction with the most reliable carriers who have the best rates and reputations. We understand their experience, know who to recommend and can remind you of the best ways to support them as a client. 

Make sure barcodes are clear and easy to access

It’s the little things! 

Labels on packages need clear barcodes attached so they can clear sortation systems without any issues. 

It also makes sense to include a contact name and number on the label so your delivery driver or the freight provider’s customer service desk can get hold of the right people when they have questions.

Include accurate address details

This may require some changes to your checkout process if customers buy online; you need to ensure that when people place an online order, they can be specific down to the building level and unit number and find a way to minimise incorrect addresses. There are many auto-fill functions that now prevent people from entering an address that doesn’t exist. 

Another tip is to allow room for the customer to leave some notes for the delivery driver in relation to the location e.g., ‘Roller door on left-hand side of building’ or ‘Deliveries are received via the front office’. 

We have seen so many deliveries go astray because the address only mentions, for example, a shopping centre address or an industrial estate address that fails to specify the unit. If you’re sending larger deliveries, make sure the driver has the exact details they need.

Think about your driver and make their life easy 

Speaking of drivers, one driver may have 80 deliveries to do in a day, which doesn’t leave a great deal of room for problem-solving. If they do the wrong thing, it is often because they are pressed for time. 

One way to help your driver includes attaching fluorescent, easy to see labels clarifying ‘Authority to Leave’ or ‘Signature Required’ on the box. This way, they will know whether or not they have to wait for a signature for the delivery.

You can also use a freight company with systems that allow drivers to take a photo of exactly where they have left the parcel and upload it to their software system. This gives proof they have done their job and makes it easier for customer service to help track down missing packages.

Need a reliable freight broker in Australia? Speak to EFS today.

We’ve been saying ‘post-pandemic’ but the frustrating reality is that although we are post-lockdown, we are definitely not out of the woods when it comes to COVID transmissions. 

The highly transmissible  BA.4 and BA.5 variants have been making their way around the country, with hundreds of thousands of people reporting positive tests in just one week. Thanks to the cold weather and rapid infection rate, the government has issued updated advice so as many people as possible can stay healthy. 

Some of the latest covid updates include: 

Face mask recommendations

There are no formal mandates in place but officials are strongly recommending that people get used to wearing face masks in crowded, indoor environments and on public transport once again. 

It’s up to you as an individual to make the choice but you will probably notice face masks are on the rise when you are at work and out and about. If you’re worried about catching COVID, it’s of course best to err on the side of caution and wear a face mask in public.

The Prime Minister has been reported as saying he has sufficient trust in Australians to act responsibly without being told they must wear a mask by their respective leaders.

As shared by SBS in a recent covid update, Anthony Albanese said that, “We do want to encourage that behaviour. People have been incredibly responsible during this pandemic. People have done it tough. People have looked after each other, and I’m confident that they’ll continue to do so.”

At your workplace, the policy you have in place in regards to face masks may need to be updated, depending on the way people interact with each other. You could leave it up to individuals to decide but make a recommendation that’s in line with current health information. 

Working from home

As the Sydney Morning Herald reported last week, State governments have not moved to reintroduce work-from-home mandates, leaving employers to review risks and make their own decisions.

Some companies that were previously asking people to return to the office at least a few days a week are winding back this requirement now the risk of infection has risen. These businesses are asking people who can work from home to do so, and telling them to wear a mask when they come into a populated space. 

Again, it’s up to each organisation to make and enforce its own policies. You may decide one contact day in the office is enough, and on a rotating basis, or tell people they can work from home if they prefer to do so. 

Covid update: Booster shots

Many Australians are now eligible for their fourth COVID vaccine. 

Anyone who hasn’t had their initial booster (the third dose after the initial two) is strongly encouraged to do so, while the number of people adding an additional fourth ‘dose’ is rising steadily. If you are over the age of 30, you can now get your next vaccine. If you are over 50, you are strongly encouraged to do so. 

If you have children who have turned five in recent months, now may be a good time to book their first vaccine appointment. 

In terms of employing people who are not vaccinated, certain industries like healthcare still require people to have had their shots. However, a recent ruling found that “an employer can introduce a mandatory vaccination policy, even in the absence of a public health order requiring mandatory vaccination in respect of the employer’s industry or the location in which the employer operates.” There are thresholds to be met in relation to this ruling: take a look at this article to find out more

COVID update: Isolation orders

You still have to isolate at home for 7 days if you come down with COVID. 

According to current policy, “The people who usually live in your house with you can stay there if they are unable to live somewhere else during this time. If they stay, they are contacts and need to isolate too.

If you have a household contact who has a weak immune system, is elderly or has another risk for severe COVID-19, contact your state/territory health department to see if they can help with finding them places to stay.”

Dealing with delays

Delays have become part of life and we can expect more in terms of travel, freight and deliveries while this latest wave works its way through the population. 

The best course of action is to take precautions, plan ahead as much as possible and have a few ‘Plan B’ options in place. This will help to minimise disruption to your business. 

Need help to find a shipping company during the latest COVID surge? Speak to EFS today.

And now for something completely different… 

We talk a lot about packaging, freight and shipping so when we came across this story it was too good not to share. 

It’s not exactly industry news but this man’s tale is a reminder to always pay attention to those ‘This way up’ stickers. 

The story of the Welshman who shipped himself to London

What would you pack to fly from Melbourne to London?

In 1963 here is what young Welshman Brain Robson packed for his trip:

  • a hammer 
  • a suitcase 
  • a pillow 
  • a litre of water 
  • a flashlight 
  • a book of Beatles songs (it was the 1960s)
  • an empty bottle

Apart from the hammer, it seems like quite a reasonable list of bits and pieces to bring along on an international flight. However, Brian’s cross-continental journey was a little out of the ordinary. 

Brain decided to ship himself by crate to his destination.

A novel way to travel

Brian crossed oceans for a very reasonable cost… but nearly paid heavily for it.

The year was 1963. Young Welshman Brian Robson was working in Melbourne for Victorian Rail Yards. All was going well enough but Brian was understandably homesick. 

After investigating the cost of airfare, it became all too clear that he would not be able to afford the trip back to the UK. 

That’s when Brian had his brain wave. A seat on a plane is expensive… but shipping a crate is a fraction of the price.

The crate

Brian acquired a crate, addressed it to London, had two workmates nail him inside with his meagre belongings (you see why he had a hammer and you have probably guessed what the empty bottle was for), and waited to be shipped.

Squeezed into a 91 x 76 x 86 centimetre space, Brian knew he was in for a rough experience but figured he could manage the 48 hours or so that it would take to get to the other side of the world. 

With the ‘This Way Up’ label firmly affixed and his supplies, he assumed it would be unpleasant but bearable.

Best laid plans…

As anyone who deals with shipping and freight even occasionally will know, things do not always go according to plan. Brian did make it to London, but not in one flight.

The plane he was shipped on, intended to be non-stop to London, ended up being diverted through Los Angeles. 

After nearly five days in his crate, Brian was still in the USA.

“It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Terrifying,” he told the BBC, many years later.

“I spent most of my time, I think if I be truthful, in trying to control myself, calm myself down. And then in between all that, of course, I couldn’t breathe properly half the time. I couldn’t move. Certainly after perhaps the first 36 hours, my muscles were all seizing up.”

Brian’s time in the crate

Not only did Brian have to suffer intolerably cold temperatures (it isn’t considered necessary to heat cargo space on planes because nothing that’s alive is supposed to be there)… he also spent much of his travel time upside down. The label on the crate didn’t prove any help (and we know parcel handlers are much more careful these days).

After five days in a box, Brian was near death. Some workers spotted him when he switched on his flashlight. They assumed he was already dead because of the state he was in.

Poor old Brian had to spend time in hospital before he was finally deported to London. He may have made it home but he was very lucky to not have wound up in a very different kind of box.

Don’t be like Brian

If anyone has ever attempted this since, they haven’t been as open about sharing their story as Brian was. Years later, he wrote a book about his adventure called The Crate Escape and his story went viral for the second time.  

If you need help getting yourself to London…. speak to Qantas. And if you need help transporting large packages within Australia (but without people inside) speak to EFS today.

Which carriers do you recommend?

This is a question we are asked a lot by new and existing clients… and it’s not always a matter of comparing apples with apples.

The answer depends on a number of factors. 

Before we make a recommendation, we need to know the following: 

  • Your budget
  • Your location
  • Ideal turnaround times
  • Pick-up and delivery locations (not all providers operate in every area)
  • The goods to be transported
  • Volume of goods to be transported

Knowing this information allows us to identify the freight solutions provider that is best for the job. 

We definitely have preferred companies that we recommend. The reason we prefer some suppliers is usually because of: 

  • The seamless technology they offer
  • The communication they provide to their clients
  • The feedback from our clients about the provider
  • The end-to-end customer experience

There are so many freight companies out there and yes, some are definitely better than others. 

Don’t waste time trying to figure out which ones are reliable as well as offering value for money — enlist our support as your trusted partner today.