Good morning


There are times when you look forward at the things you have to do and wonder why you are inflicting this stress on yourself!

2013 is all of that and more for MATES in Construction and all of our team. We have big things happening with the Mates helping Mates concept expanding to NSW and SA and going well in WA. In Queensland we continue to gain new construction company participants and sites as well as providing support for construction workers on mine sites right across the State from the Surat Basin in the West, Coolangatta in the South to Port Douglas in the North. A broad crosssection of construction, housing, civil and engineering sites are engaging with us in providing support to workers on site.

Our hard working Field Officers and Case Managers are kept busy every day visiting sites, conducting training, encouraging and advising connector and ASIST trained workers, providing a ready back-up support for difficult interventions and on top of that answering the 1300 MIC 111.

Over nine thousand five hundred workers received GAT training last year and we have no intention to slow down this year. Add the other three States all growing like Topsy and it will be a big year!

Exciting stuff!

We are a small organisation with a large reach in the industry and as we hate saying no to anyone offering to give us access to workers and sites, it isoften all hands on deck. Even though things may be hectic, there is a unique satisfaction in running training on site, talking to workers in the industry about helping each other, or minding the 1300 MIC 111 line and offering hope and help to workers in real strife. From day to day I might feel caught up in budgets and funding issues, but it is a great reminder of what it is really all about…MATES helping MATES!


A great big congratulations goes to Field Officer Amanda Edwards who recently was awarded the national emergency medal for her outstanding work during and following the Queensland flood 2011 disasters. Amanda is the MATES in Construction Field Officer for the Surat Basin supporting the many Drive in Drive out workers in the area as well as working extensively with local builders and businesses building resilience. Amanda is working on a roster cycle and lives in the various camps when she is rostered on in the area in a new initiative supported by the Department of Health and Aging and a major contractor in the area.


LAING O'Rourke have named MATES in Construction as their National Charity of Choice for 2013 and in addition to a substantial donation will be involving their staff in fundraising activities to support us. One of Laing O'Rourke's objectives is to have MATES in Construction on most of their sites during 2013 and we will be happy to help them to achieve that.

In February we will participate in Laing O'Rourke's EPIC week activities before working with Laing O'Rourke in implementing the MATES in Construction program at all their sites in Australia.

MATES in Construction Deputy CEO John Brady discuss self-care with the Energise crew before departure for Bundaberg.

MIC and ENERGISE Bundaberg

AFTER the recent disastrous floods in Bundaberg, the Electrical Trades Union organised a volunteer crew to go to the worst hit areas of Bundaberg. The ENERGISE crews go from house to house, as well as assisting businesses and community groups to get the power back on. They assess the electrical circuits and do whatever they can to get power to the areas that need it most. All crew members are volunteers who have been granted time from their companies to be part of the ENERGISE crew. Companies also donate materials and equipment to the mission. The ETU pulls the project together and supports the crew. They have done this successfully after both the 2011 floods and cyclone Yasi.

WITH the support of the Department of Health and Aging we have produced a series of short DVDs about MATES in Construction and how we can help workers. A preview of the DVD is available on Youtube:

I would love to hear your feedback on the DVD, either by comment on the Youtube site or by return e-mail. Do you feel the DVD hits the mark about MATES in Construction, how can we best use the resource – at site inductions, conferences, to convince new sites to join us? What do you think?

MATES in (HOUSING) Construction

MATES in Construction, exists for all workers in building and construction, so we have worked on various models for implementing our program in the housing industry, despite the generally smaller sites and worker numbers.

MIRVAC has been engaged on a major housing development called Mossvale on Manly and as part of MIRVAC's commitment to mental health and wellbeing we were invited to run the program for subcontractors on site.

Around 20 workers participated in a very well received General Awareness Training.

The site already had a Connector working on it, with a commitment to recruit more connectors in the future. Connectors are trained to keep their mates safe while they are connected to help.

A big thankyou to MIRVAC for their effort, but also thanks to Queensland Master Builders Association for their support in the employment of a Field Officer who pays specific attention to smaller builders and sites.

More ASSIST workers for the industry

ANOTHER team of ASSIST workers graduated from the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training workshop on 31 January.

MATES in Construction runs ASIST workshops regularly and anyone are welcome. This group was a great mix of experience across all aspects of the industry. We had Union office staff realising their key position in picking up when members are struggling, staff from a variety of builders and contractors. BUSSQ continued their commitment to MATES in Construction sending their claim managers for training and staff members from MATES in Construction in New South Wales and South Australia.

All MATES in Construction staff are ASIST trained as it is the primary tool we are using when helping workers. The skills are simple and easy to use and if you have them you may just get to save a life!


CHRISTMAS is the time of giving and just before Christmas I was asked to go to BGC's office in Brisbane to receive a sizeable donation to MATES in Construction Queensland and Western Australia. The cheque was handed to me by Tony Hackett BGC's State Manager, shown here.

BGC Contracting have taken the decision to roll out the MATES in Construction program on all their projects in Queensland and Western Australia, with several projects already well on their way towards MATES in Construction Accreditation.

Tony has personally been a supporter of MATES in Construction in his capacity as President of the Queensland Major Contractors Association and as BCG Civil Manger. We look forward to working with BGC throughout 2013.

SURVEY – MATES in Construction Works!

AN independent survey performed by market researchers Footprints on eleven MIC Accredited sites shows that MATES in Construction really works. Workers on site have very high rates of understanding of the key messages of the MATES in Construction program, appreciated having the program on site, recognised at least one connector on site and were over 90% positive about the initiative and said it made it easier and more likely that they would access help if they needed it. Most workers recognised the program as being supported by BERT, the builder and their Union.

A full version of the study is available on the MATES in Construction website


CONGRATULATIONS to Theiss Constructions at the Townsville Hospital Project on a great and well attended "Connector" course on 23rd January. Despite the driving rain over 20 workers, of the 180 on site, participated, with plenty of discussions and experiences shared.

Thanks go to David Collins for organising it all.

Following the course the site joined the elite group of sites achieving MIC Accreditation status. Well done to all involved.

ozhelp turns 10!

THE OzHelp Foundation in the Australian Capital Territory recently turned 10 years old. The Foundation was created after a number of apprentice suicides in Canberra in a short space of time.

The mother of one of the young men who died from suicide, decided that something positive had to come from her family's grief, so she started lobbying the CFMEU and the Master Builders Association to act… And they did!

The OzHelp Foundation has worked tirelessly over the years, encouraging the industry all over

the country to establish suicide prevention programs. The OzHelp Foundation provided assistance in the drafting of the original suicide prevention project for the Queensland construction industry and from February 2008 to June 2010 MATES in Construction was also known as OzHelp Queensland.

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