Industry Experience

Consultancy Practice (Gold Coast QLD)

Leigh is a highly qualified and experienced Human Resources and Industrial Relations specialist with over 25 years of experience in senior executive roles within some of Australia’s largest and most successful corporations.

Since April 2004 Leigh has operated successfully as a self employed Corporate Business Consultant performing a wide range of tasks for clients across many diverse industries and professions.

These tasks include all aspects of the employer/employee relationship including dispute resolution Mediation and Arbitration.

With the constantly changing Industrial Relations legislative environment he has assisted businesses of all sizes to maximise their performance and take advantage of cutting edge solutions especially in the areas of Enterprise Bargaining and Workplace Flexibility.

The continual changes in the Bullying and Harassment and Discrimination legislation has resulted in an increase in claims of this type including unfair dismissal and Adverse Action.

Leigh has successfully represented clients in all of these matters and has built a client base on professionalism and results.

For the seven years prior to 2004 Leigh held possibly the largest Human Resources role in local government in Australia as Manager Human Resources for the Gold Coast City Council (Australia’s second largest Council with 2,600 employees and 1,500 contractors) where he was responsible for the provision of HR/IR Services, Organisational Learning and Development, Occupational health and Safety and Risk and Insurance (including General insurance and Worker’s Compensation)

This role had a combined budget of $19 million and four operating branches.

Leigh also worked closely with the Local Government Association of Queensland and achieved many goals in this role including being the first to introduce three year EBA’s into the Local Government scene.

Leigh’s career to date has been highlighted by his success in managing complex HR/IR issues to a successful and innovative result in the pursuit of business focussed outcomes and objectives.

Leigh commenced his management career as the youngest ever elected State Union Official for the Electrical Trades Union of Australia and quickly progressed to a career in Management with Esso Australia as the Senior Industrial Relations Advisor for Exxon’s subsidiary in Australia.

At the time this was the largest economic project in the Southern Hemisphere and was responsible for $16 Million dollars a day of production of oil and gas and 10% of Australia’s GDP.

Leigh represented not only ESSO Aust Ltd but also the Oil Industry in National Wage Cases, award restructuring and the initial stages of enterprise bargaining for the Oil Industry.

Leigh then moved to the role of Group General Manager Industrial Relations for Mayne Nickless, and as their senior IR/ HR executive oversaw the restructuring of their business and the start up of Optus Communications as a member of their Australian Board.

Leigh also successfully negotiated the first National EBA with the TWU in the Transport Industry in 1993.

During Leigh’s time in these roles he dealt with 3 Prime Ministers, numerous State and Federal politicians, union officials, employers and employer organisations.

He was a member of the Business Council of Australia Employee Relations Reference Committee, the Victorian Employer Chamber of Commerce Employee Relations Committee, The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation, and appeared before numerous Senate Committees as an expert in his field.

Leigh was chosen by John Howard and Peter Reith to meet with the BCA and the Geneva based lawyers from the International Labour Organisation during the initial drafting of some of the IR legislation in place today due to his expertise in these matters and was also involved in the NSW Goodwill legislation implemented in NSW.

Gold Coast City Council

No industrial downtime during 7 years as HR/ IR Manager. • Implemented the first of the three-year Enterprise Bargaining Agreements in local government in Queensland. • Introduced the existing policy regime including recruitment and selection manual and change management manual and the accompanying processes and procedures. • Invited onto and provided expertise and advice on a number of Industry advisory committees on award and HR issues for national industry / strategy matters. • Implemented National Competition Policy introduction and insurance changes after September 11 and public liability increases, the introduction of AS4801 Safety management System and negotiated numerous Local Area Agreements under the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement framework to improve costs and introduce flexible working options. • Reduced the sick leave taken through a sick leave monitoring program, which delivered 3,500 additional days over two years for a workforce of 2600 staff.

Consultancy Practice (Port Macquarie NSW)

Taught Business Administration and Industrial Relations at Pt. Macquarie Institute of TAFE. • Represented the Coffee Club nationally and commenced their National EBA structure with the industry body. • Industrial relations advisory agent for NSW Road Transport Association.

Mayne Nickless

As Group General Manager Employee Relations and Australian Transport Board member implemented the restructuring of the Australian transport and logistics businesses and participated in the sale and acquisition of businesses and business opportunities. At the time Mayne Nickless was the 13th largest transport company in the world • Designed and implemented strategies which reduced the industrial downtime at airports across the Australian businesses. • Advised joint ventures with BOC Gases in London and businesses in China and Canada. • Negotiated and facilitated the changes to the Interstate Drivers Award and other TWU Federal Awards. • Negotiated the initial start up options for Optus Communications and advised the Legal team on the then Australian Industrial Relations Commission proceedings and the first Enterprise Bargaining Agreement for Optus. • Instigated the review into owner driver’s rates which saved Mayne Nickless $20-$30 Million in contingent liabilities, rewrote owner driver contracts and policies which resulted in widespread Industry change and specific legislation being implemented in NSW (NSW Goodwill Bill) • Negotiated the first EBA in the transport industry in 1993 and proceeded to implement EBA’s across 800 Australian worksites. • Improved productivity and efficiency of operations through innovative EBA strategies based on bottom line improvements.

Esso Australia Pty Ltd

Managed the Industrial Relations for the Bass Straight oil fields and refineries (a project of 6 years). Managed the transition to unmanned offshore platforms, roster and manning changes, worked with employer organisations, federal and state politicians, ACTU and federal and state courts and tribunals (Estimated savings of $40M).
• Introduced mandatory drug testing and an alcohol and other drugs policy including setting up testing facilities in Australia after the Exxon Valdez incident, as well as offshore x-ray scanning of baggage.
• Pioneered the introduction of women working offshore including training and development programs.
• Successfully negotiated with the Victorian Govt. and the Dept. of Workplace Health and Safety changes to the Petroleum and Submerged lands Act to allow Esso to provide and train their own medical officers on offsh
ore platforms.
• Represented Esso on the Oil Industry Industrial Council and was instrumental to industry changes brought about through award restructuring and the initial stages of enterprise bargaining.
• These initiatives were achieved in one of the most difficult industrial relations environments in the world at the time (as identified by EXXON in a report on the Bass Strait operations) and improved the productivity and profit of the oilfield dramatically.
• One of the roster changes negotiated with the AWU alone saved an estimated $40 Million over a projected 10-year period.

Northern Territory Electrical Trades Union

Negotiated components of the formation of the Northern Territory Electricity Commission from the Department of Housing and Construction, involving, award redesign, industrial restructuring and advocacy in Industrial Tribunals • Board Member for two years with the NT Industries Training Commission creating the formation of competency based training programs for industry

Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI)

• Past Gold Coast Branch President and Queensland/NT Council Member