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CEO Update
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MAL'S MONTHLY MESSAGE

News from the leading Australian Association representing & advocating
on behalf of Electrical Contractors  

 

Dear <<First Name>>,

In this edition we cover:

Celebrating our Industry

Two weeks ago, we held our 2019 National Excellence Awards grand finale dinner in Brisbane to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the nation’s top electrical businesses, apprentices, staff and leaders. Each year we hold State Awards, which culminate in the State Winners coming along to our grand finale event, to take on the National title. 

I congratulate not only our 2019 winners, but also all those who entered. These businesses are bringing out the best in their staff, and providing the best possible service to their clients. In doing so, they are driving our entire industry to strive for excellence. And when that happens, everybody wins. 

Our 2019 National Excellence Awards Winners:

  • Master Electrician of the Year: Solar Service Guys, Peter Matthews
  • Commercial Project: Arnold Electrical & Data Instrumentation, Tony Arnold & Garrick Cripps
  • Legrand Apprentice of the Year: Roman Kasjan, Solar Service Guys 
  • Lance Cislowski Memorial Electrician (Tradie) of the Year: Matthew Pinney, Horan & Bird 
  • Women in Contracting: Nicola McCarron, Horan & Bird 
  • Residential Project: Argus Technologies, Robert Urpis
  • Industrial Project: S & K Electrical, Steve Villier
  • Energy Efficiency Project: Linked Group Services, Jason Sharman

To read more about our winners, click here.

Battery Standard AS/NSZ 5139:2019

A new standard for battery storage installations has been published by Standards Australia and will be in force when the Wiring Rules amendment is published in early 2020.

An exception is Tasmania where the state legislation requires this standard to become mandatory on the 11 January 2020.

AS/NZS 5139:2019, Electrical installations – Safety of battery systems for use with power conversion equipment replaces the AS/NZS4086 1997 Secondary Battery standard that had become largely outdated through advances in technology.

The new standard sets out general installation and safety requirements for battery energy storage systems (BESSs), where the battery system is installed in a location, such as a dedicated enclosure or room, and is connected with power conversion equipment (PCE) to supply electric power to other parts of an electrical installation.

Members can access a copy of the new standard (free of charge) via ME Safety here.


Industry Benchmark Survey

Please complete our 2019 Industry Benchmark Survey. You will receive a copy of the final report which will provide insight into a range of issues - including charge out rates. 

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and you will receive a copy of the results in the new year, providing information about charge out rates at both national and state levels

 
All completed surveys will go into the draw to win 1 x FLUKE Electrical Tester T5-600. 

The draw will take place two weeks after the survey closing date. The Survey will close at midnight on 23/12/19.  
 


Office Closure

Please note that our office and hotlines will be closed from 2pm Tuesday 24 December, reopening at 8am on  Thursday 2 January 2019.

 


Malcolm Richards
CEO
Master Electricians

 

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NATIONAL: Don’t pay the cost for Workplace Relations!

Over the last 12 months, we have been made aware of members being approached by organisations wanting them to lock into expensive, yearly contracts (some even asking for up to 5 year contracts), for services which are already provided to our members, free of charge as part of your Master Electricians' Membership.

The main services being offered are around Workplace Relations, Technical and Safety. 

As a Master Electrician you have unlimited access to our Workplace Relations, Technical and Safety teams - included as part of your membership fee - with NO hidden costs and NO 5 year "locked-in" contract. We supply trusted advice and assistance.

Our Workplace Relations, Technical and Safety teams are specialists with years' of experience working in the electrical industry.

For ease, we have outlined market comparisons for services on our website here.
 

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NATIONAL: Metering Installation Requirements

A set of proposed national metering installation rules are being considered for approval by the federal electricity regulator following the establishment of the Competitive Metering Industry Group formed in February 2019 to develop guidelines for electricity metering installation design requirements. These guidelines will affect all states except Victoria.

The objective of the guidelines is to ensure that buildings being constructed and upgraded in the NEM can be configured in a manner that supports the safe, efficient, accurate and secure installation of metering equipment. The guideline has been called the “Metering Installation Requirements” (MIR’s).  The working group has been guided by its terms of reference and has been working to build consensus on these Metering Installation Requirements.

As a result, the proposed Metering Installation Rules (MIR) form a major part of a Metering Providers’ technical requirements and draw heavily on the requirements previously published by distribution businesses. The MIR’s have been subject to industry consultation during their development and provide industry agreed specifications intended to assist manufacturers, distributors, retailers, customers and customers’ agents to meet their regulatory and electricity supply obligations.
 
It is in the best interests of all electrical contractors, switchboard manufacturers and electrical engineers to review the proposed Metering Installation Rules and offer constructive comments to ensure the safe and productive implementation of metering installations.
 
The draft MIR’s are available on the CMIG Website
here. Feedback can be provided via the members of the Working Group here

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Members FAcebook Group
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NSW: Security of Payment Changes

NSW Members should note that for contracts entered into after the 21 October 2019 the following changes will apply. It is imperative that you understand the changes as you will need to alter your payment claim process for contracts entered into after this date:

  • No more “reference dates” Claimant contractor may now submit one payment claim per month... Read More
  • Payment claims post-termination: The Security of Payments (SOP) Act now expressly provides that, post-termination of the contract a claimant is entitled to make one payment claim from the date of termination of the contract... Read More
  • Clear reference to the SOP Act on payment claims: A payment claim must now expressly state that it is made under the SOP Act... Read More
  • Reduced Subcontractor payment periods: A Head Contractor must now pay a payment claim from a subcontractor in 20 business days... Read More
  • Withdrawal of adjudication applications: An adjudication applicant can now withdraw an application before a determination of it is made... Read More
  • Jurisdictional errors in Adjudicator’s Determination: The SOP Act now allows adjudication determinations that are found to be invalid/void by a court due to jurisdictional issues allows for the severance... Read More
  • Supporting Statements: False or misleading supporting statements (ie Statutory Declarations required under a Head Contract to accompany a payment claim) have been increased... Read More
  • Personal liability for Directors: The SOP Regulations now stipulate when personal liability for directors may arise... Read More
For support or for more information, read our full article here, or contact a member of our Workplace Relations team on 1300 889 198.

NSW: Government's building bill delayed

A NSW building reform bill introduced in response to high-profile apartment defects looks likely to be delayed until 2020 as the state government accuses the Greens and Labor of hijacking the draft legislation.

Debate over the Design and Building Practitioners Bill came to a halt in the NSW upper house on Wednesday this week, amidst a stand-off over amendments sought by Labor and the Greens.

The government's bill aims to register a range of building professionals and would provide requirements for buildings to meet the Building Code of Australia. It would also legislate a duty of care for home owners.

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NSW: Work Health & Safety Amendment (Review) Bill 2019

On 12 November 2019, the NSW Minister for State Better Regulation and Innovation, introduced the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Review) Bill 2019 to implement recommendations following Safe Work Australia’s 2018 Review of Model Work Health and Safety Laws

The Bill is seeking to expedite implementation of proposals based on recommendations from the 2018 Review of the model WHS laws. The proposed amendments to the Act seek to address the ongoing issue of workplace deaths, strengthen support for the families of workplace victims, streamline investigations as well as give workers and businesses greater clarity on aspects of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Key amendments include:

  • A Penalty Unit System
  • Use of Insurance or Indemnity arrangements
  • Gross Negligence; and
  • Work-related Deaths and Manslaughter
For more information, contact our team on 1300 889 198.

NT: Industrial Manslaughter Legislation

Industrial manslaughter legislation has been passed in the Northern Territory, with businesses now facing penalties for workplace deaths if found to be reckless or negligent.

The new law will ensure all businesses, regardless of the business size, face the same level of penalty if reckless or negligent conduct has caused a workplace fatality.

Previously, only individuals could be charged with manslaughter for a workplace fatality, and only under the Northern Territory’s Criminal Code.The maximum penalty for an individual under the new provisions is life in jail.

A business found guilty could face a maximum fine of $10 million.

For more information or advice, contact our team on 1300 889 198.

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QLD: Review of Energy Legislation

The energy sector is undergoing significant transformation and Queensland is reviewing it's state energy laws to make sure that they are relevant.

The laws being reviewed are:

  • the Electricity Act 1994; 
  • the Gas Supply Act 2003;
  • the Energy and Water Ombudsman Act 2006; and
  • the Liquid Fuel Supply Act 1984.
As a result, the QLD government is now seeking feedback on an Options paper that contains proposals to modernise Queensland’s state energy laws, supported by detailed regulatory impact statements. 

The Options paper is in two parts: 
To have your say, provide feedback by completing an online questionnaire here.

Note: Consultation closes 31 January 2020.

QLD: QBCC Minimum Financial Requirements 

Queensland Members should be aware of the changes that are being brought in by the QBCC concerning minimum financial requirements.

Annual reporting requirements have been introduced to ensure every building contractor in Queensland has a strong, financially sustainable business.

These new laws require contractor-grade QBCC licensees to provide annual financial information by 31 December 2019.

Licensees with a QBCC-approved turnover of less than $30 million still need to lodge their information by 31 December 2019 but will have at least a year to strengthen the financial health of their business in line with the new laws.

For more information about the timelines and financial reporting requirements, click here.

 

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QLD: Back to Work Payment of $20,000

If you are considering growing your business in the New Year, the Back to Work Payment is still available and you could be eligible for $20,000. 

Sourcing the right employees for your business can take time and precious resources, from sourcing candidates to reviewing resumes, interviewing, and aptitude testing.

This initiative supports the employment of young people, 15 - 24 years, who have experienced a 4-week period of unemployment.

With some new school leavers never having held had a job, these are perfect conditions to employ someone fresh to the workforce into your business whilst obtaining support from the government.

The Back to Work program is available in a number of locations across Queensland: For more information and locations visit
here.

QLD: Electrical Partner Portal Improvements

Ergon Energy has released changes to their Electrical Partner Portal. These changes apply to Queensland Members only, and will assist and improve how you use the portal and streamline how Connect Applications are received.

Changes will be implemented on 30 November 2019 and a summary of the changes can be found here.

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QLD: Changes to the Workers Compensation & Rehabilitation Act

The Qld Government has pushed through changes to the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act. Changes include:

  • The definition of psychological or psychiatric injury is amended so that employment need only be "a significant contributing factor to the injury" rather than the major significant contributing factor... Read More
  • Workers’ compensation coverage will be extended to unpaid interns and an additional premium may be charged... Read More
  • A late Application for Compensation may be accepted if lodged within 20 business days of an assessment by a doctor, nurse practitioner or dentist... Read More
  • An employer must report injury to WorkCover or its self-insurer immediately... Read More
  • WorkCover or a self-insurer must take all reasonable steps to provide reasonable services to support a worker who has suffered a psychiatric or psychological injury... Read More
  • Expressions of regret and apologies are defined as separate things and may be offered without constituting an express or implied admission of fault or liability... Read More
  • Guidance is given as to how employers can ensure their rehabilitation and return to work coordinator is appropriately qualified... Read More
For more information or advice, read our full article here, or contact our Workplace Relations team on 1300 889 198.

TAS: EESS

Tasmania has signed an intergovernmental agreement with Queensland, Victoria
and Western Australia which formalises the adoption of the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS), making a move towards a nationally consistent approach to equipment safety.

Th EESS mark is well recognised within the industry and well supported by suppliers. It is the only mark that is now accepted and it is an offence for a product to marked when not approved. To find out more, visit
here.

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VIC: Industrial Manslaughter 

Industrial manslaughter is now a criminal offence in Victoria.

Under the new laws, negligent employers could face up to 20 years in jail and $16 million in fines for a workplace death. The offence will fall under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and will apply to employers, self-employed people and ‘officers’ of a company or organisation.

For more information or advice, contact our team on 1300 889 198.

VIC: Phoenixing Laws introduced in Victoria

The Victorian Government has introduced new laws to target the practice of "phoenixing" in a crack down on dodgy construction companies. Under the new laws, operators will be suspended from engaging in the practice, which has caused ongoing issues and problems in the industry, estimated to be in the billions of dollars in unpaid billls, wages and unpaid taxes.

Those caught liquidating their companies to avoid liabilities and/or suspected of engaging in the practice of phoenixing will be banned from holding a building licence.

The Victorian Government concedes the new laws are a limited response to the practice, with reform to national company laws the only long-term answer to the problem of phoenixing.

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WA: WHS Bill

The WA Government has tabled the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill in Parliament, which paves the way for more modern workplace safety laws that apply to all industries.

The new legislation includes industrial manslaughter provisions carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment for an individual and a fine of $10 million for a body corporate. The new laws will also make it illegal for insurance companies to indemnify entities against monetary penalties imposed under workplace health and safety laws.

For more information or advice, contact our team on 1300 889 198.

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