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The price of change





Key features:– • Thermostat with auto reset protection on metal body • Acoustic ratings STC 55, 57 and 58 – as advised on website • 210°c lampholder is not exposed in building cavity • Quick and easy to install • It’s cheaper to install the right downlight. No isolating barriers and personal judgement required for downlight accessory compatibility issues • Suitable for easy compliance with AS/NZS3000:2007,4.5. Instructions on the packaging • Incandescent, 12V halogen and energy saver models available ‘engineered

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table ofcontents up front


renewable energy spotlight


the buzz


raising the bar


impressive project


surviving tax time


meet a master electrician


captivate your imagination


news from the distributors


letter of the law


the interview




gadget guide


technical talk


events calendar


workplace relations


all about ME


your best or worst story


test drive




General Enquiries

Editorial Contacts & Contributors

MASTER ELECTRICIANS AUSTRALIA 57 Berwick Street, Fortitude Valley PO Box 2438, Fortitude Valley BC Queensland 4006 PHONE 1300 889 198 FAX 07 3251 2400 EMAIL WEB ABN 97 131 416 183

EDITOR Malcolm Richards ASSOCIATE EDITOR Kylie Roberts ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Janelle MacDonald PHONE 07 3252 4860 EMAIL DESIGN AND PRINT POMO 07 3844 3873

keep up-to-date yearly subscriptions (4 issues) just $38.50 or call 1300 889 198

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are offered solely in pursuance of the objects of the Electrical and Communications Association and Master Electricians Australia to provide an informative service to contractors in the electrical industry on legal, commercial and other issues and problems related to the industry. The Electrical and Communications Association and Master Electricians Australia are not aware that any person intends to act or rely upon such statements and opinions contained in this publication or the manner in which it might be possible to do so. The Electrical and Communications Association and Master Electricians Australia issues no invitation to any member or other persons to act or rely upon such statements or opinions or any of them and it accepts no responsibility for any of them. It intends by this provision to exclude, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for any such statements and opinions. The Master Electrician Magazine can be viewed online at

Average Net Distribution 26, 261 CAB Audited as at 30 September 2009

Welcome to the Autumn 2010 edition of The Master Electrician. Whether you believe in global warming or not, the truth is that electricity prices are rising. This edition we take a look at the price of change and what two savvy manufacturers are doing to make the change affordable. With our famous Australian climate, capitalising on our natural resources seems like the answer to generating renewable energy. Turn to page 18 to read how the latest Australian wind farm is set to be the largest in the southern hemisphere. With tax time looming, now is the best time to start getting your finances in order. Turn to page 22 to find out the top ten tax tips for electrical contractors. This edition we interviewed one of Australia’s greatest rugby league centres, Steve Renouf, the former great affectionately known as the ‘Pearl’ has worn many hats, including being a sparky, check out his tellall interview on page 33. Until next time...

Kylie Roberts

Associate Editor

the master electrician


ME 04

upfront the latest state news from regulators NSW


Department of Fair Trading

Department of Justice Do you sell used electrical appliances or equipment?

Electrical installations With the focus on renewable energy and financial incentives offered by both State and Federal Governments, installing “Off Grid� power systems particularly in isolated or remote areas of the state is a viable alternative to installing expensive transformers, poles and aerials to connect to the grid. Those who choose this path need to be mindful that there are requirements under the NSW Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 and Regulation. A free-standing electrical installation is defined under the Regulation to mean an electrical installation that is used for (or for purposes incidental to) the conveyance, control and use of electricity in connection with a dwelling where the only source for the electricity is, or is to be, a stand-alone power system. In other words, it is not connected to the grid. Nevertheless the electrical installation work for such installations is required to be carried out in accordance with the standards as if the installation was connected to the grid. The Act makes it an offence for a person to carry out electrical installation work that is not in accordance with such standards or requirements as may be prescribed by the regulations. An electrical installation, or part of an electrical installation, must not be energised

unless its safe operation and compliance with the Australian/ New Zealand Wiring Rules have been established by a safety and compliance test. A free-standing electrical installation must not be energised unless the standalone power system, to which it is to be connected, complies with the requirements for such systems specified by the Australian Standard entitled AS 4509:1999, (Stand-alone power systems, as in force from time to time, published by Standards Australia. Current standard is AS4509:2009. A safety and compliance test on the electrical installation work must be carried out to verify the work complies with the requirements of the Wiring Rules. Where work requires notification by a Certificate of Compliance Electrical Work (CCEW), the notice must be completed within 14 days. For installations connected to the grid, a copy is sent to the network operator. However, in relation to a free standing installation, a copy must be sent to NSW Fair Trading and NOT the network operator. In all cases, a copy is to be provided to the customer and the notifying person should retain a copy for five years.

If in the course of your business you sell secondhand electrical appliances or equipment, you are required to label the equipment in accordance with Section 55 of Electricity Industry Safety and Administration Act 1997: Section 55 States; A person must not in the course of a business sell second-hand electrical articles unless a label is attached – (a) warning that the article has not been tested to ensure that it can be safely operated; or (b) certifying that the article has been tested by a *competent person and has been found to be safe. A fine may be imposed, not exceeding 50 penalty units. (A penalty unit equals $100.00). The label must be durable with the markings indelible and legible and the fixing of the label to the equipment must be on a secure manner. *A competent person being someone who is the holder of an electricians licence, an appliance service person or someone who has been appropriately trained in a recognised course.

05 ME



Office of Energy

Energy Safe Victoria

Safety statistics

Victoria’s new Electrical Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009 come into force

The following were reported to Energy Safety during 2008/09: Electric shocks ����������������������������������������������������������������������818 Serious electrical accidents �����������������������������������������������������14 Fatalities�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������4

After over 12 months of development work Victoria’s new Electricity Safety (Installation) Regulations have been proclaimed and are now in force. The regulations were drafted following extensive industry consultation, followed by intensive review by the electrical industry, Victorian Parliamentary Counsel, interstate regulators, the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) and the general public. The new regulations combine the essential safety components of the existing 1999 installation regs and the Electricity Safety (Network Assets) Regulations 1999, which are being revoked. The new regulations do not contain the provisions relating to licensing and registration of electrical workers. These will be the subject of a new set of regulations which will be published separately later this year. Principle differences between the 1999 and 2009 regulations include: • Reference to clauses of AS/NZS3000 2007Annex K prior to it being removed from AS/NZS3000 2007 by Amendment 1. ESV will make this annex available on-line. • Ensures independent inspection of installations. • Mandates labelling of Part 1 solutions, wiring not in common areas of multiple

Fatality 1:

Fatality 2:

Investigation found that the unlicensed person was working on a “Live” wiring junction lighting circuit in the roof space of the dwelling. After removing insulation tape and a connector from the active conductor of the lighting circuit wiring joint, the person’s right hand made contact with this conductor, which resulted in the person receiving a fatal electric shock. At the time of the accident, the person’s left hand was in contact with the laid up earthing conductor of the lighting circuit cable which was connected to the installations earthing system. The person was also in contact with steel conductive roof frames in the roof space, which were also connected to the general mass of earth. No RCD was protecting the lighting circuit involved.

The person was installing shade cloth on a patio when his thumb came into contact with “Live” parts of the plug of an electric drill he was using and received a fatal electric shock. At the time of the shock, the person was standing on a metal ladder and resting against the steel frame of the patio. The re-wireable plug did not have the outer cover fitted, hence exposing the live terminals of the plug. There was no RCD fitted to the circuit.

Fatality 3: The person appears to have come in contact with “Live” parts 240v of a commercial dishwasher and in doing so, received a fatal electric shock. No RCD was fitted on the circuit.

Fatality 4: A person dismantled a juice extractor and removed the 240v electric motor. The person then plugged the motor into a socket outlet. The motor had exposed “Live” parts. The person touched “Live” parts on the motor and earth and received a fatal electric shock. No RCD was fitted on the circuit.

occupancies and to indicate the presence of auxiliary generation systems. • Bonding of metallic support for LV overhead service. • Combines High Voltage (HV) clearances from both sets of regs. • Revision to private overhead electric line (POEL) requirements. • Changes to testing of electrical installation work. • Revised definitions of prescribed electrical installation work. • Changes to inspection requirements and lodgement times. • Certificate of electrical safety (COES) pricing is now fee unit based. • Changes to requirements for reporting of incidents. Earlier this year, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) ran a series of seminars across Victoria explaining the differences between the old and the new regulations and their implications for the industry. More than 3,300 electrical tradespeople attended one of the 17 free seminars, and because of the huge demand for places at them additional sessions are being held over coming weeks. There is further information available about the new regulations on the ESV website at

the master electrician


ME 06


Electrical Safety Office New standard for selection of cables

A new standard for the selection of cables was published by SAI Global in late 2009 and will be used by Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office as the basis for ensuring compliance with electrical safety legislation on work performed from 1 June 2010. The standard is entitled AS/NZS 3008.1.1:2009 (Electrical installations – Selection of cables – Cables for alternating voltages up to and including 0.6/1 kV – Typical Australian installation conditions). It sets out a method for cable selection for those types of electrical cables and methods of installation that are in common use at working voltages up to and including 0.6/1 kV at 50 Hz a.c. Three criteria are given for cable selection: (a) Current-carrying capacity (b) Voltage drop (c) Short-circuit temperature rise This standard provides sustained currentcarrying capacities and voltage drop values for those types of electrical cable and installation practices in common use in Australia. A significant amount of explanatory material is also provided on the application of rating factors that arise from the particular installation conditions of a single circuit or groups of circuits. Also, provided in Section 5 is information on cable selection based on short-circuit temperature limits. This standard recommends that it apply to installations made or carried out after the date of publication on 26 October 2009, but

it is recommended that it not be applied on a mandatory basis until six months after the publication date. Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office will be using this standard as a basis for ensuring compliance with the electrical safety legislation on electrical work performed from Tuesday 1 June 2010 with the following exceptions: • electrical work commenced under the former standard (AS/NZS 3008.1.1:1998) prior to 1 June 2010 may continue • electrical work quoted under the former standard (AS/NZS 3008.1.1:1998) prior to 1 June and for which a contract has been awarded may be performed under the former standard • electrical work designed under the former standard (AS/NZS 3008.1.1:1998) prior to 1 June for projects (e.g. like shopping complexes, large residential & industrial buildings), may be performed under the former standard • the new standard (AS/NZS 3008.1.1:1998) prior to 1 June may be applied to the above circumstances where it does not cause onerous changes or costs. A copy of the standard can be purchased from SAI Global at

New Electrical Safety Codes of Practice for Queensland A total of five Electrical Safety Codes of Practice took effect in Queensland from 1 January 2010.

Four of the codes are updated versions of previous codes and one about risk management is new: • Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2010 – Electrical Equipment Rural Industry • Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2010 – Electrical Work • Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2010 – Working Near Exposed Live Parts • Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2010 – Works • Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2010 – Risk Management The revisions and making of the new code involved consultation with key stakeholders during a 12 month period. Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office Executive Director Peter Lamont said while the major changes incorporated legislative amendments and enhanced industry work practices the codes are now more reader friendly. “We wanted to improve clarity and consistency in the codes to make them easier to follow,” Mr Lamont said. The new Risk Management Code of Practice incorporates best industry practice to promote the electrical safety of employers, workers and the community, particularly in relation to the November 2009 standard AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines. The codes are available at


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ME 08


Renewable Energy Spotlight The price of change

09 ME


Green is the new black. There’s no denying it. This once social ‘fad’ has now become so deeply ingrained in mainstream society that it is considered a part of our contemporary Australian lifestyle. Governments and commercial operators of all sizes have recognised the potential of this sector and have made significant investments in the hope of capturing their share of the market. One such manufacturer is AstralPool Australia. AstralPool is an Australian-based and internationally distributed manufacturer of swimming pool, spa and heating equipment. AstralPool Australia Branch Manager Anthony Lestani said 12 months ago AstralPool launched its energy-efficient Viron range as a result of increasing consumer demand for affordable green products. Mr Lestani said the range was spearheaded by the Viron P300 Pool Pump. “The P300 is a three-speed DC motor that reduces power consumption by around 70 per cent of the amount used by a conventional AC pump. To the average Australian, this equates to a significant annual saving of around $350 from their electricity bill,” Mr Lestani said. “By operating at low speed, the DC motor generally lasts longer than traditional AC motors. It also enhances water filtration and is much quieter than most pumps on the market.” Retailing for just over $1,000, Mr Lestani said the pump’s affordability had helped it to carve its own place in the market.

He said while comparable AC models remained slightly cheaper in store, they would never deliver a return on investment for their buyers. “Consumers are no longer looking for simply one-off savings; they’re looking for a product that will help them to reduce their energy bills year after year and the P300 can deliver that to them.” Mr Lestani said while Australians were well educated on how to be energy efficient inside the house, they had trouble translating this mindset to their outdoor assets and activities. “For a nation that spends most of its time outdoors, we’re lagging behind in adopting energy efficient technologies outside of the home. “While many Australians have been busy changing their light bulbs and showerheads in an attempt to cut their water and electricity costs, they haven’t realised that their old pool and spa motors have been working overtime to reverse these wellintentioned efforts,” Mr Lestani said.

“Consumers are no longer looking for simply one-off savings; they’re looking for a product that will help them to reduce their energy bills year after year and the P300 can deliver that to them.”

CIRT HELPS YOU TO REDUCE THE DRAIN ON YOUR COMPANY’S CASH FLOW CIRT was established in 1990 to provide redundancy benefits to the electrical industry. CIRT allows employers to contribute money each month on behalf of their employees. That way if a redundancy occurs, the CIRT contributions form either part or all of any redundancy payment and the employer can include the money already contributed as part of the redundancy payment. CIRT provides benefits for the following situations: redundancy, retirement, leaving the industry, severe financial hardship, total and permanent disability, death. Contact CIRT now for all your industry redundancy needs. Administered by Malcolm V. Leeke & Co. Chartered Accountants

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the master electrician


ME 10 Growing up green

Hager 4 Channel Time Clock

Hager Presence Detector

Hager B&R is another Australian manufacturer leading the push for more affordable green products on the market. It too released its own Australian-developed eco-ficient range of products just over 12 months ago. Hager B&R is a major supplier of electrotechnical solutions and services to contractors and retailers in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors in Australia and overseas. Hager B&R state manager, Wayne Mosch, said the demand for energyefficient technologies had revolutionised the electrotechnology market. “The focus of consumers has permanently shifted towards the environment and products such as our ecoficient range have been designed to lead the market, not mimic short-term market trends,” Mr Mosch said. Mr Mosch said there had been a big push by contractors and retailers for a product they could recommend to their customers who were demanding affordable but efficient products. “Buildings account for roughly one quarter of all greenhouse gasses emitted in Australia each year.

“Nevertheless, being green is no longer simply a social choice for most Australians – it’s a genuine financial choice that they are reminded of every time they receive their electricity bills,” Mr Mosch said. The eco-ficient range carries an extended seven-year warranty and gives buyers the option of registering online to monitor and control their carbon emissions through the online carbon calculator. The eco-ficient range includes time switches, detectors and dimmers, automation systems and distribution boards. “Our kids today are part of the most environmentally educated generation in Australia. Self-education tools like our carbon calculator are ahead of the market today, but as electricity costs continue to rise, these kids will expect manufacturers to provide them with systems where they can monitor and mitigate their energy usage,” Mr Mosch said. “These kids expect change; they’ve grown up with it. But they also expect it to be affordable so we’re doing everything we can to create products that give Australians the power to maximise their energy savings and minimise their bills.”

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New golf enclosures VS and VF series Before we designed the new golf range, we decided to ask the real experts in enclosures: you. So, professional installers from all over the world gave our Voice Of Customer program their ideas for making enclosure jobs more productive. Then, we applied those ideas in the new golf. A discretely elegant new design that sets the standard for small and medium installations.

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ME 12

thebuzz Here’s the latest news from the electrotechnology industry across Australia.

TVs to comply with Minimum Energy Performance Standards All television sets imported or manufactured for supply in Australia must now meet requirements for mandatory energy labelling and compliance with Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). All televisions excluding the following are covered: • Television sets powered from batteries • Display devices that do not have a television tuner • Front or rear projection display devices and televisions. Any display device that is designed for the primary purpose of showing TV pictures and has a television tuner must display the specified energy rating label. This includes multifunction TVs and combination TVs. Televisions must meet or exceed the Tier One MEPS, which is set at the 1 star level (called the Base Energy Consumption) on the mandatory comparative energy label for any given screen size. For televisions, each additional star is earned once a 20 per cent reduction in energy consumption from the previous star rating is achieved.

TELSTRA AND CLIPSAL AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP Telstra and Clipsal Australia have announced a partnership which will provide thousands of new home owners in Telstra Velocity® Fibre to the Home (FTTP) estates with access to the most advanced home network available. This will mean that residents in newly constructed homes in Telstra Velocity estates can, with the right BigPond® plan, stream content straight from the internet to their High Definition TV, with clarity and speed. Whether it’s a short, or full feature program, YouTube or live video, users will have on demand access straight to their TV. A home owner will also be able to network computers and printers, monitor security cameras on any TV, and have greater flexibility with home phones and television streaming. Currently there are over 135 Telstra Velocity® estates planned across Australia, with this partnership supporting developers to provide new residents with the latest technology.

Solar power all day and all night ‘Base-load’ solar power, once a distant dream, is now a reality. While solar electricity was once limited to when the sun was shining, solar thermal energy can now operate 24 hours a day, even at night, with an ingenious and cheap storage method utilising molten salt. There are plants in Spain operating with energy storage right now, providing electricity all night long. Most Australians are not aware of this technology, even though it has the capacity to revolutionise the way Australia produces electricity and eliminate global warming pollution from coal. Molten salt storage uses common salts, such as potassium nitrate, which are readily available and non-toxic. Using the sun’s energy, these salts are heated to high temperatures and stored in insulated storage tanks. When electricity is needed, the heat in the molten salt is used to create the steam to turn a turbine. This sort of electricity is ‘dispatchable’, meaning it can be sent out on demand at any time of day, so it can replace the base-load electricity made from burning fossil fuels. The EU has been investing in the solar thermal storage power sector for more than a decade. The US, Middle East and North Africa have proposals in the pipeline that, combined, are five times greater than Australia’s total coal-fired electricity capacity. Spain has 15,500 MW of solar thermal plants approved through the planning process, more than enough to power all of NSW and 34 massive power plants are under construction right now.

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Eco friendly health centre for Tasmania An environmentally friendly community health centre has been opened on Tasmania’s Bruny Island, with predictions it will become the Tasmanian Government’s first zeroenergy building. The building, which was opened in early February, features a solar photovoltaic system, a 10 kW wind turbine and a solar hot water system, as well as energy efficiency features such as double glazing and high insulation levels. Tasmanian Health Minister Lara Giddings, who opened the facility, said that the wind turbine alone would generate twice the building’s forecast energy use, allowing energy to be passed back into the grid. Bruny Island is a remote part of Tasmania that is home to an increasing number of permanent residents, commuters to Hobart and visitors.

Maser supplies cable to Queensland power station Maser has successfully completed the supply of instrumentation, control and thermocouple cables required for a 630 MW gas-fired power station construction in Queensland’s Darling Downs region near Braemar, 40 km west of Dalby. When complete, the $780 m facility will generate enough power to supply the equivalent of 400,000 Queensland homes. Maser was awarded the electrical cable contract due to its customer service record and supply history of over 27 years, across both Australian and international projects. The client also recognised that, with Maser’s choice of product from leading international cable manufacturers, procuring the specified cable schedule was simplified.


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Government says companies may need to hire more women to secure government work The Federal Government recently released a discussion paper referring to the lack of women employed in the workplace. In the paper, the government provided a possibility that in the coming years a benchmark figure of 40 per cent may need to be achieved if businesses wanted to tender for government work. The electrical industry has long been an industry dominated by males. The Master Electrician’s ApprenticeConnect program currently consists of only two per cent female electrical apprentices. Industry has an obligation to recruit without discrimination. In recruiting a new electrical apprentice, gender should not be a factor. Small to large businesses should work to put in place an equal opportunity recruitment process to provide them a greater opportunity of finding and sustaining good employees. So how do you attract more women in the workforce? Educating staff that women can do the job, whether it’s as an apprentice electrician or a project manager, women are equally competent for the position. Should you have any questions regarding employing women in the workforce, please contact Master Electricians for assistance on 1300 88 91 98 or

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ME 14


Raising the bar

Since its inception in 2008, Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has quickly become a trusted voice on the national stage, the safest choice for the Australian home and a valued business partner for electrical contractors.

15 ME The electrical industry is one of the most complex and regulated in Australia. During the past decade, there has been a growing need for a strong, independent voice to advocate on behalf of our industry. MEA was launched in 2008 by a network of industry leaders determined to unite talented electricians across the country and set a new benchmark in service, safety and support within the industry. MEA Executive Manager Andrew Bailey said the Master Electrician name was a constant reminder of the quality and talent of Master Electricians. “Our Master Electricians are masters of their trade and it is important that MEA gives ongoing recognition to this fact. “As an accredited Master Electrician, consumers can have confidence in the ability of their local electrician to service their electrical needs safely and professionally.”

A trusted voice Recently, MEA received much public attention as it worked to help end, and clean up after the government’s foil insulation scheme. Its leadership and advocacy of this long-running public issue has positioned MEA as a thought leader for the electrical industry and has brought the organisation and its Master Electricians to the attention of key political decision makers in state and federal arenas. MEA Executive Manager Andrew Bailey said Master Electricians has a record of bringing issues of electrical safety to the attention of the community and driving reform with our decision makers. These included commenting on the safety of earthing pool fences, the implications for small businesses following the Federal Government’s decision to axe the solar panel rebate, and the ongoing installation and maintenance of safety switches.

Master Electricians has a record of bringing issues of electrical safety to the attention of the community and driving reform with our decision makers

The safest choice The number of deaths and serious injuries that occur as a result of electrical accidents remain at unacceptable levels in Australia. Mr Bailey said Master Electricians were held to a higher standard of professional practice than most other electrical contractors. “Undertaking strict accreditation programs and standards of professional practice is how our members remain masters of their trade. “Our Master Electricians offer their customers a 12-month warranty on all work they have performed. Through embracing this as a key point of difference for their businesses and themselves it reaffirms the confidence people have in their work.” Mr Bailey said Master Electricians risk losing their accreditation if they do not continue to meet the high standards set by MEA. “Being a Master Electrician is a way of publicly demonstrating to your customers, your potential customers and your colleagues that you have reached the highest industry standards. “To initially qualify you must prove you have worked for more than three years in the industry as a contractor, have an effective safety management system, be able to offer quality energy-efficient advice to customers, adhere to a strict code of ethics, and complete an annual safety and quality audit.

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the master electrician


ME 16

“This process is designed to allow only the best electricians into the program,” Mr Bailey said.

A valued business partner The MEA program is an initiative of ECA, one of Australia’s longest-standing and most successful electrical industry associations. With more than 70 years’ experience in representing its own members in the industry, ECA could see the need for a national accreditation program, which could add value to businesses and contractors alike. “Through our national network, MEA delivers a number of value-adding programs, training initiatives and advocacy opportunities.

“One such program that has taken off is our Green Electricians program. With consumers demanding more environmentally friendly options than ever before, we work to ensure our electricians are market-ready to help their communities save energy and save money,” Mr Bailey said. The Green Electricians program is nationally accredited and can be completed over the internet to allow all Master Electricians the flexibility to complete the program at a time suitable to them. “The Green Electrician training is the first step towards further accreditation as a qualified Energy Auditor. It also provides the requirement for the fourth pillar of qualification to become a Master Electrician.” Both business owners and individual contractors can benefit from Master Electrician accreditation and recognition from Australia’s peak industry body. “Being a Master Electrician broadens your business opportunities and your public credibility as a skilled electrical professional,” Mr Bailey said. To become a Master Electrician, register your interest at


AT LEAST 20 KILLED BY ELECTROCUTION IN NIGERIA At least 20 bus passengers were killed in Nigeria when a cable fell onto the bus and electrocuted people inside, police said. Most of the dead had been passengers aboard the bus, though some had been passing nearby when the cable came tumbling down during heavy rains.

Compare the pair There’s a big difference between super funds. Take the example on the left: same age, same income, same super contributions and same investment returns. The only difference is the man on the left is with SPEC Super. The reason he could be better off is that Industry SuperFunds such as SPEC Super currently have lower average fees and don’t pay sales commissions. Industry SuperFunds are run only to benefit members. SPEC Super

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*The amounts are not predictions or estimates of actual outcomes. Outcomes will vary between individual funds. Above example is a comparison of two employees aged 32, each with a starting account balance of $35,000 and initial income of $70,000. Comparisons modelled by SuperRatings, commissioned by the Trustee SPEC(QLD) PTY. LTD. (ABN 60 010 743 405, AFSL 325 122). The modelling is based on various assumptions not all of which are shown here. Please refer to where these assumptions are shown and explained. The figures are the latest available at 31 December 2009 and may be revised if further information becomes available. Consider your own objectives, financial situation and needs before making a decision about superannuation because they are not taken into account in this information. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available from SPEC Super before making an investment decision. For a copy of our PDS please call 1300 366 648. SPEC Super (ABN 45 404 406 059) is authorised to provide general financial product advice in relation to superannuation.

Master Electricians – your ultimate business partner

Reap the benefits When you become a Master Electrician you gain access to a range of benefits and services that will help your business thrive. Unlimited access to a technical hotline When you need assistance with interpreting standards or advice with technical, safety or compliance matters, we’re there to help. Master Electricians has a large team of qualified and experienced technical officers on call when you need it most. Interactive job lead program When customers need an accredited and reliable electrician, they turn to the name they know and trust - Master Electricians. Through our job lead system, customers register the details of their job which we pass on to you, at no cost.

Master Electricians – setting you up for success To find out how to take advantage of these essential services, contact Master Electricians today or 1300 889 198

ME 18


Impressive project Wind power feature Renewable energy generation projects are driving the international market. In Australia the continued availability of coal has scared some green investors into submission and spurred others on.

19 ME Winds of change It is undeniable – there’s something in the air when it comes to energy generation in Australia. In 2008, the Federal Government made a commitment to ensure by 2020 around 20 per cent of all electricity generation would come from renewable sources. Since this time, the Australian energy market has seen a dramatic rise in the number of developers pursuing alternative renewable energy sources. One of the fastest growing alternatives in Australia and around the world is wind power. The security of supply, the environmental benefits and the economic efficiency of wind power has made it the technology of choice for many developers. To date, more than 100,000 wind turbines have been installed around the world, generating more than 260 trillion watt hours of electricity (more than Australia’s annual generation capacity). In 2008 the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said wind power projects had employed more than 400,000 ‘green collar’ workers globally and if the annual value of the global investment in wind energy continues to rise, by 2020 this number could rise to more than 2.2 million.

One development spurred on by these figures is the Silverton Wind Farm, currently being developed by Silverton Wind Farm Developments Pty Ltd, a joint venture between Epuron and Macquarie Capital Wind Fund, an investment fund jointly owned by Macquarie Capital and a subsidiary of Martifer Renewables SGPS S.A. Silverton Wind Farm is set to become the largest wind power development in the southern hemisphere, with a potential generation capacity of more than 1,000MW upon completion of all construction stages. Located north of Silverton, approximately 25km west of the New South Wales mining town of Broken Hill, the project has secured project approval for stage one of the development and concept approval for stage two. Silverton hopes to secure project approval for stage two in the next few years. Stage one of the Silverton Wind Farm will include the construction and installation of up to 282 wind turbines and the associated infrastructure and connection to the existing electricity grid at Broken Hill. In stage two, Silverton hopes to expand the number of working turbines onsite, with the potential to install up to 598 turbines, to make it the largest wind farm in Australia.

“more than 100,000 wind turbines have been installed around the world, generating more than 260 trillion watt hours of electricity”

Epuron project manager Donna Bolton took a lead role in the project during its extensive planning period. She said the planned capacity for the project will make it the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. “Silverton Wind Farm is located on a 31,000ha site which is approximately 15km by 30km. We’ve completed the planning and consent phase of the project where we looked at the impacts of the development and how to avoid, mitigate and manage potential impacts to the environment and local residents. Silverton is currently in the process of finalising the optimal grid connection solution for the project,” she said. Ms Bolton said wind farms had an impressively fast construction period with most developments commencing

the master electrician


ME 20 operations after one to two years of construction and remaining operational for 20 to 30 years. “Silverton will be a long-term asset for the state. In an average operational year, Silverton will be able to supply clean, renewable electricity to more than 430,000 NSW homes and reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 3,500,000 tonnes, when compared with traditional fossil fuel electricity generation. “Whilst yet to be finalised, it is likely that stage one of the wind farm will add between 200MW and 400MW into the NSW grid. It is expected stage two will build on this capacity with the potential to install up to 598 turbines. A contribution of this size wind farm would provide approximately 10 per cent of the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) required under the Federal Government’s enhanced RET scheme.” “Importantly for our dry continent, and in stark contrast to thermal power stations, wind turbines consume no water during operation”. The government’s RET scheme has helped to bring investors over to the green side. However, Ms Bolton said NSW was struggling to increase its number of in-the-ground projects despite having a good wind resource and grid connection opportunities. “Large-scale renewable projects can’t get up without the government’s RET scheme, which is driving the value of green energy and helping to level the playing field with black electricity producers, such as coalfired powerNewtagsadvert180x81.pdf stations,” Ms Bolton said. 16/04/2009 2:04:04 PM

Recently, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) adopted a wind forecasting system and new semidispatch rules to ensure it could deliver large amounts of wind energy into the marketplace. This has been an historic move that’s helped to cement the place of wind energy as Australia’s preferred renewable energy technology. In the NSW Government’s 2009 inquiry into rural wind farms, Yolande Stone, Director of Policy, Planning and Systems Reform within the Department of Planning, said a range of renewable energy alternatives would be important to help reach the required targets, but wind would lead this mix. “Modelling carried out by the Commonwealth Government suggests that almost half the new renewable energy to be built under the renewable energy target scheme is likely to be wind energy. This is because wind is market-ready technology, which is currently cost efficient, relative to other types of renewable energy such as solar or geothermal,” Ms Stone said. In the same inquiry, Epuron’s Executive Director Andrew Durran put forward research findings that found the majority of Australians liked wind farms. “About 70 per cent of people are willing to live within a kilometre of a wind farm and 90 per cent of people support them. It is not true to say that communities reject them,” Mr Durran said. The availability of wind power in almost every country has also been an important contributing factor to the widespread adoption of wind energy. Europe – notably Germany and Spain, China and India are

driving the global rise and pioneering much of the new technologies. Denmark alone already gets 21 per cent of its gross electricity from wind energy. The Global Wind Energy Council predicts the world’s energy needs will rise by 30 to 60 per cent by 2030. The International Energy Agency predicts 4,500GW of new energy capacity will need to be installed to cater for this demand and they believe wind energy, which emits no carbon dioxide – the main contributor to greenhouse gas – is the key solution in the fight against climate change.

THE TECHNOLOGY Silverton Wind Farm will use the latest generation technologies to harness the natural power of the wind. The highperformance power plants, or turbines, generally have a capacity of 1.5MW to 3MW with a 90m to 100m rotor diameter. They can feature a variable speed generator and converter system and an electrical singleblade adjustment. The turbines can be fully integrated into the existing power grid, are lightning protected and contain shielded cables and powerlines to protect workers and the machinery. Each turbine has its own control system. This allows operators to better manage and control the behaviours of the turbines and their energy output. Ms Bolton said the civil construction section of the balance of plant at Silverton Wind Farm would start first in order to prepare for the arrival of the turbines and the sequential electrical work, including the development of sub-stations and the installation of cables and overhead lines.




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Surviving tax time

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When it comes to tax time the rule is simple: minimise confusion and you will maximise your return. Australia’s taxation system is one of the most complex in the world. Many contractors struggle to keep up with the legislation changes – many more simply don’t have the time or inclination necessary to understand how the system applies to their business. Don Collins is a partner in BDO’s* Tax Division. He has more than twenty years’ experience in providing business and taxation advice to all levels of business and knows first-hand the challenges that electrical contractors face when it comes to tax time. Mr Collins said the first trap people fall into is thinking tax is a once-a-year activity. “Good tax planning starts at the beginning of each financial year on 1 July and continues throughout the year – it does not start on 30 June. “Ensuring your business has the procedures and policies in place to support this ongoing tax preparation cycle is important if you really want to correctly comply and maximise your claim. “A regular review of your business, including a review of its income, expenditure and cash flow, will help you to better understand your business’ tax footprint and quickly identify opportunities to improve its economic and operational efficiency,” Mr Collins said. The second trap people fall into is not keeping proper documentation. The

Mr Collins said the top three claims electrical contractors often overlooked at tax time were motor vehicle claims, superannuation claims, and claims for tools and capital items.

majority of electrical contractors operate as sole traders or partnerships and many more operate within family businesses. Fundamental book keeping is often overlooked and neglected. Unfortunately, this often wastes time and money and affects the accuracy of a business’ records. As a result, its important business owners build a strong and trusted relationship with their advisers. “Successful business owners work with an accountant or financial adviser who can add real value to their business, not just help them lodge their tax return each year.” Mr Collins said the top three claims electrical contractors often overlooked at tax time were motor vehicle claims, superannuation claims, and claims for tools and capital items. He offered Master Electricians some advice on how to make the most of their tax return this year. 1. Motor vehicles: Cars are very important within the industry. Many contractors believe if they drive a business car they can automatically claim 100 per cent of the running costs, with or without evidence. This is not the case as the legislation is very specific about how you must make your claims and the evidence you must provide. To maximise your vehicle expense claims you must:

a. Keep complete and accurate records (receipts, documentation) for associated expenses and running costs for your primary vehicle and any additional vehicles used for work purposes. These may include receipts for car services, repairs or new tyres. You do not always have to keep receipts for petrol or oil. Odometer readings and fuel consumption relative to the vehicle can be sufficient b. Maintain a detailed logbook for each vehicle, including odometer records. Not all vehicles require a logbook to make tax claims but it’s a good practice to maintain nonetheless. You should seek advice from your accountant or the Tax Office to determine which of your vehicles require you to keep a detailed logbook c. Record both work-related and nonwork-related travel and expenses. This will make it easier to calculate your business use percentage at the end of the year. Records should include the date each journey began and ended, the car’s odometer readings at the start and end of each journey, the number of kilometres travelled on each journey and the reason for the journey. If no logbook is kept your tax claim options are limited to: a. Where your estimated business kilometres are greater than 5,000km

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you can claim one-third of your running costs (with evidence of receipts) and 12 per cent of your vehicle costs (no receipts required) b. Where your estimated business kilometres are fewer than 5,000km you can only claim for the first 5,000 business kilometres travelled. In this case your rate of return is calculated by your engine size. 2. Superannuation: Superannuation is still one of the most tax effective ways for business owners to save money and protect their retirement nest egg. However, too many business owners forget to make and manage their super contributions for themselves on a regular basis. To maximise your superannuation claims: a) Ensure you set up a process to remind yourself to make these contributions. By working with your accountant and financial planner to make contributions into super instead of wages you can maximise your return. This is possible because super contributions are taxed at a rate almost half of the normal tax rate for wages b) Be aware of the changes to super as they occur. In 2008, the government made major changes to the system and will continue to do so over the coming years. If you don’t have time to stay up to date with these changes, then hire someone who does as there are still savings to be made by understanding super c) Make co-contributions for your spouse. If you are a low or middleincome earner, you may be able to top up the super contributions from the government by making eligible personal superannuation contributions to your fund. Subject to Tax Office guidelines, an amount up to $1,000 will attract the super co-contribution. 3. Tools and capital items: Tools and capital items are often purchased at the last minute and are forgotten about when it comes to tax time. By developing a purchasing schedule and recording your purchases as you go you can claim full write-offs for capital items purchased for less than $1,000. Mr Collins advised business owners to build a trusted relationship with their accountant and/or financial advisors. “An employer will have to make many decisions throughout the year that they should be seeking advice on from a financial professional. Even decisions such as staffing could benefit from the involvement of your financial planner who


• Submit quarterly BAS statements on time and treat them as a complete wrap-up of all income and expenses of the past three months • Cash is king for small businesses so good planning and record keeping will allow you to monitor your progress throughout the year and make changes as you go • Undertake quarterly PAYG reviews and receive quarterly balances of your taxable income so far. This will help you to identify how much cash you have to cover your expenses, whether you have paid enough tax and how much you will have to invest back into the business • Ensure all tax invoices are made out to the right people because if they are not, they are not considered valid by the ATO • Calculate your income tax and your GST separately throughout the year as these are reported and lodged separately to the ATO • Ensure your super contributions are paid in full and banked before 30 June otherwise they will be carried forward into the next financial year. Backdated cheques will not be recognised • Pre-order materials required for jobs in advance, if possible. Forward expenditure is a good idea if you can afford it in the current financial year.

can advise you of whether your business is better suited to hiring employees or contractors. They can also inform you of the costs and benefits of your available options. “But when it comes to tax, the rule is simple – good planning saves money.” * BDO is the world’s fifth largest accounting and advisory network. It specialises in family business advisory services.

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meet a masterelectrician With a successful business under his belt, his first child on the way and an improving surfing technique, Simon Lee is certainly riding the waves of success. There’s a mateship among tradesmen that you don’t often find in other professions and it’s about friendship, respect and a fair go. After eight years in the trade, it was this mateship that drove Simon Lee to make the break from his home town in country Victoria and try it in the big smoke of Melbourne. “When I decided to start a business, I wanted to do it somewhere where I could make it on my own and not have to compete with my friend and boss Steve Finnen who’d employed me during my time in the country and had taught me how to be a great electrician,” Simon said. For the past six years, Simon has built Lee Electrix from the ground up. Based in Yarraville, just outside of Melbourne’s CBD, the business now has seven full-time staff members who service the domestic and commercial electrical needs of the surrounding area. As the business grew, Simon said he had moved away from the tools and towards the books. During this transition, he said he had gained a better perspective on how to balance his needs as both a business owner and a team leader.

Name: Simon Lee Company: Lee Electrix

“I’m lucky to have a young team who enjoy working together as much as we enjoy surfing together. “We foster a sense of ownership for the business within the team – the guys do their best for themselves and our clients and I do my best for them. “Coming from the country, I think building and maintaining a sense of community is really important. As a contractor, I’ve always felt that there was no greater feeling than seeing a job through from start to finish. Now as a boss, I want to ensure my contractors feel comfortable to share their

State: Victoria Status: Accredited Master Electrician successes with each other,” Simon said. As a keen surfer, Simon said he and his wife Alison were pleased their jobs gave them the flexibility to make the move to the city. “While we sometimes miss the pace of country life, it’s pretty amazing having the city, beach and everything that comes with it at our fingertips. “I think like most soon-to-be parents we’re a little nervous about what lies ahead of us, but I’m confident that with the support of my wonderful wife and my talented team, everything will go smoothly for the baby and the business.”

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27 ME Join us for a once in a lifetime opportunity as we explore the enchantment of Ho Chi Minh City. With exclusive access to some of the country’s most famous landmarks, we will take you on an intimate tour to unveil the true culture of Vietnam. In just five days, you will experience this extraordinary French colonial inspired city that is teeming with history, culture and excitement. You will be immersed in the tradition of a society filled with devastating poverty yet equally extraordinary riches, which together create this fascinating unwesternised city. Vietnam’s colourful history is an inspirational tale of heroic struggles and outstanding victories. The Vietnamese nation was primarily influenced through a process of cross-pollination between ancient Chinese and Indian cultures. The country today has a harmonised blend of independent ethnicities with 54 different ethnic groups who use their own language and cultural identity in day-to-day life. Vietnam’s magnetism is derived from its charming landscape of breathtaking scenery covering 3260 kilometres of coastline. Vietnam has it all, white sand beaches and islands, unspoiled mountain ranges and forests, beautiful lakes, pristine waterfalls and unforgettable caves.

business discovery to ensure you are on the right track for success. Internationally recognised energy efficiency expert and former government minister, Rod Welford will speak about the opportunities evolving in the ‘green’ industry and what you can do now to get on board.

“Delegates will be treated to a host of inspirational business speakers who are destined to captivate your imagination.”

The sight seeing You will have a unique opportunity to try your hand at a traditional cooking class, discover the bountiful handcrafted markets and westernised tourist shops, relax on a picturesque cruise down the Saigon River and explore the wonder of the Cu Chi Tunnels – ensuring you a trip to remember. The final event Our last evening will be celebrated in style with an official all access pass to one of the most significant pieces of Vietnam real estate, the Presidential Palace. With its striking 1960s French inspired architecture and kitsch decor, the palace plays a vital role in the history of Vietnam.

YOUR EXPERIENCE The Caravelle The Caravelle Hotel is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s leading international 5-star hotels, with a distinct historical charm – The Caravelle has become an indispensable part of the Ho Chi Minh City’s history. The stunning hotel’s vivid history dates back to the Vietnam War where it was known as the unofficial press club during the three decade long war. You can experience the elegance of luxurious modern facilities coupled with breathtaking views of the entire city from the famous roof top bar. The business sessions Delegates will be treated to a host of inspirational business speakers who are destined to captivate your imagination. You can expect to hear from an internationally acclaimed finance speaker who will divulge his tips for managing a successful business in today’s market. As well as representatives from AusTrade who will talk about the local market and what you can expect from working and dealing with the Vietnamese. Motivational business specialist, Anthony Davis from Brightwater Partnerships will take you on a journey of

The package

Master Electricians and ECA are offering an all inclusive package to attend the 2010 Annual Conference which includes: • Return airfares on designated Singapore Airlines flights • Four nights accommodation at the 5-star Caravelle Hotel • All meals (excluding one free dining night) • All business sessions. For the low price of $2995* + GST per adult. For more information contact the events team on 1300 889 198. *ex Brisbane, terms and conditions apply

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the master electrician


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news from thedistributors VICTORIA: TRUenergy ETIS funding reaffirms TRUenergy commitment to climate change transformation

QUEENSLAND: Energex and Ergon New Electricity Connection & Metering Manual for Queensland Over the past twelve months ENERGEX and Ergon Energy have been working jointly in the creation of an updated Electricity Connection and Metering Manual that will apply across all of Queensland. Representatives of relevant industry bodies have been engaged in this process. The necessity for changes to the manual has resulted from: • Continual improvements to safety for electrical workers and customers • The desire to have one common manual for consistency throughout ENERGEX and Ergon Energy distribution areas • Existing manuals requiring revision due to: • Changes to the National Electricity Rules • Full retail contestability • Changes to Australian Standards • New methods and equipment. The resulting manual reflects the commitment of ENERGEX and Ergon Energy to align: • Requirements for safe connections to both Networks • Metering arrangements to achieve consistent and best practice. All licensed electrical contractors in Queensland will be required to comply with the requirements in this new manual from 1 July 2010. From late March 2010, ENERGEX and Ergon Energy posted printed copies of the updated manual to some 7,000 electrical contractors who are currently registered with the Queensland Electrical Safety Office. For those who may not have received a copy in the mail out or require additional copies, the new Electricity Connection and Metering Manual is also available for download via the websites of both distributors: ENERGEX – Ergon Energy –

TRUenergy is pleased to have been offered Victorian Government Energy Technology Innovation Strategy (ETIS) funding for pre-feasibility studies for three Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. TRUenergy Managing Director, Richard McIndoe, said, “TRUenergy is the only Australian energy business to publicly pledge an emissions reduction in its generation fleet, and these three CCS projects highlight how our business pursues new investment in promising technologies and creates employment and investment opportunities from climate change expertise. “TRUenergy is committed to the Latrobe Valley, and projects that provide solutions to reducing brown coal’s CO² emissions, through coal drying or by capturing, transporting and storing CO², are a big part of that commitment.” The three successful TRUenergy partnership projects are: 1. In conjunction with Southern Company, a proposal for a state-of the-art, low emissions Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plant with precombustion CO² capture, using brown coal and located at Yallourn Power Station 2. Carbon Store Victoria (a consortium of Carbon Store Australia, TRUenergy and Mitsubishi Corporation), a proposal to develop a multi-user CO² storage and transport system in Gippsland 3. In conjunction with Loy Yang Power and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a proposal to demonstrate large scale CO² post combustion capture at Loy Yang A Power Station. “These three projects support TRUenergy’s 2007 Climate Change Strategy which sets an ambitious target to reduce its emissions intensity by 60 per cent by 2050,” Mr McIndoe said. TRUenergy intends to commence the pre-feasibility studies as soon as possible and will work closely with the Victorian and Federal Governments to finalise the funding agreements.

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ACT: Energy Networks Association Networks welcome Coalition’s study on burying power lines The Energy Networks Association (ENA) welcomes the Coalition’s announcement of a climate change strategy based on direct action to reduce emissions and improve our environment. In particular, ENA welcomes the Coalition’s commitment to allocate $2 million for a major study into the use and application of underground High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission within Australia. Mr Blyth, Chief Executive of ENA, said: ‘ENA recognises that there are a number of potential benefits for the use of underground HVDC, particularly in relation to transmission over very long distances (renewable energy) where there is potential for increases in energy efficiency through reduced line losses’. ENA believes the Coalition’s study would benefit greatly by being expanded to investigate the costs and benefits of undergrounding distribution lines, which are in abundance in the majority of towns and cities throughout Australia. The last national investigation into the costs and benefits of undergrounding both transmission and distribution cables occurred over a decade ago (1998 Australian Government Report: Putting cables underground). ‘Several past reports have cited benefits for undergrounding distribution lines, such


Gold Coast Improving


as reduced motor vehicle collisions with poles, reduced maintenance costs and in Gold Coast company Aussie Switchboards some instances improved reliability. In fact, are easing the frustrations of electricians energy network businesses throughout throughout Queensland and NSW. Designed Australia have been proactive, along with with the focus of saving onsite electrician’s time and money, Aussie have a wide range local councils and developers, in the of LV electrical switchboards including undergrounding of electricity assets in new builders site Temporary Power, Distribution developments for over three decades, and Panel Boards, Meter Panels and larger main in targeted undergrounding of existing switchboards up to 6,000 Amp. assets’, said Mr Blyth. Not only are Aussie’s boards ergonomic, they have been Type Tested in a laboratory to prove Energy networks businesses across their electrical excellence. All of Aussie’s Type Australia currently operate approximately Tests passed first time around. The laboratory 48,000 kilometres of transmissions lines staff passed comment saying it has been many and 800,000 kilometres of distribution lines. years since a Switchboard Manufacturer passed all tests the first time. Mr Blyth said: ‘There are significant cost The company specialises in working with onsite and practicality implications that need to be electricians to save time and frustration. considered when converting any overhead Galvanised steel is standard with a powder coat line to an underground line’. finish. The galvanising gives their enclosures ‘ENA believes a new cost-benefit another corrosion barrier. Aussie also fabricates stainless steel switchboards for marine analysis of the benefits of a well-targeted environments. Their sheet metal is fabricated program of putting cables underground in house giving the advantage of customised would be timely and beneficial, especially enclosures with low turnaround time to assist considering emerging issues such as the the onsite electrician, where others take much longer supplying inconvenient and expensive rollout of the National Broadband Network standard sizes. and the ongoing development of smart Aussie Switchboards are looking for new networks. Given the significant costs of customers in Queensland and NSW wanting better undergrounding at high voltages, any switchboards. Their professional Sales department program needs to be carefully targeted can be contacted on (07) 5561 1417. to identify where the benefits would be sufficiently high to justify the costs’ said Aussie Switchboards 60x125.indd 2 8/03/10 10:04 AM Mr Blyth.


Cleveland state sued for electrocution Associate Professor Dr. Tarun Mal was electrocuted while setting up a biology experiment using a nongrounded electrical device that adapts a three-pronged plug for a two-pronged outlet. He used the plug to connect a homemade grow lamp and nongrounded electrical timer to the socket. The grow lamp then emitted a surge of electricity of approximately 400 volts through his body.

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NSW: Energy Australia Apprentices add extra spark EnergyAustralia apprentices have added some extra spark to one of the largest solar power stations in the southern hemisphere. A team of electrical apprentices from EnergyAustralia’s Wallsend training centre were recently put to work on the Singleton solar farm in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, assisting with general maintenance of the site’s solar generators. EnergyAustralia is the largest employer of apprentices in New South Wales, with more than 600 apprentices working on major projects including the Singleton solar farm, the $120 million City North Zone Substation and the $170 million Smart Grid. EnergyAustralia plans to recruit more than 1000 apprentices, graduates, cadets and trainees over the next five years to help deliver its $8 billion capital works program. The next generation of lineworkers, mechanical trades people, cable jointers and electrical mechanics will follow in the footsteps of the Wallsend team during their four-year apprenticeship. Future apprentices will also benefit from EnergyAustralia’s soon to be completed Learning Centre at Silverwater.

Executive Manager of EnergyAustralia Learning and Development, Tom Emeleus, said EnergyAustralia apprentices received practical job-related training during their apprenticeship. The projects EnergyAustralia apprentices are working on form the backbone of our network, Mr Emeleus said. Working on renewable technologies gives apprentices valuable skills for the future.

WA: Western Power A NEW VERSION OF ETIC IS ON ITS WAY Western Power’s trial ETIC system allows Preliminary and Completion Notices to be submitted electronically via Western Power’s website. Western Power is finalising development of a new version of the electronic ticketing system – ETIC. The new system was ready in April 2010. A letter will be mailed to all electrical contractors advising of the availability of the new system and how to register for an account.

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letter of thelaw Employer to lose millions as court hands invention rights to employee A recent full Federal Court case shows what you could stand to lose if your employees are involved in developing any specialised software, equipment, products or systems in your business. For some years prior to employment at UWA, Dr Bruce Gray was engaged in the research of the treatment of cancer. This research led Dr Gray to invent certain technologies around the use of “microspheres” as a treatment for cancer. Dr Gray and a company he created Sirtex, applied for patents in respect to the invented technologies in order so that the same could be commercialised. UWA was not included in these arrangements. UWA commenced action against Dr Gray claiming the inventions were developed

during the course of his employment and the intellectual property rights in the inventions were owned by UWA. The judge of first instance, Robert French (who is now the Chief Justice of the High Court), held that there was no implied contractual duty or fiduciary duty giving the ownership of the intellectual property rights to UWA as Dr Gray’s employer. This decision was upheld by the full Federal Court. The UWA has now filed for leave to appeal to the High Court. The reason the employer was denied was due to the fact that the employment contract between the UWA and Dr Gray failed to incorporate appropriate provisions to assign the intellectual property rights in the inventions to the employer.

This is a timely reminder to any business involved in the creation of intellectual property to incorporate clear provisions that intellectual property rights created by the employee, including development of inventions, are assigned to the employer through their employer or contractor agreements. If you want to make sure that your bright ideas and inventions, including those which you paid your employees to develop, remain your property, call Harold Littler, a trademark attorney and lawyer specialising in intellectual property law, at McKays Solicitors. Harold can be contacted on 07 3223 5912 or at


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theinterview upfront

Steve Renouf

It’s been almost a decade since former Rugby LEAGUE GREAT AND ELECTRICIAN Steve “The Pearl” Renouf hung up his boots for the last time. But as a successful businessman, sports ambassador and father, Steve’s never been better at converting challenges into opportunities.

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Steve, your career spanned four premierships, 12 years, an un-beaten 142 tries with the Brisbane Broncos and a stint in the English Super League. After your second year in the game, you were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. How did this change you?


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Being a professional athlete it was certainly a difficult challenge to face so early in my career. Just a few months earlier I’d returned from my first tour with the Australian team during which we’d picked up our first World Cup and the World Club Challenge. As a young bloke I had two options – I could look after it and keep going with my career, which had really just kicked-off, or I could ignore it and forget about my health and my footy career. For my future, I decided to look after it. This involved a daily regime of eight blood glucose level tests and four insulin needles as well as maintaining a pretty strict diet. When I was first diagnosed I was very concerned that I would be shown favouritism by the public. It was this fear that really pushed me to excel.

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Since you were diagnosed 17 years ago, four of your five children have also been diagnosed with the type 1 diabetes. How did this make you feel and how do you and your wife Elissa 10:04 AM cope with this challenge on a day-today basis?


Aussie Switchboards 60x125.indd 1


Sweaty Chinese man electrocuted by computer A 20-year-old student in Shanghai, China, was electrocuted when he opened his computer’s external case while the machine was still on. The man had apparently opened his PC’s case to prevent its central processing chip from overheating – because he didn’t want to turn his air conditioning on.

To us, it’s all about staying positive. Living with the disease myself and watching my kids grow up with it has helped me to see the opportunities where I can help other people with diabetes to live a better life. In 2006, my wife and I started our business Diabete-ezy at our home in Brisbane. We’re also ambassadors for Diabetes Australia. Through our business we create products that help people with diabetes, especially kids, all around the world to live an easier and simpler life while still looking after their health. While it can get exhausting and frustrating at times to watch the kids put up with this disease, we’ve all got lives to live. As a family, Elissa and I try hard to stay positive, healthy and active and hopefully our kids will follow our example and have the confidence to live the lives they want, not the lives the text books say they should live.

Steve, you have been working with the Queensland Government’s Sports and Recreation Services for almost a decade. What encouraged you to get into this field of work after footy? My position at Sports and Recreation Services has been the perfect fit for me. It has allowed me to stay close to the sporting world, work with and inspire our upcoming sports stars and sports spectators (who are equally important) all around the state. In my role I’m an ambassador for many of the Department’s programs including the Get Active Schools program, the Find Your 30 program, the Play by the Rules program and the True Sport Lives Here program. I also assist with developing and reviewing sporting policy and helping to allocate funding for local community groups. Through this work I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of travelling, stopping in at local communities to speak with kids, whether it be kids at risk or your average school kids, about the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle. I also do contract work for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health service. Being an Aboriginal Australian, I’m passionate about improving the lives of my fellow indigenous Australians and this is a great opportunity for me to do this.

In 2006, your biography was released. How did it make you feel to see your life in print? My biography wasn’t an ego thing – it was a family thing. I didn’t want it to be just another footy book – for me, it needed to be deeper, to have a soul. I wanted it to talk about my childhood, my family and who I am as a person – not only who I am as a footballer. My immediate family really enjoyed the book and to me that was all that mattered – the public reviews never really meant as much to me as my family’s opinion.

In 2008 you were selected in Rugby League’s Indigenous Team of the Century. Where do you rank this on your long list of achievements? This is easily one of my proudest achievements, only behind my family. I’ve faced racism both on and off the field during my life and I don’t think it has a

“To us, it’s all about staying positive. Living with the disease myself and watching my kids grow up with it has helped me to see the opportunities where I can help other people with diabetes to live a better life.”

35 ME place in modern Australian society. I think we’ve come a long way in Australia with reconciliation and I believe we’re definitely heading in the right direction for the future.

As a business owner, how do you balance your responsibilities to your business with your responsibilities to your family? Twenty years ago I married a wonderful woman who has an amazing ability to make sure we do maintain a healthy balance and distance between our work and our family. This has always been a team effort and we do this as much for our kids as for our own sanity. When I was 18 I juggled a full-time electrical apprenticeship at the Mater Hospital with an intensive footy training schedule with the Broncos and one year later I added a marriage to this equation. After falling asleep on the job against a pole while my foreman was briefing me on a job and receiving some stern words from my coach Wayne Bennett, I soon learnt that if I couldn’t overcome this challenge off the field, I’d never be able to overcome the challenges I was yet to face on the field.

What does the future hold for you and your family? I’m really enjoying life at the moment so for now, I think I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. The business, my ambassadorships, my job and some oneoff requests from my old footy mates and the club keep me busy during the week, and the kids and their sports and activities seem to keep us busy as a family on the weekends. Our eldest boy Sam finishes school this year so I think the plan is to just keep going until we get them all through school and then work our way from there. There are always plenty of opportunities out there and the decisions we make along the way to this time will hopefully lead us to where we want to be.


History’s most ironic execution At the turn of the century, Charles Justice was a prison inmate in Columbus and helped build and install Ohio’s only electric chair. He served his time, was released from prison, but returned to prison 13 years later and died in the same electric chair that he helped build.


OMRON • Relays • Timers • Counters • Sensors • Power Supplies • Switches • Pushbuttons • Level Sensors • Safety Systems • Industrial Automation Software • Temperature and Process Controllers • Network and Remote I/O • Machine Vision Systems • PLC and HMI Australian Customer Service Centre

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technobiz upfront Master Electricians are giving you the good-oil on the best stuff!

Hager Golf enclosures



Listening to their customers across the world, Hager has created Golf, the ultimate enclosure which has been designed by contractors – for contractors. The new Golf range has two series – VF a flush mounted, built in enclosure and VS, a surface mounted enclosure. Both series look exceptionally different to what we have come to expect from enclosures. Inside, the enclosures reveal a host of new features and benefits: • more room for running cables and space for fingers • clear open design that makes wiring and fitting simple • one product range suitable for all domestic and commercial installations • unique illustrated installation tips moulded inside the enclosure to help you as you work And that is just the beginning! • enhanced cable entry provides maximum installation flexibility • pre-cut, progressively sized knock-outs for easy cable and conduit entry • easy, convenient cable management and fixing • fast quarter-turn screws • symmetrical design allows the enclosure to rotate thru 180º Golf enclosures feature all practical solutions to make the contractor’s job easier – with the added benefit of being superbly crafted and visually appealing for the householder.

Today’s homeowners expect the latest in residential technology. Their needs now include HDTV, media servers, VoIP, IPTV, wireless and broadband Internet. Homeworx™, designed by Madison Technologies, is the perfect and most cost effective solution to provide the ideal support network for current and future technologies. The innovative, networking distribution enclosure houses all the equipment that controls distribution of signals coming from outside the home, including copper and fibre optic lines for cable, internet, and telephone. Homeworx™ improves flexibility by enabling residents to make telephone and Internet connections to suit their particular needs and to change the connections as their needs change. Because of this, a standard cabling system can be used without the need to know what the eventual occupant’s specific requirements will be. The relatively shallow enclosure is ideal for mounting within a 70mm stud profile.

AirLight is an exciting new integrated ceiling services system. It is a major step forward in both lighting and air diffusion, combined in a patented modular system, it is designed and made in Australia. The system is available in a range of configurations which combine low energy and eco-friendliness with high quality elegance. The lighting is based on T5 fluorescent lamps with high performance louvres or special prismatic (Y5) diffusers. These produce broad illumination profiles with good cut-off resulting in low glare, wide fitting spacing and high uniformity. The luminaire body forms a platform to support supply and/or return air modules as well as ancillary services such as sensors, detectors, emergency lights and speakers. The supply air module is a new linear design producing high air quantities at low pressures and maximises the Coanda effect to achieve good air circulation with minimal draughts. It is available in both manual and fully automated Variable Air Volume. Materials include recyclable aluminum and flame retardant ABS.


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gadgetguide upfront Keeping you in the know

Samsung ST550

Targus Lap Chill Mat

Fish finder

Whether you’re capturing the smallest detail from far away or grabbing a great shot of yourself during an once-in-a-lifetime moment with the Dual LCD, the SAMSUNG ST550’s robust features ensure a perfect picture with every click. Or touch. With the 3.5” Wide 1,152K Touch Screen LCD and built-in Haptic vibration effect, you’ll get all the feedback you need to take fabulous photos. And with Smart Gesture UI technology, your camera will respond to a simple shake. How fun is that?

The Targus Lap Chill Mat is an award winning innovation designed to create a convenient, comfortable and ergonomic work surface for laptop users. The Targus Lap Chill Mat disperses heat generated through a set of dual USB powered fans when the laptop is positioned on a person’s lap or work desk. The ergonomic design features four rubber stops which prevents the laptop from slipping, as well as a tilt which makes typing easy both together providing perfect cushioned comfort.

This Fish Finder Unit is the perfect fishing companion. This unit has changed the world of millions of fishing enthusiasts all over the world. The amazing gadget can monitor the waters, whether you’re on a boat or wharf, to find the hot spots you so desire. Using innovative sonar technology, you will be able to view on the device’s LCD screen if there are any schools of fish in the area – regardless of whether you are fishing in an ocean, river or lake.

RRP: $449

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New ProTag Optima System Australia’s Most Compact Appliance Testing and Tag Printing System. The new ProTag Optima System tests portable appliances and RCDs, and prints test tags in a compact system weighing only around 2kg. No interface cables between the tester, printer and scanner provide maximum mobility on construction sites, factories and workshops. Light weight, wireless, battery powered and with logging of visual inspections and risk assessments, the Optima System guarantees greater efficiency, huge time savings and a lower cost per tag. Call EMONA Instruments on tel: 1 800 632 953 email: or the master electrician


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technicaltalk upfront Safety switch plan to mitigate safety fears On 10 March 2010, Environment Minister Greg Combet announced the Federal Government was preparing a plan to safeguard the 50,000 home owners who had foil based insulation installed under the Home Insulation Program (HIP). The plan will ensure all homes would undergo an electrical safety test to determine the safety of their home. From here, the home owner will be given the choice to either have the foil insulation removed completely, or commit to having safety switches installed on all light and power circuits. Further to this, the Qld Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Cameron Dick announced that all Queensland insulation installers, whether or not operating under the Australian Government’s proposed household Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme, will be required to take further electrical safety measures to protect themselves and Queensland householders including the installation of an approved safety switch.

If you operate in Queensland Failure to comply with this Ministerial Notice represents a breach of the electrical safety obligation under the Electrical Safety Act 2002. Penalties for failure to discharge these obligations range from 500 penalty units (currently up to $250,000) or six months imprisonment when a breach causes no bodily harm, to 2,000 penalty units (currently up to $1,000,000) or three years imprisonment when a breach causes multiple deaths.

So why do we need to install safety switches? Since AS3000:1991 was released in 1992 (the yellow book), electrical regulators have promoted the retrofitting of safety switches, this effort has been combined with major publicity campaigns including TV advertisements which unfortunately only achieved limited success. Although the cost of a safety switch installation is modest and householders recognise the benefits of the device, a recent consumer survey has shown that householders were reluctant to give safety switches priority over their other expenditure such as cars, televisions and Hi-Fi equipment. The reality of not having safety switches installed has seen the unnecessary electrocution of many. It is now recognised by state regulators that 86 per cent of non-workplace fatalities would have been prevented if a safety switch was installed. One of the seven recommendations the Deputy State Coroner made was that consideration be given to a program to achieve the retrofitting of safety switches to all properties built prior to 1991.

How do Safety Switches Work? A safety switch is an electrical wiring device that disconnects a circuit whenever it detects that the electric current is not balanced between the active (“hot” or “live”) conductor and the neutral conductor. Safety switches use a differential current transformer, which operates when supply and return currents do not balance within a circuit. Imbalances are sometimes caused by current leakage through the body of a person who is grounded and accidentally touching the energised part of the circuit, or where there is leakage of current to somewhere else (to earth/ground, or to another circuit.).


Picture-in-Picture (PiP)

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39 ME Safety switches are designed to disconnect quickly enough to mitigate the harm caused by such shocks and conditions in less than 40 milliseconds (under 1/25th of a second).

Does the foil insulation need to be earthed for the safety switch to operate? In short, No. If unearthed foil insulation within a roof space became live and a person made contact with the foil they would not receive an electric shock (the person would float at the same potential as the electrified foil insulation). If the foil is making contact with an earthed water pipe or roof, or even with another circuit, the current flow would cause an out of balance within the safety switches’ integral protection causing the protection to operate. If this same person was to make contact with the live foil insulation, and another earthed portion of the electrical installation, the safety switch would see this out of balance current flow and disconnect the supply quickly enough to mitigate harm to that person.

Fatalities that could have been avoided On 23 February 2000, a 4 year old child was electrocuted in a bath. In the inquest into her death, the Deputy State Coroner determined that the cause of death was a faulty extension cord that allowed intermittent connection between the active and earth conductors. On 14 May 2005, an old dwelling with deteriorated original wiring (that had become defective) and unsafe wiring associated with an earlier extension contributed to the electrocution of a person connecting a gas heater to a gas bayonet On 23 October 2006, an electrician installing socket outlets and an oven to a domestic dwelling was electrocuted when he came in contact with live conductors in the roof space.

What factors should be considered before foil is removed? The following considerations are not an exhaustive list, but should be taken into account to inform your judgment: • The age and condition of the wiring in the household (ie, rubber insulation, split conduit etc) • The type of foil insulation installed and the manner of installation • The general quality/workmanship of the insulation installation job, including whether it is likely to offer an effective thermal insulation envelope – has the insulation been placed across the whole roof space or is it just covering part of the space • How much work is involved in removing the foil insulation and all of its fasteners, including all staples that were used in the installation • The ability to visually inspect the wiring/electrical equipment and undertake the necessary work without significantly damaging the foil insulation installation • The ability to install safety switches.

Do safety switches cause ‘nuisance tripping’ in older homes? There is the possibility that the retrofitting of safety switches into pre 1960s premises may cause some “nuisance tripping” to parts of the installation. In fact it is not “nuisance tripping” but a timely safety alert that indicates the consumer’s safety and protection may be at risk. To rid the installation of any serious safety defects, the vendor needs to have those parts of the installation rewired. Master Electricians together with ECA and the state based Electrical Regulators are committed to raising awareness regarding the effectiveness of safety switches and will continue to advocate to have safety switches installed to protect the safety of the Australian public.

the master electrician


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What is VoIP all about? How has it developed? Many of us know what the letters stand for, but do we understand how it is deployed today? Did you know that the free PBX software has been available for 10 years now? VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is so much more than just an acronym to be substituted for PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). It is supported by a completely different set of technologies to the traditional phone line, but how? What does VoIP conjure up in your mind? A simple substitute for a traditional phone line? A type of PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange)? Or a program to call your friends over the internet? Yes, yes and yes – VoIP is all of these. VoIP as a technology has been implemented so widely that many of us do not even realise we are using it. VoIP based PABX’s have been around since the late 1990s. They are produced with equipment to interface with PSTN and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) lines, enhanced or standard phone handsets. Currently, vendors understand the need for ‘unified communications’ and provide software to integrate the user’s phone with their PC. The current VoIP based PABX’s offer up to 250 features including Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), voice and video conferencing. VoIP PABX’s work across a company’s Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN) just like any other IP based device. They can connect hardware phone handsets or softphone computer based virtual handsets. VoIP lines have also been around for a long time. In Australia you can find VoIP service providers for interconnection at home or office. VoIP lines are dependent on a stable and robust data service such as business grade Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). Commercial use of VoIP lines requires thought and planning by network staff due to quality concerns – drop outs are bad for business. ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) is often an unworkable platform for VoIP lines as the send path for calls is limited by the narrow uplink bandwidth. To use these lines for a commercial purpose, you should also check that your VoIP Phone system (if you have one) or fax will be supported. And then there’s VoIP for home or home office use. Most of the free internet chat programs allow VoIP calls to have users logged into the same Internet Relay Chat (IRC) host. Some even allow you to call out to ‘real’ phone services for subscription. Again these operate over a DSL service as ADSL provides sufficient enough bandwidth for most users. All you need to do is connect a microphone and speakers or a headset and you’re away. Some VoIP service providers have VoIP routers to allow you to connect your ordinary telephone or cordless handset. You should check that your home VoIP service supports fax if you need it – not all currently do.

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eventscalendar what’s on MAY 11 – 14 May 2010 National Manufacturing Week Sydney

23 - 25 June 2010 Design Build 2010 Melbourne 18 – 20 June 2010 National Tradesman’s Expo Perth


13 May 2010 National Construction Conference Victoria


16 – 19 May 2010 APPEA Conference Brisbane

15 – 18 July 2010 State of Design Melbourne

Wills and Estates

21 – 23 May 2010 National Tradesman’s Expo Adelaide

15 – 18 July 2010 Lightsource Melbourne

Call Michael Cope today on (07) 3223 5939 or Ian Heathwood on (07) 3223 5942 or 0418 199 416


15 – 18 July 2010 Next Design Melbourne

Advice on contracts Contractual and payment disputes Business structures Asset protection Buying and selling businesses

1 – 3 June 2010 AMEC Convention 2010 Perth 4 – 6 June 2010 National Tradesman’s Expo Melbourne

22 – 23 July 2010 Australian Business Expo Sydney

Leasing and commercial contracts Debt collection services Conveyancing Workplace Health & Safety

Brisbane Level 26 239 George St 3223 5900

Mackay McKays Law Centre 34 Wood St 4963 0888

Hazardous area and HigH Voltage installation audits 3 ESO Compliance Audits 3 Area Classifications 3 Risk Assessments 3 Pre-installation/design review

Call Steve Downey on

1300 724 744 to arrange an inspection the master electrician


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workplacerelations Are you correctly disciplining your employees?

Unfair dismissal is a complex and somewhat sensitive area for employers. It is important that you take reasonable steps to ensure you protect your business from potential unfair dismissal claims. The new Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the ‘Act’) has significantly altered the dismissal laws that operated in Australia under WorkChoices. The unfair dismissal provisions in the Act largely apply to Australian constitutional corporations (‘Pty Ltd’). The Act does not apply to businesses that fall under the State Industrial Relations Systems, eg, sole traders, partnerships and certain trusts. Unfair dismissal can occur if an employer terminates an employee’s employment (including constructive dismissal) on the basis that: 1. The reason is harsh, unjust or unreasonable 2. Is not consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (available on the Master Electricians ‘members only’ website) 3. It is not a genuine redundancy.

Before you make the decision to dismiss the employee you should consider whether the employee has been sufficiently warned about the issues pertaining to the dismissal and if they have been given a reasonable opportunity to rectify their behaviour. If the employee has not rectified their performance or behaviour to the company standard then you may consider instant dismissal. Instant dismissal may occur if the employee has committed a serious offence that requires immediate action, eg, breaching the company’s health and safety policy. If you are deciding whether to instantly dismiss an employee you should consider: • The nature of the offence • Whether the employee has breached a (written and signed) company policy and/or employment contract

43 ME • Whether other employees who have committed the same or similar offence have been dismissed • The affect on business operations if the employee is allowed to continue their employment.

What should you do if you are considering dismissing an employee? • Notify the employee of the reason for their dismissal eg, poor performance • Provide the employee with a letter of termination and an employment separation certificate (this can be downloaded from the Centrelink website) • Provide the relevant notice period (this is not applicable in certain circumstances), hours worked before being dismissed, and any accrued leave entitlements such as annual leave.

What if an unfair dismissal claim is made? The employee has to make their unfair dismissal application to Fair Work Australia (FWA) within 14 days of being dismissed. The FWA will then check the application to ensure it is complete and valid. Once this occurs, you will be notified of the employee’s unfair dismissal claim. Generally, conciliation is then arranged to assist both sides to resolve the matter by agreement. If a resolution cannot be reached, a conference or hearing will be held and if FWA finds that the dismissal was unfair, the employer may have to: • Reinstate the employee • Compensate the employee up to 26 weeks pay (if this is more than $54,150, then compensate them for up to $54,150).

Is the dismissal harsh, unjust or unreasonable? In determining whether a dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, Fair Work Australia (FWA) will consider: • If there was a valid reason for the dismissal which relates to the capacity or conduct including the safety and welfare issues • Whether the employee was notified of the reason and given an opportunity to respond in relation to the capacity or conduct • Whether there was the ability for the employee to have a support person present in any discussions

Important tips to remember You must ensure all employees are aware of and understand the disciplinary procedures. Instruct all supervisors of the company’s disciplinary procedures and ensure they follow them. All warnings must be written, clearly expressed, signed by both parties and dated. An employee must be given the opportunity to respond to any allegations of unsatisfactory performance/ conduct. Detailed records should be kept of all counseling and disciplinary sessions. Any final warning should be expressed as such and must include a statement – if there is no improvement (immediately/within a number of days), the employee’s continuing employment may be terminated. • Whether the person had actually been warned about their performance if the dismissal relates to unsatisfactory work performance • The size of the business and whether it has a human resources department. If an employer wishes to make an employee redundant, employers must ensure that it is a genuine redundancy. An example of when a genuine redundancy has not occurred is when the position is refilled.

What do the changes mean for your business? The changes introduced by the Fair Work Act 2009 mean that you will have to ensure you have appropriate procedures and policies in place to discipline employees appropriately. These procedures must be fair to all employees.

the master electrician


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all aboutME Governments turn to Master Electricians for advice on insulation safety In recent months, Master Electricians has been at the forefront of the debate surrounding the Federal Government’s home insulation program (HIP) and the electrical safety issues arising from poorly installed foil insulation products. This involvement has meant that your views, experiences and feedback about dodgy installations have been heard at the highest levels of the Federal Government. Throughout the process, our top priority has been the safety of home owners and any contractors who may need to enter the roof space of a home fitted with foil. In this regard, we have pushed for the government to introduce and fund compulsory safety checks for all homes fitted with foil products, and for these checks to be conducted as quickly as possible. We were pleased with Minister Combet’s announcement on March 10 that the government would fund checks and safety switches for all homes fitted with foil under the HIP.

This announcement followed several meetings in which Master Electricians was able to provide technical advice to the Minister and his department about the safest way to proceed. We were also pleased with the announcement on 9 March by the responsible Queensland Minister that safety switches and electrical tests would be compulsory when foil insulation was being installed in the future. Again, Master Electricians had liaised closely with the Queensland Minister and his department in the lead up to this announcement. The same day as that announcement was made, Master Electricians wrote to all other state Ministers urging them to follow the Queensland lead as we remain concerned that large volumes of foil insulation produced for the defunct federal scheme will still find its way on to the market. Since the beginning of this debate, Master Electricians Australia has led the way in informing the public on safety

measures, and advising the Federal and State Governments on the most appropriate policy responses to the problems with the HIP. From this advice, Master Electricians provided the recommendation that formed part of Minister Combet’s remedy to fix the bungled program. The advice insisted that all homes fitted with foil based insulation should undergo a full electrical safety test and have safety switches fitted to all possible light and power circuits. Testing would include a full visual inspection on circuits that will not be controlled by the safety switch. Barriers would also be installed between the foil and the non safety switch circuits. This option also provides the home owner with a long-term safety plan as the electrical safety test and safety switches would actually leave the home safer than it was prior to having the insulation installed.

ECA House officially opened ECA House, which is Master Electricians Head Quarters, was officially opened by the Hon Cameron Dick, MP, Qld Attorney General and Minister for Justice at a gala event attended by members, staff, key industry figures and dignitaries. The opening marks yet another key milestone in ECA’s 72 year history. Thanks to the foresight shown by previous and current ECA councils, members and staff, we are now in the enviable position of owning our own substantial building which now covers some 3,000 square metres of floor space. Construction of the newly expanded ECA House commenced in late 2007 and was completed with staff moving in during July 2009. The facility now boasts a range of training rooms all fitted with the latest in videoconferencing technologies to assist in the provision of regional training.

Malcolm Richards, CEO Master Electricians, Richard Flanagan, ECA President, Hon Cameron Dick MP

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Automated job lead system Master Electricians has recently revamped the ‘find a master electrician’ job lead system. The new system delivers a job request email to the closest Master Electrician – determined by postcode. To secure the job, the Master Electrician can now accept the job by clicking on the appropriate link in the text of the email. From there, an email with the customer’s details will be automatically sent to the Master Electrician awarding them the job. Since the re-launch in February, this program has already generated over 1,400 leads for Master Electricians nationwide and is continuing to progress as the number one job find system for electrical customers across the country, all at absolutely no cost to the accredited Master Electrician.

Excellence Awards 2011 The 2011 Annual Awards of Excellence will be held in November 2010. The awards are a chance for electrical contractors and industry members to be recognised for demonstrating excellence in their chosen field. More information on award categories and the nomination process will be available in the winter 2010 edition of The Master Electrician.

Become a fan of Master Electricians on Facebook



“WHAT CAN WE DO TO SAVE ON LIGHTING?” Carbon Friendly Enterprises can help. We offer cost effective, cutting-edge, practical alternatives for INDUSTRIAL and COMMERCIAL Lighting applications. Also, we have a range of LED Lighting for DOMESTIC and COMMERCIAL applications to help achieve a ‘6 STAR GREEN BUILDING RATING’.

So Why Use Industrial Compact Fluorescent Lamps? • CFLs save over HALF of Energy Costs compared to ARC Lighting • Compact Fluorescents are installable directly into existing High bay fittings – Retro fittable E40 base • They run direct from 240V/AC, No Ballast Required • An Easy, Cost Effective Alternative with a quick return on Energy Savings • Running Temperature 80˚C

Running Special on 30W LED Street Lights! Clearing at cost to make way for NEW STOCK. Give us a call today to get a quote.

For more information contact Carbon Friendly Enterprises P (07) 4955 4658 F (07) 4955 4413 the master electrician


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Welcoming Andrew Bailey – Executive Manager Master Electricians Andrew brings a wealth of experience to the team with over 35 of experience in the electrical industry – 20 years in the army as an electrician and 16 years at Hager B&R where he held two key positions, national Training Manager and Queensland Project Sales Representative. At Hager B&R, Andrew was responsible for the research, production and presentation of all technical training material which allowed him to acquire an extensive knowledge of product development, safety standards and the wiring rules. Andrew’s technical experience combined with his strong leadership will allow him to deliver a program that will continue to raise the quality and safety standards of the industry through the Master Electricians accreditation program.

Annual Conference If you’re serious about the success of your business then don’t miss this essential conference for electrical and communications contractors. Set in tropical Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the 2010 Annual Conference will feature an incredible host of speakers, business sessions and leisure activities that will captivate your imagination. For more information turn to page page 26 or visit

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The new MGE® Galaxy® 3500 from APC - Performance Power Protection for Technical Facilities and Industrial Applications. APC comes from a history of innovation, quality, and reliability. The newly released MGE Galaxy 3500, from APC, offers a new way for electrical contractors and facility managers to achieve reliable and cost-effective protection for mission-critical applications. As part of Schneider’s complete electrical solution, MGE Galaxy 3500 enjoys the same wide availability as the rest of our products. When you’re stocking up for your next installation, contact Pacific Datacom for APC and protect your expertise with the very best of ours.

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your best or worststory upfront It’s easy, send us your favourite funny story or picture and if we publish it, we’ll send you $50.

Dave Christmas from Rainbow Power Company in Nimbin, NSW took these photos of the crazy wiring in Thailand on his last holiday. With these pictures, Dave wins the $50.

the master electrician


ME 48


VW Transporter TDI This issue we look at a van from Volkswagen, the VW Transporter TDI. This is one of the main competitors to the Mercedes-Benz VITO we looked at a few issues ago and really does prove that the Germans still do know what they are doing when it comes to building cars. By Andre Borell

49 ME Now, we did say last issue that we were going to review Holden’s answer to the FPV GS sedan this time around, but we’ve put this on hold in anticipation of their new HSV GXP. Stay tuned for this in the winter edition. The VW Transporter range has a plethora of models: Short Wheel Base, Long Wheel Base, Low Roof, High Roof, Medium Roof – I think we could probably fill this page by just listing all the options available. Rather than do that (which would be a rather dull read), let’s focus on the middle of the range, 103kW TDI model which Ian Boettcher provided us with. The 2.0L Diesel ‘103kW TDI’ produces, as the name suggests, 103kW. This power is quite ‘peaky’ and only produces this amount for a short time, at 3,500rpm. The torque curve is much more linear, producing a handy 340Nm from 1,750rpm right through to 2,500rpm, however after this point the drop off is significant. These characteristics give the Transporter a rather racy feel, as the engine pulls extremely hard in the lower end of the rev range. It is however a little too zippy at certain revs, and the power comes on somewhat akin to a kick up the bum from your old man. Yep, you heard me – a race driver complaining about too much power! This has the annoying tendency of moving any unsecured load you may be carrying rearward rather rapidly – my dog will vouch for that. The interior is nice, but basic. It’s nothing flash, but all the functions work well and are pretty easy to figure out. I can promise you won’t need to dig through the glove box for the instructions on how to turn on the

air-con. You can, should you feel the need, ritz up the interior from the basic model that I drove. This can be done by ordering the DSG 7-speed gearbox, RCD CD/MP3 radio, climatic control, and leather multifunction steering wheel, all of which spice up the interior along with the other obvious benefits of their actual features. All the pretty ‘standard’ features are present: power windows, window tinting, power steering, airbags, central locking and so forth. The Transporters’ driveability and handling is very pleasant. It features a soft ride, which can handle heavy loads with no detriment to the feel or drive. The above mentioned power can be a bit of a handful in slippery conditions too, and being a front wheel drive it can induce a bit of understeer – even when just negotiating a roundabout, but the ESP and ASR soon take care of it. The 4WD model would also solve this problem – Vee-Dub call it ‘4MOTION’. The turning circle is quite good at 13.2m, and rather confusingly it is the same for the long and short wheel base models. All in all, the VW Transporter is a very good van indeed. While this isn’t a head-tohead comparison article between this and the VITO, it is hard not to draw comparisons. The verdict – they are both excellent. This may make me sound like a bit of a splinterbummed fence sitter, so I will throw this last comment in. They are both a helluva lot better than any other van I have come across, period. I will also say that having had first-hand experience with both vehicles in my working life, the Transporter seems to be the more reliable of the two.

2.0 TDI 75kW

2.0 TDI 103kW

2.0 Bi-TDI 132kW


1,968cc, Common Rail, Diesel, Turbocharged.

1,968cc, Common Rail, Diesel, Turbocharged.

1,968cc, Common Rail, Diesel, Dual Turbocharged.


75kW @ 3,500rpm

103kW @ 3,500rpm

132kW @ 4,000rpm


250kW @ 2,500rpm

340kW @ 1,750-2,500rpm

400Nm @ 1,500-2000rpm

Economy (L/100km) 7.5








Starting from $36,490

Starting from $37,990

Starting from $41,990



Second elephant dies of electrocution A second elephant has been killed by electrocution. The mahout was riding his elephant in the rain when he felt a sudden surge of electricity through his leg, and was thrown from the elephant onto the grass. At the same time, he noticed his elephant shudder before seeing the elephant fall by the side of a high voltage electricity post.

the master electrician


ME 50


Safety Switches With the debate around foil now moving to fixing the problems, the biggest debate has been the benefits of safety switches versus removing the foil. At first glance the removal of foil seems to be the best solution to remove the newly introduced risk. But is it? Minister Combet has announced both options will be available under the scheme, with the customer making the decision after taking the advice from the electrical contractor. So let’s weigh up the two options and see. The first option is the removal of foil and a point in time safety check to see if any problems have developed. It does not include repairing existing faults or fitting safety switches. The second option includes a point in time safety check, fitting multiple safety switches to all circuits and fitting barriers and markers to the mains and any non protected circuits. A key issue is that the home owner can’t have both solutions; they either remove the foil or get the safety switches fitted, not both. While looking at the foil in isolation, the safest option is eliminating the hazard. However some already completed removals indicate a high probability of leaving the odd staple behind as they are very hard to see in dark small ceilings and don’t necessarily come out when the foil is lifted. If one of these staples is in contact or close to a live conductor it could easily pass the electrical test and slip through the visual test due to the workplace conditions. This could leave the homeowner or the next worker to enter the ceiling with a substantial risk to their safety, and they have no safety switches. Under option 2 the ceiling remains insulated but also gets safety switches on all circuits. When looking at the total electrical safety picture in the home there are many more electrical risks that get eliminated through these safety switches. Any missed staples nearly through the cables are picked up through future tripping of these safety switches, in addition any further misuse of electrical equipment or lack of maintenance will have a fall back mechanism which should save lives. As a society we have moved down the road of placing safety first in other high risk areas, like motor vehicle travel. Items such as seatbelts, airbags and ABS are now common place. Yet in our homes we are lucky to have a safety switch on our power circuits. Government figures show more than 80% of home fatalities could be avoided by the installation of a safety switch. Isn’t it time that we, as an industry, adopted them for their full value?

MALCOLM RICHARDS Chief Executive Officer

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The Master Electrician Autumn Edition  
The Master Electrician Autumn Edition  

The leading trade magazine for the electrotechnology industry. It features the latest news, updates and projects from around the country.