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Master Electrician Spring 2008

New Benchmark for the industry

Registered by Australia Post Publications No. PP424022/2346

Become a Master Electrician

Plus: New Government - what’s in store for contractors? Safety systems: asset or expense? Your worst day on the job We test drive the new Falcon ute

European technology for contemporary Australian style. Hager B&R provides the world with the latest designer light switches as well as the sophisticated electrical components behind the wall that you don’t see!

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Editor’s Note


elcome to the first issue of The Master Electrician magazine.

The electrotechnology industry is one in which skills are required to continually adapt to the latest rules and trends. Even the definition of our industry can be difficult to master. The rapid pace of technology change has motivated many in the electrical field to broaden their skill base to include communications, IT and refrigeration. Climate change has evolved as the catch cry of the global community. Our feature story on the proposed carbon emissions trading scheme, highlights the opportunities available to electrotechnology businesses and the community as a whole. In this issue we also speak to the Hon Dr Craig Emerson, in the newly created position of Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy, about the challenges and opportunities for independent contractors. We intend to bring you a magazine that is dedicated to addressing the latest issues affecting our industry including regular contributions from regulators and energy distributors, along with interviews of prominent figures and industry representatives.

Contents Upfront with the regulators.............................................................................................. 04 Master Electricians to set new benchmark for the industry . ............................................ 08 Meet a Master Electrician................................................................................................ 11 Scams... your rights explained . ...................................................................................... 12 News from the distributors ........................................................................................... 14 The Buzz......................................................................................................................... 16 Cutting the red tape with the Hon. Craig Emerson .......................................................... 20 Your solution to becoming a ‘Green Electrician’............................................................... 23 Technical talk . ................................................................................................................ 24 Climate of opportunity .................................................................................................... 28 Negotiating the industrial minefield ................................................................................. 32 News from head office . .................................................................................................. 36 Gizmos and gadgets....................................................................................................... 40 Test drive......................................................................................................................... 42 Events calendar............................................................................................................... 44 Your best/worst day on the job ....................................................................................... 45 Your best photo . ............................................................................................................ 45 The last word ................................................................................................................. 46

We welcome feedback and contributions from our readers, particularly stories of your experiences on the job so that others can learn from this. We hope you enjoy the magazine.


Jessie Badger Associate Editor



Editorial Contacts & Contributors editor: Malcolm Richards associate editor: Jessie Badger advertising enquiries: Jeff Mullin

general enquiries:

master electricians australia

t: 1300 889 198

t: 1300 889 198

57 Berwick Street

f: 07 3251 2400

f: 07 3251 2400

Fortitude Valley



PO Box 2438

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Fortitude Valley BC

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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 is 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 The Master Electrician 3 and opinions.

Upfront REGULATORS with the

New South Wales Office of Fair Trading

Compliance jolts some NSW contractors

About $16,500 of penalties were charged to contractors who had not given consumers or the energy authority copies of the certificate, and one penalty notice was issued in relation to unlicensed contracting.

Queensland - Electrical Safety Office

The New South Wales Office of Fair Trading has taken action after distributors reported low compliance with the requirement to provide a Compliance Certificate Electrical Work (CCEW) since the regulation was introduced in January 2007.

Wiring protection

The new 2007 edition of the Wiring Rules has changed the requirements for wiring installed near building surfaces.

A random blitz of electrical contractors (known as “Operation Sparkie”) took place across the State between May and July 2008, including the Sydney metropolitan area, Wollongong, Newcastle and the Far North Coast.

Under the revised standard, the “no protection zone” – which existed in the 2000 edition in a straight line above and below electrical accessories such as power points in walls – no longer applies.

The operation, targeting corporate electrical contractors, checked if testing had been carried out and a CCEW issued when required.

This means that, with the exception of narrow areas close to the corners of adjoining walls, and those along the top of walls, wiring near a building surface will require suitable protection from mechanical damage.

Home Building Service investigators visited 69 electrical contractors and checked 873 CCEW Certificates. While the majority of contractors inspected were found to be complying with electrical safety laws, as a result of the blitz, 15 penalty notices were issued to contractors.


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The Home Building Service (HBS) within the Office of Fair Trading has been given the role of regulating compliance with the requirements under this legislation.

The NSW Office of Fair Trading is the regulator for the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 (ECSA) and the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2006 (ECSR).

Where the arrangement of wiring within a building exposes it to risk of damage from nails or screws it must be protected by measures such as an earthed covering, enclosure, or safety switch with an operating maximum of 30 mA.

As a result of this change, wiring near building surfaces in the prescribed zone will require suitable protection from mechanical damage. Safety switch protection may be the most practical way of complying and should be considered for circuits supplying electrical equipment such as stoves and hot water systems. See figure 3.3 of the new Wiring Rules and clauses and for more detail. The presentation delivered at the earlier joint Electrical Safety Office and Electrical and Communications Association Wiring Rules seminars contained the correct diagram related to this matter, however, the wording may have been unclear. The ESO has reviewed and updated this presentation which is available at

South Australia - Office of the Technical Regulator

Victoria - Energy Safe Victoria

New electricity safety commercials

2007 Wiring Rules After years of deliberation by the EL001 committee, the 2007 edition of the AS/ NZS3000 Wiring Rules was printed in November of 2007. The 2007 edition aimed to: • further allow alternative arrangements to the prescriptive Wiring Rules as we know them; • maintain the fundamental safety principles of previous editions; and • further improve the functionality of electrical installations. The Technical Regulator has delivered more than 60 presentations to the electrical industry across South Australia identifying the changes and highlighting the reasons for change. While the new edition includes many additional requirements for electrical installations, particularly in regard to RCDs and recessed luminaries, it could be said that these have now drawn a line in the sand which the electrical industry was looking for. A copy of the power point presentation, as well as all of the questions and answers from the road shows, has been placed on the Technical Regulator website at

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has produced two new television commercials featuring retired Olympic relay gold medal winner, Brooke Hanson, who suffered a severe electric shock in June 2007. The commercials were broadcast during the Olympic Games. Ms Hanson required hospital treatment for the electric shock and other injuries she received when climbing out of a spa pool she was demonstrating at a show. “The electric shocks and injuries I received were very painful and were something I shall never forget. I am still feeling the effects of what happened,” she said. “I do not want anybody else to suffer the pain and after effects that I went through because of the electric shock. Hopefully by being involved in these commercials, I can help get the message through of the importance of being safe around electricity.”

“Brooke lives with the experience of a severe electric shock each day and her experiences should warn others to always be careful with electricity.” ESV’s investigations into the incident determined that it probably resulted from one of the temporary electrical leads in use at the show not having a proper earth connection. There was no fault with the spa pool itself or in the permanent electrical installation at the show venue. One of the new commercials promotes the importance of never using damaged or ageing electrical appliances, while the other warns against the overuse of powerboards and extension cords to power appliances in the home. ESV has warned the electrical trades to check the condition and compliance with safety standards of electrical equipment used at shows and displays.

Director of Energy Safety, Ken Gardner, said “only those who have experienced a severe electric shock can really describe both the short and long term impacts of what happened.”

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Western Australia - EnergySafety WA

Advertising reminder for WA contractors Electrical contractors are reminded that their electrical contractor’s licence number must be conspicuously displayed in any advertisement relating to the contracting business. Conspicuous means not less than 50 per cent of the largest lettering used in the advertisement. This “50 per cent” guideline is a compromise to assist industry. This requirement applies to such things as billboards, vehicle signage, letterhead, business cards, yellow pages entries, newspaper advertisements, invoices, quotations, business directories and similar methods of services advertising.

Newsflash_ Unlucky 13 survive war, electrocuted at base

The long-ago announced amendment to the regulation provides an interpretation of “the required prominence of the display of the number”.

THE biggest US military contractor in Iraq, KBR, has been accused of recklessly causing the electrocution deaths of 13 US soldiers and contractors.

Infringement or prosecution action is being taken for non-compliance and significant increases have been made to the maximum penalties applicable to offences under the regulations.

Among the fatalities were Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth, who was killed taking a shower in his quarters, and another soldier who was washing a vehicle.

Penalties have increased to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a corporation.

The requirement to display electrical contractor’s licence numbers is not a new requirement.

The incidents resulted, in total, with the deaths of 11 soldiers and two civilian contractors. KBR was contracted to maintain facilities at the base and had allegedly been informed of electrical problems and previous shocks in the building prior to the deaths. Two former KBR electricians told a US Senate hearing that they had witnessed mismanagement, inadequate equipment, and an “old boy network” that put lives at risk.


Stand out from the crowd as a Master Electrician Become a Master Electrician and benefit from a powerful brand. You’ll also benefit from a national advertising and promotional campaign and be able to present your business as an industry leader, recognised as providing green options and energy-saving advice. By becoming a Master Electrician you’ll be able to use the Master Electricians logo to enhance promotional and advertising material, vehicle, clothing, and business signage. You can refer to yourself as a Master Electrician and also reap the other benefits of membership, including an exclusive marketing kit and member discounts.

Call 1800 SERVICE for more information To become a Master Electrician or to find out more contact the Master Electrician Development Team on 1800 SERVICE (1800 737 842). Visit 6

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An RCBO rated 6kA in a standard MCB case dimension

Models available in 10, 16, 20, 32 Amp 6kA, 30mA. Simple installation only is required and the unit allows for the replacement of existing MCB to be made into protected circuits. The unit is suitable for load centre and panel applications. RETROFIT INSTALLATION TIME OF THE UNIT IS DRAMATICALLY REDUCED ALLOWING FASTER TURN AROUND TIME.

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Watt’s News

new benchmark Master Electricians to set

for the industry

The largest-ever safety and quality push in the Australian electrical industry has begun this month with the launch of the national Master Electricians accreditation. Margaret Lawson reports.


onsumers and the electrical contracting industry will be the biggest winners with the introduction of Master Electricians accreditation across Australia. Those contractors who meet the highest standards of safety and quality will be able to call themselves Master Electricians and receive accreditation and marketing benefits that reinforce their credentials to consumers. Master Electricians CEO Malcolm Richards said the accredited status – to be launched to the general public in November – could only be claimed by electricians who met the program’s strict requirements. “The Master Electricians brand is not just a name. It is about committing to customers that by choosing a Master Electrician, they will get a superior standard of safety, service, quality and advice,” he said. “It is about setting a new benchmark for the industry, and it is a great way of differentiating your business and showing that you are a leader.” “Every applicant is assessed against the criteria, and no one is admitted who doesn’t at least meet the base requirements.” Master Electricians must have at least three years’ industry experience, pass up-


The Master Electrician

front and annual audits, adhere to ethical standards, and offer energy advice and a 12-month warranty to customers. Those who make the grade receive an array of marketing benefits, including a priority listing in the Master Electricians network on Service Central’s trade database, which currently delivers more than 1,000 leads every month to registered electricians. The program is fully managed, backed and owned by the Electrical and Communications Association, one of Australia’s longest-standing and recognised industry associations.

We received the wholehearted support of regulators nationally about the Master Electricians concept... To give extra marketing power to Master Electricians, the program is being offered in partnership with Service Central, the nation’s largest online marketplace for quality tradespeople.

Service Central CEO Bruce Ahchow said the partnership with Master Electricians meant that consumers nationwide would be able to easily find and hire quality electrical contractors. “Master Electricians and Service Central assess each applicant, and successful applicants go into the Master Electricians database with priority,” he said. “When a consumer logs a job request for a Master Electrician, Service Central’s system will specifically match and notify the local electricians registered with the Master Electricians network. The local Master Electricians then have the choice as to whether they take the job or not.” Service Central and Master Electricians will launch a major advertising and media campaign in November to promote the Master Electricians brand to consumers. The campaign will focus on the message that consumers should choose a Master Electrician above all others, and will promote the accredited contractors as safer, and providing better service, advice and quality. Mr Richards said he expected the new level of national accreditation to be well-received. “Feedback from the public, regulators and contractors themselves has told us

that there is plenty of room to improve consumer trust and confidence in our trade,” Mr Richards said. “Our research showed that the ‘Master’ brand is already powerful, and that most consumers would trust a Master Electrician above others.” “We received the whole-hearted support of regulators nationally about the Master Electricians concept, and we look forward to working with them to protect and promote the industry.” More information can be found at

Service Central Generates 432 Leads for Roy

When Sydney electrical contractor Roy Gay, from RTG Electrical, joined Service Central in 2007, he thought participation with the network would be a good addition to his marketing efforts. However, Roy said the regular, relevant leads he now receives give him more new customers than any other form of advertising for his business. “I have had to put on an extra van and new staff to keep up with the demand generated by Service Central,” he said. “The way it works, is that a customer logs a job on the website or with Service Central’s contact centre, for example, for an electrician to rewire a home.”

“It’s easier for the customer, because they don’t have to ring around and get quotes. Service Central does the work for them.” Then, using Service Central’s unique matchmaking technology, customers are matched with suitable providers, who receive the lead and can choose to accept the job and receive the customer details or ignore it. “It’s then up to me to contact the customer and quote if I want the job. If I don’t, there’s no obligation,” Roy said. “It’s the easiest way to get new and relevant leads for my business, and I wouldn’t be without it.” You can see Service Central at

The Master Electrician


Get in before the public campaign starts and become a Master Electrician. At the end of the process you get: • Registration on the Master Electricians network within the Service Central system (subject to meeting registration requirements and payment). • The right to use the Master Electricians brand on your vehicle, premises, clothing and customer communications • A marketing kit to help you make the most of your membership, including decals for your vehicle • The opportunity to get media coverage in your local area as one of the first Master Electricians

To apply, you need:

How to apply:

• At least three years in the electrical industry (or equivalent experience) • To complete an up-front and annual safety and quality audit, or show that you have implemented a recognised safety and quality system (such as SafetyConnect)

1. Ensure your business meets the Master Electricians requirements 2. Go to or call Service Central on 1800 SERVICE (1800 737 842). 3. Complete the registration process.

• To provide a 12-month guarantee on all your electrical work • The ability to offer energy efficiency advice and guidance to customers • To adhere to a code of practice • To meet Service Central’s listing pre-requisites if you choose to join their online Master Electricians network

• The opportunity to enter national awards and be recognised by your peers.

IS YOUR SAFETY WORTH THE RISK? The ECA SafetyConnect service is a Total Safety Management Solution. This sophisticated in-house system, designed specifically for Electrical Contractors, will enable you to meet your electrical and workplace heath and safety obligations. Your entire safety needs will be met by this comprehensive service, managed by the ECA SafetyConnect team. The ECA SafetyConnect team will control and manage your safety system as well as providing regular safety meetings. ECA SafetyConnect staff will also organise: s4OOLBOXTALKS s%QUIPMENTTESTING s2EGULATORYTRAININGOFSTAFF s)NTERNALAUDITS s7ORKMETHODSTATEMENTDEVELOPMENT s,ICENSEANDEQUIPMENTCONTROL )NADDITION THE%#!3AFETY#ONNECTTEAMWILLASSISTYOUIFYOU AREAUDITEDORUNDERINVESTIGATIONBY%LECTRICALOR7ORKPLACE 3AFETY)NSPECTORS To find out more, contact the ECA SafetyConnect team on 1300 889 198

w w w.m a s te re l e c t ri c i a n s . c o m . a u 10

The Master Electrician



Master Meet a


This edition features Australia’s first Master Electrician.

Name: Gordon Allardyce Business: Acsel Queensland Pty Ltd Location: Banyo, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs Specialty: We’re mechanical electrical contractors, specialising in commercial and industrial air-conditioning installations.

How long have you been in business? We started in business in August 1986, so we’ve been going for more than 22 years. We’ve always done the same thing – the electrical work associated with commercial and industrial air-conditioning and refrigeration. What do you see as the biggest issue facing electrical contractors today? It’s certainly the skills shortage. Obviously it’s boom time in the mining and resources sector, and a lot of the skills in the industry have chased the money up north and out west, which has left us a bit short in the field. It’s an area that we’ve been aware of and focused on, and we’re very much into training young people through apprenticeships. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to resolve it. Why did you seek Master Electricians accreditation? When we first heard about the program we recognised that other industries already had this – Master Painters, Master Plumbers and so on – and we agreed that the electrical industry should have Master Electricians. We put our hands up and said ‘let’s sign up as soon as we can’.

We just saw that it was a great opportunity for the electrical industry and a great thing for electricians.

It’s a way for the business to promote their professionalism. There’s emphasis placed on the safety and quality side of things - these are things that have always been important to our business What are the benefits for you and other business owners? It’s a way for the business to promote their professionalism. There’s emphasis placed on the safety and quality side of things – these are things that have always been important to our business anyway. I can see the benefits for two-man contractors out there that roll up to Mrs Jones with the Master Electricians logo on the side of the van. It’s great for them, great for

their marketing. “They’ll be the best ones” – that’s probably the way the public would think. Even larger firms competing for government or industrial work, the jobs aren’t always determined on price alone. How did you find the accreditation process? It gave me as an owner of the business a chance to review the business and our work practices. Having the safety system and warranty in place wasn’t a big deal for us – you have to have that in a lot of ways in the market that we’re in. Certainly in the commercial industry and major construction projects, nothing less is accepted. How do you feel about you and your team becoming Australia’s first ever Master Electricians? That’s pretty good because it’s a national program. We’re the first Master Electricians contracting company in the country. I guess we’re first because we fully supported it from the outset. When the paperwork arrived we filled it out and sent it back within a day or two.

The Master Electrician


Letter of the Law

Scams… your rights explained


ut of the blue you receive a copy of a business directory, with an entry for your business, along with a demand for payment. You cannot recall ever asking for the listing. More than likely, you didn’t, and it is a con-artist trying to relieve you of your hard earned cash. This is an example of inertia selling: someone, without your request, placing an entry for your business in a directory in the hope that you will pay for the entry because: • you are not quite sure whether you did or did not order it; • you assume someone else in the office must have organised it so you will just pay; • you tell them that you did not order it but they claim you did and threaten to sue you if you do not pay; or • it is easier to pay rather than get tied up in arguments and possibly legal proceedings. Whatever the motivation, the practice of demanding payment for a directory entry that you did not request is prohibited by the Trade Practices Act.


The Master Electrician

It is not the placing of the details of the business in the directory that is prohibited; it is the demanding of payment for it. Of course, as with many legal matters, there is an exception. A person may demand payment if they are able to show that, before demanding payment, you were provided with a document showing the name of the directory, the name and address of the publisher, a copy of the entry, the amount of any charge and proof that you authorised the entry. This basically means that, whoever is demanding payment needs written proof that you authorised the entry. A similar practice is to send you goods (for example, a drill) without you requesting the drill. When you enquire, they tell you that it is on a trial basis. About a month later you receive an invoice for the drill and if you don’t pay, you are sent a letter threatening to sue you. As with an entry in a business directory, this practice of demanding payment for goods you did not request is prohibited. However, in these instances, the person demanding payment only needs to show that an ordinary person would believe that there is a right to receive payment. As this is a complex area of the law, should you receive correspondence demanding

payment for goods that you did not request, you should seek legal advice. If you want any information about any unsolicited goods or other scams, call Neil Goodwin at McKays Solicitors on 07 3223 5949 or email

Your Q&A Question: My husband and I are doing new Wills. We have chosen the people we want to run our estate when we die. Do we need to ask them permission before we put them in the Will as executors and do we need to tell them what we are putting in the Will? Answer: No. You should however ask them if they are happy to be your executor because if you put them in and they don’t want to do it, it could end up costing your estate quite a lot. Once you have signed the Will, it is very important that you tell them that they are the executors but you do not have to show them a copy of the Will or tell them who gets what under it. For more information please contact Andrew Coates on (07) 4963 0886 or or Ian Heathwood on (07) 3223 5942 or




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News from the


Energex welcomes findings of operational review

The release of a report into the operational effectiveness of Queensland’s electricity distributors has highlighted the commitment of ENERGEX’s staff to improving South East Queensland’s power supply, according to CEO Terry Effeney. Mr Effeney said the report showed that significant gains in a wide range of areas of service delivery had been achieved in the past few years. “There are a range of findings in the report, however, all of those that are relevant to ENERGEX are very positive. I am especially pleased that the report’s authors have recognised the improved network reliability achieved as a result of the efforts of our staff and contractors,” said Mr Effeney. “I am also pleased that the authors said public criticism about aspects of the South East Queensland network has not been substantiated.” The Report on the Operational Review of Queensland Electricity Distributors, commissioned by the Queensland Government following claims by unions about potentially unsafe power networks, is a critical assessment of improvements since the 2004 Somerville Review. 14

The Master Electrician

Importantly the review team’s findings “do not support the allegations that recommendations of the EDSD review have not been implemented” while the Electrical Safety Office advised the review team that “it had not found any systemic electrical safety problems with ENERGEX”. Mr Effeney said that while the report overwhelmingly outlined a range of improvements achieved since 2004, the company’s staff would not be resting on their laurels. “South East Queensland continues to grow at levels well in excess of national trends and this is continuing to place pressure on any organisation involved in delivering public infrastructure,” he said. “ENERGEX has just experienced the greatest growth in the company’s history with more than 40,000 additional homes and businesses connecting to the local power grid in the past financial year. “This in itself would be a major challenge but at the same time there is also a continuing rise in the power being used by existing customers, especially as a result of increased use of air conditioning for heating and cooling.” Mr Effeney said the new report showed that there had been an almost 40 per cent growth in the number of people working

for ENERGEX or its contracting companies between 2004 and early 2008 – rising from around 3800 to almost 5300 people.

South East Queensland continues to grow at levels well in excess of national trends... The report also highlighted significant increases in investment in capital works programs (up almost 24 per cent) and operating and maintenance expenditure (up almost 33 per cent) while the key network reliability results are “much better than the minimum service standards established in the Electricity Industry Code”.

New recruits needed to power country NSW

The manager of Australia’s largest power distribution network, Country Energy, has put a call out for 58 new apprentices across regional New South Wales. Recruiting the next generation of electricity industry apprentices, Country Energy is encouraging men and women to join the business - powering country New South Wales into the future.

The company is looking for powerline workers, electrical technicians, cable joiners, and substation electrical technicians to begin in January 2009. Country Energy’s apprenticeships provide new recruits with the skills and training needed to establish a foundation for longterm employment and career development in their local area. Apprentices receive practical and theoretical instruction delivered at the company’s own training facilities located at Parkes, Grafton and Goulburn – instruction that complements training in the field. With the addition of another 58 apprentices next year, Country Energy will have created almost 730 apprentice positions since 2001. Apprentice powerline worker, Emmily Moylan of Dubbo, NSW, said, “My apprenticeship with Country Energy has made a big difference in my life in many ways - I’m in a well-paid, secure regional job and everyday I’m learning something new and expanding my skills.” “I’m working outdoors and the people I work with are top shelf.”

A national framework for energy safety in Australia

As part of a focus on national energy safety issues, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) in April released a Policy for a National Framework for Energy Safety in Australia. The policy is a statement on how the harmonisation of energy technical and safety regulation in Australia can be developed, implemented and incorporated into Australian law. As part of the policy, ENA supported the creation of a single national energy safety regulatory agency. As a follow-up, ENA released a Proposed National Framework for Electricity Network Safety on 15 July as the recommended approach to national electricity network safety regulation. Energy networks are characterised by extensive distributed assets throughout the public domain such as pipelines, powerlines, substations, gate and compressor stations, and underground cables. As a consequence, energy networks are expected to identify and manage both worker and community safety risks. The Proposed National Framework for Electricity Network Safety adopts an

“all-hazards” approach to safety management and sets out the scope for a safety case, which is a detailed document prepared by a network operator that: • identifies all the known and credible hazards and risks • describes how the risks are to be managed • describes the safety management system needed to ensure the controls are effectively and consistently applied and performance is measured and continuously improved. As a general principle, ENA’s view is that a safety case approved by the relevant regulator will provide the basis for compliance with the safe workplace obligations under Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation. In a related development, ENA members have agreed to develop and operate an ENA National Energy Skills Passport. The advantages of the ENA National Energy Skills Passport is that it clearly strengthens the “safety case” approach to energy safety regulation, which has to varying degrees been adopted by most jurisdictional regulators as the model of best-practice regulation.

The Master Electrician


Buzz The

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

Phasing out gets the go ahead The Federal Government will proceed with plans to replace incandescent lamps with fluorescent bulbs, saving Australia more than four million tonnes of greenhouse gases every year. Lighting Council Australia CEO Bryan Douglas backed the decision and said the move will become a global trend with several countries already adopting the phase-out strategy. Incandescent lamps consume up to five times more electricity than their main replacement technology, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs last up to 15,000 hours, while an incandescent bulb has an operational life of around 1,000 hours. Whilst there have been questions raised in regard to residual mercury and carbons created during manufacture, it has been determined that the benefits outweigh the problems. The phase-out plans were conceptualised at the “Phase-Out” conference, organised by the Australian Government and held in Shanghai earlier this year. The conference was part of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Climate Change. 16

The Master Electrician

NSW privatisation delayed

The delay in the sale of electricity assets in New South Wales may give the industry more time to prepare for policy changes and save electrical contractors money, according to Master Electricians CEO Malcolm Richards. Mr Richards said NSW electrical contractors could potentially suffer the same system issues faced by their counterparts interstate if the NSW Government acted too quickly and failed to deliver a workable, privatised electricity system. In Queensland, changes made to supply abolishment policies as a part of Full Retail Competition (FRC) caused significant work delays and other problems for contractors. If a contractor needed to carry out a supply abolishment under the new system, they had to contact the new retailer and request that they ask the distributor to do the work. Arrangements for the connection of Builders Temporary Supply sites also changed. Mr Richards said the process in Queensland had been inefficient for electrical contractors and caused significant delays and financial losses.

“The changes caused more paperwork for electrical contractors, delays of up to six weeks in connections for customers, and the whole system was not properly managed,” he said. Former NSW Premier Morris Iemma’s initial plan was to sell the state’s retailers this year to raise funds for new generation to meet growing power demand. EnergyAustralia’s sale has been delayed until next year and, according to Mr Richards, will give NSW contractors, distributors and retailers more time to prepare for the policy and system changes.

The changes caused more paperwork for electrical contractors, delays of up to six weeks in connections for customers, and the whole system was not properly managed...

Right to be on-site

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is working with police to remind industry members of the technicalities of “right of entry” and how everyone on-site can avoid the confusion that surrounds trespassing regulations. Tradespeople, union officials and site management should familiarise themselves with the Right of Entry provisions in the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WR Act). To legally be on-site, a person requires a valid Federal Entry Permit. An exception is made where a person is performing a function under a state or territory Occupational Health and Safety law. If a person enters a worksite without having a right to be there, they may be trespassing. Unauthorised persons have, on occasion, entered sites without following the rules set out in the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WR Act). When this occurs, the person may be trespassing. While the ABCC will assist site management in these situations, it does not have the power to remove a trespasser from the site. Trespass is a matter for the police. The ABCC is working with police to educate them on the right of entry provisions under the WR Act.

, o r o u tarelenott smet q uconditions in gof liEntry and l le aIfadRight s union official enters onto the worksite you t e k r a m r e p u S e v should: a S Pak N • make it clear to the individual that they do not have your consent to enter and ask them to leave,

• contact the ABCC hotline on 1800 003 338 for advice if required, • contact the local police to remove the union official from your site.

National licensing for trades one step closer

Australia is now just a step away from a national licensing system for trades, after an agreement was reached between state and federal governments in Canberra earlier this year. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to full mutual recognition of occupational licensing across Australia. Achieving this will require the action and support of all governments, and the cooperation of a range of industry stakeholders in each jurisdiction. As part of this work, licence classifications will be rationalised and harmonised across states and territories. This will make it easier for licensed tradespeople to move between states without having to meet additional regulatory requirements. Occupational action groups will be established which will consult widely with jurisdictional, regulatory, industry and other stakeholders from the Vocational and Technical education (VTE) sector. Initial work will focus on general electricians, general plumbers, motor mechanics, refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanics, carpenters, joiners and bricklayers, with work to be completed on all licensed trades by 31 December 2008.

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The changes being introduced are for occupational (tradesperson) licensing and not business (contractors) licensing. The Commonwealth, states and territories have also agreed to reform of the VTE sector, to achieve a more national, flexible and responsive training system. The reforms approved by COAG include initiatives to improve the quality, recognition and mobility of skill outcomes as well as to achieve a better understanding of skill shortages.

A wallet and poster-size three step guide to Right of Entry is available by calling the ABCC Hotline 1800 003 338. For further information visit FactSheets/RightofEntry.htm.

If you have something to submit, please email: The Master Electrician


Energy retail competition in South Australia The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has published the First Final Report of its Review of the Effectiveness of Competition in Electricity and Gas Retail Markets in South Australia – confirming its preliminary finding that retail competition for both electricity and gas is effective. AEMC Chairman, Dr John Tamblyn, said the Commission’s Final Report was prepared following extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. “The majority of small energy customers in South Australia know about energy retail competition and are participating actively in the energy market,” Dr Tamblyn said. “This is particularly evident from the high rate at which customers are switching to energy market contracts. More than 80% of residential energy customers are aware of retail competition and more than 60% have switched to market contracts,” he said.

New entrant retailers... now account for more than 40% of small customers in both the electricity and gas markets “There is also evidence of strong rivalry between energy retailers as they compete to gain and retain market share by offering

customers the choice of alternative prices and services.”

for more than 40% of small customers in both the electricity and gas markets”.

Dr Tamblyn noted that market entry and expansion by new energy retailers has strengthened competition and customer choice in the energy retail market.

Given the Commission’s finding that competition is effective, it is required to provide advice to the South Australian Government and Ministerial Council on Energy on options to phase out the current retail price regulation arrangements in South Australia.

“New entrant retailers have continued to win market share from the two established South Australian retailers and now account

ANU-China partnership to boost solar power Genuinely affordable solar power technology could soon grace rooftops from Sydney to Shanghai thanks to a new partnership between Australian, American and Chinese researchers. Scientists from The Australian National University, a Silicon Valley company with strong Australian connections, called Chromasun, and Tianjin University in China, will join forces to create roof-mounted solar trough concentrator systems that are more cost-effective and efficient than previous models, making them ideal for take-up in emerging economies and by the budget and environmentally conscious in developed nations. The Australian arm of the collaboration is being funded with $1.8 million by the Australian Government as part of the Asia Pacific Partnership (APP) on Clean Development and Climate.

The Australian contribution will be led by Professor Andrew Blakers and Dr Vernie Everett from the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES) at ANU. “Solar concentrator troughs are like long, curved mirrors that focus the sun’s rays onto photovoltaic cells, which then produce solar electricity and solar hot water,” explains Professor Blakers. “Traditionally, these kinds of systems have been built with expensive, specialist concentrator cells. We’ll be modifying and upgrading commercially available nonconcentrator solar cells, which should result in major savings. “We’ll also be developing more efficient techniques to reduce the influence of moving shadows, which have the potential to eat into the amount of energy being generated.”

InstalTest 3017 Electrical Testing to AS/NZS3000 Wiring Rules, Save Test Results & Print Compliance Reports No more hand writing test results when compliance testing electrical work and providing reports of test results. Simply conduct the test, press the MEM button to save the result and assign the result to a location, e.g. DB1 or 1st Floor, Room 5. The InstalTest 3017 covers all AS/NZS 3000 Wiring Rules tests, including Polarity, Correct Circuit Connections, Fault Loop, RCD Testing and Visual Inspections. In-built Australian Pass/Fail limits & tables also simplify testing. No more multiple instruments to carry around. No more handwriting test results. The InstalTest 3017 guarantees faster and accountable electrical work.

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The Master Electrician

The Interview

Cutting the


with The Hon Craig Emerson Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors, and the Service Economy, Craig Emerson, spoke to Malcolm Cole about minimising bureaucracy for electrical contractors.


ollowing last year’s election, the Australian Government now has a minister with specific responsibility for independent contractors. The Hon Craig Emerson is the Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy. In the first of our regular series of interviews with industry decisionmakers, The Master Electrician spoke with the minister about the challenges and opportunities for independent contractors. How significant is it that Australia now has a Minister with specific responsibility for, among other things, independent contractors? Labor has recognised the importance of independent contractors with the appointment of a Minister responsible for that area. But more than this, our commitment that genuine contractors are governed by commercial law has been described by the Independent Contractors Association as both historic and a giant step forward. We recognise that independent contractors take risks in going out on their own. We support the choice of working Australians to choose independent contracting as a career. 20

The Master Electrician

Since coming to office, how have you familiarised yourself with the work of independent contractors and the challenges they face? While in Opposition I had responsibility for the same portfolio areas. Therefore I was, and remain, very familiar with the efforts of independent contractors, the small business community and the challenges they face. Recently I held a National Small Business Forum that gave individuals and representative organisations the opportunity to give me direct feedback on the impact of government policies on their business or industry. It was a frank and open exchange of discussion and ideas.

...the Australian Government has committed $2.2 billion new dollars in the Budget to address housing affordability and homelessness.

For example, the Australian Government has committed $2.2 billion new dollars in the Budget to address housing affordability and homelessness.

This includes electrical occupations (such as general electricians, electrical contractors, electrical lineworkers, fitters and cable jointers)

Over the next four years, $622 million will help build up to 50,000 new rental properties through the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

That number could be reduced to well below 100 under a new national trade licensing system.

$359 million in the Housing Affordability Fund will deliver more homes, more quickly and at less cost. And a further $100 million will go towards building hundreds of new homes for the homeless across Australia. What do you see as the major challenges confronting contractors and small business people in Australia today? Well inflation is at 16 year highs. These inflationary pressures didn’t emerge overnight and were building up for years. They led directly to 10 interest rate rises between 2002 and the time of the change of government last year – giving Australia the second-highest interest rates in the developed world. You don’t need me to tell you that inflation, and the interest rate rises which have resulted, is enemy number one for contractors and small business. Where are the major opportunities? Federal Government initiatives across a number of portfolio areas will provide greater opportunity for contractors.

We’re also investing $3.2 billion in nationbuilding road and rail projects across the country including more than half a billion dollars to make an early start on election commitments. What will your national trade licensing scheme and the deregulation proposals being considered by COAG achieve for contractors? Labour mobility is crucial to addressing acute skills shortages. Once a licence is issued in a State or Territory, the licence holder could use that licence to work anywhere in Australia without any additional paperwork or cost. There are around 850 different licences issued across the States and Territories for the trades being considered for national licensing.

What plans does the government have for simplifying small business taxation? In the Budget the Government announced that Treasury Secretary Ken Henry will undertake a comprehensive review of Australia’s tax system. This review will be the most comprehensive review of the tax system since World War II. The Government is particularly focused on building a tax system which is internationally competitive; streamlined, simplified and harmonised, and which encourages hardwork and rewards participation by removing complex disincentives. The aim of this review is to make the tax system simpler and more efficient. The Government has also asked the Board of Taxation to review the legal framework and administration of the GST. Years after it was introduced the GST remains the biggest bugbear of small businesses and independent contractors. The Board of Taxation will focus on ways of streamlining and improving the operation of the GST, reducing compliance costs and removing anomalies. continues over page

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Are there any other plans to cut regulation and red tape for small business? Specifically, do you plan further harmonisation across state boundaries of issues such as workplace health and safety and workers compensation, to ease the workload of contractors who operate in more than one state? The Government is striving to achieve a seamless national market – one that doesn’t rely on nine different sets of rules and regulations across nine separate boundaries. The agreed reform program now covers an unprecedented 27 areas of reducing overlapping and inconsistent regulation across the Commonwealth and the states and territories. Uniform laws, regulations and codes will dramatically cut the compliance costs for businesses operating across State and Territory boundaries, while ensuring there is no reduction or compromise in workplace safety.

How can contractors and small business operators be sure their views will be heard in relation to planned further changes to industrial relations laws? Contractors and small business operators are free to lobby Government just like everybody else and their views are welcome.

How do you think contractors and small businesses will be impacted by the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme?

The Government has always wanted to work with business in drafting its new industrial relations laws and that is happening.

The major regulatory burden of the ETS will fall on a relatively small group (less than 1000) of mainly large businesses.

We consult directly with business representatives through the Business Advisory Group and through the Small Business Working Group which has been tasked with consulting on the Fair Dismissal Code for small business, the broader unfair dismissal regime and other matters of particular concern to small business. The Government recognises the special circumstances of small business and contractors. They don’t have human resource departments, they don’t have the time to be involved in complex and drawn out legal processes.

We have sought the input of the Small Business Working Group to work with the Government so that the system protects good employees from being dismissed unfairly while enabling employers to manage their workforce.

We can say that more than 99% of small businesses will not be in the category of businesses that are required to purchase carbon permits for the simple reason that they aren’t major emitters. The issue of climate change is difficult and complex but one the Government will not shirk. All businesses can expect a general economic impact to the system including through higher energy prices. Small business and contractors, like all businesses and households, will therefore face incentives to increase the efficiency of their energy use.


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In Training

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‘Green Electrician’ The terms energy efficiency, sustainability and climate change have become part of everyday vocabulary for believers and cynics alike. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, the marketplace is quickly evolving to demand businesses to provide energy efficient solutions. Sustainability principles are fast becoming part of normal business practice, and those businesses who take up the challenge will be more profitable in the long term. The Electrical and Communications Association is offering energy efficient training for electrical contractors who want to ensure their business remains competitive. The Green Electrician training program is designed to educate those in the electrotechnology industry to provide advice on electrical energy management and the implementation of energy efficient systems to customers.

Look for this logo:

The program covers: • Global warming and its effects, • How to reduce energy consumption and the use of alternative energy sources, • Energy efficient systems and technologies, • How to apply energy efficiency practices such as energy audits, and, • Government legislative requirements. The course is delivered on-line, so all contractors nationwide can complete the training at their own leisure. You don’t have to attend any classes. You can access information about the program and register to undertake the training on the ECA website at Completion of this course will allow you to meet the energy efficient component of the Master Electricians accreditation, one of the four pillars of becoming a Master Electrician.

Master Electricians do it Safely Become a Master Electrician and meet the highest standards of safety and quality. All Master Electricians are registered with SafetyConnect, a total safety management solution designed by electricians, for electricians. As a Master Electrician you will receive accreditation and marketing benefits that reinforce your safety credentials to consumers and regulators.

1800 SERVICE It’s a safe call!

Newsflash_ First and last day on the job A British apprentice plumber made a critical mistake during his first day on the job and burnt down a multi-million dollar mansion. The mansion, worth 5 million (approximately $AUD10 million) burnt down when the apprentice attempted a soldering job and set insulation alight. No one was hurt but more than 60 fire-fighters were required to extinguish the blaze. From This is London

To become a Master Electrician or to find out more contact the Master Electrician Development Team on 1800 SERVICE (1800 737 842) The Master Electrician




Separation Lightning from Down Conductors

A seldom acknowledged clause in the Telecommunications Wiring Standard S009 is clause 9.4 – Separation from lightning down-conductors. This clause requires that all copper-based telecommunications equipment (particularly cables) is separated from the lightning down-conductors in a building. A note to the clause states that “if a separation of more than 9m cannot be achieved, then the required minimum separation should be determined from AS/ NZS 1768 (Lightning Protection).”


The Master Electrician

telecommunications cablers normally ignore this requirement, perhaps to their future peril. In most high-rise buildings, there is likely to be a down conductor in each external column. This will make segregation and protection a very common requirement for structured cabling system outlets. Cablers who ignore this requirement could rue the result if, following a lightning storm, extensive damage to the telecommunications infrastructure had occurred. How good is your insurance policy in this regard?

AS/NZS 1768 is relatively quiet in this respect, with references to inductive currents, protection methods and the like, but little to assist with calculating a separation distance.


It would seem then, that any data cable within 9 metres of a lightning downconductor needs to be protected by a Surge Protection Device (SPD), in accordance with S009.

The woman’s husband claimed she was electrocuted by a hair dryer. But investigations revealed the man had clipped an electric cord to his wife and plugged it into a power strip which he turned on and off.

Probably because of the concealed nature of the down conductors,

The man was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

Electricity is not a (sex) toy A Pennsylvanian woman has died from an alleged case of “bizarre sex”.


Reducing fire risks from recessed luminaires

The revised AS3000 clauses regarding the installation of recessed luminaires are designed to reduce fire by addressing two different areas of risk. While fittings must be installed in accordance with AS3000, the manufacturing and testing process should comply with AS60598.

There will be some occasions where these installations also require a fireproof enclosure. Take considerable care when choosing an enclosure as there are fire-proof and fire-retardant enclosures. In these instances, the fire rating of the enclosure could be critical.

Minimising loose-fill thermal insulation fire risk

Minimising temperature rise and the fire risk

AS3000 does not require that an enclosure be used whenever thermal insulation is used.

There is now a range of luminaires that have been manufactured to allow installation in almost any location. These luminaires have features that ensure temperatures are controlled as long as the installation instructions are closely followed.

The only requirement is that an enclosure, or a suitable barrier, is used where the insulation is “loose fill�.

Some luminaires have a built-in fire rating similar to the rating provided for walls and ceilings. Others simply are rated to reduce the external temperature and reduce the risk of fire. Master Electricians Australia strongly recommends that when using such fittings, contractors retain the instructions for future reference.

Retention methods can be as simple as building retention into the building structure. There are several commercially available enclosures for keeping insulation clear of a luminaire, but there is a consideration to be made when doing so.

Did you know... Master Electricians get unlimited access to a large technical advice team and Wiring Rules Hotline. Call 1800 SERVICE (1800 737 842) and visit:

Some do not provide any facility for keeping leaves and detritus at bay, and some may not comply with the intent of the clause. The key consideration is to ensure that insulation does not gather around and over the enclosure, resulting in a fire.

The Master Electrician


Safety Systems Asset or Expense?

Most managers in our industry are aware of the cost involved to implement and maintain a compliant safety program. Not as many are able to detail the savings and benefits. A decision not to act on a cost basis has little or no apparent effect until there is a workplace incident, or the business is chosen for a random audit by the regulator. It can then be considered a serious breach leading to cost penalties. Before establishing a safety system, identify the costs and calculate the return on investment (ROI). A safety system, working as it should: • may improve productivity • will reduce lost time incidents • will reduce the propensity for regulator audits


The Master Electrician

• will reduce WorkCover costs • will reduce the costs of managing staff.

Simply purchasing a manual will not establish a safe working environment, nor will it satisfy a safety audit. Most importantly the proprietor’s stress level is likely to reduce, providing a better life style. With resources stretched in most SMEs, a sensible, pragmatic, and cost-effective approach is to purchase a commercially available generic safety system. Simply purchasing a manual will not establish a safe working environment, nor will it satisfy a safety audit.

Senior management commitment and involvement are essential to the success of the system. Staff will immediately be affected by any lack of management commitment, and this will quickly reflect in the safety culture, dooming the success of the system. The steps to a successful and suitable safety system must include: • developing a system, or purchasing a commercial generic product, • reviewing and editing a generic product to ensure compatibility with the enterprise • introducing and developing the system and including staff in a manner to ensure they have “ownership” of the product • holding ongoing discussion of the various sections during regular safety and tool box meetings

• documenting actions such as meetings, activities and use • reviewing the system at least annually, and also following any incident or system failure. A safety system, suitably supported by senior management, will quickly gain staff support, and the fruits will develop and be obvious.

This is also an opportunity for senior staff to mix and to demonstrate true leadership.

This is also an opportunity for senior staff to mix and to demonstrate true leadership. Staff acceptance almost always leads to a better culture with all the benefits that this can deliver. Safety systems can be used by managers to build and nurture a strong, stable and resilient workforce. The benefits of a good system are obvious to any stakeholder. They are an asset, not an expense.

Making safety meetings interesting and varied, leading and encouraging discussion forums, and acting quickly and positively on suggestions (good or bad) will lead to staff accepting the positive nature of the system.

Newsflash_ Haitian voodoo plant may become biofuel source An indigenous Haitian plant used to purge evil spirits and release the trapped souls of the dead, could soon be used as a source of biofuel. Latin America and the Caribbean, especially Haiti, suffer from chronic shortages of diesel fuel, electricity – just about everything except the plant jatropha. It has been known for decades that the oil-producing seeds of the jatropha curcas, once they are crushed and processed, can be a potent source of energy. But now the so-called miracle plant is sparking heightened interest as oil prices skyrocket and reports filter out of India and Nepal of power plants there being fuelled by jatropha. Scientists from the US and Brazil – the world’s leading producer of ethanol - have toured Haiti to scout the potential for the plant’s commercial cultivation. From


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Climate of

The climate change debate may sound like doom and gloom, but efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions could be a boon for electrical contractors. Malcolm Cole reports.


cross Australia and throughout the world, businesses and individuals are being urged to brace ourselves for the impacts of climate change – the melting of the ice in Antarctica, rising sea levels, food shortages, and increased energy prices. It’s hard to watch a news bulletin or pick up a paper without receiving new warnings on the extent of climate change, or hearing about the latest plan to manage it. Governments, keen to reduce greenhouse emissions, are realising that the environmental cure will cause significant pain for some carbon-intensive industries. And, according to the Australian Government’s recently released climate change discussion paper, no industry will feel more pain from the introduction of greenhouse abatement measures than the electricity industry. The energy sector, including electricity generation, is Australia’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing around 70 per cent of our total. But while most discussion of the likely impact on business focuses on the financial challenge for coal-reliant industries, a number of potential business opportunities remain largely unexplored. 28

The Master Electrician

Consumers are more likely to seek advice from their electrical contractor on what is a more energyefficient system to use and, if they’re not, it’s something we should be upselling to them Opportunities and training The Government’s emissions trading discussion paper released in July forecasts electricity price hikes averaging 16 per cent in 2010-11. Consumer concern over this price spike, combined with a growing desire among Australians to reduce their “carbon footprint”, may open up a range of new business opportunities for environmentally aware electrical contractors. Master Electricians Australia Workplace Policy Manager Paul Daly says the highlevel debate about climate change and the policy decisions outlined in the Green paper are not likely to impact directly on electrical contractors.

“The offshoot of it, however, is that everybody’s going to be looking to reduce their electrical usage in the years to come,” Mr Daly says. “Mums and dads and small businesses are already starting to look very closely at how they can do their bit for the environment. And that’s where electrical contractors can step in and shine.” He says electrical contractors with training and experience in providing energy-efficient products and services will increasingly be in demand from home and business owners. “Consumers are more likely to seek advice from their electrical contractor on what is a more energy-efficient system to use and, if they’re not, it’s something electricians should be upselling to them.

contractors stay abreast of new technology and work practices that can cut electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions. The Your Guide to Being a Green Electrician course will be delivered on-line, so all contractors nationwide are able to participate. For more information on the course, contact the ECA on 07 3251 2444 or

Government action To assist businesses during the introduction of its proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CRPS), the Federal Government has announced additional assistance for the development of new low-energy technologies.

It has also promised “a limited amount” of direct financial assistance to existing coal-fired power generators, to be delivered through a new mechanism called the Electricity Sector Adjustment Scheme (ESAS). The level of financial help for electricity generation is yet to be determined, but the Government has made it clear it will be temporary, and that generators will very quickly need to become competitive under the CPRS. The Minister for Climate Change, Senator Penny Wong, is also resisting calls from some sectors of the business community to relax the rules for industries that will be hit the hardest, including electricity generation.

“For mum and dad there are enormous benefits. You can save on your power bills, you can cut your energy use and you can do something good for the environment. Why wouldn’t they do it?” The new Master Electricians program requires contractors to offer energy efficiency advice and energy-efficient product options to their customers. The ECA offers a 20-hour accredited course in energy efficiency, to help electrical The Master Electrician


While the Minister says she is sympathetic to the views of the business community, “the more industries you shield from having to contribute to reducing Australia’s carbon pollution, the harder the rest of the community and the economy has to work”. She says the Australian public expects the issue of climate change to be dealt with properly, and that will mean some pain for business. “We understand these are tough economic reforms. I think Australians do understand that tackling climate change is not going to be easy. I think Australians do understand that. They are engaging with this issue.” Ms Wong has also invited business and community feedback on the Government’s plan to increase Australia’s renewable energy target to 20 percent of energy use by 2020. She says the expanded target will ensure that renewable technologies such as solar electricity flourish in the future. “Renewable energy will have a key role to play in helping us move to the clean economy of the future, because it will reduce our electricity-related greenhouse pollution. 30

The Master Electrician

It’s not just photovoltaic cells. At the end of the day, regardless of what green path we take, when dealing with electrical matters a licensed electrical contractor will be involved in installing it “We expect the 20 per cent renewable energy target to help drive strong investment and job creation in the renewable energy sector.”

A solar future The Federal Opposition has also backed the development of renewable energy, identifying solar power as the clean energy source of the future. Opposition climate change and environment spokesman Greg Hunt says there is no country in the world better placed than Australia to benefit from the further development of solar power. But he says the sector has been damaged through the means test for solar panel rebates introduced in the May Federal Budget. “The solar panel sector is in freefall,” he says. Mr Hunt urges all state governments to follow the lead of South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia, which buy excess electricity from home owners through solar energy feed-in tariffs, in order to support the uptake of solar panels. “This is a scheme in which incentives are provided for people to feed solar energy back into the electricity grid,” Mr Hunt says. “Providing a guaranteed rate of pay for solar electricity feed back into the grid will encourage the emergence of thousands

of mini power generators around Australia, taking the pressure off the higher-emitting coal fired power stations.” Paul Daly says the spread of renewable energy technology and greater uptake of measures such as solar feed-in tariffs will also boost the business opportunities for electrical contractors.

“Whether it’s solar, wind, wave energy, it’s going to be a qualified electrician who has to hook it up to the mains power and the grid. “It’s not just photovoltaic cells. At the end of the day, regardless of what green path we take, when dealing with electrical matters a licensed electrical contractor will be involved in installing it,” he says. “Whether it’s solar, wind, wave energy, it’s going to be a qualified electrician who has to hook it up to the mains power and the grid.”

• Under a “cap and trade” scheme, major emitters are required to purchase a “carbon pollution permit” for each tonne of greenhouse gas they produce. • Emissions are independently monitored and audited. • The Government limits the number of carbon pollution permits issued each year, in line with the total carbon cap for Australia. • Firms compete to purchase carbon pollution permits. Some firms will be prepared to pay a high price for them, either at government auctions or on the trading market. • Others will find it more cost effective to reduce their emissions than to buy permits.

Newsflash_ Man dies trying to electrocute garden pests

“And that can only be good for our industry as we look ahead.”

A 63-year-old retired construction foreman died from electrocution while trying to eradicate moles from his garden.

What is a cap and trade emissions trading scheme?

The German pensioner had wired up a 380 volt cable and attached it to metal spikes he rammed into the ground.

• The Australian Government has proposed a “cap and trade” emissions scheme – the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme – to operate from 2010.

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According to a police spokesperson, the moles survived. From The Register (UK)

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Workplace Relations

Minefield Negotiating the industrial


mployers and employees have been able to negotiate workplace agreements for many years. However, developing and implementing a workplace agreement can be difficult if you aren’t familiar with the legal process.

Workplace agreements exist in writing between the employer and employee(s) and set out all the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment. For a workplace agreement to be valid under the Commonwealth Workplace Relations Act 1996, it must be lodged with the Workplace Authority. The decision about whether you put in place a workplace agreement will depend on your business operations. Workplace agreements, when formally lodged with the Workplace Authority, stand in place of awards. This means that employers and employees can agree to modify certain employment conditions that do not suit the needs of their business provided the employees are not worse off financially compared to the Award. There are a number of different Workplace Agreements employers may wish to implement in their business. They include: • Individual Transitional Employment Agreements: These are individual employment agreements where the 32

The Master Electrician

employer and employee can negotiate different terms and conditions

• Employee collective agreements: These agreements are made between the employer and majority of employees • Union collective agreements: These are negotiated between the employer and the union acting on behalf of a majority of employees • Greenfield agreements: an agreement made by the employer, without a union, that relates to a new business or project before any employees are employed.

No Disadvantage Test (NDT) All Workplace Agreements will have to satisfy the NDT. The NDT ensures that the agreement does not reduce employees’ overall terms and conditions of employment. The NDT involves a comparison of the terms of the workplace agreement and the applicable Award (e.g. Electrical Contracting Industry Award) or industrial instrument that was used before the new agreement was made (eg. an old Employee Collective Agreement).

If the Workplace director is satisfied that, on balance, the agreement does result in a reduction of the employee’s overall terms and conditions of employment under the relevant instrument, the agreement will not pass the NDT. What information does the Workplace Authority need to assess the agreement?

The Workplace Authority will need the following information about the employee(s) covered by the workplace agreement: • Identification of the likely reference instruments • Salaries • Classifications • Permanent or casual status • Whether junior employee, trainees or apprentices • Typical working patterns • Length of time an employee works in a day and across a week or shift • If the employee is engaged in shift work • If the employee has to work public holidays.

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This information must be provided to the Workplace Authority at the time of lodgement.

hourly rate is high enough to compensate the employee for missing out on those allowances.

What must be contained in a workplace Agreement?

In assessing the workplace agreement for the NDT the Workplace Authority will assign a value to the terms and conditions in the industrial instrument and compare this to the remuneration or other benefits contained in the workplace agreement.

The workplace agreement must set an expiry date, have a dispute resolution procedure and meet the five minimum requirements of the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard (as outlined below).

Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard The Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard contains five minimum conditions of employment. The minimum conditions of employment are: 1. Guaranteed basic rates of pay and guaranteed casual loading 2. Hours of work

Rajagopalan v Brinker Australia Pty Ltd [2008] FMCA 311

Decision The Judge found that the employer’s actions demonstrated a reckless disregard of its obligations under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth). The Judge found that the employer contravened the AWA pre-lodgement requirements and also breached certain provisions of the employees AWA. The employer was fined $39,000 for the five breaches.

The Federal Magistrates Court fined an employer $39,000 for breaches concerning the making and lodging of an employee AWA. Background

3. Annual leave 4. Personal leave 5. Unpaid parental leave. Provisions within Workplace Agreements which try to exclude the standard are unenforceable. That is, the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard will prevail over the Workplace Agreement to the extent that the Standard provides a more favourable outcome for the employee. The guaranteed terms and conditions contained in the industrial instrument may however be negotiated (eg. overtime, allowances). For example, you can include all of the allowances in an employee’s hourly rate provided that the employee’s

CLK-1 shown

Employer fined for Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) breaches

The employer also failed to provide the employee with the minimum of 20 hours per fortnight as specified in the employee’s AWA.

At the employee’s orientation session the employer gave the employee an AWA to sign. The employee had the AWA for approximately 10 minutes before signing. Once the AWA was signed the signature page was removed and the balance of the document was given to the employee. The employer failed to: • provide the employee with prior access to the AWA

A live electricity pole, that was declared safe by British authorities, has fatally electrocuted a German Shepherd named Willow. The pole is believed to have been left live for at least 11 days after the Camden Council declared there was no electricity being supplied to it. The pole became live after a cable burned out, leaving it unearthed. Willow was being walked on a nearby footpath and received a 240-volt shock. Willow’s owner is considering legal action. From The Camden New Journal

• lodge the AWA within 14 days.

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Electricity poles left live

• give the employee an information statement

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Are you a Master Electrician? The Master Electricians program is the largest-ever safety and quality initiative in the Australian electrical industry. Backed by professional marketing and advertising expertise, becoming a Master Electrician is about safety, integrity, quality, professional support and driving business to YOU.

More Work


Become a Master Electrician and get more work. All Master Electricians receive free entry into the exclusive Master Electrician network on Service Central. Service Central has generated over 130,000 job requests already, a number that is growing all the time thanks to more and more customers using the free service.

Become a Master Electrician and meet the highest standards of safety and quality. All Master Electricians are registered with SafetyConnect, a comprehensive safety management solution designed by electricians, for electricians. Delivered within your business by a team of industry experts, SafetyConnect ensures you meet your safety and audit obligations.

Industry Muscle

Stand out from the Crowd

Become a Master Electrician and receive expert professional support. As a Master Electrician your business will always be protected by a team of industry professionals. You’ll receive expert technical, standards, employment and commercial services advice, representation through professional lobbying of government regulators and networking opportunities with peers, industry suppliers and supporters.

Become a Master Electrician and benefit from a powerful brand. Customers know that by choosing a Master Electrician, they will get a superior standard of safety, service, quality and energy advice, with Master Electricians qualified to provide green options. Customers know that a Master Electrician is reliable, honest, informed and will perform work that exceeds their expectations.

To become a Master Electrician or to find out more contact the Master Electrician Development Team on 1800 SERVICE (1800 737 842). Visit

News from Head Office

Head Office

News from Take Care with overseas recruitment

Flexible delivery system for apprentices taking shape

The use of the 457 Visa system is one way contractors can bolster their workforce, but it can also be fraught with danger if it’s not done to the letter.

Working closely with state and federal governments, as well as TAFE and its teachers, MEA has developed flexible, online resources that cover off stages one and two of the theoretical section of apprenticeship training.

Many contractors suffering under the current skills shortage have looked beyond Australia’s coastline to recruit electricians to help “fill the gap” and get their jobs finished on time and within budget.

This is mainly because our industry is regulated, and more than one government department becomes involved when bringing in electricians from overseas. Both state and federal Governments are unable or unwilling to assess foreign electricians on 457 Visas once they arrive in Australia. So as well as obtaining an approved 457 Visa for your electrician, you must also have their qualifications and expertise assessed by VETASSESS before they leave their country of origin. If you don’t, you may be required to send them back home to be assessed before they can come back to Australia to work for you. 36

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Master Electricians Australia’s (MEA) commitment to apprenticeship training through flexible delivery systems is strong, with the organisation recently rolling out its first suite of flexible resources.

The resources involve a series of interactive learning tools as well as a variety of different assessment tools, ensuring that the level and quality of learning is not diluted. These tools will allow apprentices to undertake some of their study at home, in the workplace and on site, giving both the apprentice and the electrical contractor more choice and flexibility about how and when the apprentice learns. MEA is talking to TAFE from across Australia about implementing the new resources, and they should be coming to a TAFE near you soon.

Electrical contractors represented at the Senate Committee Master Electricians had their views represented at a Senate Committee Enquiry by the Electrical and Communications Association (ECA), which tabled a submission about the Forward with Fairness Bill earlier this year. The Bill was designed by the new federal government to strip away employer rights within the Workplace Relations Act including a more demanding “no disadvantage test” and removing the use of Australian Workplace Agreements. In its submission the association said it “has always believed that companies should be in a position to choose the industrial instrument that best suits them, their employees and the sector they operate in, and has been advising and assisting its members on how to develop, negotiate and lodge agreements ranging from individual statutory agreements to Union Collective Agreements.” Workplace Policy Manager Paul Daly then appeared before the Senate Committee to answer questions from both sides of the political spectrum, making sure the views of the industry’s employers were heard by those in Canberra.


Senate to Review ABCC’s Future

Master Electricians technical experts on hand at Safety Show

The future of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has been thrown into doubt with the introduction of legislation into the Senate to remove its powers.

NSW’s largest workplace safety event, The Safety Show Sydney, will throw the spotlight on the latest safety technologies when it runs from October 28 to 30 this year.

Master Electricians Australia believes the ABCC plays a critical role in the success of the construction industry.

Over 3 days at Sydney Showground, The Safety Show Sydney will attract over 10,000 health and safety professionals from a broad range of industry sectors, including manufacturing, building/construction, government, emergency services, transport/freight and many more.

Since its inception in 2002, the industry has enjoyed increased productivity, stability and a lower rate of industrial action. This in turn has led to job creation and wage growth that has outstripped most other industries across Australia. Master Electricians Australia has submitted, to a Senate Committee, a report supporting the continuation of the ABCC. The Senate will review submissions received and will then seek industry participants to answer queries from their report. Master Electricians Australia expects to speak directly with the Senate Committee on behalf of the electrotechnology industry and will put forward a strong case for the continuation of the ABCC and all its power.

To compliment the exciting line up of 350+ exhibiting companies offering everything from asbestos removal to warehouse management systems, an impressive line up of over 70 Australian and International speakers will present at the concurrent Safety Conference. A Master Electricians Technical Team will be at the event to provide attendees with information about the SafetyConnect program which ensures electrical contractors meet their workplace health and safety and electrical safety obligations, whilst reducing their direct involvement.

Information on the innovative Master Electricians Accreditation will also be available to those contractors interested in taking advantage of strong brand recognition, and access to free technical and standards support. The aim is to make it easy for visitors to be sure they are up to date with best OH&S practice, says organiser, Marie Kinsella of Australian Exhibitions & Conferences. “Employers are obliged to do everything practicable to make workplaces safe,” she said, “and you can only be sure you have that covered if you’re aware of all the latest developments in OHS solutions.” Co-located with the show, the Sustainability Showcase will house environmentally friendly safety solutions and provide ideas on how to look after both our environment, and the planet. “Many visitors are accountable for the triple bottom line and quite a few exhibitors at The Safety Show have developed products and services to make it easy to manage this,” Ms Kinsella said.

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The Safety Show Sydney and Sydney Materials Handling will run following Safe Work Australia Week from October 19 to 25 at the Sydney Showground. For more information, visit www.thesafetyshow. com, email or phone Australian Exhibitions & Conferences on 03 9654 7773.

Toowoomba electrician shines in training awards

Congratulations to SES Industrial Contractors in Toowoomba, who won the Small Employer of the Year Award for the South-West Regional division of the Queensland Training Awards. The award was announced in Chinchilla on July 25. They were also finalists in the State Awards in September. The State Minister for Education and Training, Rod Welford, said Queensland had more apprentices and trainees than any other state, and world-class vocational education and training initiatives. “These awards showcase the best of these achievements,” Mr Welford said.

Outstanding Electrical Work Rewarded in Townsville

Outstanding electrical projects ranging from innovative home automation to a major Air Force refit were recognised in September at a regional excellence awards organised by the ECA and Master Electricians Australia. Eight contracting businesses were awarded for high levels of service, quality and innovation in dealing with challenging and complex electrical projects. Apprentice David Riethmuller, from Lex Electrix at West End, was also recognised for his skills and commitment to the electrical industry, collecting the Townsville region Apprentice of the Year award. ECA Councillor Tony Divertie said the award winners had demonstrated the depth of talent, skill and creativity among electrical contractors in regional Australia. “We hear so much about the national skills shortage, particularly in technical areas such as electrical contracting,” Mr Divertie said. “These awards show that despite the difficulties faced nationally, there are still a great number of talented and dedicated electrical contractors in regional areas.”

Detect potentially serious faults in electrical and mechanical equipment before they develop Thermal Imaging Surveys conducted on your equipment Queensland wide


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Contact Mike Henneker - Director 1300 551 041 e: w:

Industrial & Mining - EMA Electrics The project: Complete replacement of the Garbutt Air Force Base fuel farm hazardous area control system. Operational constraints faced by the contractor included the requirement of the RAAF that a critical fuel supply had to be available at all times and that no drilling of brackets or other material could be done on site. The task was made more difficult by the fact that the wiring diagrams for the Programmable Logic Controller had been lost and the contractor was required to create new drawings as the job progressed.

Smart Wiring - GTL Electrical The project: Integrated automation system for a Fairfield Waters home, with all lighting, audio and security controlled from a colour touch screen. The smart wiring system also acts as a hub for the data, free to air and pay TV networks.

Executive Residential - DAV Electrical The project: A Kirwan home with security camera surveillance, intercom and gate control, accessible from both levels of the house. The project also included specialised billiard table lighting, underwater pool lighting, a sauna and down lighting – all managed by a computerised control system.

Residential - Ecolec Electrical The project: Wiring, lighting, airconditioning, sound system wiring, network data and phone cabling for a home in Fairfield Waters.

Commercial & Utilities - Mix Electrical The project: The complete refurbishment of an existing restaurant in just eight weeks. The electrical contractor was required to design and install new power and lighting layouts as well as data and phone cabling. The job required innovative solutions to issues such as the mounting of the entrance lighting feature and the food and beverage allocation system.

Fire & Instrumentation - Fire and Security Services The project: An integrated security access system – including closed circuit television – and a fire alarm system for James Cook University’s new Creative Arts Complex.

Bob Cooper Award - Minelec Pty Ltd Project outline: This contractor spent a considerable amount of money on training staff for a difficult project which required specialist knowledge. The contractor sent four staff to a five-day course which gave them nationally accredited training in the installation, maintenance and inspection of hazardous areas equipment.

Master Electricians get more work Become a Master Electrician and get more work. All Master Electricians are registered with the exclusive Master Electrician network on Service Central. Service Central has generated over 130,000 job requests already, a number that is growing all the time thanks to more and more customers using the free service.

1800 SERVICE It’s a good call!

Encouragement Award Lower Herbert Electrical Service Newsflash_ Electric bandage a cosy healer We’re taught to keep wounds clean and dry but what about electric shocks to speed up the healing process? The Antimicrobial Wound Dressing generates a small voltage to prevent microbes, fungus, mould, and yeast from reaching the wound. Currently patients can wear the bandage for three days but maker Silverleaf Medical Products is working on increasing the usage time. From

The project: An urgent and complex project for a liquid fertilizer factory. The work included underground electrical mains supplying variable speed pumps and other equipment. It also included load sensors installed under the fertilizer tanks and connected to a digital display, to allow operators to calculate manufacturing volumes. To become a Master Electrician or to find out more contact the Master Electrician Development Team on 1800 SERVICE (1800 737 842) The Master Electrician


Gadget Guide


gizmos gadgets

Here’s a look at the latest

for work and home.

Master Electricians staff sampled some of the latest gadgets and are giving you the good-oil on the best stuff!


The TiVo revolution is here! The TiVo Set Top Box makes digital free-to-air television easy and more enjoyable. It is a true high definition set-top box (1080i), dual receiver unit that allows you to record two programs while watching a recorded one from the 160 GB hard drive. It will even intuitively record programs for you once it “learns” your viewing habits. Set up is easy, with the essential cables included. There are the usual aerial in and TV out connections, with the HDMI and optic digital 5.1 audio outputs purchased separately. TiVo depends on a network connection to access programming information online, and will guide you through the setup to connect to a wireless or ethernet network. And if you come into trouble, support is just a click or a phone call away. To find out more visit . RRP: $699


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DMC-FX38 - 10.1MP 25mm Mega Wide Angle Camera Panasonic’s latest offering features an ultra wideangle lens and some very handy intelligent auto technology. With a 10.1 megapixel camera for high quality images, and a 25mm Leica DC VarioElmarit lens with 4x optical zoom, it may just be Panasonic’s best offering yet in this popular range. The intelligent auto-mode can also help make a pro out of even a novice photographer, with anti-blurring options, intelligent scene selector and face detection to keep smiling subjects in focus. RRP: $659

Samsung M110 Mobile Phone

If you’re not after any frills, the M110, encased in a rubberised shell, gives you resistance against shock, water and dust, meeting the international protection rating IP54. Also known as “The Solid”, this phone is perfect to use on site – just don’t expect any ‘bells or whistles’. RRP: $199

Avico Home Theatre 8

Avico has just released a power surge protector specifically designed for the home theatre. Called the Home Theatre 8, it provides sockets for eight appliances to be used simultaneously, plus dedicated sockets for cable television, telephone and television aerials. The Home Theatre 8, in its sleek silver housing, has a high speed response time of less than two nanoseconds, will protect against a surge of up to a massive 1550 joules and has protection against EMI (Electromagnetic ‘noise’ Interference) and RFI (Radio Frequency Interference). Avico is backing this surge protection device with a Connected Equipment Warranty providing up to $35,000 for the replacement of any device plugged into the Home Theatre 8 that is damaged or destroyed by a power surge (subject to terms and conditions). Call Avico on 02 9624 7977 or see for more information.

Arrowform Enclosures

Incorrectly installed halogen downlights are a major cause of fire. Arrowform’s approved zero-clearance fire resistant enclosures isolate hi-temp parts from timber, insulation build up and interference, allowing you to conform to the requirements of the wiring rules without the need to use the specified default clearances. Take comfort that your work is secure from the effects of loose fill insulation, leaves, debris and interference with Arrowform enclosures. More information is available by phoning Arrowform on 1800 852 741.

RRP: $99 o Loose leaves, debris and over 90 C… This installation does NOT comply with AS/NZS 3000:2007

If you have a product you would like to see reviewed, please contact

The Master Electrician




Master Electricians CEO Malcolm Richards knows a good car. Whether it’s a performance vehicle for the week-ends, or a workhouse for the sparkie in the field. In this edition, Malcolm puts the new Falcon ute through its paces.


ith the focus on the environment at the moment what better vehicle to test drive than the dedicated gas version of Ford’s popular ute?

The Summary Make & Model:

Ford Falcon Ute FG

Ford Falcon Ute FG

4.0 Auto

4.0 LPG Auto

The company has certainly shown independence in not copying the flared guards adorning the new Holden Commodore, but simply adapting the existing shape which breathed new life into the old Falcons. The introduction of the new Ute at the same time as the updated sedan is a welcome addition.

Body Style:

Chassis Cab

Chassis Cab


$28,795 RRP

$30,195 RRP


4.0 litre 6 cylinder

4.0 litre 6 cylinder


Automatic 5 sp

Automatic 5 sp

CO2 Emissions:

280 Grams per kilometre

260 Grams per kilometre

Fuel Economy:

11.7 Litres per 100km

16.2 Litres per 100km

For lovers of Ford on the race track, the new ute will certainly provide the linkage to what they see tearing up the bitumen on Sunday. But as a workhorse, the best option would be the cab chassis with a factory tray fitted.


195 kW , 265 HP DIN @ 6,000 rpm

156 kW , 212 HP DIN @ 4,750 rpm


391 Nm @ 3,250 rpm

371 Nm @ 2,750 rpm

This car certainly has that familiar Falcon feel, with the straight six delivering the usual performance off the line. This is reduced slightly in the dedicated gas model which produces 39 kilowatts less, but maintains the high torque factor – only losing 20 Nm. As a work vehicle this is ideal as it should not buckle under a heavy load. The slight loss in power is made up in the savings at the bowser – or should I say nozzle. With LPG at around half the price of unleaded the additional $1,400 to fit the LPG will be recovered in the first 42

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year, keeping in mind the LPG does run less efficiently at around 16.2 L/100km. The main saving is in reducing the carbon footprint by emitting only 260g/km of CO2 compared to 280 for the petrol model. Riding in the ute improves with a full load as it does feel rather stiff sitting on the 1-tonne suspension. The factory tray can accommodate a substantial tool kit with extras, and definitely leaves some smaller utes behind. One of the most impressive new additions is the electrics in the base model. Ford has gone beyond the usual power windows, mirrors and cruise control to add a full “on board technology centre”, incorporating

human-machine interface. There are also fancy new terms for the electrical controls that will keep the apprentice busy for hours pumping out the tunes. Overall the new Falcon ute with dedicated LPG will certainly keep the Ford lovers happy and get the job done. It makes a good combination of a good looking, environmentally friendly workhorse.

Malcolm Richards drove the 2008 Ford FG Falcon ute, supplied by Bryan Byrt Ford, Capalaba.

Legal solutions for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS Advice on contracts Contractual and payment disputes Business structures Asset protection Buying and selling businesses Wills and Estates Leasing and commercial contracts Debt collection services Conveyancing Workplace Health & Safety Call Michael Cope today on (07) 3223 5939 or Ian Heathwood on (07) 3223 5942 or 0418 199 416

Brisbane Level 6 239 George St 3223 5900

Mackay McKays Law Centre 34 Wood St 4963 0888

Protect your growing business When you run your own business, a lot rests on your shoulders. Business debts, running costs, employee wages – they all depend on your ability to keep working. Then there’s your household expenses. And, most importantly, your family. By combining Business Expenses and Income Protection insurance you can cover your fixed business costs, and up to 80% of your personal income, if you can’t go to work because of sickness or injury. And in most cases the premiums are tax-deductible. To make sure your family, and your business, has the cover they need, call Josh Wilson or Hamish Rankin on 07 3262 3422 or 1800 630 322.

This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision based on this material, you should consider its appropriateness in regards to your objectives, financial situation and needs. A financial adviser can help you determine what’s appropriate before you make a decision, and provide you with a Product Disclosure Statement. Embrun Pty Ltd trading as Concept Benefit Planning AFSL No. 247 319 ABN 82 956 837 528 The Master Electrician





V8 Supercar Championship

23rd – 26th October 2008

Gold Coast, Qld

The Safety Show

28th – 30th October 2008

Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney

Carbon Market Expo

30th – 31st October 2008

Convention and Exhibition Centre, Gold Coast

Melbourne Cup

4th November 2008

Melbourne, VIC

V8 Supercar Championship

21st – 23rd November 2008

Launceston, TAS

Rugby League World Cup Final

22nd November 2008

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

V8 Supercar Championship Grand Finale

4th – 7th December 2008

Oran Park, Sydney

Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix

26th – 19th March 2009

Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne

Electro Expo/National Tradesmans Expo

27th – 29th March 2009

RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane

Australian Carbon Trading Expo

31st March – 2nd April 2009

Exhibition Centre, Melbourne

Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo

2nd April – 4th April 2009

Exhibition Centre, Sydney

• Sell your cable drums for CASH! • Keep your site clean and safe. • Free pick up.

Perth Branch 231 Coast Rd West Swan WA 6055

Sydney Branch 88 Sutherland Rd Londonderry NSW 2753

Melbourne Branch 43-45 Somerston Park Dr. Campbellfield Vic 3061

0419 921 470

02 4572 5429

03 9305 4678

visit us at 44

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0408 225 439


Your best/worst day on the job

Your Best Photo

A costly mistake at the Gabba

Delhi death-trap

Every electrical contractor has had a job that’s cost them an arm and a leg, and for Bill Hogan, his worst day on the job was the most costly of his career. In the early 1990s, Bill was a subcontractor for a company installing the electrical and air conditioning in Brisbane’s Gabba sports stadium. Bill’s task for the morning was to supervise the lowering of a large air conditioning duct into a deep cement well in the building. He was standing at the top of the building and watching the installation to ensure the duct wasn’t damaged during the tight slide down. “They had a 100-tonne crane blocking off the whole street while they lowered the duct down to the bottom. There was no access down there, so it was important that we got it right first time and that it all went smoothly,” he recalls.

“It was going well, and I was leaning over the hole to look at the gap between the duct and the wall. I felt something slip out of my shirt pocket, and with the corner of my eye I saw something drop down the hole.”

While peering into the dark below, Bill patted all his pockets and realised that he couldn’t locate one thing – his wallet. “It just went straight to the bottom. It was a narrow gap and we had no access. The only thing would have been to lift the duct out with a crane, get the wallet out, and start again.” Bill’s wallet contained all his credit cards, driver’s licence, and about $1,000 in cash he had just withdrawn. He wondered what it would take to get it back. “The boss said ‘I hope there’s $10,000 in your wallet, because that’s how much it’ll cost you for the crane’. So I just said goodbye to it.”

It was touted as a rest area for junior tennis players during a tournament in India, but perhaps they actually meant it as a place for players to rest in peace. These pictures of some highly unorthodox electrical work were sent in by Greg McNeill from i.Power Solutions in Mackay. A friend of Greg’s had her daughter playing in the tennis tournament earlier this year in a place called Noida, outside New Delhi. Thankfully, the young players managed to avoid the danger in the dressing rooms and made it safely onto the court.

Bill said that his “donation” to the historic Gabba Stadium is probably still there. “It’d have to be still down there. You can’t get to it. One day long in the future they’ll demolish the stand and someone will find this wallet in a cement hole. “I think it’ll be a long time coming!”

Do you have photos of dodgy, dangerous or downright unbelievable electrical work or a story about your best or worst day on the job? Just email

The Master Electrician


Last Word


he Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has targeted trade licensing and product safety for regulatory reform. The working group is considering a set of national trade licensing reform principles and a national legislative system for selected trades including electrical workers and contractors licences. Ultimately, consistency in every state will reduce the cost to businesses, many of which are now operating in multiple states. The risk in the current process is the way in which the outcome is achieved. The working group has given commitments that no state will be required to create new licences and the solution will not be reducing the requirements to the lowest common denominator. By this they mean they will not simply choose the legislation from the state whereby gaining a licence is the easiest.


Master Electrician

This would be easy to achieve in terms of national consistency because the process gets easier in every state. But we would also lose from this arrangement. Electrical Licensing provides a legislative platform whereby the public can have confidence a person or business has met a certain standard before they are allowed to work or conduct business. When the bar is set too low the system simply turns into a registry. The general quality of the work and business operation comes down to the initial and ongoing requirements to obtain a licence. The only way to ensure the industry maintains the high levels of safety and quality is to ensure the resultant national licensing system is built on a robust

process that ensures all successful candidates are competent to undertake work or business in a safe and reliable manner.

Malcolm Richards Chief Executive Officer Master Electricians Australia

make your fleet none of your business

A FLEET RANGE SO COMPLETE, ALL THE HARD WORK’S DONE FOR YOU When you are running your business, the last thing you want to worry about is your fleet. Whether it’s a fleet of one or 50, our range of fit-for-purpose vehicles will take care of any business need. Contact your Mitsubishi dealer today on 1300 13 12 11 and find out how running your fleet can be someone else’s business.

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The Master Electrician Spring 2008  

The leading magazine for the electrotechnology industry.