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inside Chewing the fat on your tax Mates at work are saving lives Exhibition brings the last century to light

Spring 15


Tick Tock. Act now and get your cables checked before it’s too late.

An estimated 40,000 homes and commercial offices could be affected by poor quality Infinity electrical cable which has been recalled by 18 wholesalers across Australia. If you have purchased a new property, renovated or had electrical work done between 2010 and 2013, Prysmian is urging you to ACT NOW and get your wiring inspected by a licensed electrician. Protect your most valuable assets from fire or electrocution and get your cable checked before it’s too late. For more information watch this ACCC video: For Australian made safe cables: Ph: 1300 300 304 Fx: 1300 300 307 Email:



table of contents Average Net Distribution 31 901 CAB Audited as of March 2015

all about ME


big tax bill?


employee spotlight


impressive project


maximise your membership


industry chatter


construction blues: how mates at work are saving lives


meet a master electrician


the buzz




more than half way through this year and summer is nearly upon us. We don’t know about you, but we’re excited to wave goodbye to winter, ditch the woolly jumpers and super cold starts in the mornings.

your next-gen safety management system 32


We’re also excited to welcome a few new

gadget guide


electricity under the spotlight


the interview – Scott Williams


your top 3 tech questions


letter of the law


industry beginnings to their

workplace relations


favourite gadgets and their

social snaps


events calendar


the last word



the magazine including Industry Chatter, where we ask members across the country about everything from their


Master Electricians Australia PO Box 2438, Fortitude Valley BC Queensland 4006 PHONE 1300 889 198 FAX 1800 622 914 EMAIL WEB

Editorial Contacts & Contributors EDITOR Malcolm Richards ASSOCIATE EDITOR Elise Hodge ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Janelle MacDonald PHONE 07 3252 4860 EMAIL DESIGN AND PRINT POMO 1300 762 865

top business tips. We also have some pretty sweet deals to share such as our new partnership with Bupa, which has made getting health insurance so much easier with heaps of benefits for

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General Enquiries

sections in this edition of

32 Follow us @MasterElectrics on Twitter Become a Fan on Facebook masterelectricians or call 1300 889 198 The Master Electrician is printed on environmentally responsible paper sourced from FSC® certified forestry plantations. The paper is made with Elemental Chlorine Free pulps (ECF). Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are offered solely in pursuance of the objects of the Electrical Contractors 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 Contractors Association and Master Electricians Australia are not aware that any person intends to act or rely upon such statements and opinions contained in this publication or the manner in which it might be possible to do so. The Electrical Contractors Association and Master Electricians Australia issues no invitation to any member or other persons to act or rely upon such statements or opinions or any of them and it accepts no responsibility for any of them. It intends by this provision to exclude, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for any such statements and opinions. The Master Electrician Magazine can be viewed online at

you and your family. And we’ve brought back Tech Talk with three of your most asked questions to our technicians and their responses! From the latest industry news to member Social Snaps to how to make the most out of your tax, this magazine has it all and more. We hope you enjoy.

The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


all about ME

Safety Switch campaign gets a reboot A new report and advertising campaign renews the focus on life-saving devices. Around five years ago, Master Electricians Australia launched Project Safety Switch to raise awareness of the need to have a safety switch on every circuit of every home. The campaign was prompted by the tragic electrocutions of three young men while they were working on the previous Federal Government’s Home Insulation Program (HIP). It featured a ground-breaking research report, Switch Thinking, which highlighted the dangerous situation in most Australian homes.

The Switch Thinking report found that 15 people were being killed and around 300 hospitalised every year from domestic electrical accidents that could be prevented with safety switches. Public opinion polling commissioned by Master Electricians Australia found a disturbing lack of understanding among the Australian public of the role of safety switches, with many people falsely believing that circuit breakers would save them from electric shock. In order to overcome these problems, the report made a series of

Safety Switches by the numbers 15  The number of Australians killed in preventable

35 The percentage of Australian homes with

300  The number of people hospitalised each

26 The percentage of homes with only

electrical accidents at home every year

year as a result of preventable domestic electrical accidents

20 The percentage of Australian homes with serious pre-existing electrical faults

no safety switches

one safety switch (on the power circuit)

39 The percentage of homes with coverage on light and power (but not necessarily other circuits)

current number of safety switches needed 30 millioN: The to provide protection on every circuit in every Australian home

5 recommendations urging governments to legislate over time to require safety switches on every circuit of every home. Switch Thinking went on to form the centrepiece of MEA’s evidence to both the Queensland Coroner’s investigation into the deaths, and also the Royal Commission into the HIP. And both the Coroner and the Commissioner accepted the recommendations and acknowledged the need for urgent action. The Queensland Government has recently conducted a safety switch awareness campaign in response to the coronial findings. In order to keep the issue at the top of mind for politicians and policy makers, MEA is rebooting Project Safety Switch. CEO Malcolm Richards says the organisation has invested significant resources into its own national advertising campaign to encourage home owners to install safety switches, while the Switch Thinking report has been revised with upto-date information for 2015–16. “This is something we have pursued for five years, and something we will continue to pursue until all Australians are protected to the greatest extent possible in their own homes,” Mr Richards says.

CONGRATULATING MILESTONE MEMBERS Master Electricians Australia would like to thank a number of members for their loyalty to the association and commitment to the industry. “However, because governments have sat on their hands over the last five years, many more houses have been added to the national housing stock without safety switches on every circuit. So while there was a deficit of around 26.5 million safety switches in Australian homes back in 2010, this number has now grown to 30 million. “Sadly, there is no evidence that the number of deaths and injuries per year has declined in the last five years. Australians are still dying in senseless, completely preventable electrical accidents. We will continue this fight until that situation is fixed.”

Congratulations to this quarter’s 25-year member: • Greaney Electrical Congratulations to this quarter’s 15-year members: • Online Electrical Services Northern Tableland • Hudnott Electrical • Doonar Industries • Rob Williams Clermont Electrical • White Switchgear

MEA’s advertising campaign in support of safety switches is currently running on television and online.

CONGRATULATING MILESTONE MEMBERS Master Electricians Australia would like to thank a number of members for their loyalty to the association and commitment to the industry. Congratulations to this quarter’s 25-year members: • Greaney Electrical Congratulations to this quarter’s 15-year members: • Online Electrical Services Northern Tableland • Hudnott Electrical • Doonar Industries • Rob Williams Clermont Electrical • White Switchgear

The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


The 2015 Excellence Awards trophy.

MEA launches new rigorous selection process for its 2015 National Awards With regional and state judging well underway and our national final just around the corner (with winners to be announced on November 21), we thought we would give you an inside look into MEA’s comprehensive selection process. The Excellence Awards is evolving into the most prestigious awards program for the electrical industry in Australia due to the eight award categories, the range of applicants and their achievements, a rigorous nine-month process and the calibre of the judges. As most of you would already be aware, our award categories include: • Master Electrician of the Year • Apprentice of the Year • Data Project of the Year – Lex Batterham Memorial Award • Women in Contracting Award • Energy Efficiency Project of the Year • Residential Project of the Year • Commercial Project of the Year • Industrial / Mining Project of the Year But before the winners are announced at our prestigious awards ceremonies, each applicant must undergo a robust selection process. First, nominated individuals and organisations must complete a detailed application form, including relevant images, videos or references as supporting evidence. Desktop audits are then undertaken for each candidate.

Shortlisted applicants are assessed based on their application and at a face-to-face interview with our expert judging panel. Winners of each category from every state are then flown to Brisbane to attend the Excellence Awards national judging round and are invited to attend a black tie gala event where the national category winners are announced. The judging process Chosen by MEA, the judging panel comprises of over 100 representatives who have expert knowledge and experience in a variety of sectors of the electrical industry. Each category is overseen by a chairperson and two-to-four judges who must have a vast understanding of each candidate before the interviews commence. Each judge makes an extensive individual assessment of the candidate, allocating a score out of 50. Manager of Energy Super Roberta Albrecht recently judged the Apprentice of the Year and Women in Contracting categories at the 2015 WA Excellence Awards State Finals and says the calibre of this year’s entrants has been impressive. “It was so great to meet so many entrants who have such excellent support in their trade, which has helped to drive

them forward to such high standards,” Roberta says. When judging the Apprentice of the Year category, Roberta says she looked for someone who had a thorough understanding of the major achievements in their apprenticeship and could pass on their hard-earned skills to future apprentices. For the Women in Contracting category, she says candidates needed to demonstrate sound business judgment and have a view for the future of their business and the industry. “I believe there is more of a role for women in contracting and they can exhibit just as much drive and passion for the industry as the men, either on the tools or running a successful contracting business,” she says. At MEA, we know the application and judging processes are not quick and simple – but it shouldn’t be easy to receive such prestigious recognition. That’s why we uphold the highest standards when highlighting the very best industry leaders in quality, innovation and safety. To find out more about our Excellence Awards, visit Events/Excellence_Awards

The risk is real. Safety switches protect your customers from electric shock, so regardless of whether they own or rent, you should encourage your customers to have safety switches on all circuits. For more information or to order copies of the customer information brochure, call 1300 362 128 or visit


feature business feature

Big tax bill? The experts give us the skinny on cutting the next one down to size Love it or loathe it, we all have to pay tax. After the wrap up of the 2014/15 financial year, some of us will have achieved less-thandesirable results. But with the right advice, every business owner can lay the groundwork now in order to put next year’s tax bill ‘on a diet’. Lisa Carter chews the fat with Angela Jeffrey, a Director from William Buck Accountants and Advisors. Angela, you’ve been in this business 15 years now. What tax deductions do you find are most commonly overlooked by small businesses? The most common overlooked deductions or incorrectly calculated deductions are:

• not utilising the best deduction method for motor vehicle expenses;

• claiming a logbook percentage for motor vehicle deductions without an appropriate logbook having been kept for 12 weeks;

• paying superannuation on time (by 28th of the month following each quarter);

• not utilising the age-based limited personal super contributions deductions;


“Do not be afraid to get help and have trusted people come in and assist you with services such as your bookkeeping and managing your business, so that you can concentrate on your customers. However, do not give up complete control and take an interest in your business at all times, so that you are aware of what is happening and ensure a separation of duties.”

• not paying June quarter employee superannuation by June 30; • entertainment expense rules not being understood and as a result spending money on entertainment which is not deductible; • late payment of bills, which may attract fines and these fines are not tax deductible; • insurance including personal income protection insurance; and • misunderstanding the difference between repairs (immediately tax deductible) vs depreciable assets (tax deduction over a number of years). What are some of the small steps electrical SMEs can take now, in order to save themselves sizable sums further down the track? • utilising the newly introduced budget measure of purchasing assets under $20,000 in the 2015/16 year and obtaining an immediate income tax deduction;

• ensuring that you have spoken with your accountant to ensure that you and your business have been appropriately structured. This can be very costly down the track to unravel if not done right in the first place; and • seeking advice prior to undertaking any large decisions such as expanding your business, having others buy into your business, succession planning, purchasing property; any big life decisions that have potential tax issues. What are the most valuable deductions for electrical contractors with fewer than 20 staff? • payment of super by the 28th of the month following each quarter and payment of the June quarters superannuation by June 30 each year; • payment of personal super contribution up to age-based limits each year (keep in mind that while saving tax this money is locked in superannuation until you reach retirement);

The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


• prepayment of insurances if cash flow allows; • interest on any loans; and • lease payments on any equipment and cars. Mistakes at some level are almost inevitable in business. What are some of the most common ones, particularly in relation to the fulfilment of tax obligations? • not lodging tax returns and business activity statements on time and incurring hefty penalties. This is an area that the ATO is showing more and more intolerance for and their penalties and interest charges are increasing rapidly; and • talking to friends at a dinner party and listening to what their accountant does for them, without seeking further advice and realising that your own circumstances may very well be different. What’s the best advice you can give the busiest business owners? Do not be afraid to get help and have trusted people come in and assist you with services such as your bookkeeping and managing your business, so that you can concentrate on your customers. However, do not give up complete control and take an interest in your business at all times, so that you are aware of what is happening and ensure a separation of duties. By this I mean do not have the same person paying your bills, who is also paying your staff and has access to your bank account.

Angela Jeffrey, Director at William Buck Accountants and Advisors

Angela Jeffrey is a Director of William Buck Accountants and Advisors, situated at Level 21, 307 Queen Street, Brisbane. Always consult your advisor for further information or call William Buck Accountants on 07 3229 5100 for your free first consultation (mention this article).

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feature employee spotlight

Turning war into peace: the key to effective generational collaboration Workplace politics are essentially driven by differences in opinion, interests and agendas. But with an age gap of up to 50 years between the youngest and the oldest staff members in some electrical firms, managing those differences can sometimes get a little challenging. Lisa Carter investigates.

Personnel are your biggest

asset – they can make or break your business. But when conflict arises, it’s imperative you don’t allow it to fester, particularly when it’s generational conflict, which has the potential to turn into workplace warfare as others take sides along the way.

Jacqui Elliot, Recruitment Strategist for wattsnext says the idea of generational warfare stems from a lack of understanding between different age groups – particularly between Gen Y and the Baby Boomers. “Both offer exceptional skills in different areas, and with such a different way of

“... generational warfare stems from a lack of understanding between different age groups ...”


thinking and doing, there is an opportunity for all to grow their knowledge,” Jacqui says. The Aussie Baby Boomer (born between 1946 and 1964) has never believed anyone would be there to spoon-feed them – they’ve witnessed a time of great need as well as a time of great prosperity, giving them a deep understanding that ‘stuff’ doesn’t just grow on trees. They are resilient, committed, and never wasteful.

“… Y’s are ready, willing and able to pounce on the next opportunity that comes their way, often to the chagrin of the workaholic, post-war children of the 1950s! However, there are entire industries that didn’t even exist 10 years ago ...”

So when working alongside the young, spirited, constantlyconnected and transient working nature of our digital natives, affectionately known as the Gen Ys (born between 1981 and 2000), Baby Boomers can be forgiven for feeling a little miffed. They’ve oftentimes helped build their workplace from the ground up over years or even decades, have devoted their blood, sweat and tears, made countless sacrifices, worked late and came in early for the good of the business, only to watch younger staff simply waltz in and out, ask for benefits and pay rises without a care in the world, and have no qualms in offering their opinion on how to do things better.

“Nowadays, the world has evolved so much and employers have to be competitive with talent. The perception may be that employers are pampering the newer generation but it is just the paradigm shift that is today’s economy. This continuously evolves with all generations,” Jacqui says. “Variety and challenge is what drives the newer workforce. Tenure is no longer a measure of a good employee as it was before. Today,

“Baby boomers grew up in times where you were considered lucky to have a job. The grand benefits, additional learning and education, team building etc. were non-existent. If you had a job, you’d made it, and you worked hard to keep it!” Jacqui says. While generational conflict has always been a part of the workplace, the philosophies of these two particular generations are virtually opposite – our young workers are immersed in a world like no other, are subsequently filled with the highest of expectations (even a sense of entitlement), and are less likely to tolerate a situation they don’t like. They tend to be socially and globally aware, believe in freedom of expression, and will always be comfortable questioning authority. And, they are challenging everything we know about business. “It is funny they are called Generation Y – because they are the generation that asks why. Why do you do it that way? Why are we doing this? Why? Why? Why? They don’t just accept that things should be done the way they always have and they challenge you,” she says. Y’s are ready, willing and able to pounce on the next opportunity that comes their way, often to the chagrin of the workaholic, postwar children of the 1950s! However, there are entire industries that didn’t even exist 10 years ago, creating more opportunities than ever before and the chance to experience a wealth of different career options. With that great opportunity comes great competition – the demand for qualification is greater and the level of experience required keeps getting higher. But Gen Ys are far less likely to be frightened off, and use their adaptability to their advantage. After all, ‘upgrade’ is an everyday part of their lives! The Master Electrician

Spring 2015

14 it is about seeing the dynamics of different realms of experience, seeing how that fits in your business, and harnessing it while you have it,” she says. Jacqui advises all employers to steer clear of taking a cookie-cutter approach. She advises taking heed of all feedback (good and bad), and making sure the workplace culture is a reflection of you as an employer, and of your team. “You will be surprised by what works, and it may not be as dramatic as you would think. A team sausage sizzle one Friday a month may do you wonders!” she says. “In the end, Baby Boomers have a lot to learn from Generation Y and Generation Y have a lot to learn from Baby Boomers, and although I am sure people would butt heads, in the long term it inspires continuous learning, development and ensures that things are not being missed. Challenge yourself to overcome the invisible generation barrier and reap the rewards.” Organisational Change and Development Coach Dr Brenda Jamnik says owners and managers can implement strategies to facilitate harmony and unity, and to drive innovation – so long as they are willing to cast off negative emotions and embrace a little change. “When I hear people saying they don’t like change; that they don’t cope,” Brenda says, “I go on to challenge them that this isn’t really the case.” “A quick comparison of your childhood environment and that of today is significantly different. The influence of consumerism with food, technology, and lifestyle, illustrates that we do adapt to change very well, if we don’t think it’s too hard,” she says.

“… In the end, Baby Boomers have a lot to learn from Generation Y and Generation Y have a lot to learn from Baby Boomers, and although I am sure people would butt heads, in the long term it inspires continuous learning...”

Brenda has more than 20 years under her belt in executive coaching and building high-performance teams, and says trusting and empowering staff of all ages is the key to achieving a truly collaborative approach – because what makes sense to one generation can seem completely ludicrous to another! “Do you ever find yourself assessing another person’s words or observing their behaviour and questioning why they said or did what they did, and concluding that it was not appropriate because it was just common sense not to say or do it that way?” she says. “Common sense is not actually that common. What we know as common sense is actually an agreed set of words and behaviours that we have been exposed to and adopted in the environment in which we live and work – which can be worlds apart for different generations!” Brenda concludes that each day is simultaneously creating the past and formulating the future. “Therefore I challenge you to think what your business may be missing out on by sticking to the mantra of ‘because that is the way it has always been done here’.”

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feature impressive project

Novel exhibition brings the last century to light It’s a noun, verb and adjective all at the same time. It represents goodness, chases away the darkness, creates warmth, and can dance, shimmy and shake. It has a certain magic, can make a space feel welcoming, has physics we don’t quite understand, and is intrinsically tied to time and space. And it can disappear as quickly as it arrives.

The concept of ‘light’ means so many different things to different

people, but for a group of young artists in Queensland, it also represents a valuable medium in which to connect the past with the future.

Multidisciplinary artist Alinta Krauth, whose work Un[tram]melled has just shown alongside the works of five other artists in the Brisbane Powerhouse Museum’s Made With Light exhibition, says the brief was to think of different ways to play with light, both natural and technological.

“I set myself the challenge of trying to essentially ‘fit’ light to a machine full of curves and hidden areas that create difficult shadows,” Alinta says. “I’m part of a generation that seems to have grown up on both traditional media and new media equally – we’re the awkward in-between generation that knows about these things but can’t quite do it as well as those who are teenagers today. When I was in high school, art was painting or sculpture and that was it. I wasn’t introduced to the idea of digital art or even analogue video art until


Un[tram]melled] appears incredibly complex but has been incredibly simple in its set-up with the control box, projector and sound all coming from Alinta’s computer.

Un[tram]melled by Alinta Krauth allows visitors to explore the juxtaposition between a modern interactive work that connects with a 1930s space.

I was at university, and the world both baffled and excited me,” she says. What really sets this edgy, kaleidoscopic, interactive piece apart is that it centres firmly on an infrastructure that is far less modern – the Powerhouse Museum itself – which was responsible for running Brisbane city’s extensive tram network from the early 20th century right through until the 1960s. “I see a distinct gap between ‘new’ and ‘old’ which surely shouldn’t be there – why can’t we just take what is best from the past and combine it with what is the best of today, rather than separating them into genres?” she asks. Curator Alex Winters says the Powerhouse’s pairing with The Edge State Library, which together are celebrating the museum’s 15th anniversary as an arts venue, has allowed them to commission a range of emerging artists to develop site-specific works, using light as their primary material. Six artists, three programmers, three art installers and three technical experts from The Edge were on the job, planning feverishly for around eight months. And it took them just 12 hours to install! “The artists have responded to the heritage-listed building’s architecture and former use as a functioning power station, turned abandoned icon – home to a burgeoning underground art scene, to its reformation into a much-needed alternative arts venue serving both patrons of the arts as well as supporting the local art-making community,” Alex says.

Jonathon Istria has installed mushrooms, which rise out of the ground when triggered by patrons, as part of his Underground work.

“I’m part of a generation that seems to have grown up on both traditional media and new media equally – we’re the awkward in-between generation that knows about these things but can’t quite do it as well as those who are teenagers today.” “During all phases of the building’s life it has served as a light to the community – being literally, figuratively or romantically,” she says. Alinta created Un[tram]melled to utilise the very instrument that, just like a light switch, was used to turn the Brisbane trams on and off. The switch room of the network’s small north-most face has become central to her entire creation. “Our developed world’s obsession with future technology is also teamed with a yearning for the technology of the past, sometimes sentimental, sometimes aesthetic in nature. We yearn for warm, dim lights, for the sound of steam being released, for the heaviness of steel and brass,” Alinta says. “The Powerhouse is a striking example of that liminal world between the old and the new.” Her work allows visitors to become both the task controller and power generator by guiding and exploring animations that play with The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


Un[tram]melled’s mishmash of old machinery with an impressive array of light and shadow cause the viewer to both reminisce and take in the wonder of the latest technology.

the available light and shadow in the switch room – exploring the juxtaposition by creating a modern interactive work that connects specifically with a 1930s space. “I think the strange mashing together of history and present time is stimulating for viewers (and me), because we all seem to reminisce for things that have passed, yet wonder at present and future technologies,” she says. It allows the audience to create and interact with the artwork through a series of bespoke controls – retro arcade game buttons and joysticks disguised as something far more ‘steampunk’ to fit with the old machinery. “The users loved it, and they understood straight away how to interact – perhaps it even caused them to reminisce!” Alinta says. The piece is impressive to behold but has been incredibly simple in its set-up – the control box, projector and sound come directly from Alinta’s computer, which has to charge at all times in order to run everything and to turn itself on and off automatically each day. So while the young artist has made all the visuals and audio, and has set the entire work up herself, the overall effect appears far more complex. “My work is generally quite chaotic rather than simple, but basically it looks like an almost cartoonish version of the insides of a machine, projected onto the outside, where you could control cogs, push things around, and make flowers and skulls and pieces of poetry explode,” Alinta says. “There is also a second scene where you drive trams around and set off animations of trams on fire and triangulated tram lines (because tram lines are pretty awesome to look at). It was all hand-drawn and the sounds were either created by me or computer-generated.” Each artist has managed to turn the challenges of working within a heritage-listed building into opportunities – all finding clever ways to facilitate interactivity. The graffiti-inspired Paint by Light exhibit by Sophie O’Rourke features LED spray cans to create individual ‘tagged’ artwork with nothing but light, thus preventing any damage to the almost hundred-year-old site. Curator Alex says visitors can safely let their creative juices run wild!

“I think the strange mashing together of history and present time is stimulating for viewers (and me), because we all seem to reminisce for things that have passed, yet wonder at present and future technologies.” “The infra-red spray cans mimic real aerosol paint cans so well that patrons have been shaking them before making their mark on the rear-projected surface,” Alex says. The clever programming that makes the cans seem so real has come at the expense of the aesthetic – the project relies on cables and controls to run but the structure needed to house them wasn’t exactly a good fit for the museum’s retro, industrial aesthetic. So with the help of some local graffiti artists, the concealing structure has since been tagged as well – allowing it to blend seamlessly with the existing graffiti-emblazoned walls of the old Powerhouse. “It has proven a great solution to ensure we maintain site specificity,” Alex says. Other installations include Jonathon Istria’s Underground, which has taken on a life of its own, as patrons search for clues as to how it works. When triggered, his installed mushrooms slowly rise out of the moss and detritus, illuminating as they grow, and as the viewer departs they slowly dim back to black as they sink back down into the ground. “The mushrooms are commanded by motion sensors attached to the existing railings that are triggered by the presence of the viewer. These sensors have been going unnoticed to most patrons, which only adds to the wonder,” Alex says. “The real test for site-specific artworks is the level of interactivity that they encourage – and patrons are actually reaching out to the mushrooms or even speaking to them in an attempt to figure out what makes them grow!” Despite it being almost 140 years since the invention of the light bulb, the Made With Light exhibition has made the concept of ‘electric light’ a marvel once again.


maximise your membership

Bupa is offering you the cover you need As an electrical contractor, you’re always busy – from installs to running a business to managing staff. With a lot on your mind, it’s easy to forget about your health. But this is one area of your life you shouldn’t leave in limbo.

That’s why Master Electricians Australia has chosen Bupa

your available options so you can select a cover to best suit your needs.

When you join you can look forward to better value with:

It’s also easy to switch health cover. When you switch to an equivalent level of cover with Bupa, you won’t have to re-serve any waiting periods for services that were included under your previous cover. Take the first step today and get a free comparison with your current health fund.

as its health cover partner – giving you and your family access to competitive private health cover that’s packaged with exciting features and benefits.

• a three per cent discount off your health cover;* • benefit bonus – get two per cent more back on your extras claims each year, up to a maximum of 10 per cent;** and • Life Skills – an informative program that can help you to gain a better understanding of your own personal wellbeing and how to better manage it. The interactive courses provide you with practical guidance on Work-Life Balance, Stress and Resilience, and Positive Parenting. For more information, visit corporatelifeskills. If you don’t have health cover yet, Bupa has friendly and knowledgeable consultants who will be able to guide you through

Or, even if you already have existing Bupa cover, contact Bupa about switching to the Master Electricians Australia health plan and start reaping the rewards today. You can obtain more information by calling 134 135 and quoting Master Electricians Australia ID 2107799 or emailing Discount is reviewed periodically by Bupa and your company and is subject to change. Must pay by direct debit or payroll deduction (if available). **Applies each calendar year and increases after the first 12 months. Only available on Platinum, Gold and Silver Extras. Applicable if you transfer within 60 days of leaving your previous health insurer and upon receipt of your Clearance Certificate. Waiting periods may apply for benefits or services not fully covered with your previous health cover. Bupa Australia Pty Ltd ABN 81 000 057 590.


The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


industry chatter Welcome to a new section of The Master Electrician where we ask three members from across the country about everything from their business beginnings to their favourite gadgets and their top business tips.

Introducing ...

Graeme Holman

Jo Reed

Jeremy Hunt

Owner of Holman Electrical Services

Founder of Electric Gecko

Director of Country Solar NT

Western Australia

New South Wales

Northern Territory

Graeme’s been in the electrical business for more than a decade and may have found the perfect work-life balance.

Jo’s adding a whole lot of flair to the functional aspects of her electrical work through her new design-focussed electrical operation.

Country Solar is the winner of this year’s Telstra Business Awards NT Business of the Year.

Let’s get into it How long have you been an electrician? Graeme: My father was a sparky so it was always going to happen! I remember helping him pull cables on a job aged six! (Thanks Brian). Jo: Including my apprenticeship, three years and nine months. I got my licence in January 2015.

Jeremy: I got my apprenticeship in Port Hedland working in the mining industry and completed it in 2000. When did you start your own business and what prompted you to start it? Graeme: Holman Electrical Services started from a desire to fill a need in the market in 2004 while I still had a fulltime job, so I worked mornings and evenings on

“I’m a woman in a maledominated industry where in domestic field the clients are predominantly female. I am design and function-focussed.” Jo Reed


“I ran into my very first client just the other day, he runs a cement paving business here in Bunbury. He had imported an Italian Cement Batching Plant and needed it modified to make pavers, but learning electrical terms in Italian was harder than re-wiring it!” Graeme Holman

the new business and then eight hours for my employer. It meant long hours but we’re so glad we did it.

successful you need to offer something different rather than trying to compete on price.

Jo: When? Officially in May 2015. Why? I believe I offer a unique perspective.

Cheap product continues to flood the market and be used by non-reputable operators, leading to an increase in safety recalls and damaging the reputation of the electrical industry as a provider of quality safe services. This has meant educating your client on the value of using quality products from reputable sources.

Jeremy: I started the business five years ago. I was working for a large gas company and I wanted a change of direction and wanted to work for myself. A friend of mine is in the industry in Townsville and I saw an opportunity in Darwin and so I started out on the weekend as a one-man show working out of my garage. How has the industry changed over the time you’ve been in business? Graeme: After working in power distribution in the 80s, then generation (gas turbines) in the 90s and then in the gold mining industry, I’d say definitely the safety improvements and PPE are the biggest changes! But I think coping with the internet and imported products will be our next hurdle in Australia. The quality of products in our industry that built up in the last three decades will take a dive unless contractors and industry representatives take control, because consumers just aren’t aware of the substandard materials around. Just look at the recent cable issues, and all the imported 56 series gear that just falls apart. (Don’t be fooled – low prices do not mean more profit!) The other big change is the remuneration – I think electricians lead the traditional trades in this area, but it’s not without increased risk, so work dead and stay alive! Jo: The market has been flooded with ‘man-and-a-van operations’ and overseas tradesman as a result of the big players going under, the mining boom waning and the GFC. This has meant that to be

LEDs have become cheaper and therefore more accessible. Clients often demand LEDS even when they may not be the best solution for them. This has meant educating clients about each lighting technology as it relates to their specific application. Consumers are demanding ‘green solutions’ even when the ROI is not there for them. This has meant being comfortable offering a solution that may be more expensive but meets the client’s ethical and moral buying principles. In short, the constantly evolving nature of the electrical industry has meant continued education to remain relevant and competitive. Jeremy: Ongoing and massive changes with technology advances, product improvement and of course the everchanging regulatory framework. What is the most rewarding part of your job? Graeme: Most of our work is urgent breakdown repairs and our clients depend on us being there the same day, so it would be when you arrive and the customer says, “yes, he’s here!” and their face lights up. And then of course actually fixing it and walking out, job done! Jo: I get immense satisfaction leaving clients with a well-designed functional solution that enhances the way they operate in their space.

Jeremy: Definitely the sense of achievement in working for myself. What is your most handy tool? Graeme: Fluke 1587 Insulation Tester, hands down! Closely followed by the Fluke Magnetic Meter Hanger, every meter should come with one! Jo: It’s not so much a physical tool, but my most handy ability is being able to work with consumers and suppliers to get the best outcome. Jeremy: My phone! I couldn’t live without it, although some days I wish I could. Where do you see the electrical industry headed in the next 10 years? Graeme: Hopefully we will get the escalating regulatory fines into proportion with the nature of the contravention committed and our human limitations of perfection so we can then focus on improving the industry through associate regulation and education. Then we will have smart operators staying in the industry, and an industry that will be led through quality and integrity, and not by regulation and fly-by-night cowboys. I think that the Electrical Industry Association that leads in proactive training and business mentoring will be the cornerstone of our industry and will keep us leading globally with safety and innovation. I also believe the solar revolution will continue to drive energy independence with battery technology improving the convenience of solar. Jo: Advances in technology and consumer demand for innovative design that offers energy efficiency and ultimate customisation will shape the industry. Consumers are getting smarter and demanding more flexibility and useability in the control of their spaces.

“We are now the largest installer in the NT and directly employ over 30 staff based out of our Coconut Grove warehouse.” Jeremy Hunt

The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


Renewables will take the forefront again, particularly as affordable storage options continue to become a reality. Electrical contractors will have to offer more than just installation or service work to remain relevant as consumers can buy everything they need to do electrical work including upgrading their switchboards at leading hardware chains. Jeremy: Improvements to efficiencies. How do you think social media is changing the way you operate your business? How are you using social media to advance your business?

Graeme: I think some electrical franchises use social media really well in attracting customers. I use Facebook to highlight regulatory changes, and maintenance tips to help my customers manage the reliability of their equipment. Reliability is the key to customers’ profitability, and customers pay your bills! Jo: I’m not using social media at this stage. Word of mouth and previously established networks are providing my workflow at this stage. In saying that, I do have a social media strategy that I will implement when I am in a position to manage the resulting

workflow. My strategy involves outsourcing it to a SME. My experience with any form of marketing, newsletters or blogs is that once you start you need to continue. Jeremy: Social media definitely gives you an intimate connection with your clients and potential clients. It allows us to engage with the community and provide a range of information that our clients may find interesting. We currently use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and also LinkedIn. What tip would you give to others starting out as an electrical contractor?


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Jo: Establish your own standard and maintain it no matter what.

“Social media definitely gives you an intimate connection with your clients and potential clients. It allows us to engage with the community and provide a range of information that our clients may find interesting.”

Graeme: Find out what your strengths are, and build your business on them. Employ people to strengthen your weaknesses. I employ an amazing bookkeeper – admin is not my strong point! Taking time to hire the right staff is easier than firing the wrong one. Also, join MEA’s safety program, and spend more time on your marriage and family than your business!

Don’t buy cheap tools, testers or materials. They will let you down and cost you a whole lot more in the long run. Ask for referrals. Ask your customer if they are happy with your work to refer you to others. Establish networks of other professionals and cross-refer/promote. Ultimately you offer your client a better service and experience if you can bring a cadre of trusted professionals to the table. Jeremy: Know your market segment and what area you want to work in. And with the business side of things, outsource the areas that are not your strengths. How do you ‘network’ with others in the industry? Graeme: I subscribe to industry-related magazines, there’s a wealth of knowledge in your letterbox. I also try to be proactive in developing safety and technical tips

and sharing both, and by building a good relationship with a quality wholesaler you get to meet quality people, who in turn look after you! Jo: I have been a member of a business-networking group, attend industry tradeshows and attend wholesaler breakfasts. Jeremy: I attend local events and conferences, both nationally and internationally. I’m always keen to learn about new areas of the industry and keep up with the fast-changing technologies. What motto do you do business by? Graeme: Our business is built on best quality service and honest advice for our clients, and we are a CAN DO Company! Jo: Function through design. Jeremy: Honesty, transparency and fairness with clients, staff, suppliers and the local community.

The Master Electrician

Spring 2015



Construction Blues: how mates at work are saving lives Every week in Australia, 36 men take their own lives and sadly there’s a very good chance that several of them will be a construction worker. With one million workers in the building sector, mental health on construction sites is now accepted as an industry safety concern. Katherine Hornbuckle looks at how one organisation is tackling this silent epidemic head on, one mate at a time.

It’s a topic not many of us like talking about yet it kills more men than cancer and car accidents combined. The reality is, suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 35 and if you work in the construction industry, the odds are even higher.

In a heavily male-dominated industry, you’d be forgiven for thinking a few beers after knock off would wash away any residue of feeling down. But the statistics don’t lie – construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.

“The construction industry has a serious problem with suicide,” Mates In Construction (MIC) Field Officer Matt Cole says. “Suicide rates in our industry are significantly higher than the national average. Apprentices are up to two times


Mates In Construction CEO Jorgen Gullestrup on site.

Onsite training by one of MIC’s volunteers.

more likely to take their own lives than other young Australian men. It’s something that’s all too common.

“If you work 10-hour days six days a week, it’s really hard to be connected through the community in the way the rest of us are. We try to reverse that and say it’s actually alright to ask for help – it’s what real blokes do – it’s real courage to do so. If you want help, we’ll contact you within 24 hours. We’ll give you a ring, or meet you across the road or at home – whatever it takes.”

“To be honest, I could not go to another wake or drink for a lost mate and sit there and do nothing.” Matt and his colleagues at MIC save lives by talking about suicide in the industry at the ground level. “We get on site and start the conversation with the guys about how important it is to know they’re not alone. We ask for volunteers to be a part of the program and the participation rate is amazing, many of the guys put their hands up to help,” Matt says. “Just like induction courses on safety, we provide training to workers to identify the signs that a co-worker isn’t coping and give them the skills to keep their mates they work with safe until they can be connected to professional help. “It’s about as simple as it sounds, but it spreads across work sites. Saving a bloke’s life and their family the heartache of losing a loved one is always worth it.”

This program has been so successful, it has since expanded into New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, delivering General Awareness Training to more than 80,000 Australian construction workers. There are now more than 5,500 trained workers as connectors and more than 700 workers as assist workers on Australian construction sites.

“We know how powerful this program is – there were more than 1800 calls to our hotline last year, and the number is increasing. Many of these calls are from co-workers who want to help their mates.”

According to Mates In Construction CEO Jorgen Gullestrup who started MIC in 2008, most people contemplating suicide give out signs that all is not right.

And MIC training is only a phone call away.

“Just being aware of these signs literally saves lives – we talk to and train workers in the industry to recognise and act on these signs.” Jorgen says.

“Employers, unions or individuals can ask us to run the program on site. We want to let them know that there is a problem and what they can do about it,” Jorgen says.

“We know how powerful this program is – there were more than 1800 calls to our hotline last year, and the number is increasing. Many of these calls are from co-workers who want to help their mates.

“It is a unique program that works face-to-face with workers on-site and is implemented by the workers themselves rather than mental health professionals. It’s as simple as asking: ‘Are you OK, mate?’

“No one should go to work feeling like there isn’t any help. We want to break down the barriers for seeking help, and by doing so we can turn our industry around to both reduce suicide and improve mental health in the process. “Wouldn’t it be great to lead the nation in suicide intervention and prevention? I believe we can achieve this goal.” Employing around 30 staff throughout Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, MATES’ training is based around one very simple and effective idea: the idea of ‘mates helping mates’. It’s an industry-led approach to an industry problem and it involves everyone including employers, workers, employer associations and unions. It’s about changing the culture of the industry so that workers feel OK about seeking help and resolving their problems. “Blokes aren’t good at asking for help,” Jorgen says.

“The program allows anyone to become connectors or assist workers. Volunteers are trained to keep someone safe in a crisis and to connect them to appropriate help. I recommend all sites and businesses alike take up the program. Mental health is an important part of general health and work can have both a negative or positive impact on mental health. A program such as MIC has a proven track record in mitigating some of these negative impacts. “As well as on-site training, our telephone crisis line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Simply picking up the phone connects any worker immediately to professional help. “Our message is simple – you’re never alone, guys. We all face problems in life, and there’s always someone to talk to.” If you or your mate are doing it tough and would like help, phone Mates In Construction on 1300 642 111 anytime. MIC operate 24/7. More information is available at The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


meet a master electrician

Dave and Melinda Lawrence

Melinda and Dave Lawrence are surrounded by daughters – after marrying in 2003, the modern-day Carol and Greg Brady had four living under their roof, as well as a son. And, a few years later, welcomed their now 11-year-old daughter to their brood. The owners of Ipswich Industrial Electrics are certainly no strangers to busy family life, and are now about to welcome their first grandchild in November, and low and behold – it’s another girl! Melinda, my goodness you two must have been busy when you first became an item – you had to earn your business accreditation to take on the electrical firm (where Dave was also a sparkie), you had three very small children of your own, and you also had your husband’s twin daughters to look after – how did you manage to balance everything? Right from the beginning, my three children were at work with me. I was back in the office with my second youngest daughter when she was four days old but that’s also the beauty and flexibility of running your own business. The hours that we worked were extremely long but having said that the reason that we did that was to provide stability for the children so it was well and truly worth it. Children also don’t care whether you’ve had a good or a bad day, at the end of it they just want your time and that’s what helped me keep my sanity and drive. How hard have you both worked since then to build the business up to where it is today?

Sometimes it has been difficult and I have no doubt it will be again. But I think the key is to be able to adapt and change with the times, not waste any energy on things that can’t be changed, and strongly focus on improvements that will benefit the business. You need to view any issues that arise not as a problem but as an opportunity for improvement. It’s also extremely important to have staff that you can rely on and trust – without outstanding staff you have nothing. I’m very lucky to have a staff member, Simon Stevens, who has been with us since 1998. I think the key to being able to work with someone for that amount of time is just that, you work with them, they don’t work for you. It’s important to treat valued staff with the utmost respect and offer them flexibility with their work and private life. After ending up with so many children under one roof, you and Dave began renovating. But it’s still a work-in-progress. What have you done to the house over the years?

Name: Melinda Lawrence Company: Ipswich Industrial Electrics State: Queensland Status: MEA member for 15 years

Over the years, we’ve added three bedrooms; a second bathroom; renovated the existing bathroom, kitchen and laundry and are currently working towards developing a granny flat for my son and his long-time girlfriend. You are the creative force behind the reno but I hear you’re also a dab hand on the power tools and love the physical side of the building work too? I thoroughly enjoy the creative and physical side of it i.e. having a vision in mind and then going through the entire process of working out how to get there. If I want to achieve something but have no idea how to get there, I have absolutely no problem sourcing out someone who can give me advice. I’m also not afraid to ask my long-time assistant Google for some tips and tricks – it’s brilliant constantly learning new skills. With the administrative side of the business you can spend days and weeks preparing files and documents but at the end of it you have a zip file to show for your efforts. With renovating you can see your hard work every day.


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You now also have your son and his partner back living at home with you, so you must have a great relationship with both of them. How difficult is it to raise six children to be great adults these days? I think you just have to do your very best every day (not always doable) and realise that children notice everything. Treat your children with the respect that they deserve and realise that they are definitely all individuals with individual personalities and goals and definitely have their own path to take. The credit for my stepdaughters’ paths needs to go to their mum but I’d hope that the times they spent with us (they are 27 this year) shaped them just a little. I think there are many years in a parent’s life where you think you’re bashing your head against a brick wall and no one is listening but there comes a day when your children will repeat what you thought were unheard words of warning/advice or act in an absolutely admirable way that reminds you that it was all worth it.




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Christmas must be crazy at your place! Christmas has changed over the years. When the children were small, it was an all-day affair. Now that they have partners, it’s important to consider everyone’s families but when everyone gets together it’s hectic, noisy and all sorts of wonderful. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for a chat, Melinda!


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The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


the buzz Awareness campaign shines light on dodgy electrical cables Two months into a national awareness campaign by the consumer watchdog, MEA is heartened to see dangerous electrical cables being put back under the spotlight. The ACCC’s campaign for the Infinity cable recall has been well received across the country. The campaign is targeted at consumers across Australia with the message, Act now before it’s too late – get your cable checked, being pushed through radio, online and YouTube coverage. The campaign highlights the potential risk of fire, and advises that up to 40,000 residential and business properties across Australia may be affected with the potential for safety risks occurring as early as the beginning of next year. It is encouraging consumers who have purchased a new home or had building renovations or electrical work carried out (including any new appliance installations) between 2010 and 2013 contact an electrician to check their wiring. MEA CEO Malcolm Richards says the statistics are shocking. “These cables have been inside thousands of households and businesses for far too long,” Mr Richards says. “While we may not be able to see the full extent of the consequences of these dangerous cables right now, serious safety risks could start as early as next year – just a few short months away. “This timeframe should fuel a sense of urgency. We don’t need to see unnecessary damage to homes and businesses or worse, loss of life from incidents that we can prevent right now.” Infinity and Olsent-branded cables were supplied in Australia by Masters Home Improvement and 16 other smaller outlets from March 2012 to September 2013.

Lighting industry technical and regulatory workshop Lighting Council Australia will conduct a one-day workshop in mid-September in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, covering a range of technical and regulatory issues affecting Australia’s lighting industry. Topics include compliance requirements for electrical safety, energy efficiency and electromagnetic compatibility. Presentations will be made on recent proposals for regulation of LEDs and commercial lighting from the Australian Government – some of which have far-reaching consequences for the industry. Lighting Council Australia’s CEO Bryan Douglas says the workshop provides a great opportunity for the lighting industry and its stakeholders to get up to speed with the confusing array of lighting regulations governing the Australian marketplace and to gain an understanding of what’s happening down the track. The program and registration details are on Lighting Council Australia’s website –

Recalled Infinity cables in each state as at June 4, 2015 Find out approximately when the recalled cables could start to degrade and become dangerous in your state or territory: State


Km of cable


Installation period

Safety risk could start









































Clean Energy Summit recognises the latest in renewable energy and honours industry leaders More than 400 delegates from across four continents – collectively representing almost 300 organisations – have heard from the world’s most respected government and industry experts at this year’s Clean Energy Summit. Hosting 80 world-renowned speakers, the Australian Clean Energy Summit has brought together senior-level decision makers with key players from diverse sectors who are together shaping Australia’s renewable energy landscape. Hosted by the Clean Energy Council, the summit has delved into the latest political, financial, business and technology developments impacting the renewable energy sector. Sessions have included a panel on the future of the renewable energy industry as well as topics affecting different renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, grid and storage.

In addition to ‘short and sharp’ technology briefings, the conference has also taken a look at innovation and the future of the industry. In keeping with the theme ‘leading the energy transformation’, delegates have learned about new funding models, emerging business models and technological innovation that will play key roles in Australia’s transition to a clean energy economy.

our ocean’s waves and converts it into two of the most valuable commodities underpinning the sustainable growth of the planet; zero-emission electricity and zero-emission desalinated water, has earned it the Clean Energy Council Innovation Award.

The industry has also recognised the top leaders in clean energy at the Clean Energy Summit Gala Dinner.

The company’s three-unit array with the Department of Defence in WA is currently the only grid-connected wave energy project in the world, producing both renewable energy and desalinated water.

Carnegie Wave Energy’s revolutionary CETO technology, which harnesses the enormous renewable energy present in

Visit to read about more innovative projects and clean energy events across the country. The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


Brightgreen’s new Surface Series D900 SHX Curve LED.

The hidden costs of recessed lighting According to a recent study published by Melbourne-based premium LED company Brightgreen, homeowners who choose to fit out their property with surface-mounted (instead of recessed) LEDs stand to save so much on temperature control energy usage that it will cover the cost of lighting up their entire home.

R-values required to safely install recessed lights has on heating and cooling systems. Because warm air is more buoyant than cool air and will inevitably float upwards, having an airtight and well-insulated ceiling proves particularly important during the cooler months.

The report compares the amount of energy required for heating and cooling an average-sized Australian home using standard LED recessed downlights with the amount of energy used in a home with surface-mounted LED equivalents. According to the findings, because surface-mounted LEDs eliminate air leakage and gaps in insulation, they require only half the total induced energy usage of recessed equivalents.

With temperature control accounting for an average of 40 per cent of Australian home energy usage, surface-mounted fittings present a simple way to increase overall home thermal efficiency. Building on the sustainability benefits already provided by low-energy LED technology, surface-mounted LEDs allow homeowners to avoid excess temperature control energy from going through the roof!

This presents a new way of thinking about LED efficiency, factoring in the effect air leakage and compromised insulation

For more information on the study, visit:


Check your gas heater, it could be deadly Winter has come to an end but before turning your attention to cricket and barbeques, ensure that all the electrical appliances your clients have used throughout the cooler months are safe to be stored away. Now’s the time, when you’re on a job service call, to suggest to your customers that they test and tag appliances – particularly gas heaters – before they put them away for another year. Over the last few months, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has been urging householders to turn off thousands of potentially dangerous heaters to avoid the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning, with warnings relating to Cannon Fitzroy and Canterbury inbuilt gas heaters manufactured between March 20, 2001 and October 8, 2009. More than 20,000 units of the heaters were sold across Australia from March, 2001. ESV estimates around 12,000 would have been sold in Victoria. In-house testing by ESV found that in some circumstances without correct fluing they can spill or emit carbon monoxide. This means they can produce potentially hazardous levels in conditions of negative pressure if exhaust fans or range hoods are on inside the home, or they may be affected by a downdraft.

• inadequate draught diverter design resulting in unsatisfactory combustion when operated during a down draught or negative pressure condition in the living area. Under these conditions, normal combustion of the burner is affected and will produce high levels of carbon monoxide, which can spill into the living area; • incorrect burner alignment on some appliances resulting in poor combustion and the burner producing excessive carbon monoxide. In situations where there is a blocked flue or down draught due to negative pressure in the living area, high levels of carbon monoxide can spill into the living area; and • installations where the gas and electrical penetrations into the appliance have not been correctly sealed, as required by the appliance manufacturer’s installation instructions. This can result in low levels of combustion product being sucked through those openings from the chimney into the living area via the room air fan. Cannon have offered checks on their units and have placed advertisements in newspapers alerting consumers to the gas heater safety message, however MEA is also urging members to be vigilant about their clients’ winter electrical devices.

The risk increases if the unit has been fitted incorrectly or has not been serviced regularly.

ESV recommends heaters should be checked every two years by a licensed or registered gas fitter to ensure they are properly flued and have correct ventilation.

The issues identified with the affected Cannon Fitzroy and Cannon Canterbury inbuilt space heaters include:

For more information, visit or phone Cannon on 1800 035 410.

Take a break – you deserve it It has been nearly four months since the federal government handed down its 2015 budget.

The assets must be bought, installed and ready for use before June 30, 2017.

Under the federal government’s tax break, electrical contractors have the chance to expand or upgrade their businesses.

Before making a $20,000 purchase, you should consult with your accountant to assess how the item will boost your bottom line.

The $20,000 instant write-off for business asset purchases allows electrical contractors and other tradespeople to invest in the necessary tools to foster work efficiency while keeping employees safe.

Find more information at or phone 132 861.

The 2015 Federal Budget proposed allowing small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million to immediately deduct assets up to a total of $20,000. This replaces the previous instant write-off threshold of $1000.

Three key points to remember when claiming work-related expenses:

The federal government has allocated $1.75 billion to fund the scheme, which will run for the next two years – so now is the time to be business savvy and take advantage of it.

1. You must have spent the money 2. It must be related to your job 3. You must have a record to prove it

The $20,000 limit applies to individual assets, meaning small businesses can apply the rule to as many different items as they wish.

The Master Electrician

Spring 2015



MEA enlists Integrum to create the next-gen safety management system Master Electricians Australia has teamed up with one of the world’s most accomplished software designers, Integrum, to launch a brandnew, cloud-based, integrated business management system that will revolutionise the way you manage workplace health, safety, environment, quality, HR and job reporting.

At Master Electricians Australia, we are privy to some of the most shocking safety breaches you could imagine – photographs that would make your hair turn grey, stories of concerning practices on job sites, and formal complaints from workers worried about

a near-enough-is-good-enough kind of culture that crops up in some workplaces. But when you run a business with a workforce made up of a large percentage of ‘six-feet-tall-and-bulletproof’ young men, instilling a


strong culture and deep understanding of work health and safety can still be problematic, as it takes an enormous amount of time, effort, and of course paperwork. MEA has led the way for a number of years in the safety space – our formal safety and insurance systems are unrivalled in this industry. We have improved our systems over the years to adapt to changing workplace needs, making ours the most thorough, firstrate systems in the country. Users have been able to tick every box, and to rest assured that they’ve been on top of the legislation and safety requirements. However, our members always cite time constraints as their number one challenge in this space – it takes time to implement safety systems correctly, and to ensure that all documentation is filled out and filed properly. So we have teamed up with Australian-owned global software leader Integrum to further refine our safety management offerings to streamline a brand-new, state-of-the-art safety system that’s also a business management system – covering safety, health, environment, quality and job sheets.

“... we have teamed up with Australian-owned, global software leader Integrum, to further refine our safety management offerings to streamline a brand-new, state-of-the-art safety system that’s also a business management system – covering safety, health, environment, quality and job sheets.” “It contains many functions and easy-to-configure forms, workflows and processes, all with full business intelligence dashboards, and mobility apps.” MEA CEO Malcom Richards says it was exciting to work with Integrum to bring greater visibility and flexibility to members’ safety management systems. “By teaming up with Integrum, we have made Master Electricians Safety completely cloud-based, meaning users can access it anywhere and anytime,” Mr Richards says.

Integrum Management Systems CEO Beven Schwaiger says the company’s solutions are used by some of the world’s largest enterprises in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Netherlands, USA, Singapore, UAE, Qatar, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Colombia.

“There is no software to install, and the accompanying app means that whether you’re on an iPhone, iPad, android or web browser, you will be able to utilise and access that information no matter where you are. That means an end to much of the time-consuming, messy and difficult-to-maintain paper-based workload.

“We are now in more than 40 countries, with more than 300,000 licensed users. Our system is globally recognised as one of the most comprehensive software solutions for integrated quality, safety, health, environment, risk and compliance management,” Mr Schwaiger says.

“We will act like the ‘head office’ for all members using the system – we’ll do the heavy lifting on creating things like procedures and policies, leaving members with far more time to just draw on what they need. Users will be responsible for running the actual program for their individual needs, using The Master Electrician

Spring 2015

34 the power of our collective knowledge, and size, to leverage from existing systems. “It will allow users to fully manage their workplace health and safety obligations, their environmental and quality processes. For example, undertaking pre-start risk assessments, accessing all documentation, site management plans, log Integrum Management Systems CEO incidents, inspections and Beven Schwaiger tracking actions to closure, managing meetings, ensuring compliance with obligations, and many, many other daily operational functions. “Electrical contractors will be able to access the system in real time, or offline on mobile apps. In addition, the program will create far greater flexibility when it comes to taking team members off the tools for training. Instead of losing valuable work hours, users will be able to approach their safety meetings in an entirely new manner – and all via Integrum’s world-class technology solutions. “How many times have you lost your staff to training for days during perfect working conditions, only to have them return to the tools at the beginning of three days of rain (and therefore, three days off the jobsite)?” adds Mr Richards.

LED lighting solutions ● Emergency and safety lighting ● General fixtures/luminaires

“With this new system, you can keep your staff on the tools when it counts, and utilise quiet times or unexpected rainy days for online safety meetings.” Mr Schwaiger says the multi-award-winning integrated management system software is used by Fortune 500 companies as well as SMEs, and MEA members will notice the difference in their everyday work. “The ease of use, and breadth of functions available to allow users to easily manage all aspects of QHSE Risk & Compliance systems makes Integrum the best choice for Master Electricians, so we’re very excited about the new partnership and the soon-to-bereleased system for all members,” he says. To access the Master Electrician Safety, visit

HID Lighting ● Commercial and retail lighting ● Control gear, starters and ballasts

Lighting accessories lampholders, clips etc. ● Exterior Lighting Solutions

LRA stocks products from the highest quality suppliers that are lighting council approved & certified for Australian conditions. LRA provides the highest levels of service from fully trained & experienced staff. For any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us, or scan the QR code to visit our website and find out more. QUEENSLAND


Coopers Plains (O7) 3345 57OO Bayswater (O3) 9762 73OO

WESTERN AUSTRALIA O’Connor (O8) 9314 4555 Osborne Park (O8) 92O1 9682


gadget guide

Solar Array DC Transfer Switch

The Wall Wombat

The Solar Array Transfer Switch (SATS) diverts a solar array of up to 600V, 20A DC from one destination to another. It can be used to convert any grid connect system to a hybrid off-grid system and keep the existing grid system connect inverter. As you are using the existing grid connect inverter, no new applications or approvals are normally required. The SATS can be triggered to change on an external signal such as an output from a solar charge controller. The relay output means you are able to attach an external light or indicator to show where the power is being sent to. You can connect multiple units using one SATS as the master and have up to 10 slave units. For more information, visit

The Wall Wombat is a quick, efficient and safer alternative to cutting holes in plaster walls. The unique shape and cutting teeth design enable it to burrow through plaster walls in less than six seconds! This unique tool will: • reduce the risk of damaging hidden unseen cables within the wall cavity; • consistently cut accurate holes without the use of a template; • never get caught on internal wall insulation; • enable access to hard-to-get areas with less strain; and • will suit all standard and Clipsal slimline wall plates, and 157F wall boxes too! For more information, visit

4x Telephoto Infrared Smart Lens Infrared inspections often involve analysing temperature variations on something extremely small or too far away to see the detail with standard lenses. The 4x Telephoto Infrared Smart Lens brings the temperature variances of near-microscopic or far-distant objects into sharp focus. The 4x telephoto lens helps identify problems in power utilities, even when the target is as tiny and distant as a failed splice on a high electrical line or an overheated refractory on a tall flare stack. In applications like petrochemical metals refinement where explosive atmospheres, extreme heat, or dangerous electrical levels make keeping a safe distance critical, the telephoto lens makes distant details more viewable while keeping workers at a safer distance. For more information, visit

InstalTest Combo Single & 3 Phase Multi-Function Tester for All Your Electrical Installation Testing and Verification. 

Replaces 5 instruments with 12 tests in one instrument.

Single & 3 phase installation testing to AS/NZS3017 covering earth continuity, insulation resistance, polarity, correct connections, fault loop impedance and RCD testing.

Optional 3 phase adaptors for safe, quick and reliable 3 phase testing from the 3 phase socket outlet - no need for probing!


COMBO 3125 $999 ex GST

Optional MI-TPI for 3 phase testing of RCDs, fault loop etc.

Call EMONA on tel: 1 800 632 953, email: or The Master Electrician

Spring 2015



Electricity under the spotlight as more customers choose solar power and efficient lighting Customers combatting rising power prices are turning to solar power and LED lighting in growing numbers. Governments are implementing further measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting solar energy and the more efficient use of energy. Managing Director of Green Energy Trading Ric Brazzale explains what this means for electrical contractors. Electricity generation and use in greater focus Electricity generation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, accounting for one third of total emissions. Importantly, however, there are lots of options to reduce emissions from electricity compared to other sectors such as transport and agriculture. The commitment of the Australian Labor Party to a 50 per cent renewable energy target has certainly got a lot of recent media attention. This may well lead to climate change becoming an

election issue. It is therefore timely to shed some light on our use of electricity, what changes to our electricity mix entail, and what opportunities it provides Master Electricians and their clients. The Australian Government has committed to outline its emission reduction targets in August in the lead up to the Paris Climate Change Conference to be held later this year. Australia’s major trading partners have committed to significant reductions in greenhouse emissions by 2025 to 2030. The Abbott Government has stated that Australia’s targets will be serious and credible.

37 Media reports have indicated that Australia could adopt 24 to 28 per cent emissions reductions by 2025, which would be in line with US and Canadian commitments.

I aim to cover two policy measures: the Commonwealth Renewable Energy Target, specifically the component dealing with solar power, and state-based energy efficiency schemes, specifically those methodologies that support efficient lighting. The support that these schemes provide will be illustrated by way of case studies looking at two business installations.

1200 MW Installed per annum

While not providing a view on whether such a target is sufficient for Australia in Paris, the key point is that Australia will need to reduce greenhouse emissions significantly over the next decade. It is here that electricity will come under the spotlight. There are currently a range of policy measures that support solar and energy efficiency and provide opportunities for Master Electricians and their customers.

Residential Commercial (>10kW) Power Stations (>100kW) 1047 MW 869 MW

1000 800 600


795 MW

834 MW



390 MW

400 200

1018 MW

86 MW 2009




2015 est

Figure 1 – Installed solar PV capacity in Australia by market segment

Customers turning to solar power and efficient lighting in growing numbers Australians have embraced solar with more than 1.4 million solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed and supported by the renewable energy target to June 2015. We have seen an increasing number of systems installed by businesses seeking to reduce their energy costs. Nearly 23 per cent of small-scale solar capacity installed in Australia is for business use. This has increased significantly in recent years from less than 5 per cent in 2012 (refer to Figure 1). Larger solar PV systems (greater than 100 kW) have also increased in recent years and are expected to become a more common feature of our energy landscape as costs decline and finance is more readily available.

Solar PV Case Study Installation of a 30 kW solar PV system at a retail business in Adelaide metropolitan area:

There are more than 25,000 solar PV installations in business premises. We expect that more than 8,000 solar PV systems will be installed by businesses in 2015, which is a 20 per cent increase on 2014 levels.

• the system is expected to generate 41,000 kWh per annum of electricity with an estimated value of $7,400 per annum; and

There are four state-based energy efficiency schemes that are operating in Australia that support a range of energy efficiency activities, including efficient lighting. Victoria, NSW, South Australia and the ACT all have energy efficiency schemes which have been or are about to be expanded. Efficient lighting at both the residential and commercial level have been the biggest sources of energy savings under the schemes. Let’s consider the Victorian and NSW schemes, which are the largest schemes and certificates - representing one tonne of greenhouse emission reductions - that can be created from a range of activities. Efficient lighting accounted for approximately 80 per cent of the energy savings in 2014 under both the NSW and Victorian schemes. In Victoria, more than 143,000 residential installations have had halogen lights replaced by LEDs. More than 7,000 efficient lighting upgrades in business premises in Victoria and more than 18,000 upgrades in NSW have been supported by these schemes. Customers embracing solar and efficient lighting because it saves money Green Energy Trading handles the creation, compliance and sale of renewable energy and energy efficiency certificates for clients. We provide the creation platform ‘Geo’, which allows our clients access to not only the best online system on the market but also commercial finance and energy efficiency project support designed to help their business grow. We have developed two case studies based on some recent examples where we have created certificates. The details have been modified slightly for

confidentiality purposes, however the cost and payback figures are representative of what can currently be achieved.

• the system involved 120 panels and associated equipment with a total cost of $65,000; • Green Energy Trading created 621 Renewable Energy Certificates with a total value of $23,600, which reduced the up-front cost to $41,400 (reduction of 36 per cent);

• there is simple payback for the system of 5.6 years. Commercial Lighting case study • replacement of 300 T8 tubes with LED fittings at a retail business in Sydney at a total cost of $21,000; • the business operates 5000 hours per annum with energy savings of 50,232 kWh per annum; • Green Energy Trading created 532 Energy Savings Certificates with a total value of $9,044, which reduced the up-front cost to $11,956 (reduction of 43 per cent); • the value of the electricity saved is estimated to be $10,000 per annum; and • there is simple payback for the system of 1.2 years. If the total system cost was less than $20,000 and the business qualified as a small business (turnover of less than $2 million) then an immediate deduction is available for the expenditure. This improves the economics even further and makes for a very compelling business case. We will be hearing a lot more in the media about renewable energy and reducing greenhouse emissions. Many customers have already benefited from the installation of solar PV and lighting upgrades. Many more installations will need to take place to meet more stringent greenhouse reduction targets. For more information, contact Green Energy Trading on 03 9805 0700 or by their website The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


the interview

Scott Williams Scott Williams’ approach to stress is quite different from most. The laughter specialist (and MC for our annual conference in Japan) started out with wife Angie in the mid-70s as the magic act supporting an international hypnotist. This three-month run turned into a five-year gig, and the pair then went on to support a whole range of different acts including (for the over 40s) The Monkees, The Seekers and The Village People, plus more than 4000 performances as the resident illusionist at the old Gold Coast staple, The Magic Castle. Nowadays, ‘The Doc’, as he’s affectionately known, is a motivational speaker, MC to remember, and comedic crusader for the corporate world. Lisa Carter breaks out her best emojiface with the master of laughter.

Pleasure – it’s a big ol’ carrot our bodies dangle in front of us to get us to do things, like getting up off the couch for chocolate. Some people choose to find pleasure through illegal and harmful methods, but you help thousands of people find their ‘natural high’ – how? Funny you mention chocolate, Lisa. Chocolate assists in the release of serotonin, triggering activity in the reward and pleasure centres of our brain. The trouble with chocolate is we must limit ourselves or create problems. With chocolate, it’s a case of less is more! That’s why laughter is so good - it triggers endorphins, a set of neuropeptides (brain chemicals) that give you an even bigger rush than chocolate! And you can never have too much. The aim of the game is to overdose! OK – so – about these magic little endorphins. What the heck are they actually all about? And why do we need them? The term endorphin is actually short for endogenous morphine – or ‘morphine from within’. Endorphins are the human body’s own natural analgesic, produced in the brain – normally produced in response to pain. After the brain releases them, they travel to specific receptors in the body. The chemical interrupts the pain messages being sent to the brain and since the brain no longer receives the message that the body is in pain – our ‘sense’ or awareness of our pain diminishes. When there is an overabundance of endorphins in our body we begin to experience a feeling of euphoria. This is what athletes feel after a good workout. I’m sure you’ve heard of the ‘runner’s high’. Sure have! So why do all these endorphin-producing activities, such as laughing or exercising (I suggest this may be at the time we FINISH), have such similar effects? Obviously, when we exercise we put a strain on our muscles and this triggers the release of endorphins. Exercise is very important for us and actually very enjoyable once you commit to it regularly. But a wide range of other pleasurable activities also release endorphins, such as laughter, massage, eating strawberries, did I mention chocolate? Spicy food (the tongue interprets a hot curry as a pain creator and triggers endorphins), acupuncture, physiotherapy and meditation. Oh, and sex! Endorphin levels can increase in our body by up to 300 per cent because of sex! It’s an endorphilicious smorgasbord! We just have to make these types of things a part of our daily ritual! A good habit is just as addictive as a bad habit, only with benefits instead of detriment. Daily sex? I swear that just triggered a collective ‘yeehar’ from the men of Australia. But what about getting the giggles – how many times a day for optimal health? As often as possible. It is estimated that children laugh, chuckle, giggle or guffaw around 300 times a day yet as adults we manage to do it just 17! We need to take decisive steps to laugh more. One of the reasons our laughter levels drop is because as we mature we are taught a range of laughter limiting behaviours: ‘come on now – stop being silly’, ‘grow up’, ‘think about your future’.


One of the big ones is the fact that as adults we get into the habit of throwing our minds forward, thinking about what we have to do tonight, tomorrow or next week. In doing so, we miss much of the value that lies in the present moment. We are just no longer aware of what’s going on right now. In doing so, we rob ourselves of joy. Children, on the other hand, don’t care what’s happening later. It’s just the here and now that is of the utmost importance. Therefore kids are quick to pick up the value that lies within the moment. A child who laughs 300 times in a day is laughing on average every two and a half minutes. In other words, just about everything in life is funny in some way when you are looking at it through the eyes of a child. Children also do not carry forward anger. They may have a momentary meltdown about something but it can just as quickly dissipate. As adults, we bundle up all our anger and frustrations and carry them around with us. The heavier the weight of our mental anguish the less likely we are to enjoy a good hearty laugh when the opportunity arises. Do you think the old wives’ tale about dying from a broken heart is actually possible, that it has to do with a lack of endorphins? Yes, I do. There is still so much we don’t understand about the human brain and the enormous power it possesses. We know, for example, that some indigenous tribespeople in human history have been able to ‘will’ themselves to die. That will to die can be just as relevant for someone who has lost someone very dear to them, someone they have spent 50 or 60 years

with. It’s not only that they can’t go on but also that they don’t want to go on. We also know that a build-up of stress hormones, such as cortisol and noradrenaline, in the body because of an overactive stress response system (SRS) can cause chronic stress including coronary heart disease, metabolic dysfunction and insulin resistance (leading to diabetes), as well as a general increase in erratic behaviour. All these things can play a role in someone’s suffering – whether from a broken body or a broken spirit. It’s all connected – physical, emotional, spiritual. How do you encourage people to keep their own little ‘Incredible Hulk’ moments under control? Often it comes down to relinquishing control rather than taking control. So many things that annoy us or frustrate us can be out of our control as an action (like someone cutting us off in traffic) but within our control as a reaction. There will always be situations you would like to change but can’t. Let them go. Worry about the things you think you may have some power to alter. The things you can’t change, allow them to flow over or around you. We all have a finite number of things we can have on our mental plate at any one time. As humans, we have six core emotions split into two biases – love, joy and surprise, sadness, anger and fear. We must become more discerning about what we allow in for mental processing because our thoughts trigger our emotions. It’s a new world we are faced with today and we need to sharpen our mental skills in order to successfully operate in it. In other words, we need a more robust mental operating system. Some people are still thinking on a Windows 95 platform.

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The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


Find ways of developing greater thought processes so you are better equipped mentally for this new world. And physically equip yourself with enough exercise to keep your body in a reasonable condition for its age. Even as adults (and usually at the most inopportune moment), if someone else starts giggling, it’s almost impossible not to join them. And the more disapproving the glares, the harder it is to stop. Why on earth is laughing so incredibly contagious? The reason we get ‘infected’ when we hear others laugh is that our fellow human beings have and always will be our primary source of positive emotion – it is in our DNA. Although it was once thought to be a ‘learnt behaviour’ (derived from watching our parents laugh and pull funny faces at us in the first few months of life), researchers now believe laughter is part of our make-up – part of who we are. Studies done on babies who were both deaf and blind found that they still began to laugh at around four months. Only 15 per cent of our laughter comes from watching a funny TV show, hearing a comedian tell a joke, reading a cartoon or some other form of physical comedy. 85 per cent of our laughter comes

from interaction with others. As we take on greater responsibilities in adulthood, we begin to cut down on the amount of social interaction we have with others and this reduces our laughter levels. Get out and find ways of interacting with others – quality social time with others whose company you enjoy will always bring positive benefit to your life. From someone who spends a great deal of work hours in front of a very unresponsive, and unfunny, computer screen, what is the most wonderful part of spending your work days making people laugh? Laughter heals. When you have experienced some kind of tragedy or heartbreak in your life – when you once again begin to hear the sound of your own laughter, you know that healing has begun. So many people come up to me after shows and tell me that they haven’t laughed so much for years (thankfully or I’m in the wrong profession!). What greater blessing is there than to work in the service of others. Finish this sentence: A world without laughter is…? A world without laughter is a cemetery.

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your top 3 tech questions

Our hardworking technical team at Master Electricians Australia HQ help thousands of our members every year navigate a range of different issues. From interpreting standards, regulations or legislation to advice with technical, safety or compliance matters, our guys know it all! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions the tech team receives. 1. Flexible Cables Q: Can I use flexible cables as used on extensions leads as a replacement for TPS fixed wiring? A: Yes, as long as the flexible cable has been manufactured as a heavy duty sheathed type. You may have to refer to the manufacturer’s technical specifications to be sure that the cable is manufactured to a ‘heavy duty’ standard and not designed for light duty use. Refer to AS/NZS 3000 clause

A: Not generally but there are exceptions. You will need to contact the manufacturer of the suspended ceiling. The support rods and the adjustment mechanisms may only be rated to carry the weight of the ceiling tiles and a defined number of light fittings per square metre. The additional weight of TPS cables tied to the supporting rods may pose a risk of the ceiling collapsing. Refer to AS/NZS 3000 clause

2. Suspended Ceilings Q: Can I use the support rods for a suspended ceiling to hold up TPS lighting and power cables instead of a catenary wire?

3. Metal beams Q: I am running TPS power cables in the ‘C’ section of a roof joist, do I have to earth the metal beam?

A: No, as the TPS is a sheathed double insulated cable, it will provide adequate protection from any direct conductor contact of the conductive building member. Care should be taken when wiring equipment suspended or attached to a metallic beam that single insulation is not exposed. Refer to AS/NZS 3000 clause (b) The information above is specific to the question and may not apply to all such instances. If the application is different or has some similarities then please consult our Technical Hotline for further advice on 1300 889 198. The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


letter of the law

Security Interest trumps Legal Title under the PPSA: Does another party have a superior interest and priority over your property? The Personal Properties and Securities Register prompts you to review your credit and risk management practices, particularly in the event of a debtor default or insolvency.

The Personal Properties and Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA)

and the Personal Properties and Securities Register (PPSR) are becoming more prevalent in the construction industry. All business operators should be mindful of the current statutory provisions to protect their assets including tools, materials and vehicles that may be at any time in possession of another party subject to a security agreement. MEA members who may not be familiar with the PPSA and the PPSR and those with active registrations against their property

and over the properties of others are advised to take note of the following cases which have set the tone for ownership and entitlement to property. Ownership vs entitlement The first landmark case in Australia to consider the PPSA was Maiden Civil v QES [2013] NSWSC 852[1]. It played out between two construction companies and their competing claims to three Caterpillar civil construction vehicles in the Northern Territory.


Queensland Excavation Services (QES) acquired the vehicles in 2010 and they were leased to Maiden Civil (P&E) Pty Ltd (Maiden Civil). Maiden Civil engaged a financial company called Fast Financial to fund the lease of the construction vehicles and in doing so also granted a security interest over the three construction vehicles and all of Maiden Civil’s property. Interestingly, Fast registered its security interest in Maiden Civil’s property under the PPSR and QES, however the true owner of the vehicles did not. The lease agreement continued between the parties whereby Maiden Civil held the vehicles on its site and paid QES for the same. In 2012, Maiden Civil went into liquidation and defaulted on its finance agreement. Fast Financial sought to impose its security. The dispute arose as to who had entitlement to the vehicles – Maiden Civil, who had possession and a registered security interest under the PPSR, or QES, who as the owner of the vehicles asserted title and demanded the return of the vehicles? The Court determined that QES was the true owner of the vehicles and had legal title, however it failed to register the security interest on the PPSR and as such steps were taken by Fast Financial in relation to Maiden Civil’s property, it had a superior security interest to that of QES. The Court found at [73] that: “Maiden did not have only a mere right to possession under the QES leases… a PPS lessee on taking possession of the collateral acquires not only a possessory right but also proprietary rights to the extent that it can grant security interests to third parties, so that the lessor’s interest if unregistered is vulnerable to being defeated by security interests so granted to such third parties.” In the ruling, as a result of Fast Financial perfecting its security interest, it had priority over the legal owner, QES. Importance of Timing As in Maiden Civil, a similar question was considered in Carrafa, Goutzos & Lofthouse (as liquidators of Relux Commercial Pty Ltd (in liq)) & Anor v Doka Formwork Pty Ltd [2014] VSC 570 – another construction case relating to entitlement to property (formwork), serving a reminder not only of the importance of registering security interests but ensuring they are perfected within time. Relux Commercial Pty Ltd (Relux) had agreed to lease formwork from Doka Formwork Pty Ltd (Doka), subject to lease agreements on February 26 and March 14, 2014 (for an indefinite period). Doka proceeded to register a security interest on the PPSR against commercial property held by Relux on February 20, 2014 (registration date). In April, Relux entered administration and subsequently went into liquidation in May 2014. Again, the question became – who had the superior right to the property? The Court considered Section 588FL of the Corporations Act (Cth), which provides that certain interests covered by the PPSA that are not registered on the PPSR within a certain time vest in a company that is being wound up. It found the ‘critical time’ to be April 7, 2015 (date the administrators were appointed) and the security interests needed to be registered six months before April 7, 2015 or the earlier of 20 business days after the lease agreement that gave rise to the security interest came into force. The Court found that the property subject to the leases commencing: 1. before January 2014 vested in Relux (not perfected within 20 business days); and

2. on February 26, 2014 and March 14, 2014 did not vest in Relux (registration made before the expiry of the 20 business days). Again, as in Maiden Civil, the said legal owner’s right to property was extinguished for a failure to register a security interest in time.

“Identify and register all security interests on the PPSR on entering into an agreement, as a failure to do so may strip you of your entitlement to a party with a registered interest.”

Sirfis J in the above judgment at [59] – [60] sends the following important message: “As noted by courts who have previously considered these and similar provisions of the Act, the effect of these provisions is to extinguish the lessor’s interest in the property where it is not registered within time. “This can lead to seemingly draconian outcomes, particularly where the property is valuable such as in this case where the Formwork Equipment was valued at over a million dollars. “The impact of these provisions is compounded by the broad scope of the PPSA and the large number of interests covered by it. “Despite these consequences, as noted in the Explanatory Memorandum, these provisions are needed ‘to prevent security interests being granted fraudulently with knowledge of an imminent administration, liquidation or deed of company arrangement’.[21] Moreover, in order to avoid these consequences, security interest holders can simply ensure they register their interests as soon as possible after they are granted.” These cases demonstrate the importance of registering any and all security interests in property on the PPSR, otherwise any right to it will be extinguished. It could happen to you – lessons to learn 1. Identify and register all security interests on the PPSR on entering into an agreement, as a failure to do so may strip you of your entitlement to a party with a registered interest. 2. Ensure that agreements with contractors include provisions obliging them to notify you (subcontractor) of any dealings relating to any of your property in their possession at any time including finance agreements with third parties to enable and prompt registration under the PPSR. 3. Be mindful of any registrations made in bad faith and competing interests. This summary was compiled by Rawia Elsleiman (Senior Lawyer) of Doyles Construction Lawyers. For more information on the PPSA and how it could apply to you, contact Doyles Construction Lawyers – The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


workplace relations

New Australian Apprenticeship Support Network to increase apprentice completion rates The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) has now replaced the Australian Apprenticeships Centres (AACs), as of July 1, 2015. The AASN is an Australian Government initiative designed to reduce red tape and improve apprenticeship and traineeship completion rates.

The AASN is part of the Australian Government’s reforms to ensure vocational education and training (VET) provides real skills for real jobs, to lift the quality of skills training, and to raise the status of apprenticeships and skills training as a pathway to a rewarding and highly-valued career. The Australian Government is investing up to $200 million annually in the AASN to help recruit, train and retain more than 300,000 apprentices and trainees a year.

areas will receive strong coverage via outreach servicing arrangements in an additional 160 locations.

Under the new contract, 11 organisations are delivering services through more than 280 network provider sites. Rural and remote

Skill360’s offices are located in Cairns, Townsville, Mount Isa, Emerald, Mackay and Rockhampton with BUSY At Work offices

As one of the 11 organisations, BUSY At Work has played a key role in growing Australian apprenticeships and employment in Queensland for the past 35 years. Partnering with Skill360, BUSY delivers support across Queensland for employers and apprentices.


covering the south-eastern area of the state offering a one-stop shop for employers, apprentices and trainees who are looking for local expert advice and help.

Australian Network Providers (ANPs) are delivering tailored advice and support to Australian apprentices and employers under universal and targeted services.

BUSY is also providing support in Western Australia through their strong partnerships, developed with CoAct (formerly known as Job Futures), and can now deliver throughout Australia through their alliance with MAS National.

Universal Services

BUSY At Work CEO Paul Miles says these strategic partnerships mean BUSY is in the best position to deliver apprenticeships nationally. “This is excellent news for businesses which may have office locations throughout Australia. BUSY can truly provide a one-stopshop service, delivering all of their apprenticeship and recruitment needs,” Mr Miles says. “Our objective is to restructure the services, placing greater focus on improving the completion rates of apprentices and trainees by matching the right person for the right job, right from the start! “The goal is to reduce duplication and complexity in the apprenticeship and traineeship system and allow more effective interaction with employers, apprentices, trainees and other stakeholders.”

These services are delivered to all Australian apprentices and trainees and their employers. This includes sign-up and client progress contacts, administering training contracts and eligibility assessments with contracts to be completed electronically. Targeted Services Apprenticeship Network Providers deliver targeted support services where required to meet the individual needs of employers and apprentices, from pre-commencement to completion. • Gateway Services – customised pre-commencement services designed to screen, stream and match apprentices (and apprenticeships) with employers. • In-training Support – tailored support such as mentoring for apprentices and employers.

How do I know if my Australian Apprenticeships Centre (AAC) has changed? Employers who have had a change in their provider would have received a letter from the Australian Government by now, outlining the transition process and who their new Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) is. Each case is very individual. If you are an employer and believe your AAC has changed and you haven’t received your letter, or if you have any questions regarding the transition, call 13 38 73. What is the transition process? If you have a new Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP), all files and contracts previously held at your Australian Apprenticeships Centre (AAC) will be forwarded to the new ANP who will take on any outstanding claims and incentives. Can I choose an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider for my apprentices? The Department of Education and Training will allocate an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider to employers whose previous Australian Apprenticeships Centre have not been successful in continuing under the new contract. For the first five months from the announcement, employers will not be able to transfer their business from one Australian

Apprenticeship Support Network Provider to another. This is to provide time for settling in at the commencement of the contract period. From October 1, 2015, employers will be able to use the network provider of their choice. I’m not happy with my new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider. Can I change provider or what can I do? Under the new contract arrangements, for the first five months from the announcement employers will not be able to transfer their business from one Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider to another. This is to provide time for settling in at the commencement of the contract period. However, where a special circumstance exists that requires transfers to occur prior to this date, the department will endeavour to speed up these transfers on a case-by-case basis. For more information: Apprenticeship Network: visit or call 13 38 73 BUSY At Work: visit or call 13 28 79


The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


social snaps

Master Electricians out and about Thanks to our members who attended our recent events. Were you there? See if you can find yourself in these pics and check out the upcoming events in the calendar!

Electricians battling it out at MEA’s Fastest Hit Competition.

The team from Well Earthed Electrical raring to go in their own custom-made Golf Day shirts.


The team from Clipsal Schneider Electric - Daryl Micallef, Edward Arendt, Malcolm Richards and Craig Dupuy.

Brett Hyde and Owen Blamires being presented with the Pre-Contractor Program certificate by Andrew Bailey at the latest Kingaroy Industry Forum.

The team from CNW posing for a photo at the Prysmian Group hole.

The team from CNW looking ready to play a spot of golf – or cricket?

Glenn Jones from Coastline Electrical Service looking as proud as punch as he is inducted into the Alumni!

Got a snap to share? Send ‘em through to: The team from Precise Power winning first place at a Gold Coast Golf Day.

The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


events calendar Snapshot of MEA member events and webinars taking place this SPRInG Contact your State Manager to find out more




18 September 2015 Sydney – Social Event

14 October 2015 VIC/TAS Excellence Awards

27 September – 1 October 2015 Annual Conference – Kyoto, Japan

16 October 2015 Bundaberg Golf Day

4 November 2015 Bundaberg Industry Forum #4 & Branch Meeting

16 October 2015 SA/NT Excellence Awards 23 October 2015 NSW Excellence Awards 24 October 2015 South Queensland Excellence Awards 27 October 2015 Kingaroy Industry Forum #4 & Branch Meeting 31 October 2015 North Queensland Excellence Awards

5 November 2015 Fraser Coast Industry Forum #4 9 November 2015 Rockhampton Industry Forum #4 10 November 2015 Gladstone Industry Forum #4 17 November 2015 Cairns Industry Forum #4 17 November 2015 Adelaide Industry Forum #4 18 November 2015 Townsville Industry Forum #4 19 November 2015 Mackay Industry Forum #4 21 November 2015 National Excellence Awards 24 November 2015 Toowoomba Industry Forum #4 25 November 2015 Brisbane Industry Forum #4 25 November 2015 Melbourne Industry Forum #4 26 November 2015 Sunshine Coast Industry Forum #4


The Master Electrician

Spring 2015


the last word

China trade agreement will benefit industry Anyone who has followed safety and regulatory issues in our industry in recent years will know there has been no more vocal advocate for the toughest product certification and licensing standards than Master Electricians Australia.

to 12 months), the OTSR holder can apply for the relevant AQF Certificate III, which can then be used to apply for a full tradesperson’s licence.

However, we simply do not accept the scaremongering relating to the ChinaAustralia Free Trade Agreement (CHAFTA), and particularly the claims that it will lead to unlicensed electricians working in Australia.

So clearly this is not a ‘free ride’ for an overseas electrical worker to work in Australia. It’s not that long ago that we were in the grip of a significant skills shortage and many members were telling me that we needed to create easier access for overseas workers.

Although the deal streamlines entry procedures, it does not remove the requirement for the visa applicant to hold comparable quality trade qualifications and also to satisfy our strict licensing conditions once a contractor arrives in Australia.

The Federal Government has responded to that call through the CHAFTA, without lowering safety standards or licensing requirements. And while the red-hot demand of a few years ago has eased, we need to plan for the future.

In order to receive a 457 visa, applicants from China will still need to have a skills and qualification assessment by one of only three approved registered Training Organisations.

On a similar note, Master Electricians is representing the industry on the Productivity Commission’s review of the arrangements for mutual recognition of skills. I don’t want to pre-judge the possible outcomes of the review, but I will say that at least five of the eight states and territories are not applying the agreement as it was intended.

They must then go through a further process to receive an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR), which can be used to apply for a provisional licence, so they can work under supervision while completing the Australian context training. On successful completion of both the Australian context training and a period of supervised employment (up

Whether qualified workers come from interstate or overseas, it is undoubtedly in the best interests of employers, the industry and consumers to have enough workers to meet demand, and in the best interests of employees to be able to follow the work.

If there are ways to further facilitate the transfer of skilled labour across state borders, the review will no doubt make some strong recommendations to push that process along.


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Profile for Master Electricians Australia

The Master Electrician Spring 2015  

Leading publication for the Electrical Industry.

The Master Electrician Spring 2015  

Leading publication for the Electrical Industry.


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