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March 2021




Check out and follow the ever growing community of like-minded sparkies on social! #ClipsalTrade

Now more than ever, it’s important to stick together, share our experiences and work through ideas for staying strong and supporting the electrical industry. The Clipsal Trade social channels are dedicated to you, so get involved! Featuring: •

Aussie sparky stories

Tools & checklists

Business tips

Opportunities to upskill

Products that position your business for success

Live sessions and much more

Our goal is to bring the electrician community together, so have a chat with your mates and join us now. Spotify: search ClipsalTrade




HiLux 4x4 SR5 Double-Cab Pick-Up Shown*

Save $3,8001 on the 2020 HiLux 4x4 SR5 Double-Cab Pick-Up with your Gold Fleet Discount We invite you to awaken your unbreakable and experience the legendary performance, durability and bold design of the HiLux 4x4 SR5. With more power2 and more torque2, the enhanced best-selling HiLux 2.8L diesel engine is stronger and more capable than ever. An upgraded suspension system builds upon HiLux’s legendary off-road capabilities, offering drivers superior comfort and handling even in the harshest conditions. It’s the ute built for real Aussies. Whatever’s around the corner, HiLux SR5 is ready for the challenge. Your Association membership unlocks Gold Fleet discounts across the Toyota vehicle range3 to help you find the right car for your lifestyle and budget. To find out more, visit your Toyota Fleet Dealer or call 1800 679 247

1 Discount offer available to all Industry Association members on the HiLux 4x4 SR5 Double-Cab Pick-Up. 2 2.8L Diesel AT variants. 3 Excluding Special Edition Models. *Left Vehicle: 4x4 SR5 Double-Cab Pick-Up in Crystal Pearl accessorised with tow ball and tow tongue, tub step, tub liner, rear recovery points and Black sports bar. Right Vehicle: 4x4 SR5 Double-Cab Pick-Up in Crystal Pearl accessorised with 18” alloy wheels, premium steel bull bar with full size light bar (light bar fitting kit and driving light harness sold separately), side steps, side rails, snorkel, bonnet protector (Matte Black), weathershields, headlamp covers and body side mouldings (Black). All accessories sold separately. Toyota Genuine Accessories are not applicable to all models/grades. See your Toyota dealer to confirm Accessories suitable for your vehicle. Refer to Owners’ Manual for gross vehicle mass limits. Colours depicted may vary from actual colour due to display process. Visit

ADC3 becomes ADC9

More of the same but better Hager’s new generation of single module RCBOs, ADC9, keeps all the features of the ADC3 and fits perfectly into our onekonekt system that celebrates almost 10 years of success in Australia. Apart from a reduction in size for ease of installation, it is almost the same product on the outside…but much better on the inside with benefits such as switched neutral capability and extension of the range to include D curve 30mA and 10mA type I.

IN THIS ISSUE March 2021 09 A Year of Change and Opportunity Ahead 10 News in Brief 12 Policy and Advocacy 14 The Evolution of Australian Mega Projects 15 Can an Employer Mandate an Employee to Take the COVID-19 Vaccination? 16 Smart Home Technologies — a Smart Way to Diversify Your Business 22 From Challenge to Change — International Women’s Day

NSW/ACT BRANCH 26 Branch Update 27 Faster Payments Pilot to Benefit Small NSW Subcontracting Girms 27 Digitising Trade Licensing in NSW 28 Good News for Electrical Contractors Owed Money by Homeowners 30 Vale Steve Wright

QLD BRANCH 32 Branch Update 32 Unlicensed Electrical Work — A Blight on the Electrotechnology Industry 33 Smoke Alarm Law Changes Getting Closer 33 Queensland Electrical Safety Act Now Under Review 34 A Team on a Mission — How Give Industries is Making a Social Impact

16 NECA News is the official publication of the National Electrical and Communications Association







L4,30 Atchison Street, St Leonards NSW 2065

49 Tennant Street Fyshwick ACT 2609

122 Hume Highway Chullora NSW 2190

213 Greenhill Road Eastwood SA 5063

PO Box 620 North Hobart TAS 7002

Locked Bag 1818 St Leonards NSW 1590

PO Box 298 Fyshwick ACT 2609

PO Box 6749 Silverwater DC NSW 1811

Suite 1.5 Ian Barclay Building, 460-492 Beaudesert Road Salisbury QLD 4107

PO Box 47 Fullarton SA 5063

1300 361 099

(02) 9439 8523

(02) 6280 5580

1300 361 099

PO Box 778 Archerfield QLD 4108 (07) 3276 7950

(08) 8272 2966

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Our Australian team includes experienced lighting designers, engineers, production specialists, warehousing, logistics and customer support. With headquarters and a large production facility in Sydney, ZG also has four warehouses strategically located around Australia to manage all requirements. ZG stocks a huge range of lighting products, as well as having the capability to deliver custom lighting solutions. ZG is proudly committed to employing Australians to support the Australian market.

For the best vision, clarity and detail. Call ZG Lighting Australia today. +61 1300 139 965 |

16 SA/NT BRANCH 36 Branch Update 38 Don’t Miss the 2021 Roadshow Seminar Series

TAS BRANCH 40 Branch Update 41 Be Aware of Solar Panel Installations 41 NECA Annual Business Luncheon Brings Industry Together 41 Record Dwelling Approvals Equals More Work for Local Electrical COntractors

VIC BRANCH 42 Branch Update 43 Become a Mentor 44 Can You Mandate Vaccines in Victoria? 47 Energy Safe Victoria Update 48 M Squared = Net Zero 46 Introducing HSEQ Plus

WA BRANCH 52 Branch Update 54 Western Power Update 55 What You Need to Know About the New Industrial Manslaughter Provisions 56 Janissen Electrics — Projects That Make a Difference 58 WA Electrical Inspector Bulletin — Non-Compliant Trends for Switchboards 59 Vale Sam Genovese 60 Your Responsibilities When It Comes to SWMS and High-Risk Construction Work



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18/199 Balcatta Road Balcatta WA 6021

1300 300 031

(08) 6241 6100



62 Unresolved, a Decade On: Aging Infinity Cable Risk

76 Common Pain Points for Electrical Contracting Businesses

64 Getting to Know the New AS/NZS 61439 Series of Standards

78 Business in Brief


80 Tools of the Trade

68 A Snapshot of Industrial Manslaughter Laws in Australia 70 Why Your Business Needs a Safety Management System

HEALTH AND WELLBEING 82 Mental Health and the Workplace

72 Clear and Present Danger — Recent Arc Flash Incident Highlights Risk to Electrical Workers 64 Be Asbestos Aware — A New Guide for Electricians


NECA News is published four times per year for NECA members, industry providers, wholesalers and manufacturers. Your input is important. To contribute article suggestions or to advertise, contact

DISCLAIMER Opinions expressed by contributors in articles, in reproduced articles and advertisements are the individual opinions of such contributors or the authors of such reproduced articles or advertisements and not necessarily those of NECA, which does not hold itself responsible for correctness of any statement contained herein.


ARE NOW OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS Contact your state office or visit for more details

A YEAR OF CHANGE AND OPPORTUNITY AHEAD There is undoubtedly change in the air, and with this comes new opportunities. As we build our way out of the pandemicled recession, savvy contractors are seeing the opportunities before them. Funds that may have been earmarked for overseas travel are instead being funnelled into home renovations, with many contractors experiencing an increase in building and maintenance work. Some are suggesting that the ‘cocooning’ boom could go on for years. Other contractors are taking advantage of the unprecedented government investment in ‘mega projects’. Then there are the multi-billion-dollar urban commercial and residential precincts being driven by private sector financing. In this issue of NECA News we take a look at a few of these contractor opportunities. Our feature story dives

into smart home systems and the growing role of the electrician. With International Women’s Day on March 8, we speak with six women from all facets of the electrotechnology industry on the challenges that create change. And importantly, how challenges move us forward. We also take a look at potential changes in the workplace with the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations. Once you’ve put down this issue of NECA News we’re keen for you to have your say in NECA’s 2021 Market Monitor biennial survey. It’s the most comprehensive survey of the electrotechnology industry in Australia and has been taking the pulse of the electrical and communications industry for the last decade. Your participation enables NECA to engage with industry, government and

key stakeholders on the issues that matter most to you, identify future trends and build market insights for the benefit of our industry. As a respondent, you will receive a special report, not made publicly available, which summarises rates and charges per state/territory and size of business. And you go into the draw to win one of ten VISA Gift cards valued at $500 each! Have your say before April 16. Thank for your continued feedback on NECA News. If you have something to share about what’s happening in your corner of the country, let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Take care and enjoy! The NECA News team

GET IN TOUCH TELL US WHAT YOU THINK Share your feedback via email

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ARE YOU A NECA MEMBER? We’re looking to showcase NECA member stories in each issue. Reach out to your NECA Branch or email

SIGN UP TO NECA NEWS ONLINE If you’d like to join more than 30,000 of your industry peers and receive a digital version of NECA News, sign up at


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NEWS IN BRIEF APPOINTMENT OF NEW NECA CEO, OLIVER JUDD NECA is pleased to announce Oliver Judd has been appointed as the organisation’s new CEO.

HAVE YOUR SAY: NECA 2021 MARKET MONITOR INDUSTRY SURVEY NECA’s 2021 Market Monitor biennial survey is the most comprehensive survey of the electrotechnology industry in Australia and has been taking the pulse of the electrical and communications industry for the last decade. As a respondent you will receive a special report, not made publicly available, which summarises rates and charges per state/ territory and size of business. This includes industry charging methods, call out fees and hourly charge out rates for both tradespeople and apprentices by year. Your insights enable NECA to engage with industry, government and key stakeholders on the issues that matter most to you, identify future trends and build market insights for the benefit of our industry. Individual survey responses are confidential and entrants will have the chance to win one of ten (10) VISA Gift cards valued at $500 each. The survey closes on Friday 16 April. Have your say and make a difference to the future of your industry For more information about NECA’s Market Monitor industry survey or competition terms and conditions visit NECA’s 2021 Market Monitor survey would not be possible without the support of our industry research partners: ABB, CABAC, Clevertronics, Clipsal, Hager, Lawrence & Hanson, Legrand, Milwaukee Tools, MMEM, NHP, Pierlite, Rexel and Schneider Electric.

Mr Judd has spent the last 12 years with NECA as Executive Director. He brings a wealth of organisational and industry knowledge to the role and is well placed to lead NECA as the organisation evolves. NECA would like to thank the outgoing CEO Suresh Manickam for his efforts over the last few years. NECA wishes him all the best in his future endeavours and looks forward to continuing to work with him in his ongoing elected roles as Secretary of the National Office and Tasmania Branch.

NOMINATE YOUR PROJECT FOR THE 2020/21 EXCELLENCE AWARDS The NECA Excellence Awards are the electrical and communications contracting industry’s highest accolade and one of the most prestigious awards programs in Australia. These Awards recognise outstanding achievement across the industry nationally. Entering the awards provides an opportunity for your company to be acknowledged for outstanding commitment to innovation and professionalism. The NECA Excellence Awards are open to all NECA members. There are thirteen award categories, which are entered and judged at a state level: 

Emerging New Small Business

Domestic Residence Large

Work Health & Safety Best Practice

Industrial Small

Lighting Design & Installation

Industrial Medium

Energy Efficiency & Environment

Industrial Large

Voice/Data Communications & Audio Visual

Commercial Small

Commercial Medium

Commercial Large

Domestic Residence Small

Each state hosts an Awards function from June to September each year, with winners progressing to the National Excellence Awards held in November. Only state category winners are eligible to enter the National Awards for that category, and are judged against other state category winners from across Australia. The 2020/21 National Excellence Awards winners will be announced at a black-tie industry gala dinner held on Thursday, 18 November 2021 in Canberra. Contact your local NECA Branch or visit for details.



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March 2021


NECA PODCAST: LISTEN IN Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of some of Australia’s most successful electrical contracting businesses? Listen in to NECA’s new podcast where CEO, Oliver Judd, gets the inside story. Join us on the couch for a new conversation each month. Check out conversations with Peter Murray, founder of PM Electric Pty Limited, and Lea and Ian Hicks, Directors of Hix Group Pty Ltd.

NECA TRADE TEACHER OF THE YEAR 2020 Each year NECA recognises excellence in teaching in the electrotechnology industry through the national Trade Teacher of the Year Award. Now in their thirteenth year, these awards formally recognise and reward electrotechnology teachers for their passion, excellence and commitment to developing and nurturing talent. NECA is pleased to announce the 2020 Trade Teacher of the Year is Mr Tyson Alder, an instructor from the College of Electrical Training in Western Australia. Tyson was chosen as the winner by a judging panel of electrotechnology industry experts for his tireless work and innovative teaching practices equipping the next generation of skilled electricians. Receiving the national award during a COVID-safe ceremony from local Member for Jandakot, Yaz Mubarakai, Tyson has been described as embodying everything the Trade Teacher of the Year Award stands for. “For more than a decade NECA’s Trade Teacher award has recognised excellence in teaching within the electrotechnology industry,” Oliver Judd, CEO of NECA said.

“The commitment of trade teachers to the future of our industry is displayed through setting the highest of standards. I extend my warmest congratulations on behalf of NECA and our industry to Tyson.” “I am extremely proud of all our educators,” Carl Copeland, Branch Secretary of NECA WA commented. “Tyson Alder represents everything we strive for when educating the next generation of electrical tradespeople. His ability to adapt to what was a very difficult 2020 and his obvious intense care for the education of his students and fellow instructors makes him the perfect candidate for this national award. “During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic Tyson re-invented the way in which students were taught, by digitising

Interested in keeping in touch with what’s happening in the electrical and communications industry?


the workshop environment and beginning a program assisting ‘at risk’ students. This unique approach allowed students to continue to get hands on and safe practical experience while studying from home. His innovations ensured our largest ever cohort of pre-apprentices achieved a 100% completion rate,” he said. Receiving the award, Tyson shared: “I am passionate about our industry and take great pride in educating the future tradespeople who will take it forward. I take great pleasure in giving my students every opportunity to succeed and see the best in themselves. “It’s an honour to be recognised by NECA and others in the VET sector; receiving this award is a proud highlight in my career,” he said.

 /National Electrical and Communications Association  /NationalElectricalCommunicationsAssociation  @neca_au

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POLICY AND ADVOCACY ACMA CONTINUES TO SUPPORT CABLING INDUSTRY In 2018 the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) initiated a review of the regulation of telecommunications customer cabling. In response to the review, ACMA has announced its commitment to ‘continue to work with the five cabling registrars, and in supporting the wider cabling sector to ensure that the training provided to cablers and the types of registration available continue to be fit for purpose’. As part of the review, NECA and the Australian Registered Cablers Association (ACRS) provided comprehensive submissions and met with ACMA to ensure the best interests of members working in communications were met.

AGENDA SETTING WITH THE ABCC NECA CEO Oliver Judd recently met with Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, Stephen McBurney.

In its submission, NECA highlighted that Safe Work Australia reported between 6 and 9 electrotechnology and telecommunications trades worker fatalities each year between 2003 and 2016. Frequently, telecommunication cabling work involves working in difficult to reach spaces including in ceilings, where risks often result from unseen damaged cables. Telecommunications workers are also exposed to other hazards such as asbestos, high temperatures, vermin, insulation material and gas piping.

NECA membership provides members with a channel of communication with key decision makers in the building and construction industry.

ACRS added that the current training requirements are not suitable due to the lack of practical skills development with courses being too short leading to poor practices and installation standards, which over time adversely affect the long term reliability of telecommunications services. ACRS also noted the lack of any framework around the mandatory 360 hours of onsite supervision has the most impact on whether a worker is trained adequately. There are also no current mandatory training requirements that provide training on emerging cabling technologies; in particular, remote powering, which introduces considerable risks to the industry.

If you have an issue you would like NECA to raise on your behalf with the ABCC please get in touch.

ACMA’s commitment to supporting cabling registrars like ACRS, is good news for the communications industry. Strengthened regulatory controls will help to ensure the communication industry remains viable and strong.

The meeting covered a range of topics important to electrical contractors and worksites including right of entry, code compliance and security of payment.

IR REFORM BACK ON THE TABLE Barely a week goes by in federal politics without debating Australia’s industrial relations laws and what reforms are needed to strike the right balance between employer and employee responsibilities. Attorney-General Christian Porter reignited a fresh round of debate at the end of last year, introducing the Fair Work Amendment [Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery] Bill 2020.



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As a reaction to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the Bill seeks to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 in a number of significant areas. These areas relate to casual and part-time employment, enterprise bargaining and agreements, Greenfields agreements, casual conversion and awards. The Bill has been met with significant resistance from unions, including

a grossly inappropriate advertising campaign playing on the Omnibus nature of the reform package. NECA, through our membership of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has supported the Government’s proposed reforms, suggesting a number of areas for further improvement to support businesses keeping Australians in work during these challenging times.

March 2021




The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has launched a consultation paper ahead of a wide-ranging review of national metering rules and the rollout of smart meters.

NECA’s Federal Budget 2021-22 submission is headlined by a call to welcome more mature aged apprentices into the electrotechnology industry.

The introduction of new metering rules in 2017 struck a painful blow to our members. What was once a fairly straightforward process now has a number of new parties involved, including Metering Providers, Metering Coordinators and Metering Installers. Retailers are now in charge of meters for customers, which has created further angst due to lack of transparency and local staff with understanding of electrical regulations and standards, not to mention privacy and communication issues. Customers are now the ones losing out as dysfunctional arrangements between distributors, retailers, metering providers and metering coordinators comes to bear. Customers waiting weeks and months for meter installations and power connections are frustrated further by needing to engage multiple stakeholders to complete works that could have been performed by a single entity prior to 2017. This is a priority issue for NECA and we will continue to advocate to return common sense and fairer access to metering works for contractors.

COVID-19 has severely disrupted a number of traditional industries. The long-term fallout for sectors like tourism, transportation, retail and services remains unknown. Hundreds of thousands of competent and experienced workers are left contemplating career changes and reskilling opportunities to restart their careers and achieve job security. It’s simply not feasible for a mature aged worker with a family, paying rent or a mortgage to drop back to junior apprentice wages. NECA believes the time is right for the Federal Government to step in and properly support mature aged workers to join our industry and complete their trade qualifications. Mature aged workers offer complementary skills to the workplace such as life experience, leadership skills and exposure to business management and operations from other sectors. NECA is calling for a subsidy-style program that would allow contracting businesses to claim back the wage difference for mature aged apprentices. The infrastructure boom and future pipeline of work means NECA is able to offer a record number of places to young people and traditional apprenticeship seekers through our Group Training Organisations. We hope to be able to work with the government to remain the leading trainer of qualified electricians in Australia, while improving the diversity of our cohorts, meeting the needs of our members and the industry.


AUSTRALIAN MEGA PROJECTS OVER THE COMING EDITIONS WE WILL BE FEATURING CONTENT ON THE RISE OF MEGA INFRASTRUCTURE AND BUILDING PROJECTS ACROSS AUSTRALIA, AND THE IMPACTS THIS IS HAVING ON THE BROADER CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY AND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS. THE UNPRECEDENTED PIPELINE OF MEGA PROJECTS IS DRIVING A HUNGER FOR ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRADES AND EXPERTISE, WHICH PRESENTS BOTH ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR OUR SECTOR. Australians love landmarks, the natural and the built. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Ord River Irrigation Scheme and Snowy Mountains Hydro are often romanticised in the same way as the wonderous natural beauty of Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef. Throughout the 20 th Century mega projects were few and far between. Each were celebrated in their own right as grandiose feats of engineering and national achievement. They generated fanfare and drew global interest, requiring the collective efforts of Australian-born and migrant construction workers to be successfully built. When the Sydney Harbour Tunnel was completed in 1992 at a cost of $560 million, it was a project in scope and complexity that drew comparisons with the feats of decades prior. It was a marvel, a second vehicular water crossing made possible by sinking and connecting enormous concrete tubes on the harbour floor. In today’s dollars, construction of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel is roughly double – a tick under $1.1 billion. An impressive number by any measure, but one that wouldn’t make the front pages of the paper in the modern era of mega projects. A quick scan of Australia’s most populated states reveals at least 20 governmentfunded projects that dwarf the humble Harbour Tunnel’s price tag. That’s without some of the multi-billion-dollar urban commercial and residential precincts being driven by private sector financing. Road and rail programs like Sydney’s Westconnex or Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel will have as many as five different packages with consortiums and principal contractors that will each run into the billions. When a single mega project hit the market as recently as ten years ago, the data would show a sharp spike in



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demand across the construction sector for professional services, trades, labour and materials. With governments increasingly turning to major investment in infrastructure to get congested cities moving and stagnant economies stirring, those spikes now look more like neverending mountain ranges. Mega projects account for more than 80 per cent of the workbook for most of the small number of Tier 1 principal contractors operating in Australia. Ten years ago, it would rarely have crept above 20 per cent. One big tunnel, rail line or desalination plant would have been complemented by a dozen or more small and medium sized jobs spread across transport, utilities, defence and local councils. The proliferation of mega projects is driving a fundamental change in the structure of the industry. Rarely can one company assume sole risk for a project valued into the billions, so a joint venture or consortium is formed. These joint ventures become pseudo companies in their own right – blending together people, cultures, systems and governance structures from multiple shareholder businesses.

challenge of protecting culture and skilled workforces in an industry where safety and productivity are paramount. Mega projects and joint venture structures test the relationships and understandings formed between principal contractors and subcontractors and suppliers over many years. Everything from site access works, certification, safe work methods, site interfaces and invoicing can be slightly different. Just enough to make winning and performing work that bit more complicated. As governments pour more money into mega projects each year, so has the expectation increased for local communities to be more involved in the delivery process. Successful project delivery is now expected to include a raft of social benefits extending far beyond engineering and construction excellence. Over coming editions of NECA News we’ll unpack some of these challenges and opportunities for electrotechnology subcontractors and showcase some of the procurement and organisational strategies that can help position members to capitalise on the mega project bonanza.

The rapid mobilisation and faster demobilisation of enormous workforces on major projects drives a significant staff churn through the construction industry. Many people want the challenge of the mega projects and the blocks of secure work they represent and will switch employers and joint ventures to find it. This leaves businesses with the enormous

Peter McCabe NECA Director Government and Policy Relations

March 2021



ON MONDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2021, THE NATIONAL ROLLOUT OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE COMMENCED. WHILE HEALTH WORKERS AND THE ELDERLY ARE THE FIRST CATEGORIES SET TO BE VACCINATED, BY THE END OF 2021, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AIMS TO HAVE AS MANY AUSTRALIANS INOCULATED AS POSSIBLE. Against this backdrop, a topical issue in employment law relates to whether an employer can mandate an employee to accept the COVID-19 vaccine. There are three ongoing cases before the Fair Work Commission related to the issue but we expect more important and precedential decisions soon. However, at present there is no case law that has dealt with this issue.

Overview of OSH obligations Under Occupational Safety and Health legislation in all states, as far as is reasonably practicable, an employer is obliged to provide and maintain a safe working environment in which employees are not exposed to hazards and, where it’s not practicable to avoid the hazard, to provide adequate PPE at no cost to the employee. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a variety of basic measures which employers can take to fulfil their OSH obligations. Such measures include: 

 

requiring employees to practice good hygiene; requiring employees to stay home when sick; cleaning the workplace regularly; considering working from home arrangements (if possible); and providing employees with up-to-date health advice.

When an employer can mandate the COVID-19 vaccine There are currently no laws or public health orders in Australia that specifically enable employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As a general rule, only health authorities should have the power to direct any employer to mandate vaccination and no-one else should seek to regulate in place of health authorities.


A general guideline from the Fair Work Ombudsman can be found at There are limited circumstances where an employer may require their employees to be vaccinated. It is highly fact dependent, taking account the particular workplace and each employee’s individual circumstances. There are generally two cases whereby an employer could mandate an employee to take the COVID-19 vaccine. These include: 1. Where vaccination is an inherent requirement of the position. Where vaccination is an inherent requirement of the position. A typical example of this would be where a specific law (such as a state public health law) requires it. If a carer is employed at an aged care facility, and the Health Department issued a direction for all such carers to be vaccinated to protect elderly residents, it becomes an inherent requirement of their position. 2. Where vaccination is a reasonable as well as lawful direction, and the employee does not have a valid objection.

Further to the above, employers should comply with any future public health orders made by the state government as they apply to you and your workplace. Note that some employees may have a legitimate objection to the taking of the vaccine such as a bona fide medical reason. Before an employer considers mandating vaccination or taking disciplinary action against an employee who refuses, legal advice should be obtained to ensure the company is not at risk of breaching general protection provisions contained in the Fair Work Act or anti-discrimination provisions found in federal and state legislation. There are also various other issues to consider in connection with COVID-19 vaccinations such as workers compensation claims, insurance, redundancy or subcontractor terms and we recommend employers should seek legal advice before making decisions. We expect some clarification around the legal issues pertaining to the COVID vaccine in the next few months and will keep NECA members updated when that happens.

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For more information on OSH obligations, contact your local branch.

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A ‘SMART’ WAY TO DIVERSIFY YOUR BUSINESS Since the electrical trade first began in the late 1800s, electricians have been at the forefront of technological advancement. Through innovative design and installation work electricians have helped society progress, making new ways of living and working possible. For decades this work has included installing data and communications equipment. Now



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with the convergence of electrical, data and communications, and digital technologies, electricians are presented with immense opportunities to continue to lead the way and explore new avenues for their business. If you’ve ever considered making a move into smart home technologies, an area with significant growth potential, there is no better time to do it.

March 2021


the introduction of smart speakers or smart assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Although both are technology interfaces and not home automation at all, they have raised the profile of what is possible with smart home technologies. According to market analyst Telsyte, there are 2.5 million such devices in homes across Australia. Further, the average number of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, such as smart plugs and smart light bulbs, sits at 5 per Australian home. By 2023 this is expected to increase to a staggering 37 devices per home. With Australia tipped to have 10.5 million households by 2023, this could equate to over 388 million devices that will need to be installed, networked and maintained. The proliferation of these devices alone does not make a home smart, but for the savvy electrical contractor, a smart speaker or assistant can signal a homeowner’s interest in new technology. This can be a catalyst for conversation and a gateway to the adoption of a smart home system that is indeed ‘smart’.

Making money as a sparky is tough at the best of times. While some industries have not fared well as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, others have experienced unprecedented demand as Australians work and spend more time close to home. Funds that may have been earmarked for overseas travel for example, are instead being funnelled into home renovations, with many contractors experiencing an increase in building and maintenance work. Some are suggesting that the ‘cocooning’ boom could go on for years. Homeowners are getting creative and practical about their spaces, with fittings and furnishings that enhance the ‘at home’ lifestyle. This is where smart home devices and smart home systems can make their mark.

The Market Opportunity Consumer awareness of home automation has never been greater since


With the right set of skills and knowledge in IoT and ‘connected technologies’, contractors will be able to capitalise on this growth opportunity to sell, maintain, and install smart home solutions.

Why Homeowners Are Embracing Smart Home Technologies Smart home systems are more than just clever gadgets. They come with the promise of convenience, control and a ‘wow factor’.

Energy Efficiency Many homeowners are interested in the benefits of managing and reducing energy usage. Managing energy consumption is often a multi-pronged approach, where energy usage must first be monitored, and then decisions made regarding control and management. This includes the integration of rooftop solar and battery storage solutions. Efficient and Secure Home Networks With the continued on again-off again ‘work from home’ regimen, ISP supplied technologies (routers/modems) are simply not cutting it. Home networking technology cannot support the sheer volume of devices - smart tablets, gaming consoles, computers, pay TV and more - all concurrently requiring WiFi at a consistent speed of service. The time is fast approaching when increasing numbers of devices will demand more complex networking arrangements so homes continue to run smoothly and efficiently. Critically, networking can also support information security, which is increasingly important as more and more people access services via online arrangements. In addition to their functionality, a key reason homeowners are embracing smart home systems is their accessibility. They are no longer defined by an entry level price point of $30,000 to $40,000, limiting them to the rich and famous. Smart home solutions now come with a more reasonable price tag, with the entry point being closer to $4,000 - $5,000. Yet they still carry a reputation of prestige.

Electricians Recognised as the Linchpin

Enhanced Security

For many homeowners, the local electrician is the first port of call when considering smart home technologies. Increasing awareness is placing electrotechnology professionals in the ideal position to capitalise on what is quickly becoming an essential utility in today’s homes.

Smart home technologies enable homeowners to have peace of mind in their pocket. This includes the ability to remotely access security cameras from anywhere, receive alerts when sensors detect movement, control lighting and blind arrangements when not at home, and disarm alarm systems allowing for deliveries or visitors.

When it comes to new builds in particular, electricians are already onsite installing electrical infrastructure. While wiring for lights and power, it makes sense to also run speaker wiring and network cabling at the same time. This way, homes have the right infrastructure, ready to support homeowners as their needs evolve.

Some of the key installation drivers highlighted by homeowners include enhanced security, energy efficiency and the promise of a robust network that can withstand all the needs of a modern household.

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Electrician’s roles are top of mind for manufacturers such as Clipsal and Legrand, who are all set to introduce new electrical contractor-specific smart home technology offerings in Australia this year. Integral to this, is supporting electricians with advice on how to engage with homeowners and builders on the new technology, understand their needs, scope projects and provide the right solution.

Bridging the Knowledge Gap Electricians stand to benefit most from a combination of industry and manufacturer training, providing the fundamentals and foundations of smart home systems, plus the specifics of smart home platform products. Like many aspects of electrical work, ongoing training is required to keep up-to-date with standards, new technologies and best practices. There are several training options to consider. CEDIA is at the forefront of education in globally-defined industry best practice for smart home systems. It offers courses – both online and in-person – that provide electricians with both a better understanding of smart home

technologies and how to maximise revenue potential. Manufacturers provide training on their smart home systems and products. For many brands, training is a prerequisite for selling the solution. This ensures electricians are not only trained to install a product correctly, but also to extract the full potential from the solution. This is particularly important as smart home systems become increasingly complex and integrated. Wholesalers too are recognising the opportunity for electricians, introducing the smart home concept through technology innovation centres, which are designed to walk both contractors and homeowners through the vast array of options available.

Know Your Product With the proliferation of smart home devices, it can be very tempting to make product decisions based solely on price. It is important to remember that not all products are designed, manufactured or supported equally. Partnering with reputable brands is a long-term strategy, ensuring the brand will be there to provide whatever support is needed, whenever it’s needed.

Beyond Technical Know-How A successful smart home installation requires more than a working knowledge of the technology and how to bring it all together, it also requires an intimate understanding of a homeowner’s expectations. This is easier said than done. Homeowners may not be able to articulate what they want from their smart home. To assist electricians, there are a number of industry and manufacturer software solutions that help scope out a project step by step with the homeowner. For example, The CEDIA Designer (TCD) software enables electricians to design technically perfect media rooms and home cinemas in minutes.

How to Identify a Potential Smart Home Opportunity In some instances, a homeowner may directly enquire or a smart home system may be specified on a project. There are also a few indicators electricians can look out for, that can signal a homeowner’s interest in smart technologies. These include the presence of: 1. A smart speaker or smart assistant, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. 2. Multiple connected devices, such as smart phones and tablets. 3. Home entertainment technology, such as a home theatre. 4. Energy saving technology such, as solar panels. 5. Electric vehicle or charging station. Starting the conversation After an opportunity is identified, what next? It all comes down to asking the right questions. Here are a few examples that can guide a conversation. The presence of a smart speaker could lead to a discussion about a wireless smart home device hub, enabling voice activated control of lighting, blinds or the sound system. Consider asking: How often do you use the speaker? What do you primarily use it for? How does this compare to what you purchased it for? Would you be interested in seeing what else it can do?



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The presence of home entertainment technology such as a home theatre could start a dialogue about an entrylevel connected room solution that utilises voice activation, or an app to enable ‘scenes’ that set lighting, window coverings and screens to preset arrangements. “Hey Google, set the scene for movie night.” Consider asking: How often do you use your home theatre? What technology do you have? How does it all work? Can I show you a way to connect this so it’s fast and easy to control automatically? The presence of energy saving technology such as solar panels could lead to an exploration of new technologies that support greater energy efficiency and energy savings. For example, apps that control lighting, i.e. to turn off lights from any room in the home, or setting timers for energy thirsty appliances such as pool pumps and air conditioning. Consider asking: I can see you have solar installed, how is that working for you? Can I show you other ways to save energy in the home?

Future Forward — Choosing the Right Technology Solution The sheer number of smart technologies available can be overwhelming - for both electricians and homeowners.


The following factors are key to the best home-technology solution fit both now and for the future:

Examples of DIY smart devices include smart lighting such as Philips Hue, smart locks, smart plugs, thermostats.

1. Future forward solutions – choose infrastructure that will cope with changing technology or homeowner needs.

Entry Level Smart Devices — Single Room Solutions

2. Scalable solutions – consider scaling from room control to full home control, or Bluetooth to Zigbee. 3. Compatible solutions – research how solutions work across technology platforms (think Android and Apple). Consider whether proprietary or open source is the way to go – both have their advantages and disadvantages. While the technology options are many, they broadly fit into four categories.

Plug and Play or DIY Smart Devices For these kinds of devices, often a contractor’s role is negligible. Homeowners can explore a wealth of ‘plug and play’ or DIY smart devices through retail channels. However, as homeowners purchase and install increasing numbers of connected devices, they are going to need an electrician’s support to navigate network troubles, connectivity complexity and power problems that all take away from the ‘smart home’ experience. Combined, the demand for technology and the need for support to overcome these challenges, makes the smart home a growth opportunity for electrotechnology professionals.

This is where electricians can start to add value to the homeowner, and the bottom line. Especially, when they purchase direct from a supplier rather than through a retailer. Quite often, homeowners only want a single room setup, like a home theatre. Avoid overkill. For these scenarios, there are easy-to-install solutions available that offer a more reliable solution than DIY products, but don’t require much training on the part of the electrician. Examples include ProControl, BitWise.

Electrical Contractor-Level Residential Control Systems These entry- to mid-level control systems can be installed by an electrical contractor trained in the technology. They don’t require much – if anything – in the way of programming. These systems tend to be designed with electrical contractors in mind, relying primarily on existing skills, which are supported by product manufacturer training. These systems can be wired or wireless, or a hybrid, depending on the needs of the homeowner and the type of solution required in the home. Examples include Clipsal and Legrand.

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areas: the platform, the network and the power conditions. While smart speakers may be an entry point for connected home adoption, they can’t support a home full of devices. Electricians need one or multiple smart home platforms to offer customers an upgrade path from DIY systems, to simple single room systems, to monitored security, to platforms that can be fully integrated in the home. Then there’s the network, the backbone of any smart home. Most smart home devices rely on a wireless network for remote control, scheduling and other features. A robust and stable network foundation is critical to supporting a homeowner’s systems.

Integrator-Level Residential Control Systems There are approximately 850 full time systems integrators in Australia, many of whom are also electricians. Becoming a systems integrator requires training in system design, programming and specific training in sub-systems, in order to bring together third-party solutions such as security systems, AV and home cinema design. This can be a time-consuming process, but the investment often pays dividends.

On projects where a systems integratorlevel control system is required, electricians will often choose to partner with a systems integrator that specialises in the area.

Getting the Foundations Right Getting the foundations right is key to delivering the best smart home system experience for homeowners. Whether it’s a single room system or full home system, electricians need to educate themselves on three key

Internet connectivity is as important to a smart home system’s functioning, as the electricity required to power it. But it’s not just installed technologies that connect to the internet. Other devices such as phones, tablets, PCs, smart TVs, wearables - all compete for bandwidth. Like an overloaded circuit, congestion can lead to poor system performance and a disappointing user experience. When it comes to the network, ISPsupplied network equipment simply isn’t designed to handle the device load of a smart home, which means upgrading to higher-grade networking gear is essential. This also enables electricians to put in place best practice networking and security. This means electricians need to go beyond laying cat 6 cable. They need to understand how to design and install

CEDIA SMART HOME WEEK To help NECA members on the path to smart home success, CEDIA – the global trade association for home technology integrators - is introducing ‘Smart Home Week’, which consists of four full days of comprehensive training and education in home automation technologies. This week will expose electricians and registered cablers to the ins and outs of home automation technologies, while giving them the confidence they need to incorporate



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this skill into their business offering, expanding their business and revenue opportunities. The inaugural educational event will take place 22-25 June 2021 in Victoria. NECA members can access special industry discounts. To register your interest, visit

March 2021




networks, understand what an IP address is and how to allocate addresses to devices and how to get those devices to talk to each other. The standard toolkit has to expand beyond a screwdriver and pair of plyers to include a laptop. Thinking about a move into data and communications as ais way to diversify your The last foundation power conditions. contracting business? Here are few critical Understanding the critical roleaof power to questions ask before youoperation get started. the smart to home system’s is key. There are the obvious power interruptions Am I registered to do the work? such as blackouts and brownouts, but In Australia, all cabling work, including power problems can also be caused telephone, data,and fireswells and security alarm by voltage sags that cause system cabling, that connects with the downtime and create problems. In these telecommunications network must be instances,by electricians can be called in performed a registered cabler, or under to resolve what appears to be a faulty the direct supervision of a registered cabler. product, when the issue may be a result What is required to become a registered of power anomalies. cabler?

In order to get registered, there are training requirements to ensure electricians are competent to perform the cabling work according to the Australian Standards, as set out in the Wiring Rules (Australian Standard AS/CA S009). Registration and 360 hours for Open Cabler registration is overseen by Registration. Holding an electrical licence, Security licence or enAbleTM the Australian Communications and NBN Card will suffice. Media Authority (ACMA), the Australian Government statutory authority that Once I’ve completed the training, who do regulates, sets and manages rules about I register with? telecommunications in Australia. There are a number of Cabling Registrars authorised by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in Australia, including ACRS, that can verify a cabler’s eligibility for registration.

Before You Start, Check You To become a registered cablerIfyou must Are Compliant complete the appropriate training course for the work to be undertaken through a In Australia,Training all cabling work, including Registered Organisations (RTO). telephone, data, fire and security alarm An Open Registration requiredwith for systems cabling that is connects commercial and domestic premises the telecommunications network, must work. For work in domestic premises you be performed by a registered cabler only require a Restricted Registration. or under the direct supervision of a You must also have a minimum of 80 registered cabler. hours cabling experience for Restricted

No. To ensure compliance with the ACMA guidelines, cablers must be either registered or, directly supervised at all times by a cabler who is registered for the type of work being done.

Do all my staff need to be registered?

There are a number of Cabling Registrars in Australia, including ACRS, that can verify a cabler’s eligibility for registration.

Working unregistered can be costly. The ACMA has a range of options available to enforce compliance including What are the consequences of doing cabling work without being registered? infringement notices through to financial penalties. The ACMA has a range of options available to enforce compliance. These include: formal To find out more about training warnings; non-compliance notices to the requirements or registration contact telecommunications carrier, which may ACRS on 1300 667 771. from the network; result in disconnection telecommunications infringement notices (on-the-spot fine of $2,040); and if the matter is serious enough, taking court action, which may result in a conviction and/or a fine of up to $20,400. The biggest consequence is that, should anything go wrong or your work is found to be faulty, your business insurance is unlikely to cover you. This could lead to litigation and substantial financial loss for your business. Not being registered is not worth the risk.

Peter Lamont Director, ACRS

Cabling Registration run Cabling run Registration by the theCabling industry, for the industry by therun industry by the industry, for the industry

TheAustralian AustralianCabler Cabler Registration Registration Service The Service (ACRS) (ACRS)provides providesaafast, fast,reliable reliableand and low-cost registration service for the electrical and communications industry. The Australian Cabler Service (ACRS) provides a fast, reliable and low-cost registration service forRegistration the electrical and communications industry. registration service for Peace of mind costs less low-cost than 60c a week! Register with ACRS and reap thethe electrical and communications industry. Peace of mind costs less than 60c a week! Register with ACRS and reap the benefits of Peace of mind costs less than 60c a week! Register with ACRS and reap the fine. benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while being with the only Australian electrical specialist while avoiding aACRS heftyand of mind costs less thanregistry 60c a week! Register withwhile reap the benefits ofabeing only Australian electrical specialist registry avoiding heftywith fine. the Peace benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while It is illegal for anyone than a registered cabler to install or maintain cabling that avoiding a hefty fine. other avoiding a hefty fine. theanyone telecommunications network. So if you installing any equipment Itconnects is illegaltofor other than a registered cabler toare install or maintain that will connect to the network –afrom smartother home systems to extra phone lines – It isthan illegal for anyone than atoregistered cabler to install or maintain cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So ifor you are It is illegal for anyone other registered cabler install maintain cabling thatconnect connects to to the network. So if you are you need current cabling registration. installing equipment that will thetelecommunications network –Sofrom smart home cabling thataany connects to the telecommunications network. if you are installing any equipment that will connect to the network – from smart home systems extra phone lines – you need ato current installing equipment that will the network –registration. smart home Carrying any atocurrent cabling registration card confirms youneed have completed systems toconnect extra phone lines – cabling you a from current cablingthe registration. relevanttotraining and gained professional experience to complete the work to the systems extra phone lines the – you need a current cabling registration. Carrying a current cablingCarrying registration confirms you card haveconfirms completed thecompleted the a currentcard cabling registration you have customer’s expectations. relevant and gained the professional experience complete the relevanta training and gained the training professional experience to complete thetothe Carrying current cabling registration card confirms you have completed For more information visit or call 1300 667 771. work to the customer’s expectations. work totraining the customer’s expectations. relevant and gained the professional experience to complete the work to the customer’s expectations.


This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge, encouraging us all to challenge the status quo, be open to new opportunities, and consider how we can collectively create a more inclusive workplace and society.

Challenge is a Powerful Theme Challenges encourage innovative solutions and creative thinking. The obstacles we overcome shape us and help us to grow as individuals and as a community. Importantly, challenges move us forward. As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, NECA would like to acknowledge how much our industry has moved forward over the past hundred years. We’ve seen stereotypes start to dissolve and witnessed a shift in ideals. As a result, there’s been increased opportunities for female electrical apprentices who’ve gone on to become electricians, business owners, employers and industry advocates. We also recognise the many women working in a diverse range of vital administrative, training, employment and business management roles. NECA has proactively worked to challenge gender stereotypes. In addition to advocacy at both state and federal levels, we have implemented a number of initiatives to support women in industry. These include launching our national roadmap, sourcing funding for female mature-aged apprenticeships, creating networking and mentoring opportunities, introducing female pre-apprenticeship programs, and running programs such as the Women in Trades Electrical Program and the Alternative Pathway Project. In tribute to International Women’s Day, we were interested in gaining some insights about the women in our industry and how they challenge themselves. We interviewed six women across Australia, working in a variety of industry roles, who shared their thoughts and experiences.



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Trish Elsden

General Manager of O’Brien Electrical Trish Elsden is a small business owner and forms part of NECA Queensland’s Executive Committee. As the driving force behind her business’s success, Trish believes ongoing training and education is key.

“I tend to arm myself with education in the different facets of industry. Being a small business owner, you have to wear all hats, so the learning never stops. I always question the process technicians use in the field to get their end result and provide my input based on past experiences. I’m often told that people are surprised that I’m not a qualified electrician. I don’t openly brag about being a female in the industry - all my achievements have been for myself alone and not to prove any feminism stereotype.” Trish has valued the inclusiveness of her teams. “I feel it’s a very supportive industry to be involved in. Professionalism and safety are paramount. It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female - it’s all about the culture and the attitude.”

Bobbi McKibbin

Director of Solar Integrity and Co-Founder of Renewable Albury Having owned a small business since 2009, Bobbi has a solid understanding of not only the challenges faced by small business operators, but also the complexities of operating in the renewable energy sector.

For Bobbi, International Women’s Day marks two occasions. “It actually means it’s my son’s birthday. But as I’ve got older, I’ve started to realise the significance of such a day. It’s a day that we can reflect and celebrate how far we have come. We can also hope for what may come in the future and for our future generations.” She strongly believes women have an important role to play in industry. “We need you!! There are so many aspects to this industry it’s insane! There are opportunities everywhere you look, on-the-tools, off-the-tools. Look for other like-minded women. Be brave, reach out, have a conversation. Everything starts with a conversation. Women in the industry have had a huge impact and there are companies out there right now looking for women to employ because they know the value that they bring.”

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Kathryn Born

Host Services Officer for Electrical Group Training Kathryn is a qualified electrician, business owner, industry advocate and now works as a Host Services Officer at Electrical Group Training, where she originally started her electrical apprenticeship more than nineteen years ago.

She notes the importance of connecting with other women. “If you see someone that needs a bit of help, encourage them – and tell them the truth about what to expect. Be part of groups such as Trade-UP, Tradeswomen Australia, Sparkettes and Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT). I try to support as many women’s trade organisations around Australia as I can, from speaking at events, to chatting to women online about my experience and answering their questions. In my current role, I regularly speak to high school students and I enjoy inspiring female students to consider an electrical apprenticeship as a viable career choice.” Kathryn has enjoyed working in many different parts of the electrical industry. “I’ve followed my interests and done what I’ve wanted to do. I suppose the more someone tells me I shouldn’t do something, the more determined I am to prove them wrong! If you’re considering working in the electrical industry, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. The only person standing in your way is yourself.”

Kristy Lee O’Farrell

NECA Apprentice Electrician Kristy Lee is a third-year NECA Training apprentice and mother to three children. Apart from motherhood, she considers being an electrical apprentice her most rewarding achievement to date.

Kristy Lee is passionate about using perseverance and willpower to break down the barriers faced within industry. “I try to set a new challenge weekly to ensure I’m always growing and achieving something. I don’t let the boys take over when they think I’m struggling. I keep pushing until I show them that I can do it too. I know I can conquer every mountain put before me.” Mentors have also been important for Kristy Lee. “I’ve been so lucky to have found numerous women through work, TAFE and social media to positively impact my career. The one who impacted the most was Chouette, the first woman I worked with on site. She taught me that it’s best to listen to everyone’s advice – but trust my instincts on what is the best solution to a problem.”

As at 30 June 2020, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) noted there were 1,210 female apprentices training towards a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, representing 4 per cent of apprentices studying this qualification. NECA’s training numbers reflect NCVER’s findings. WWW.NECA.ASN.AU

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From Challenge Comes Change

Nicole Adams

Administration Manager for Fusion Electrical Communications Nicole’s role ensures she is continually challenging the status quo and exploring new areas of growth. She prides herself on her hard work and dedication and believes this is the basis for any successful career.

Nicole feels being a proactive contributor is one of the best ways to challenge industry stereotypes. “I’m actively involved in our day-to-day operations. My role involves organising work and identifying any issues or challenges we may encounter, then offering constructive feedback to our employees around effective ways to manage them.” She noted the importance of information sharing, which is critical to success. “It is a highly skilled career and with the best information, women will be better prepared when entering or continuing their employment. Finding a good employer with goodframework around their business allows for professional development and training. Taking your time to make sure the job is done properly is also very important.”

The electrotechnology industry is known for its ability to respond to challenges and drive change. International Women’s Day provides both men and women with an important opportunity to consider our role as individuals and as businesses, to challenge what we are doing and think about changes we can make. Like these inspiring women, we can all challenge ourselves, connect with and learn from others and make a difference through our work. As Bobbi McKibbin noted, “Everything starts with one person paving the way for others.”

Silvia Frost

General Manager of Frostec Pty Ltd t/a Power Generator Systems Silvia Frost has been driving the strategic and operational developments at Power Generator Systems for nearly twenty years. She is passionate about helping people develop and grow, especially females in the construction industry.

If you don’t challenge yourself, you will never realise what you can become.” — Anonymous

If you would like to get involved with women’s networking events or trade groups contact your local NECA Branch for more information.



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Silvia believes that to be a successful leader, “one should always take on the challenging tasks and not be afraid of failing. In fact, I believe failure is an important part of a leader’s journey to success.” “As a General Manager and Business Owner of a continually growing company I’m time-poor, however I choose to carve out time to stretch my thinking (I’m currently studying for a MBA) and holistically care for myself (I’m an avid runner and yoga enthusiast). I choose to challenge myself, while also hopefully modelling healthy professional and personal development to my team too.” Silvia also places a high value on relationships. “Leading people requires relationships. I strongly believe my talent to build positive relationships with a wide range of people, and giving as much to every relationship as I expect, is key for a healthy community to grow personally and professionally.”

March 2021

If the answer is no… You are putting lives and property at risk by using a non-certified, inferior lug, link or connector. The Australian and New Zealand Standard and specifications for lugs, links and connectors are unique compared to the rest of the world. Don’t get caught out by false statements claiming products are compliant – demand a valid test certificate and look for a clear, distinctive brand name on the product. For your protection, only use CABAC branded lugs, links or connectors and rest easy knowing CABAC lugs, links and connectors are designed, manufactured and certified to Australian and New Zealand Standards. Certification testing is conducted in an independently accredited NATA Test Laboratory.

Play it safe, insist on CABAC branded certified lugs, links and connectors. Visit for more information.

Certified? Always look for the CABAC icon and testing certificate

Quality ISO 9001

BRANCH UPDATE Oliver Judd NECA NSW/ACT Executive Director

Another year, another new start: even though 2021 is well underway, it’s still important to note the passage of another year – especially one as spectacularly challenging, as 2020 was for almost all of us – offers an opportunity to reflect, and to embrace the optimism that a new year brings. I would like to extend my very best wishes to all NECA members and their staff for a prosperous, successful 2021, and I look forward to learning – and where possible, sharing – the things that matter in your businesses and communities, and to celebrating your triumphs as they come. For this edition of the NECA magazine, I wanted to touch on an issue that has long been a bugbear for many members’ businesses – the risks and costs on major construction projects that are transferred down the line from Tier 1/principal contractors to smaller subcontractors, the threat this poses to business survival, the jobs of their staff, and the viability of the construction sector if these practices continue unabated. The problem (and this is an old story) is that by virtue of market reality, lack of competition among Tier 1 contractors and existing law, large contractors on building and construction projects are

able to use their market power to force disadvantageous, unfair contract terms on smaller subcontracting businesses on a “take it or leave it” basis for the work they are engaged to do on these projects. Theoretically, the subcontractor could refuse to accept such terms; in practice, given the shallow pool of larger firms typically engaged as lead contractors, the smaller subcontracting business has little choice but to accept work on the terms stipulated. This is an abuse of power that effectively sees subcontractors funding building projects through the assumption of risk until or unless they are paid for labour and material inputs. In my view, it is beyond time for this to stop. Fortunately, there is a precedent that offers a model for a way forward. I was delighted to see former NECA commercial manager Geoffrey Jochelson recently honoured – belatedly – with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his work bringing the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) to reality; now aged 90, Geoffrey campaigned ceaselessly throughout the 1990s to lobby state governments of both political persuasions to enact such laws: the result is that in the 20 years since, more than $20 billion in payments have been recovered by contracting firms through an


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March 2021


inexpensive adjudication process which resolves complaints in about six weeks. The NSW legislation has since been emulated by various other states and adopted in a number of other countries. Such a fundamental avenue for recourse to ensure electrical contractors are paid for their work shouldn’t have taken a decade for governments to pursue, and while the industry continues to benefit from Geoffrey’s patient determination, the issue of unfair contract terms and the dangers they pose to subcontractors is as important – if not more so – than reforms his work ultimately delivered in 1999. And we can’t afford this particular fight to take ten years to win. Just consider some of the risks. It isn’t unheard of for major construction contractors to fall into receivership, or go out of business altogether; under the terms smaller contractors are involuntarily forced to accept, many can find payment for works already completed disappears forever when the major firm goes under. In the case of electrical contractors – a “finishing” trade, as most work undertaken by businesses in our industry takes place in the final stages of building and construction projects – the risks are disproportionately magnified, as

electrical contractors are among the last to be engaged and therefore among the last to be paid. Meanwhile, labour, fixtures and fittings, and other material expenses incurred by the electrical subcontractor are at greater risk of not being reimbursed if lead contractors go out of business prior to payment being made. It simply isn’t appropriate for electrical contractors (or any other small and/or “late stage” contractors) to be forced to act as a credit card facility for Tier 1 contractors. As was the case when Geoffrey fought for the introduction of security of payments legislation, NECA wishes to be at the forefront of efforts to stamp out unfair contract terms for small subcontracting businesses, and the risks they expose these businesses to – particularly in the electrotechnology industry. Whether by regulation, legislation, or a combination, measures to outlaw the transfer of liability down the supply chain on building and construction projects are critical if the interests (or even the very survival) of smaller operators on these projects are to be safeguarded. Further, NECA is strongly committed to the introduction of cascading statutory

trusts as a mechanism to safeguard the payments and cashflow of these operators, and will continue its advocacy efforts to this end with governments at both state and Commonwealth level. When will the reprehensible practice of big companies using their suppliers to carry risk and financial exposure end? It is impossible to offer a definitive answer, but NECA is determined it won’t be a ten-year fight of the type Geoffrey confronted all those years ago when his perseverance and determination led to a big breakthrough achievement. His legacy is a platform on which to build, and further reform in the area of unfair contract provisions and associated commercial practices is a goal NECA will pursue with vigour. Over the coming weeks and months, NECA will be devoting some of its policy and advocacy resources to researching these issues, developing positions in consultation with members and the broader industry, and looking for partners in similarly affected sectors within the building and construction industry with which to jointly prosecute the need for change and achieve outcomes at state and federal level. Should members wish to engage in this process or offer feedback, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.



Small businesses supplying goods and services to large contractors on NSW Government projects will be paid within a maximum of 20 days under a pilot program launched by the government in January.

NECA NSW has continued to participate in the ongoing process of digitising trade licensing across the state, partnering with Service NSW on the digital White Card pilot program.

The program aims to get small businesses paid on time, providing cashflow relief for small businesses along the state government’s goods and services supply chains. While the NSW Government’s existing faster Payments Policy is focused on paying small businesses with government contracts within five days, the new pilot centres on small businesses with subcontracting arrangements, as part of the government’s policy of driving payment times down across the board. The new pilot is intended to complement the federal government’s Payment Times Reporting Scheme, which requires larger businesses turning over in excess of $100 million per year to publicly report payment terms and practices to their small business suppliers. The pilot scheme is expected to be complete by June 2021, with a whole-ofgovernment scheme to be rolled out by the NSW Government shortly thereafter. These changes will assist small electrical contracting firms carrying cashflow risks on major projects.


Members in NSW were given an opportunity to experience the digital White Card first hand during the February pilot and provide suggestions for modification. The digital White Card is the first phase of the NSW Government’s strategy to bring all trade licenses online. While a definitive timeframe for overall completion of the strategy is not available, Service NSW has advised the next phase of the digitisation program would involve digitisation of the Home Building Contractor Licence.

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The Legislative Change At present, owner occupier construction contracts are exempt from application of the Security of Payment Act. As a result of this exemption, an electrical contractor, who is owed money by a homeowner, is unable to use the Security of Payment Act as a mechanism to claim monies owed to them by homeowners. Currently, it is most common for electrical contractors to seek the recovery of such debt by approaching the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), which can result in a costly process. The introduction of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Regulation 2020 (Regulation) has removed this owner occupier exemption and has provided electrical contractors with an additional pathway to recover payment from homeowners.



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What does this mean for electrical contractors?

Differences that apply to homeowner contracts

As of 1 March 2021, electrical contractors will be able to issue a payment claim to a homeowner under the Security of Payment Act. The homeowner will then have 10 business days to issue a payment schedule disputing the payment claim. If the homeowner disputes the payment claim, the electrical contractor can apply for adjudication of the disputed claim. This process generally takes between 6 to 9 weeks, which starts at the issuing of a payment claim to receiving an adjudication determination. This is in comparison to the 6 to 9 months (approximately) that a dispute through NCAT would usually be resolved in.

The only difference to the security of payment process when applied to homeowners is the due date for payment. Payment claims that are served on homeowners will become due and payable as follows:

Further, electrical contractors may have a statutory right to take the matter to Court in circumstances where a payment claim has been issued and the homeowner has not issued a payment schedule disputing the amount in the time frame required. This change to the Security of Payment Act is a positive one for electrical workers undertaking work for homeowners. Electrical contractors now have a quick, and often cheaper, process to recover debts owed from homeowners, which will improve cash flow for their business.

1. On the date on which the payment becomes due and payable in accordance with the terms of the contract; or 2. If the contract is silent, within 10 business days after a payment claim is made. The default due date for payment for homeowners is a shorter time frame than applies for head contractors and subcontractors, which is 15 business days and 20 business days, respectively. CTI Lawyers can assist in the recovery of monies owed by a homeowner, including by providing additional information concerning the changes to the Security of Payment Act. As part of your NECA membership, we provide a free letter of demand service to assist in the first step of recovering debts owed to your business.

This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For more information on legislative obligations, please call CTI Lawyers on 1300 361 099 or email

March 2021

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NESS Super’s top 5 tips can help boost your super before retirement.

1. Check that your Employers contributions are being paid into your super 2. Find any lost super 3. Consolidate any other super into your NESS Super account 4. Contribute a small amount into your super because every little bit helps 5. Check your current investment options

NESS Super, making life super easy for NECA members! If you have any questions about your super, or would like to know how to join, call us today and find out how easy it is. 1800 022 067 Monday - Friday 8.30am to 6.00pm (Sydney time)

Superannuation | Pensions | Insurance | Financial Advice Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is up-to-date at the time of its publication. However, some information can change over time. The contents are for general information only and do not constitute personal advice. We recommend that you consult with a suitably qualified person before making any financial decisions. Issued by NESS Super Pty Ltd ABN 28 003 156 812 RSE licence No L0000161 as trustee of the NESS Super ABN 72 229 227 691 RSE Registration No R1000115 AFSL No 238945 MySuper Authorisation 72 229 227 691 044. *Jointly owned by NECA NSW and the ETU (NSW & ACT branch).



WE WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE RECENT PASSING OF LONG-TIME NECA STALWART, AND FRIEND TO SO MANY OF OUR MEMBERS, STEVE WRIGHT. Steve was passionate about electronics from a very early age, and indulged this in everything from repairing CB radios to building antennas and radio sets. His passion sparked a career path which saw Steve complete an electrical apprenticeship in 1982, and an electronics engineering certificate three years later.

Keep in the know

Steve worked for the Sydney City Council for several years before starting his own electrical business, Steve Wright Electrical. At this point he joined NECA, quickly becoming an active member of the NECA’s Inner West Branch. Steve attended every meeting, and often hosted meetings at his home. He was proud of the way members supported each other, and was known as the “go-to” person who could resolve electrical issues for anybody.

Close friend Peter Bryant spoke of his appreciation of advice and support that Steve afforded many of his colleagues over his decades in the electrical industry. “In particular, Steve is well remembered for his dedication to fault-finding and solving his customer’s electrical issues. This dedication and attention to detail saw Steve take on his biggest project – to build a manufacturing facility in which he also designed and commissioned every piece of electronics.” At Steve’s funeral service, one of his customers commented that “Steve had the best electrical knowledge. If he did not have the answer immediately, he would go away and come back with an answer and a way to resolve my issue, even if I had forgotten all about it.”

With our online library of training videos

NECA would like to extend its sincerest condolences to Steve’s family and friends. He was a much-loved character who will be missed.


Learning Learning


Keep in the know Keep in the know

With our online library of training videos With our online library of training videos











1300 78 FIRE 1300 78 FIRE



NECA Training now offers a service that enables individuals with an incomplete Australian electrical trade qualification to complete it, and obtain an electrical licence. Typical applicants have either completed their electrical qualification but never obtained a licence; allowed their licence to lapse for an extended period and are refused renewal; or have completed all their units of competency but failed their final capstone assessment.

10 Steps to Completing Your Electrical Trade Qualification 1. Suitability – One of our trainers will determine your suitability for the program based on previous training/ employment documentation provided by you. If your application is rejected at this point, there will be no charge. *Note, at this stage NECA Training in NSW is not assessing overseas qualifications. This may change in future.

6. Assessments and Skills Tasks – Assessment evenings will be scheduled according to your outstanding units of competency. 

7. Awarding Qualification – When you successfully complete all the necessary components you will be deemed competent in UEE30811- Certificate III Electrotechnology and your results uploaded to a national USI database.

2. Face-to-Face Consultation – Your trainer will conduct a face-to-face consultation at our facility where you will be briefed on the process, expectations, tuition options and shown around the facility.

8. Providing Your Workplace Evidence – You are required to gather workplace evidence. NECA Training will provide the login information to a digital workplace profiling tool where you can capture your data — eProfiling

3. Mapping – A mapping process will be conducted to define your exact gap training requirements. Support in this process will be provided by NSW Industry Trade Advisory Board (ITAB).

9. Obtaining a Certificate of Proficiency – Once you have completed the aforementioned steps you can apply for a certificate of proficiency with the Department of Education and Training. Visit

4. Course Enrolment – You will then be enrolled into the UEE30811- Certificate III Electrotechnology qualification and able to access to the course content via our learning management system. 5. Tutorial Sessions – Once enrolled, tutorial sessions will be scheduled and made available to you. Tutorial sessions are run each week on Tuesday evenings and assessments are run on Wednesday or Thursday evenings at NECA’s Chullora campus.

10. Obtaining Your Electrical Licence – Once you have a Certificate of Proficiency you can apply for an electrical licence with the Department of Fair Trading. The department’s application process can be viewed at To start the registration process, visit or email

BRANCH UPDATE NECA QUEENSLAND HAS KICKED OFF 2021 WITH A RENEWED FOCUS ON PROVIDING AN IMPROVED RANGE OF SERVICES TO LOCAL Peter Lamont Executive Director TEAM ACTIVELY CONTACTING MEMBERS, WITHNECA THEQLD MEMBER SERVICES OR VISITING MEMBERS TO ASSIST THEM WITH FREE TECHNICAL, HR, IR, LEGAL AND WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY ADVICE. In our current times with the COVID crisis, many our businesses have beenispushed NECA’sofpopular roadshow series back to their limits. has been in 2021. At theNECA end of last yearworking NECA was tirelessly with federal and finally abletotoengage hold COVID-safe roadshow state governments advocate behalf events in Townsvilletoand Cairns,on which of ourvery industry and to provide timely and were well attended by members, comprehensive information to our members. guests and sponsors celebrating the end of a long year. At these events NECA’s new WHS Officer, Belinda Binningtonto had an NECA Expands Resources opportunity to speak with members about Support QLD Members OHS best practices, answer questions During this time NECA hasan and provide advice on Queensland how to choose taken the opportunity its OHS system best suitedtotoexpand their needs. service offering to NECA members in As a result ofby these successful roadshows, Queensland sharing member service the Queensland Branch is planning to roll delivery across the eastern seaboard out aNSW, series of and regional events that will with ACT Tasmania. focus on the latest industry trends and NECA members across the will innovations. Keep an eye outstate in your emails now have access to a comprehensive for dates and locations, or visit the NECA network of integrated services that website for more details. brings together a team of highly NECA Trainingstaff and Apprenticeships experienced across our Branches. has hit the ground running thisContact year This includes a newly-formed with a new intake of apprentices and Centre to assist members with timely our existing cohort back on deck. and immediate advice and servicesIf relating to technical, safety, legal, industrial relations, HR and general membership enquiries.

are on hand to help members, particularly through these challenging you are considering taking times. on an apprentice in 2020, ask our training Safety Resources team how you can take advantage of the government’s Boosting Apprenticeship NECA members in Queensland can also Commencements wage subsidy. access expanded HSEQ resources which includes a freebranch Safety Executive STAR system Finally, former Director, for members, broader Technical Peter Lamont and has acommenced his Knowledge Base. For thoseGovernment’s members tenure on the Queensland wanting from their where safetyhe systems, Electricalmore Safety Board, will NECA WHS has extended its collection be able to promote improvements to of packages to include two oursafety industry and ensure electrical new digital HSEQ can be contractors havesystems a strong that voice. A major purchased. initiative occurring in 2021 is a full-scale review of the Electrical Safety Act,. The The Road Ahead review will look to modernise the Act so that it takes into account the technology NECA QLD is excited to be hosting changes that have occurred over the two a digital education program for decades since the Act was first written. contractors to build their skills in spite NECA willrestrictions. keep members to forward date on of COVID Weup look this review andwe onwill howbetorolling contribute. to 2021, when out our long-anticipated across Let’s all keep saferoadshows and make 2021 a year Queensland. information will follow of health andMore economic recovery. over the coming months. Thank you to our members and Business Partners for your ongoing support of NECA QLD and our industry.

By sharing services, this has enabled us to expand locally in other areas including in our on-the-ground team of staff who


notices, 60 improvement notices and 1

risk of fire or electrocution. Similarly, electricians who haven’t obtained their NECA Queensland Executive Director contractors license but tout for work are and ACRS Director Peter Lamont has not trained adequately in safe business been appointed as a member of the requirements and are taking away work Electrical Safety Board by the Minister from licensed contractors. for Education and Industrial Relations, the Grace Grace MP. Safety Office The Hon Queensland Electrical (ESO) is currently undertaking a blitz on The Board’s function is to give advice and unlicensed work being advertised and make recommendations to the Minister performed via online platforms, such about policies, strategies legislative as Airtasker, Facebook andand Gumtree. arrangements electrical Since the blitz for started at thesafety. end ofIts secondary role is to provide advice and August 2020, ESO Inspectors have issued some 11 electrical safety protection

homeowners notified of unlicensed work.


QUEENSLAND EXECUTIVEand DIRECTOR TO THE ELECTRICAL BOARD infringement notice withSAFETY more than 900 individuals is dangerous runs theAPPOINTED recommendations to the In one matter before the Regulator Brisbane about energy efficiency and performance Magistrates Court, anthe injunction was of electrical equipment. issued against SERVICE2GO Pty Ltd for repeatedly failing to comply with notices Minister Grace said “the Board provides against unlicensed contracting work. an essential link between industry, the community and government working The NECA Queensland Branchinhas to improve electrical safety.” been working with the ESO on the issue including linking homeowners to Peter’s appointment is for three years, qualified, licensed electrical contractors from 1 October 2020. who can, for a fee, determine the safety of the installation and if any rectification work is required.

March 2020 2021 SEPTEMBER


SMOKE ALARM LAW CHANGES GETTING CLOSER Since January 2017, any home built or substantially renovated has been required to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms installed. From 1 January 2022, all homes being sold, leased or having their lease renewed must have hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms installed in every bedroom, connecting hallways and on each storey. From 1 January 2027, this requirement will apply to all homes. As these deadlines get closer, there will be an increased demand

2021 NECA QLD INDUSTRY NIGHTS Maroochy Surf Club  Thursday, 18 March 2021  4.30pm – 6.30pm

for electrical contractors to install and upgrade existing ionisation style smoke alarms to hard wired and interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. Now is the time to start making sure you and your customers are aware of their obligations. It would be prudent to start to ask your customers if you can advise them on smoke alarm requirements when attending to job sites.

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 Thursday, 22 July 2021  4.30pm – 6.30pm

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 Friday, 23 July 2021

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Queensland’s current electrical safety laws were last reviewed in 2002 when the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (Qld) (the Act) was first introduced. Since this time, the relevant technological landscape has changed significantly, with electricity generation, supply and distribution transforming in ways not contemplated 20 years ago. In light of these concerns, an independent reviewer Mr Dick Williams has been tasked with reviewing the Act and advising the Hon Grace Grace, Minister for Industrial Relations on legislative changes that may be considered to ensure Queensland’s electrical safety laws are fit-for-purpose. The scope for the review will be limited to the Act, including its objects and regulation-making powers, as well as any necessary related changes to subordinate legislation. The findings and recommendations from the review

 4.30pm – 6.30pm

will be presented to the Queensland Government in December 2021.

Fitzy’s Loganholme

 Thursday, 2 September 2021

The review will specifically consider: All definitions under the Act to ensure relevance and effectiveness;  All duties and requirements under the Act and regulation, including on suppliers and generating entities, to ensure relevance and effectiveness;  How the Act may be future-proofed for other emerging energy technologies, including renewable energy generation and storage devices;  Aligning the provisions of the Act with Queensland’s work health and safety legislative scheme under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld); and  How any recommendations resulting from the review will create public value by enhancing Queensland’s electrical safety framework. 

 4.30pm – 6.30pm

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 Thursday, 9 September 2021  4.30pm – 6.30pm

For more information and to register scan this QR code, or visit

The new ProTag Elite Plus System tests portable appliances & RCDs, takes asset photos, prints Elite UV resistant test tags with QR codes & downloads results to PC. Mains & battery powered. Faster testing & asset management for mining, construction, factories & workshops. Mr Williams will be undertaking direct consultation with an industry reference group and interested parties throughout the review. Additionally, a full public consultation process seeking written submissions from all interested stakeholders will be conducted as part of the review.

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The Inspiration Give Industries was born from the desire to think differently about the impact of a career and income, and how combining the two could make a positive difference to global issues such as poverty, climate change, and injustice. Give Industries’ inspiration came from the global effective altruism movement, that uses a community of people combining their passion, reason and resources to focus their efforts on finding solutions to the world’s problems. Calvin was convinced that he could sacrifice a portion of his income, and in turn convinced partners Kat and Jeremy of the idea that highly effective giving could be successfully worked into a new company structure.

that many of us have expendable income and good intentions but don’t take the next step, to donate.

Promoting Sustainability and Best Practices in Health, Safety, and Environmental Systems

The Mission

Give Industries is committed to policies and practices that prioritise health and safety. These include individual safe work procedures, risk assessments and safe work method statements prepared in consultation with and issued to relevant workers and supervisors. This helps maintain high levels of employee and client satisfaction by consistently providing a safe and healthy work environment with a focus on the needs of staff, clients and the community.

The mission of Give Industries is to give to highly effective charities, which aid in tackling global poverty, health and environmental causes. The business is guided by external charity evaluators, including GiveWell and The Life You Can Save, who recommend charities where each dollar donated can have a significant, quantifiable impact. Give Industries’ donations span across four charities: Against the Malaria Foundation, GiveDirectly, Living Goods and Animals Australia. To date, Give Industries has donated more than $120,000 to these charities.

Currently, Jeremy is developing the sustainability and environmental practices at Give Industries, and has recently implemented their Carbon

The Reaction from Customers Increasingly, Give Industries is seeing clients becoming interested in choosing to work with ethical based businesses whose positive impact extends beyond the worksite.

Most Surprising Revelation Calvin was confronted by the fact that very small sacrifices on his part could have a disproportionately positive impact on those in less fortunate circumstances. The value-for-money disparity became hard to ignore. He says



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March 2021


Advice to Electrical Contracting Businesses Wanting to Fulfil their Social Impact Calvin would love to see other businesses join the effective altruism movement Giving What We Can, and starting with donating 10% of company profits.

How has NECA assisted Give Industries

Offset of activities for 2019 and 2020. Give Industries has also partnered with an Australian business that promotes reforestation in Western Australia. The company has compensated the equivalent of 70 tonnes of C02, and are now carbon negative. Not only does Give Industries meet its own sustainability

targets, the company aims to meet the sustainability targets of clients, providing carbon-neutral electrical services at a standard price.

As a small company, Give Industries has limited time and resources. Calvin says being a NECA member means the business can access a wide range of up-to-date safety SWMS, Australian Standards and training. This helps the company focus on delivering above standard services to clients and winning new work without compromising employee health and safety.

To have your inspirational story told, reach out via email to Elizabeth Lombardo at

MAKING DIGITAL MORE HUMAN We’ve added brand new features developed by the industry. Find out what’s new by jumping on our website.



BRANCH UPDATE Larry Moore NECA SA/NT Executive Director

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members a very Happy New Year. We trust you had a safe and happy festive season and enjoyed some rest and relaxation with loved ones after a challenging year.


Upon reflection of 2020, it is pleasing to note that members had quite a busy year, some even commenting it is the best they have had yet despite the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, it seems 2021 is looking quite positive for South Australia and Northern Territory with members commenting they are already busy and feeling optimistic about the year ahead. The start of a new year always brings fresh perspective and enthusiasm which we hope will continue throughout the year as we begin to manage the new “COVID Normal”.



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Here at NECA SA/NT our aim is to help our members with the everyday running of their businesses and how to overcome challenges that emerge when operating a successful business in the 21st century. Your membership fees allow us to employ skilled professionals who are equipped to provide you with the advice, tools and assistance you need to run your business. We understand that your time is best spent in your business earning an income, so when you have a query or issue, please think of us as your first port of call and we will endeavour to assist you. If we don’t have an answer for you straight away it is our role to get the answer for you as quickly as possible. Your needs are our priority and we hope you will continue to be a part of our association so we can support you through 2021 and the years to come.

for 2021 after unfortunately having to cancel the series last year due to the pandemic. Our aim is to run all 14 seminars across the state, ensuring of course we comply with all current COVID-19 restrictions. The seminars kick off in Maitland on 22 March and conclude in Port Lincoln on the 12 May and we hope you will join us. Further information is provided on page 37. Alternately you can visit our website.

NECA Careers & Apprenticeships (NCA) Our Group Training Organisation, NECA Careers & Apprenticeships (NCA), is now in its fourth year of operation and currently has 96 apprentices and 2 Office Admin trainees. We continue to expand with inductions of new apprentices occurring every 6-8 weeks, depending on industry requirements. Our focus at NCA is to provide quality apprentices to industry and therefore only employ enthusiastic students who have had some previous knowledge or experience (Certificate II in Electrotechnology or work experience or preferably both). The applicants are also put through a rigorous recruitment process which includes a Readiness Assessment (literacy and numeracy test), an interview and a medical examination. Through this rigid process we are confident that our apprentices will add value to our host employers, the industry in general and hopefully will become future leaders of our sectors.

2021 Roadshow Seminar Series

The new Dual Trade Apprenticeship is going to be run exclusively through NCA which will be just another added benefit for our members and the industry generally. For further information on this new apprenticeship, see below.

We are pleased to announce that our Roadshow Seminar Series is back

We have been fortunate to secure some funding from the Department of

With this year in mind, I wish to provide information on just a few of the initiatives we are working on.

March 2021


Innovation and Skills (DIS) for NCA which have assisted us to enhance our profile in the media and put time and effort into business development, advertising and further training for apprentices. We believe these initiatives will further strengthen the NCA/NECA brand and grow our presence to become the leading electrotechnology GTO in South Australia. Don’t forget that NECA members also receive a discounted charge out rate on apprentices with NCA, which is just another benefit of being a member. If you have any queries about NCA and what they can do for you, contact Craig Mitchell on (08) 8272 0799 or visit

Dual Trade Apprenticeship The implementation of the new Dual Trade Apprenticeship is well underway and soon we will have our first group of apprentices employed for the pilot program. We highly encourage our members to be involved in this exciting new initiative that will see apprentices become fully qualified in both Electrical and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning in five years. Significant time and effort have been put into the development of this program including the mapping of training units of competence and as such we are really looking forward to watching the program grow. If you would like to find out more or get involved in this initiative, please contact NECA Careers & Apprenticeships (NCA) on (08) 8272 0799.

HSEQ Digital Products Last year we launched our newest products, HSEQ Digital and HSE Digital – Small Business. We strongly believe this new online & app solution for our Health Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) Management System is a leading product in the industry and we highly encourage members to contact us to find out more about it. HSEQ Digital will simplify your WHS requirements and manage your Health, Safety, Environment and Quality documentation and compliance without the paperwork, all in one easy-to-use cloud-based solution. Powered by Safetyminder, the HSEQ Digital has both an End User app for tradespeople in the field


and an Admin licence for those managing your WHS Management System in the office. HSEQ Digital utilises all our current Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Management System documentation to ensure you meet the requirements of legislation and relevant standards. The HSEQ Management System is compliant with JAZ-ANZ Accredited Certification Company, TQCSI, to ensure that the system meets the needs of electrical, communications, refrigeration and air conditioning businesses and provides independent and recognized auditing of our system. The system is compliant with QHSE Code: 2013 and meets the requirements of AS/NZS 4801: 2001 – OHS Management Systems. Establishment of the HSEQ Digital product within your business will mean you no longer need to rely on Outlook Calendar reminders, endless Excel Spreadsheets and a multitude of documents to cover your safety needs. The HSEQ Digital will streamline your processes with its fully connected approach and ensure your WHS responsibilities are met without all the time and hassle. Members with our existing HSEQ Management System can move across to our HSEQ Digital option at no upfront cost other than the licence fees for your computer and mobile phones. We highly encourage our members to consider this upgrade to the digital offering as we are sure it will make managing your WHS requirements much more efficient.

feedback. Our aim is to make the Awards nomination process as accessible as possible for all our members. The NECA Excellence Awards recognise the accomplishments of individual electrical and communications companies, small and large, for their work on various projects across the country. We know that our members do some outstanding work every day, so we want you to get involved and importantly get recognised for it. Last year’s Excellence Awards unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic so therefore this year’s Awards will combine 2020 and 2021. The projects up for nomination will be exceptional and we are really looking forward to seeing your nominated projects. Nominations close on the 4 June 2021 for the Excellence Awards. The NECA Apprentice Awards are designed to acknowledge apprentice achievements in personal development, effort, academic attainment and workplace competency. There are many benefits for being involved in the Apprentice Awards, including prizes, networking and industry recognition, but above all it is a great experience that looks good on the resume. If you have an apprentice who is worthy then please get your nominations in to NECA SA/NT by 9 July 2021. If you would like to know more or need any assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Leah Boyce, Business Relationship Manager at NECA SA/NT.

For further information visit or contact Ben Simpson, HSEQ Manager, on (08) 8272 2966.

For further information or assistance with any of the above please contact the NECA SA/NT team on (08) 8272 2966.

Excellence and Apprentice Awards Nominations Now Open

Once again, we look forward to working with you to make 2021 a successful year for NECA members and the industry.

Our Excellence and Apprentice Awards nominations are open for the year and our online portal process makes it easier than ever to nominate your outstanding project or apprentice. In addition to the changes to the online portal, there have also been some major changes to the categories of the Excellence Awards for our members. There are new categories tailored to our smaller members, and several of the categories have been revamped based on member and industry

NECA SA/NT EVENTS CALENDAR NECA SA/NT Roadshow Seminar Series Begins  Monday, 22 March 2021  for more details Business Structures and Asset Protection Workshop  Wednesday, 7 April 2021  5.00pm – 7.00pm  Brentnalls SA, Hindmarsh

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ROADSHOW SEMINAR SERIES NECA SA/NT is pleased to announce the Roadshow Seminar Series is back! The 2021 Seminar Series will be held across South Australia in March, April and May after cancellations in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. We highly encourage all electrical contractors and their workers to attend this year to ensure they are up-to-date with all the latest developments within the industry. The seminars will cover updates to Australian Standards, new Solar requirements, the Service and Installation Rules, NECA’s HSEQ Digital product and much more. This year NECA is celebrating running the Annual Roadshow Seminar Series for 20 years! Attendees can expect seminars to be even bigger and better than before, with extra prizes, giveaways and more. It will be a series not to be missed.

The annual Seminar Series is a significant training resource for the electrotechnology industry. This Series this year is designed to provide licensed electricians with a greater understanding of the following topics: 

NECA SA/NT on the Dual Trade Apprenticeship, HSEQ Digital product, and other projects SA Power Networks on changes to the Service and Installation Rules Office of the Technical Regulator on New Smarter Homes requirements, updates to Australian Standards, testing and isolation, FAQs and more.

Thanks to the Office of the Technical Regulator and SA Power Networks for their support and involvement in this initiative. NECA has again nominated MATES in Construction (MIC) to be our charity of

choice for the 2021 Roadshow Seminar Series. Donations will be collected at each seminar, and more information provided on MIC, the work they do for the construction industry and why our help is needed. Suppliers, manufacturers and wholesalers will be on location with their new products and service displays and NECA SA/NT staff will also be on hand to answer your questions about what NECA can do for you and your business. Don’t miss out on our 20th Anniversary year. To attend the NECA 2021 Roadshow Seminar Series, register via Eventbrite: or visit to complete the hard copy registration form. For further information contact NECA SA/NT on (08) 8272 2966.

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NECAGuard NECAGuard NECAGuard betterassist assistmembers members when when choosing have developed ToTo better choosingNECAGuard, NECAGuard,we we have developed To better assist members when choosing NECAGuard, we have developed thethe following following product productoutline outlinefor formembers. members. If you you have havespecific specificrequirements requirements in in addition addition to to following product outline forwith members. If you have specific requirements in addition to thethe the below, below, please please make make contact contact with our our team. team. the below, please make contact with our team.

Combined CombinedProfessional Professional Combined Professional Indemnity, Indemnity,Public PublicLiability Liability Indemnity, Public Liability and and Management ManagementLiability Liability and Management - Continuity - Continuity of of professional professionalLiability indemnity indemnity -

- cover Continuity of professional indemnity cover and and maintaining maintaining continuity continuity date date cover and maintaining continuity date Combining all lines of business into Combining all lines of business into single policy Combining all lines of business into single policy policy Inclusion - single Inclusion forfor sub-contractors sub-contractors -- Inclusion for sub-contractors Optional Optional forfor working working height heightlimits limitscan can - Optional forthrough working height limits can be be extended extended throughto to20 20metres metres extended throughconsumer to 20 metres Optional - be Optional Queensland Queensland consumer - Optional Queensland consumer protection protection endorsement endorsement endorsement - protection Optional Victorian plumbers Optional Victorian plumbers association endorsement Optional Victorian plumbers association endorsement association endorsement

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- - Dedicated Dedicated specialist specialist team team in Sydney in Sydney -- - Dedicated specialist team in Sydney Coordinating the paperwork with the the Coordinating the paperwork with NSW workers’ compensation scheme - Coordinating the paperwork with the NSW workers’ compensation scheme workers’ compensation scheme - - NSW Provision Provision ofof thethe quote quote to ensure to ensure thatthat the the correct classification and premium has - Provision of the quote to ensure that the correct classification and premium has been calculated correct classification and premium has been calculated calculated - - been Certificate Certificate ofof Currency Currency issued issued in aintimely a timely - Certificate of Currency issued manner mannerdirectly directly from from insurer insurerin a timely manner directly from insurer

Personal PersonalAccident Accident and and Personal Accident and Illness Illness Illness - Age limits up to 75

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18/09/2020 4:44:344:38:27 PM 18/09/2020 18/09/2020 4:38:27 PM

BRANCH UPDATE Wayne Hobson NECA TAS President

Welcome to 2021! I think all hope this include CPR training removed 2020 CONTINUES TOweBE A CHALLENGING TIME FOR being EVERYONE. year will be safer, and more successful, from the OH&S unit and delivered as RUNNING A BUSINESS IN THESE TIMES HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY than the last. a separate unit. A unit has also been added that to cover the isolation, safety DIFFICULT WITH THE EVER-CHANGING RESTRICTIONS, NECA Tasmania held its first event for remediation and return to service of UNCERTAINTY ANDthe DOWNTURN ECONOMY. the year on 5 February: Tasmanian IN THE embedded generation systems. Business Luncheon. The event was a valuable opportunity to bring together the ability industry tough 2020 we Our to after work atogether has and resulted look building on this strong in ourforward state’s to successful COVID-19 safe record. This is testament 2021. to the responsible foundation throughout and swift actions of our government, We would like to thank our Both guestthe speaker and the Tasmanian public. for the event, the Hon Elise Archer state and federal governments areMP, to be Minister for Building Construction, commended for theirand efforts to alleviate whoimpact sharedofanthe overview of pandemic. building and the COVID-19 infrastructure projects underway across Tasmania. Our members and business Upcoming legislation changes partners heard first-hand the government’s One upcoming change industry plans for the state andthat wereour also able to needs to be aware of is the Electrical share matters of concern to them. Safety

Testing and Verification Bill 2020 (the Bill), which will beabout tabled in There was informal discussion State Parliament year. Currently, effective testinglater and this verification of Tasmanian legislation governing electrical installations. Safety electricity concerns safety is spread across three Acts that were raised about the accuracy of test have not been updated since the 1990s. results being recorded on compliance certificates. This matter is on being taken NECA has been advocating behalf of very seriously and will be addressed at members and made a submission on the the in next ECIL meeting. Bill early 2020. Identification of Sub-Mains on The Bill will consolidate all electricity Multi-Tenancy Sites making it easier safety requirements, for peoplewere to find and understand safety Concerns also been raised about

Electrical Safety Bill 2020

the testing and verification of submains on multi-tenancy sites, especially where there is staged energisation of the premises. The main concern is the lack of clear identification of submains, which may lead to accidental energisation of the incorrect premises.

This has yet to be passed by the Tasmanian Parliament. NECA has been advocating on behalf of members and made a submission on the Bill in early 2020.

ECIL meetings in 2021 are planned for 17 March, 16 June, 22 September and 8 December.

For those unable to attend our last Electrical Contractor Industry Liaison (ECIL) meeting for 2020, key topics of discussion included:



Upcoming Excellence and TasNetworks Connections Portal THE TASMANIAN GOVERNMENT RECENTLY ANNOUNCED PLANS Apprentice Awards The portal an administration point FOR THEisDEVELOPMENT OF TASTAFE’S NEW TRADES AND WATER for embedded generation systems, A reminder that the 2020-21 Excellence CENTRE OFwhich EXCELLENCE. mostly solar, are connected to the TasNetworks grid, enabling surplus power to be fed back into the network. Since The state and federal funded project will November 2020, updates have been made see the construction of a new, stateto the online portal facility to improve of-the-art training thatprocesses, will enhance functionality, and make deliver training across a range of it trades, simple forelectrical, electrical contractors towater, use. including plumbing and refrigeration and air conditioning and Certificate III in Electrotechnology smart buildings technologies, in order to Electrician meet industry demands. With the introduction of the new Over the past two years, NECA UEE30820 in October 2020, thehas current been working(UEE30811) with federalisand state qualification being phased governments to trainperiod. more qualified out over a two-year Key changes electricians and meet the demands of the

and Apprentice Awards evening will be held on Saturday 14 August 2021. Excellenceconstruction Award project nominations Tasmanian sector. This is a closeopportunity on Friday 4 for June. for great theNominations electrotechnology industry, as the Awards facility will have the Apprentice close on a7strong May. focus on electrical trades, including I’d like to thank members refrigeration andTasmanian air conditioning, as well foraccess their support, loyalty friendship as to upskilling in and renewables and during 2020, and I look forward to hydrogen technologies. working with everyone during 2021 as we There are currently than 500 better begin what I’m sure more will be a much electrotechnology apprentices at TasTAFE year for all. and the new site at Clarence will expand capacity and see more tradespeople trained in this key industry.

March 2020 2021 SEPTEMBER


BE AWARE OF SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATIONS The Tasmanian Government has issued a consumer advisory in relation to solar systems and related electrical works undertaken by unlicensed persons. Electrical contractors in Tasmania should be wary when working on or around existing solar panel installations. Incorrectly installed solar panels and associated electrical work can result in

serious electrical risk including fires and electric shock.

inspection will then be organised by TechSafe Australia on behalf of CBOS.

To legally install solar panels in Tasmania, the installer must be a licensed contractor and an electrician, and have Clean Energy Council accreditation. Once a solar system has been installed, the installer must provide the customer with a Certificate of Electrical Compliance. A compliance

With uptake of domestic solar systems increasing and CBOS threatening action against anyone who performs unlicensed, illegal or defective work, members are encouraged to ensure they are compliant with all requirements prior to performing solar work.

NECA ANNUAL BUSINESS LUNCHEON BRINGS INDUSTRY TOGETHER Our guest speaker for the event was the Tasmanian Minister for Building and Construction, the Hon Elise Archer MP, who shared an overview of building and infrastructure projects that are currently underway in Tasmania, and touched on projects coming online in the near future. Minister Archer also took the opportunity to speak with members and associates about matters of concern to them. Also attending were representatives from Construction, Building and Occupational Services Tasmania (CBOS), as well as NECA Tasmania members and business partners. NECA Tasmania’s 2021 event calendar is off to a strong start, with our first event for the year – our annual Business Luncheon in Hobart - attracting senior representatives from government and industry.

NECA Tasmania president Wayne Hobson spoke about the need to attract more women and mature age apprentices to our industry during his address, both priorities for NECA across the country in 2021.

RECORD DWELLING APPROVALS EQUALS MORE WORK FOR LOCAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS Even as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across the national economy during 2020, record approvals in Tasmania for residential dwellings during the year has translated to a strong pipeline of building and construction work on the Apple Isle – and this means more work for electrical contractors.

NECA Tasmania wishes to thank everyone who attended for their support. In particular, our local business partners NESS Super, NHP, Legend, TasNetworks, ABB and IPD – without your support these valuable events would not be possible. Our events calendar in Tasmania continues with NECA Industry Nights in September, which will be held in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport. Details of these evenings will be made available soon. NECA TAS EVENTS CALENDAR ECIL Meeting  Wednesday, 17 March 2021  10.00am – 12.00pm  Cambell Town NECA State Council Meeting  Wednesday, 17 March 2021  1.00pm – 2.30pm  Cambell Town

NECA Southern Branch Meeting  Monday, 3 May 2021

NECA North West Branch Meeting  Monday, 3 May 2021 NECA State Council Meeting  Monday, 3 May 2021

Dwelling approvals in Tasmania rose by 66.5% in December 2020 – by far, the largest monthly increase of any Australian state – with 363 approvals in December being the highest number in a month since 1983.

ECIL Meeting  Wednesday, 2 June 2021  10.00am – 12.00pm  Cambell Town

The 3,473 dwelling approvals in Tasmania for the twelve months to December 2020 was also the highest for a one-year period in Tasmania for over 25 years.

 Wednesday, 2 June 2021

While the Tasmanian Government’s HomeBuilder scheme – which injected $300 million into social and affordable housing in the 2020-21 Budget – has bolstered this growth, there is also evidence of a general economic recovery in Tasmania mirroring similar improvements elsewhere in Australia. These figures strongly suggest better economic conditions in 2021, which in turn should foster confidence across the electrotechnology sector.


NECA State Council Meeting  1.00pm – 2.30pm  Cambell Town For more information and to register scan this QR code, or visit

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BRANCH UPDATE Pawel Podolski NECA VIC Executive Director Dean Spicer NECA VIC President

AS WE APPROACH THE END OF THE Q1 2021, THE 1ST OF JANUARY PROBABLY SEEMS LIKE A LONG TIME AGO; NONETHELESS, WE WOULD LIKE TO WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES A VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR. We are pleased to say that, despite the difficulties we had to deal with in 2020, we have every reason to be confident about our members’ chances for prosperity in 2021.


COVID-19 is still with us, and still presenting challenges to both regulators and business, but thanks to a massive effort from all Victorians, we are slowly moving towards ‘COVIDnormal’ and the chance to build our economy and businesses on a more stable footing. Even as we navigate the unpredictable events like the latest snap lockdown at time of writing. NECA continues to be very vocal with Government and industry stakeholders around the need to drive stability into our sector and will continue to be the passionate voice of the Industry representing our Victorian Members. From the start of the crisis, our industry has risen to the challenge of managing risk while staying ‘open’ and the lessons and resilience learned will stand us in good stead as we move through the new decade. We have again partnered with the broader Construction industry to recently update the COVID Industry Guidelines, which include considerations for some of the most recent events. At NECA Victoria, we are proud of the role we have played in supporting our members and the broader electrical and communication industry in these tough times, with advice, training, information and being the beacon of our industry on your collective behalf with both state and national Governments.

We are very pleased, too, with the trust other organisations have put into NECA Victoria when they wanting to engage with our industry. A great recent example is Fergus – a leading provider of job software for the trades sector who have partnered with us to help our small to mid-sized businesses slash time spent on administration, get paid faster and improve profit margins. To celebrate our new relationship with Fergus, they have a very special offer for NECA Vic members – check out our website for more details. Not long ago, the same level of engagement was entrusted to us by HUMM – a leader in the buy-now, pay-later service for trades, with a particularly good penetration with consumers in the solar sector. We also appreciate the ongoing support of many of our long-standing partners who continue to go on the journey through the thick and thin with NECA Victoria and provide many valuable benefits to Members directly and indirectly. As part of our ongoing commitment to assist our members to succeed, we are also embracing innovation as part of our product suite. We were very pleased to announce the recent introduction of HSEQ Plus, NECA Victoria’s new and enhanced HSEQ Management System – available as a mobile app. Developed in response to members’ requests and needs, HSEQ Plus is a new digital platform which provides

March 2021


you and your employees with more flexibility, freedom, and choices in fulfilling your OH&S obligations. To give one example, the app comes with six key OH&S forms pre-built, so that your staff members - electricians in the field, can complete the forms on the spot and you can manage your business with real time compliance records – something particularly important during this COVID safety aware environment. HSEQ Plus is fully customisable and provides real-time data and access to key documents anywhere and any time, through your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile. Best of all, it is also very affordable. Through the ability to negotiate with the benefit of high volume on behalf of the industry, and by further subsidising some of the fees, NECA Victoria delivers this solution at a fraction of the cost of similar systems out in the market. Another development we are delighted to announce is that since late November last year we are now able to offer on-the-ground and face-to-face legal representation in Victoria for our members. This is a historic moment for us as a Branch and complements the service delivery focused journey we have been on over the last several months, where we have matured and enhanced many of our business services for our Victorian members.

The legal representation for Victorian members is provided through a NECA owned company - Constructive Legal Solutions (CLS). CLS offers specialised and tailored services to members and non-members in the electrotechnology and broader trades industries. NECA Members obviously get preferential pricing!

to tailor the support they are able to provide and their availability to the needs of the mentee. We are committed to making it a fulfilling experience for all participants.

We are currently working on a number of exciting propositions and resources to assist our members with HR processes and policies, so watch this space for developments!

In the meantime, we invite you to enjoy the rest of the material prepared for you by the NECA team, both from a specific Victorian perspective, as well as the many industry wide issues across the remainder of the magazine.

Finally, I’d like to recommend to you our new Mentoring program. We are seeking expressions of interest from Mentors with a passion for helping the ‘up and commers’ of our industry. Becoming a mentor is a great way to support the ongoing development of those already in the industry, as well as establishing strong networking relationships. We know many of you have priceless experiences which you have built up over the times based on years of trial and error, mistakes and victories. We want to ensure the next generation of business leaders can benefit from some of this experience. As a mentor, you can share your knowledge, skills and life experience with others, enabling them to learn, grow and reach their full potential. We will consult with each individual who submits an expression of interest,

If you think you have what it takes, send us an email to express your interest

NECA VIC EVENTS CALENDAR Legal Seminar  Thursday, 25 March 2021 Tech Talk – Sale  Tuesday, 20 April 2021 Tech Talk – Warrnambool  Thursday, 22 April 2021 Tech Talk – Bulleen  Wednesday, 28 April 2021 Tech & Safety Talk – Shepparton  Thursday, 13 May 2021 For more information and to register scan this QR code, or visit

BECOME A MENTOR NECA Victoria is looking to establish a mentoring program and seeking expressions of interest to become a mentor. Becoming a mentor is a great way to support the ongoing development of those already in the industry, as well as establishing strong networking relationships. As a mentor, you share your knowledge, skills, and life experience with others, enabling them to learn, grow and reach their full potential. Being a mentor can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience. If you think you have what it takes, send us an email to express your interest


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CAN YOU MANDATE VACCINES IN VICTORIA? THE PFIZER-BIONTECH VACCINE (THE “VACCINE”) HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR USE IN AUSTRALIA AND IS CURRENTLY BEING ROLLED OUT ACROSS AUSTRALIA WITH INITIAL PLANS OF HAVING THIS AVAILABLE IN VICTORIA FROM LATE FEBRUARY 2021 IN MODEST QUANTITIES OF UP TO 50,000 VACCINES DELIVERED PER WEEK IN JUST VICTORIA ALONE. In the first phase, Victorians with the highest risk of exposure to the virus (e.g., front-line healthcare workers) will be vaccinated. The next phase will see vulnerable populations and ‘high-risk’ workforce being vaccinated, with the general population receiving it in the third phase. It is anticipated that in most cases the vaccine for future stages in Victoria will be AstraZeneca, which will be locally manufactured and available at much higher quantities. The Government has confirmed that the vaccine is voluntary and free, and significant work is in train between the Victorian Government and the Federal Government around how to localise the rollout of vaccines. When the most vulnerable populations are vaccinated, and the vaccines become available to a wider group of the Victorian population, the question that Employers will have is: Can I force my employees to get vaccinated? To address this question, we must consider the following: a. Workplace Health and Safety b. Reasonable and lawful direction c. Discrimination

As an employer, you will need to consider whether the vaccine is necessary to eliminate or minimise a risk of the virus spreading in the workplace, to the extent that it is reasonably practicable and consistent with your existing legal obligations.

Factors to Consider A. Workplace Health & Safety All states have laws regulating the health and safety of employees and in Victoria the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) is the main workplace health and safety law. The OHS Act creates a legal obligation for you to require employees to take ‘reasonably practicable’ steps to ensure a safe work environment for all employees, clients and other stakeholders. Section 20 of the OHS Act sets out 5 factors that must be considered when determining what is reasonably practicable to ensure health and safety. This includes, amongst other things, the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or reduce the hazard or risk and the degree of harm that would result if the hazard or risk eventuated.

In the scenario of the pandemic, under the OHS Act, any inaction by you to control the spread of the virus (i.e., not advocating for the wearing of masks, not implementing policies to align with government directions) would be found to be a breach of those health and safety obligations. In addition to the OHS Act, you have the power, under common law, to give employees ‘lawful and reasonable’ directions. When it comes to the vaccine, as part of ensuring you are fulfilling your responsibilities under the OHS Act and common law, you must consider whether any direction you issue for the vaccine is ‘reasonable and lawful’. B. Reasonable and lawful direction Do you have a positive obligation to require your employees to be vaccinated, once they become available, to satisfy your obligations towards other employees under the OHS Act? To answer the above question, you will have to apply the ‘lawful and reasonable’ standard. This is to be determined on a case-by-case basis as each workplace has its own set of risks and responsibilities. In an article released by the Sydney Morning Herald, Barrister Ian Neil SC and RMIT University academic Anthony Forsyth, two of Australia’s leading authorities on labour law, stated that “employers had the power to issue ‘lawful and reasonable’ directions that could be used to compel staff to get vaccinated”. However, they noted that it is a question that has never been posed



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March 2021

NECA Victoria is very excited to announce the launch of its law firm Constructive Legal Solutions, providing our members (large and small) in Victoria with on the ground legal advice and supporting constructive legal outcomes, tailored to the construction/electrotechnology industry.


MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES For further information on the law firm, please visit:



Even then, there is no single correct approach to this question, and you must expect push-back, if you issue such a direction.

Where there is no government health direction on mandating the vaccine in this industry, the reasonableness of such a direction will be assessed staff against or answered in court the time this EVERY YEAR, AN(atEXPERT PANEL OFsafeguarding THE FAIRthose WORK COMMISSION REVIEWS MODERN AWARD on a case-by-case basis by the Fair infection, e.g., safe distancing. article was written). MINIMUM WAGES AND SETS A NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE ORDER FOR EMPLOYEES NOT COVERED BY Work Commission (FWC) and/or safety regulators such as WorkSafe Victoria. The test for what is reasonable, is stricter In determining whether such a direction ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS OR MODERN AWARDS. for existing employees, compared to new is reasonable or lawful, the court may Until there is better understanding for our employees, as the FWC will consider the consider several factors, including but industry, instead of mandating a vaccine consequences of the employee losing not limited to: immediately, you can do the following: This year, the Fair Work Commission’s their job against whether your direction  The nature of work being performed by minimum wage panel has increased the  Maintain open communication. You was reasonable and required. your employees; Federal Minimum Wage by a modest 1.75%, may discuss with your employees  Nature in recognition ofclients the economic effects of of the and other about the vaccine and how you are C. Discrimination thestakeholders; COVID-19 pandemic, lower than the seeking to protect any vulnerable latest consumer price inflation figure of Provisions around discrimination can be  Whether your employees can work individuals within the workplace. Get 2.2% and the previous year’s increase of 3%. found in the Victorian legislation (the remotely; an understanding of your employees’ Equal Opportunity Act), as well as in the thoughts on the matter.  Advice and requirements of the What is the increase? Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the “Act”). The  Encourage your employees to government (federal and state) and main argument that would most likely Formedical anyonebodies not covered bytime; a Modern at that and Award undertake the vaccine. By doing so or Enterprise Agreement, the new National be put forward by your employees to you are indicating to your employees  How advanced and successful the Minimum Wage (NMW) will be $753.80 per not be vaccinated, would be based on that you support them in getting the vaccination is an at that and week – or $19.84 hour.time; This equates to political and/or religious views, which vaccination, but that you are not  Any an increase aroundfactors. $13 per week. other of relevant are prohibited under the Act. dictating them to do so. All Modern Award rates of industry pay will also In the electrotechnology Employees may also push back on the Since we are in new terrain, the situation increase byfactors 1.75% however, the additional that may beCommission basis of genuine medical or health is evolving and will continue to evolve in has set different start dates between considered are: reasons that are supported by the the coming months. Whilst this article July this year and February next year. What should you do? industries, receive the increase from  Whether your employees have much advice of a will medical practitioner. considers the implications specific to the 1 November 2020. The Fair Work with Commission president interaction the public (i.e., and If your employees are covered by one of Victorian regulatory regime, some of the However, an exception to the above minimum wage panel head, Justice Iain customers/clients); the Awards listed above, and you pay Those in ‘Group 3’, in accommodation/ common law and Federal law principles could be where the ‘discriminatory Ross, said three operative dates have  Whether your employees have much your employees Award minimum food services, arts/recreation, aviation, discussed will apply across otherwages, States action’ by the company is because of been chosen, based on the impacts of you must increase these wages by 1.75% retail and tourism, will receive the interaction with one another (on site and Territories as well. NECA will continue the inherent requirements of the role the pandemic on each sector. on 1 November 2020. you of any guidance increase on 1 February 2021. and/or office); to monitor and update concerned. Inherent requirements of the When does principal the increase apply? on work provided by the Victorian Government  Whether role means the core duties that must be contractors If your employees are covered by an What about the allowances? (particularly for the broader construction carried out in order to fulfil the purpose sites require to ensure Enterprise Agreement or individual This is the first subcontractors time the increases to the industry), as well as any decisions issued employment contracts, and they are All allowances will increase the of athe position. It does not refer toat other their employees arewill vaccinated; Modern Award wages not be applied by the FWC regarding this matter. receiving slightly above Award minimum same time the wage rates increase – on minor tasks that can make up the job. at the same time.  In Victoria, the Courts may wages, you should review your wage and 1 November 2020. also consider the fact that the Should yourates have to any questions around In considering the impact of COVID-19, allowance ensure that you are Moving Forward industry was exceptional one of the Some allowances in the Awards are the legal issues surrounding vaccines, theconstruction panel felt that there were still paying at or above the minimum rate few sectors that thatjustified continued function calculated based on the standard contact Varatharajullu on circumstances theto deferment Before you can move forward with rate of pay asSaraswathy of 1 November 2020. stipulated in vaccination the Awards. policy, As such, at the peak offor the pandemic, only of even the wage increases certain industries. a mandatory atthey If pay well above the Award rates, will increase in accordance with the new facing stricter restrictions at Stage 4. foryou a personalised assessment and minimum the vaccines must be available Workers covered by ‘Group 1’ awards, then theinincrease will not affect you. wage rates. advice Victoria. to employees in the industry – which In addition to the healthcare above, it also depends such as frontline and social at theexpense-related time of writing is allowances, most likely only NECA will release an updated wage Other assistance workers, teachers and childcare on the type of employees you have. If bulletin for the Electrical, Electronic and going to be available to the general such as meal allowance and first aid workers and other essential services, you have a mix of employees ranging Communications Contracting Award 2010 allowance, will increase byof the relevant populace towards the end 2021. received their increase from 1 July 2020. from administrative staff to electricians, prior to 1 November 2020. Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure. you Electrical, may be ableElectronic to provideand a safe work The environment for one group without Communications Contracting Awardthe vaccine, but not for the other group. For 2010 and Clerks (Private Sector) Award example, for back end administrative 2020 fall under “Group 2” awards. Saraswathy Varatharajullu Disclaimer: This summary is a guide staff thatcovered do not interact with in Workers by ‘Groupmuch 2’ awards, Principal Lawyer, Constructive LegalVictoria Solutions Workplace Relations Advisor, NECA only and is not legal advice. others there may be other ways of other construction, manufacturing, and 1300 300 031


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45 71

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ENERGY SAFE VICTORIA UPDATE Happy New Year to all. This column comes to you from the new ESV Commission which came into being on 1 January 2021. Our regulatory powers are no longer held by a single Director of Energy Safety, we now have a commission of three. I have been appointed Commission Chairperson and I am joined by Deputy Chairperson Michelle Groves and Commissioner Sarah McDowell.

oversight, accountability and regulation of lineworkers.

The new governance model will increase transparency in our regulatory decision making. The Commission is responsible for providing leadership and strategic guidance for ESV and leading its transformation as a modern, fit for purpose regulator, capable of effective, best practice regulation to achieve the highest standard energy safety outcomes for Victorians.

The new regime has been delivered with the support of major electricity companies, employer organisations and the ETU. It was developed through wide consultation with lineworkers and other stakeholders.

To ensure the smooth running of the business, ESV’s Chief Operating Officer Sharife Rahmani has been appointed acting CEO, while we recruit for a permanent appointment.

Victoria has been fortunate in that the number of fatalities among lineworkers in recent decades has been very low. In order to maintain our record and with the aim of reducing it to zero, the licensing regime ensures minimum standards of training and experience.

While introducing the regime was a great achievement, we are still seeing poor practices and systems of work that have resulted in serious injuries to licensed electrical workers. On 21 January an A Grade electrical worker was rushed to hospital with severe burns to his legs. He was working alone on a main switchboard preparing

These changes come about at the same time as we introduced licensing for lineworkers and cable jointers. The new licensing regime will improve safety outcomes by providing greater


for the connection of a cable to a circuit breaker. There was an arc flash and a fire which caused the man’s burns. The incident is under investigation but this man was working near live parts. NEVER WORK LIVE. The message has to simply get through. It is not worth the risk and it is the responsibility of every registered electrical contractor and electrical worker to make sure appropriate systems of work are in place to enable this practice. There is no deadline nor demand from a customer that is worth electrocution. De-energise before work begins – it’s that simple. The man in this case is lucky. He is alive. Many others are not. I have used this column before to remind licensed electricians and others of their responsibilities when it comes to working live. While I believe most of the industry understand, one day I hope the message gets through to those who think working live is still okay. Please stay safe.

Marnie Williams Director of Energy Safety & CEO Energy Safe Victoria

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IF YOU ASKED THE AVERAGE PERSON WHAT SPRINGS TO MIND WHEN THEY HEAR THE TERM ‘CLIMATE CHANGE,’ YOU CAN BET THEIR ANSWER WOULDN’T BE ‘TRADIES.’ BUT A BRAND NEW CENTRE IN NARRE WARREN, VICTORIA COULD CHANGE ALL THAT – AND WE ARE PROUD TO SAY A NECA MEMBER M SQUARED ELECTRICAL WAS A KEY PART OF BRINGING IT TO LIFE. FMSA Architecture. So the challenge for M Squared Electrical was to integrate cutting-edge electrical systems, that achieved the sustainability goals, while the design was still a work in progress. It was a complex task, involving weekly design meetings with a whole host of stakeholders, to establish a project brief and the net zero energy parameters. The facility is the first in Australia to utilise building foundation screw piling to source geothermal energy for the building’s heating and cooling requirements. The GSHP system integrates thermal heat loops within the structural screw piles for geothermal heat exchange. There is also a Solar PV array comprised of 776 panels, generating up to 275kW of electricity annually to contribute to the energy needs of the building. The advanced system has inbuilt optimisers which provide diagnostic maintenance tracking so that the poor performance of one panel does not result in the performance of an entire string being compromised.

The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) Narre Warren campus is a comprehensive training and research facility for the plumbing industry and will also house the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) R&T Oceania’s new research centre and product testing laboratory. It is the first Net Zero Energy (NZE) education and research facility in Victoria and employs a variety of renewable energy technologies to generate all the energy needed to operate the building on site. M Squared Electrical was involved from the very beginning of the project and played an integral role in realising the Centre’s ambitious sustainability goals.



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M Squared Electrical is a Victorian business, providing services across Australia, covering predominantly the construction and infrastructure sector. From the beginning, they have been committed to using clever design, innovative technologies and quality products to provide custom electrical solutions that are aesthetically striking while simultaneously energy efficient and practical. On the PICAC project, they were involved from the design stage to completion, and developed the drawings from the initial brief to a set of working drawings, in conjunction with NDY consultants. Most of the building design was, understandably, driven by the architect,

Other building features supporting the net zero energy consumption include Indirect Evaporative Cooling, a system that uses an evaporative cooling process to deliver air conditioning, but without humidifying the air, and a full LED lighting solution with sensor management and dimmable response systems. M Squared Electrical was involved in the design and installation of all of the power reticulation, structured data cabling, solar PV 275KW, AV systems, security and access control and all specialist lighting. As if that wasn’t enough, this project had an extra feature that was integral to the design but created a very unusual – if not unique – extra challenge for M Squared Electrical’s design skills.

March 2021


From the beginning, one of the key areas of focus for the project was to showcase the very best leading-edge technologies in the field of Net Zero Energy and waterrelated sustainability, to educate and inspire the plumbers of tomorrow. ‘Showcase’ can mean many things, but in the case of PICAC, it includes literally showing the workings of the building. All of the sustainable design features – plumbing, electrical, architectural and engineering – were deliberately made to be visible, to show industry, visitors, and particularly the students, how the magic happens. This meant that M Squared Electrical was tasked with creating functional, cutting-edge, super-efficient systems that met the Net Zero targets while being completely on show. Cutting-

edge technology has always been a special interest of Michael Davis and Matthew Hoban (the two ‘M’s’ of ‘M Squared’). And creating the superefficient design required to achieve Net Zero accreditation was a challenge they relished. But having the whole system on show, to educate viewers not just on what is possible, but how to achieve it, was new territory – and pulling it off is a justified source of pride. It was also the source of one of the key learnings of the project, according to Michael Davis. Having all of the system visible meant they needed to factor extra time to finish the work to a standard they were happy to have on show. The upside is that the whole building is now an advertisement for the standards they can achieve on an aesthetic level, as well as a functional one.

For Michael, the standout moment of the project was delivering on a brief that was incomplete and seeing the full design come to life successfully. In finishing his interview for this article, Michael said he wanted to congratulate his colleagues, Peter Smyrnis and Matthew Hoban for their contribution to this project and gave us the following quote: “Well done to the Hutchinson Builders project team, Rob Muscatello, Steve Sherri, Steve Crowley, Kay Crowley, FMSA Architecture, Marcel van Vilet and Norman Disney & Young for all of their hard work behind the scenes in the design. It is a building that we can all be proud of. I hope other industry leaders can take a leaf out of the plumbers’ book and starting thinking of building these kinds of training facilities for the next generation.”

To have your inspirational story told, reach out via email to Akeera Dharmapala at


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HSEQ PLUS As part of our ongoing commitment to assist you and your employees comply with the OH&S Act, we have introduced HSEQ Plus, NECA Victoria’s new and enhanced HSEQ Management System. HSEQ Plus provides you with more flexibility, freedom, choice, and power to let you run your business the way you want to.

Greater Flexibility

Access to Key Documents

You have the choice of using paper, mobile or both to ensure you complete safety requirements with ease.

Tailored HSEQ management manual, Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), project WHS management plan, safe operating instructions, toolbox talks and more. Plus, 6 key OH&S forms are pre-loaded on to the app and available for you to start meeting site compliance with ease!

Fully Customisable

Key features and benefits of HSEQ Plus Affordable A system like this may cost you thousands to implement. NECA can deliver it at a fraction of the cost by negotiating on behalf of the industry, and by further subsidising the fees as safety is NECA’s number one priority.

The HSEQ Plus Management System can be easily customised to suit your business requirements.

24/7 Access – Anytime, Anywhere

Real-Time Data The mobile application tracks data, time, user and location in real time so you know exactly when, where and who completed the form(s). Critical in an event of a WorkSafe investigation or audit.

The HSEQ Plus Management System is available 24/7 and can be accessed via your desktop, tablet and mobile.

IoT: Don’t get left behind This pilot in the Application of the Internet of Things for Electrotechnology Workers will provide you with the skills and knowledge to design and implement Internet of Things (IoT) systems.

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BRANCH UPDATE Carl Copeland NECA WA Branch Secretary

different means by which electrical Industrial Manslaughter ALTHOUGH MARKET CONDITIONS REMAIN DIFFICULT, IT ISanPLEASING contractor’s licence can be obtained. legislation TO HEAR FROM MEMBERS IN THE RESIDENTIAL SECTOR THAT THE NECA WA doesAIMED not, however, support The WA Parliament recently passed VARIOUS GOVERNMENT STIMULUS PACKAGES AT INCREASING the cross-border recognition of the Work Health and Safety Bill 2019, THE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW HOMESRestricted IS HAVING A POSITIVE Electrical licences.EFFECT. These which contains new industrial manslaughter legislation. However, it is unlikely that this will come into Members in thislate sector expect a considerable effect before 2021. increase in work in the near future. NECA WA has been very vocal in its The strong prices for gold and iron ore in opposition to the manslaughter particular ensured thatnow members provisions,have but as they have been working in we theare resource sector amended, satisfied withare thealso enjoying strong for electrical result. This is a demand very important issue,work. not only for electrical contractors NECA Technical is taking as many, ifbut not for all calls business and managers. more, thanowners it was before COVID, which indicates there are still lots of NECA Legal has prepared a members performing work. comprehensive summary of the new There is obviously legislation on pagestill 53. a long way to go in terms of a full recovery but it does seem that WesternMutual AustraliaRecognition is better placed Automatic of than other states at present. electrical licences


Recently theManslaughter Department of the Prime Industrial Minister and Cabinet circulated a Legislation

discussion paper about the AustraliaSometimes there of area critical pieces wide recognition wide range of of legislation that industry has to fight licences, including electrical licences. tooth and nail to prevent; the Western Australian Government’s As I mentioned in the last proposed edition of this industrial legislation is magazine,manslaughter NECA WA has reservations such law. aboutaAutomatic Mutual Recognition and will only support the proposal for It is vital that all contractors familiarise the recognition of electrical worker themselves with this legislation because licences, once there is parityaccidents. across it will criminalise workplace all jurisdictions regarding the training The Government’s proposed industrial required to obtain licence, i.e. manslaughter law the exposes business throughto anup apprenticeship owners to 10 years in pathway, jail and a with $2.5million fine if an on parity of evidence of accident on the joboccurs activities your worksite – even ifPerformance you haven’t been meeting the Essential reckless or negligent. Capabilities for licensing. It is vital that understand the Similarly, NECAmembers WA supports the risks they could face underof theElectrical worst parts cross-border recognition (e.g. Sectionlicences, 30B) of the Western Contractor but only if Australian they Government’s proposed Workplace Health too are obtained in a similar manner in & Safety Bill. Section 30B is unique to WA. each state. At present that is not the It is not found in any other state or territory. case. A number of states currently have

licences are issued in a particular jurisdiction for a particular purpose NECA has met with the Minister for Industrial and should not cross jurisdictions. Relations, Bill Johnston, and personally expressed our Professional concerns to him. We were Continuous particularly adamant that the legislation Development must contain defences that protect Negotiations with Building and contractors whose safety practices meet the legislative requirements. Energy (B&E) continue in regard to the introduction of a Continuous It is ridiculous to have a situation where Professional Development (CPD) program. a business owner has implemented safetyWA practices that ensure compliance NECA understands that B&E’s with all of their WHS obligations and yet preferred position is that any CPD can still be subjected to prosecution. program should initially consist of mandatory Extra Low Voltage Rescue NECA has lobbied the McGowan government, as Aid welltraining. as the Liberal (ELVR) and First Opposition and cross-bench members of NECA WA has stated that we believe Parliament, part of coalition of the programas should beaexpanded to more than twenty other industry associations also include training on the Apprentice who also oppose this legislation. Supervision Guidelines. I encourage every Western Australian In Western Australia, there is currently business owner and director to read the no requirement workers joint submissionfor toelectrical government that to undertake any professional NECA WA has made along with the other development or mandatory training, industry associations. The submission, once their electrical whichthey is onhave NECAobtained WA’s website, is more licence. This could in critical some than 20 pages long result but it is that you understand the potential electrical licence holders having implications for you, your business, considerable deficiencies in both your co-workers and your family. their technical knowledge and their knowledge of be current safety Members can assured thatpractices. NECA WA will continue to fiercely oppose this NECA believes that the initial position legislation in its current form. held by B&E is a good start but should eventually be expanded out to include Security of Payments Legislation AS/NZ 3000 updates and a check and The Government hashelp alsoensure recently testState refresher. This would released its long-awaited Security that an electrical worker’s draft technical of Payments legislation. This is vital knowledge is kept up-to-date, as this legislation for NECA members is an essential requirement forand for subcontractors in general. completing tasks in both a technically proficient and safe manner.

SEPTEMBER March 2021 2020


Electrical Contractors Courses NECA WA has recently written to the Electrical Licensing Board (ELB) to encourage the ELB to retain the business components of the Contractors Course. NECA WA believes it is essential that contractors enter the industry understanding the importance of basic financial concepts such as calculating operating costs and margins, cash flow, the difference between cash reserves and profit and how to interpret complex industrial awards, in order to make a new business financially sustainable.

Industry Nights Our Industry Nights will commence again in February and will be delivered all across the state throughout 2021. We are delighted that representatives from the Western Australia Electrical Inspectorate have agreed to attend as many of the events as they can. We will be extending that invitation to the Building and Energy Inspectorate as well. Details of the 2021 schedule for our Industry Nights can be found on this page.

College of Electrical Training In a year where nothing went to script, the end of 2020 was no different. Over November and December, CET saw a significant increase in apprentice numbers, at a time of year that normally sees a reduction in numbers. The stimulus measures taken by the Federal and State governments flowing through the construction industry bolstered confidence, with many new employers taking on apprentices for the first time. CET has continued to see those numbers grow, with 137 commencements since November 2020. CET’s administration team has been working hard to schedule training for the increased number of apprentices and also pre-apprentices. CET will continue to work with employers to provide flexibility, as they endeavour to meet the demands of industry and balance these requirements with the training needs of their apprentices. This year sees the rollout of the new Electrotechnology Training Package. With a greater focus on the latest and emerging technologies such as


renewable energy, LED and DC motors, and less focus on outdated technology (eg. fluorescent and incandescent lighting), students will be better equipped to meet the needs of the future. Strengthening the knowledge and skills around workplace safety was addressed, with specific units reflecting the different supply sources (grid, PV and battery) and the need to isolate and reinstate these correctly - as well as addressing the continuing dangers of asbestos and silicosis. Our future tradespeople should be safer as a result of the new training package, and will hopefully promote improved safety messages throughout the community. 2021 will no doubt have its own challenges, but CET is well placed to continue to adapt to changes, developing their workforce in conjunction with industry’s ongoing support.

Post-JobKeeper EGT Apprentice Discounts It is almost certain that the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payments will cease at the end of March. However, I am delighted to confirm that for an additional three months, EGT will continue to provide its discounted charge-out rates to host employers. The exact details are still being worked out, but our plan is for discounts to continue at a declining rate from April through May and June, before rates then return to normal on 1 July 2021. I hope that these continued discounts will provide a ‘soft landing’ for EGT host employers once JobKeeper payments, which have been vital to so many businesses, cease.

Electrical Group Training EGT ended 2020 quite strongly, with apprentices starting apprenticeships right up to early December. A final total of 134 new apprentices started in 2020, which is only 20% short of what EGT would consider a “normal year” in recruiting. EGT has commenced the New Year positively, with most apprentices returning to work in January with little or no downtime from December and very few apprentices being returned to EGT for placement with another host employer. This has resulted in EGT bringing forward their first scheduled induction from week four in January to week three - something that hasn’t been required in many years. On 17 December 2020, EGT held its first EGT Host Sundowner event at the Perth Yacht Club. We appreciated the opportunity to thank EGT Host Employers for their support throughout the previous 12 months. At the event we confirmed that in 2020, EGT had passed on almost $9 million in government funding from multiple sources including: the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program, state government WA Jobs and Skills funding, Federal Government Employer incentives, funding from the Construction Training Fund, the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees fund and a massive $7.1 million from the JobKeeper program.

2021 NECA WA INDUSTRY NIGHTS Master Builders Geraldton  Wednesday, 24 March 2021 Northam Tavern  Thursday, 29 April 2021 Comfort Inn Bay of Isles Esperance  Thursday, 6 May 2021 Hillarys Yacht Club  Thursday, 13 May 2021 The Esplanade Hotel Port Hedland  Wednesday, 9 June 2021 Ibis Styles Karratha  Thursday, 10 June 2021 The Kimberley Grande Resort Kununurra  Wednesday, 21 July 2021 Oaks Broome Hotel  Thursday, 22 July 2021 For more information and to register scan this QR code, or visit

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WESTERN POWER UPDATE Western Power has recently updated their Distribution Overhead to Underground Conversion Standard. The amendments are to ensure continued network and customer compliance with regulatory requirements in conjunction with a clearer understanding of community, industry and network roles and responsibilities.

incorrect perceptions of underground service location limitation (i.e. property right side only). Criteria is unchanged in terms of position determination (refer to definitions and clause 6-v) 

Below is a summary of the amendments: 

Alignment of the Standard to accommodate customer application and installation qualification requirements; Clarification of ‘exclusion zone’ and ‘pegging’ criteria in terms of customer responsible for boundary pegs and exclusion zone clearance requirements to address ongoing encroachment issues (Clauses 6-xiv and 6-xv) New definition for standard location. The definition has been included for non-technical readers to address


Revised definition for ‘underground service’. Amended to align with current language and to assist nontechnical readers. Clarification on the location of the isolation point (MSB). The location of the customer’s private electrical infrastructure must have a clear relationship and be accessible to and with dwellings it services and all associated users (Not located on an adjoining freehold title or within the gated boundaries of a single strata unit)

Clarification on the application of ‘multiple point of supply’ and ‘fixed price’ requirements. Multiple points of supply requirements aligned with current regulatory and network requirements. Minor editorial updates to accommodate the above.

The standard is available to view on WA’s Technical Knowledge Base.

Malcolm Scott Technical Services Advisor ECA WA

HIRE AN EGT ELECTRICAL APPRENTICE Find out about our low-risk, flexible hiring options for your next project.



THE NEW INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER PROVISIONS The WA Parliament recently passed the Work Health and Safety Bill 2019, which contains new industrial manslaughter provisions. However, it is unlikely that this will come into effect before late 2021. NECA WA has been very vocal in its opposition of some of these manslaughter provisions, but as they have now been amended, we are satisfied with the result. In summary, Section 30A is now the only clause that deals with industrial manslaughter. NECA WA has never opposed this clause as it deals with incidences where gross negligence is present. NECA WA strongly recommends that all employers and their officers note the new legislation will replace the existing Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 and does still contain new provisions concerning industrial manslaughter. S. 30A. Industrial manslaughter — crime (1) ​A person commits a crime if — (a) ​the person has a health and safety duty as a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking and (b) ​engages in conduct that causes the death of an individual; and (c) ​the conduct constitutes a failure to comply with the person’s duty; and (d) ​the person engages in the conduct — (i) knowing that the conduct is likely to cause the death of an individual; and (ii) in disregard of that likelihood. Note that an officer may be held liable where: 1. the conduct is attributed to neglect by the officer, 2. the neglect happened with their consent and with their knowledge that the conduct would likely cause death, and 3. the officer disregarded that likelihood.


The maximum penalties for industrial manslaughter are: For an individual Imprisonment for 20 years + fine of $5M For a body corporate A fine of $10M Section 31 was amended to replace Section 30B which was the section that NECA WA strongly opposed. Unlike the previous Section 30B, Section 31 allows the prosecution of an employee whose conduct causes a work place death or serious injury. Previously, the legislation only held owners, senior management and Board Members liable. Section 31 of this new legislation creates a new offence and a person who; (a) has a health and safety duty; and (b) fails to comply with that duty; and (c) the failure causes death or serious harm to an individual; can be found guilty of this Category 1 offence and liable to a maximum penalty as follows: (a) for an individual - imprisonment for 5 years + a fine of $680,000; (b) body corporate - a fine of $3.5M. All employers, officers and employees must ensure they take all reasonable and practicable steps to ensure compliance with health and safety duties under the new legislation.

and (c) ​what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about — (i) the hazard or the risk; and (ii) ways of eliminating or minimising the risk; and (d) ​the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk; and (e) after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or m ​ inimising the risk, the cost associated, including whether the cost is grossly ​disproportionate. The rule of thumb remains the same for all contractors - ensure that you have appropriate WHS policies and procedures in place. Train and regularly update your staff on these policies and procedures and ensure that you and your supervisors enforce them on-site. Whilst no system is infallible, such actions will go a long way to helping to show, that in the event of a workplace death or serious injury, your business had taken all reasonable and practical steps to ensure your compliance with the new WHS laws. One final note on this legislation is that a person cannot be indemnified or insured against any fines imposed under this legislation.

So what is reasonably practicable? — that is what is reasonably able to be done in relation to ensuring health and safety, taking into account all relevant matters including — (a) ​the likelihood of the hazard occurring; and (b) ​the degree of harm that might result;

Johnny Brits Legal Practice Director NECA Legal (WA)

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice.

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PROJECTS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE Electrical and communications projects can have a significant impact on people’s everyday lives. In their 40-years of working in the aged care sector, Janissen Electrics has found it’s not just project outcomes that make a difference, but also the way the project is delivered. This was clearly demonstrated through their recent automation project for an aged care facility in Perth. NECA was pleased to interview Janissen Electrics’ Managing Director Simon Brice and General Manager Alina Aydt, to discuss the complexities of working on a large-scale site that is not just a building, but a home. What was Janissen Electrics’ role in the project? Our work was part of a broader renovation project, upgrading the communal facilities across multiple aged care sites. We modernised the audio-visual systems and delivered a complete lighting upgrade to the LED fittings, incorporating a KNX lighting control system.

feel comfortable and engaged makes a big difference to their wellbeing. The benefits of innovative technology became clear during COVID-19 when, for around three months, the residents couldn’t have any visitors. Our upgrades helped provide a positive environment, interesting entertainment and a connection with the outside world. What sort of challenges did you overcome? Working on a live site, where people live in full-time care, is complex. We needed to work around residents at all times, respecting the fact that our workspace was their home. Our team had minimal room to work and multiple trades shared the same area. The entire project required high levels of communication and collaboration with the client, builder, trades, residents and families to deliver it on time and with minimal disturbance to residents. COVID-19 introduced a new set of challenges and restrictions on what

was already a very demanding project. New protocols meant staff were limited to specific work times each day and additional cleaning requirements reduced the number of work hours available. Only a set number of approved technicians could attend the site and to minimise risk, they weren’t allowed to come to our workshop or interact with our other staff. Detailed but flexible planning and preparation became critical. The constant threat of a sudden lockdown, meant each day’s work needed to be achieved, with the site fully functional, in case we couldn’t return the next day. This was a tricky issue to manage. As a

Can you share some of the project’s innovations? The new lighting system is fully automated and programmed to manage the ambiance of the facility, dimming up and down at pre-set times with limited interaction from staff and residents. The system offers several practical benefits including reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs and the ability to remotely monitor everything offsite. The audio-visual component included the latest technology smart TVs and sound systems allowing residents to access live streaming services. Importantly, the lighting and AV upgrades have helped achieve the client’s aim to create inviting communal spaces. In aged care facilities, most residents and staff are inside all day, every day. Creating an environment where people



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To have your inspirational story told, contact Aimee Hills at

Photography: Osprey Photography Builder: Dawn Express

March 2021


facilities. Our technicians were backed up by our offsite office team, who helped with practical matters as well as supporting everyone’s wellbeing. The combination of our experience and team mindset enabled us to deliver the project without any incidents over a 30-month period. Do you have any final thoughts?

result of our planning, when the facility went into a six-week lockdown, it was able to run the new and old systems concurrently, without any complications or disruption for residents. What were some of the project’s success factors? Working with vulnerable clients requires a deep understanding of the client and

the project. Our extensive experience in the aged care and disability sector definitely contributed to our success. We also have amazing staff with a customer-first mindset and a high level of accountability. We kept the same technicians together for the entire project. They worked well together, developed effective work systems and produced consistent work across all

The renovation’s overall aim was to create an environment where residents and staff can be happy, engaged and genuinely enjoy their living space. Our team delivered a quality outcome that has improved current and future residents’ quality of life. They did so in a manner that was considered, safety conscious and fully in-keeping with all client and resident needs. This year, Janissen Electrics celebrates 63 years in business. We look forward to making a difference through our work for many years to come.

TRAINING 6,000+ PEOPLE EVERY YEAR > Popular courses on offer include electrical pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships and post trade courses > Free training on some courses until April 2021 > State-of-the-art training facilities with purpose-built classrooms and workshops > Highly skilled instructors with hands-on industry experience > Respected and recommended by WA’s electrical industry > Blended learning – mixture of online and face-to-face delivery > Flexible course delivery RTO code 2394



NON-COMPLIANT TRENDS FOR SWITCHBOARDS THE WA ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS HAVE RECENTLY IDENTIFIED COMMON NON-COMPLIANT TRENDS CONCERNING SWITCHBOARD HEIGHT, GENERAL CONDITION, COMPROMISED IP RATINGS AND VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS. Compromised IP Rating Due to the poor condition of the lids and pole fixings, moisture is ingressing the enclosure. This has led to internal components such as the earth bar/ studs and neutral bars becoming rusty and unserviceable. This is also causing condensation in the protective devices, potentially compromising device integrity. In conjunction with the mandatory verification/testing and checking schedule in AS/NZS 3012:2019 Section 3, the IP integrity of the enclosures shall be checked.

Verification requirements

Electrical contractors are reminded that switchboards for domestic construction sites shall comply with AS/ NZS 3012:2019 and AS/NZS 3000:2018. Electrical inspectors are well aware that the builder’s supplies are only onsite for a short duration however this should not affect the quality or the compliance of the installation.

Switchboard height In general, Inspectors are finding numerous installations where the switchboard enclosure is less than the required 1200mm, as per AS/NZS 3000:2018 Section Note: There is an exception to this clause if access to live parts is arranged in accordance with AS/NZS 3000:2018



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Section, however this does not apply to domestic installations.

General condition There are a significant number of builders supplies where the enclosures are in a dilapidated and poor condition. This is non-compliant to AS/NZS 3012:2019 Section (a). For example: 

Enclosure lids twisted and not able to be closed Enclosure lid hinges broken or retention arms missing.

Enclosure pole fixings loose

Rusted internal components

Support structure unstable

To facilitate compliance, switchboards for domestic construction sites must be checked and tested prior to being placed into service and meet the requirements of AS/NZS 3012:2019 and AS/NZS 3000:2018, with particular attention to AS/NZS 3012:2019 Section (a)-(g). AS/NZS 3012:2019 Section 3 Verification - All Temporary Builders Supplies shall be verified (checked and tested): 

Prior to introduction into service or return to service after a repair or servicing that could have affected the electrical safety (removed from one site and installed at another). Verified at intervals not exceeding those specified in Table 6 of AS/NZS 3012:2019. Records of inspections and tests shall be kept as per AS/NZS 3012:2019 Section 3.9 – Documentation.

March 2021





e *

Sadly, Sam Genovese, one of the true pioneers of the electrical industry in Western Australia, recently passed away aged 81.

was generous with his time and happily shared his experiences and industry knowledge; often over dinner in the Genovese family home.

Sam’s story is a fantastic one, starting as a 10 year old migrant who arrived in Perth in 1949. He couldn’t speak a word of English then, but over the next 60 years built G&S Industries and a number of other successful businesses. Plus, rumour has it, bought half of the real estate in Osborne Park.

At Sam’s funeral, Frank Tomasi (founder of SCEE), spoke of his genuine appreciation of the advice and support Sam had afforded him over many years in business.

Over this time, Sam mentored many of today’s industry leaders. It didn’t matter if they were his apprentices, work colleagues or even his competitors, Sam

Sam is also famous for having attended almost every NECA WA Conference, along with his beautiful wife Sandra and his ever-present video camera. Sam filmed just about every minute of the event; the presentations, lunches, tourist activities and the social events. We have it from a very reliable source that the

Genovese children and grandchildren have spent many, many hours watching Sam’s conference videos at family functions over the years. Sam is survived by Sandra, his wife of more than 60 years, his 3 sons and 7 grandchildren. Vale Sam. You are a true legend of our industry.

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*Fuel basedservice on how much youon could have saved when filling vehicle with 50 litresallofbrands Dieseloffuel by purchasing fuel at the lowest priced service the saving highestispriced station based fuel prices for each week overyour the last four weeks across service stations in or around the region. Applicants andstation instead of *Fuel saving is based on how much you could have saved when filling your vehicle with 50 litres of Diesel fuel by purchasing fuel at the lowest priced service station instead of the representatives must be over 18 have an and use their business to brands apply. This offer is available calling WEXthe Motorpass on 1300 theauthorised highest priced service station based onyears, fuel prices forABN each week overvehicle the lastfor four weekspurposes across all of service stations by in or around region. Applicants and highest priced service station based on fuel prices for each week over the last four weeks across all brands of service stations in or around the region. Applicants and authorised 130 523 and it is only available tobe NECA members who hold aABN NECA branded WEX Motorpass card. Thispurposes offer can notapply. be used in offer conjunction with any other offer. The authorised representatives must over 18an years, an their and use vehicle for business This isWEX available by calling WEX on 1300 representatives must be over 18 years, have ABN have and use vehicle fortheir business purposes to apply. This offerto is available by calling Motorpass on 1300 130Motorpass 523 standard WEX Motorpass termsto and conditions apply. Please motorpass. Fees and charges these 130 523it and it isavailable only available NECA members who holdsee a NECA branded WEX Motorpass card.can Thisnot offer beapply. usedTo in view conjunction with any other offer. The and is only to NECA members who hold a NECA branded WEX Motorpass card. This offer be can usednot in conjunction with any other offer. The please visit issued by WEXPlease Australia Pty Ltd ABN 68 005 970 570 and applications areand subject to WEX Australia's assessment criteria. standard WEX Motorpassterms termsProduct and conditions conditions apply. see motorpass. Fees charges apply. To view these please visit standard WEX Motorpass and apply. Please see motorpass. Fees and charges apply. To view these TM Motorpass and ‘Anywhere you are.’ are registered trademarks WEX Australia Ltd ABN 68 005 WEX Australia’s assessment criteria. Product issued by WEX Australia Pty Ltd ABN of 68 005 970 570 and applications are970 subject please visit Product issued by WEX Australia Pty Ltd ABN 68Pty 005 970 570 and applications are subject to WEX Australia's assessment criteria. MotorpassTM and‘Anywhere ‘Anywhereyou you are.’ are.’ are of of WEX Australia PtyPty Ltd Ltd ABNABN 68 005 970 570. TM and Motorpass areregistered registeredtrademarks trademarks WEX Australia 68 005 970 570.



SWMS AND HIGH-RISK CONSTRUCTION WORK MOST ELECTRICAL WORKERS WOULD BE ACCUSTOMED TO READING, PREPARING AND/OR APPLYING SAFE WORK METHOD STATEMENTS (SWMS) IN THEIR DAY-TO-DAY TASKS. What are my legal obligations in relation to SWMS? In WA there are two regulations that particularly apply to the use and application of SWMS in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the Act) and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (regulations). Section 19 of the Act, Duties of employers, requires employers to maintain a working environment in which their employees are not exposed to hazards. This requirement of the

Electrical Switchboard testing

Most electrical workers would be accustomed to reading, preparing and/or applying Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) in their day-to-day tasks. When used correctly, SWMS can be a valuable means by which to ensure the safety of employees in the workplace, particularly in regard to high-risk construction work (HRCW). Reports suggest however, that SWMS are often deemed to be noncompliant for a variety of reasons. It is essential that electrical workers are aware of their legal obligations, what is defined as HRCW and what factors make a compliant SWMS.

Act obliges employers to provide the information, instruction and training that allows employees to perform their work and not be exposed to hazards. Section 3.143 of the regulations requires that all HRCW completed at the site must be covered by a SWMS. As far as practicable, the SWMS must be in place before the HRCW starts.

What is classified as high-risk construction work? There are 19 types of construction work that are classified as ‘high-risk’

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What needs to be in a SWMS? The SWMS must be prepared in writing – this can be in a digital or printed format. As far as practicable, they must contain the following information: 

in the regulations. These range from construction work on or near energised electrical installations and lines, to work involving a confined space. Check out a complete list in Section 3.137 of the regulations. They are also available on our Technical Knowledge Base (TKB).

Who is responsible for the SWMS?

defaults to the main contractor to manage the SWMS. In regard to HRCW, the main contractor must also ensure that this work (as far as practicable) is carried out in accordance with the SWMS. If this does not occur, the work must cease until the SWMS is complied with.

The person or people who have onsite control of the HRCW are responsible for providing the main contractor with a SWMS and keeping it up to date. If this does not occur, the responsibility

List each HRCW activity that has hazards to which a person is likely to be exposed; and Describe the risk of injury or harm to a person resulting from any such hazards; and Explain the safety measures to be implemented to reduce the risk(s), including the control measures to be applied to the work activity or hazard(s); and Provide a description of the equipment used in the HRCW activity; and List any qualifications and/or training required to enable people to do the work safely.

Sue Gismondi OSH Consultant (Member Services) ECA WA

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Infinity cables, imported by Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd, were recalled nationally back in 2013 after they failed electrical safety standards due to poor quality plastic insulation coating. A decade on, electrical contractors are again being asked to keep a look out for the aging cable due to the risks of electric shock or electrocution if cabling is disturbed. Between 2010 and 2013, some 6,600 kms of cable was sold under the ‘INFINITY’ and ‘OLSENT’ brand names throughout Australia. To date, less than 3,000 kms of that cable has been remediated. As the cables age, so too does the risk of electrocution. If you have installed the recalled Infinity cables, and have not yet remediated them or alerted someone to ensure the cables are remediated under the supplier’s recall, you must immediately remediate the cable, or you could be held liable for property damage, injuries or loss of life and also be prosecuted, fined or potentially lose your licence. If you have not installed any recalled Infinity cables, there is no need to take any action. However, you need to be able to identify the recalled cable and be aware of the potential safety risks of working on a site where infinity cable has been installed. Where you find any infinity cable you MUST advise both the owner and your state regulator.

What cables are included in the recall? All Infinity TPS cable All sizes and configurations of ‘Polymeric Insulated Electrical Cable and which is PVC Sheathed, PVC Insulated, Flat and Flexible Low Voltage Electrical Cable’, also commonly known as ‘TPS’, imported and sold by Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd All Infinity Orange Round All sizes and configurations of ‘Polymeric Insulated Electrical Cable and which is PVC Sheathed, PVC Insulated, Round and Flexible Low Voltage Electrical Cable’, also commonly known as ‘Orange Round’, imported and sold by Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd.

How do I identify the cable? All TPS and Orange Round Cable sold by Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd are branded with the words ‘Infinity’.

TPS View of cable marking

TPS End view of cable

Orange Round Close up of cable and marking

Where could I find these cables installed? The TPS cables are used in all kinds of electrical wiring work. It is used in roof spaces, wall cavities and may at times be exposed in some accessible locations of homes. The cables are also used in commercial and retail premises. The Orange Round Cable is a durable cable that is generally used in industrial and commercial environments. The ACCC has identified the following dates when Infinity cables may have been installed in homes and businesses across Australia: STATE
















Orange Round End view of three core cable

Orange Round End view of five core cable

can degrade through exposure to external heat such as if it is used in the roof of homes or in warmer parts of the country.

What could happen if the cable fails? If these cables fail, the internal wires will expose people and/or animals to live conductors, potentially resulting in electrical shock or a fire. Safety switches, if installed, along with other types of circuit protection, will operate to shut off the circuit. Power will be cut off to that circuit.

Have there been any fires, accidents or incidents caused by this cable? While NECA is not aware of any fires or incidents involving infinity cables, laboratory testing indicated that the cables could become brittle and perish from 2016 onwards.

What are the safety issues? The plastic coating insulation on the cable can become brittle when exposed to high temperatures over time. The cable

Visit the ACCC website for more information on the recall -



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March 2021

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AS/NZS 61439 SERIES OF STANDARDS NECA IS WORKING CLOSELY WITH STANDARDS AUSTRALIA, SWITCHBOARD MANUFACTURERS, AND THE BROADER ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY TO CLARIFY HOW THE NEW AS/NZS 61439 SERIES OF STANDARDS WILL BE PRACTICALLY APPLIED AND THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS AND THEIR PROJECTS. WHILE THERE ARE MANY QUESTIONS THAT REMAIN UNANSWERED, BELOW IS A SNAPSHOT OF THE NEW SERIES OF STANDARDS, THE MAIN POINTS AND KEY TAKEAWAYS. It’s surprising that it has taken this amount of time to update the switchboard standard from the previous AS/NZS 3439 to the current AS/NZS 61439 series of standards. Having skipped two generations of the IEC 60439 series updates – on which the AS/NZS standards are based – there are a lot of changes to take into consideration.

What is AS/NZS 61439? AS/NZS 61439 is a series of standards for low voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies that is replacing the AS/NZS 3439 series. It is a copy of the IEC 61439 series with ‘in-country notes’ specific to Australia and New Zealand. The IEC 61439 series is the current IEC series for low voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies and has been fully adopted in Europe since 2014.

When will it be applicable?

Why the standard is changing?

May 2016 To May 2021 - The Transition Period

Only AS/NZS 61439 is acceptable for specification

The current standard AS/NZS 3439 was first introduced in 1998. There have since been many changes and improvements to electrical switchgear, design, manufacture and safety processes. Due to some areas of common misunderstanding in the old standard the new standard aims to clarify legal and financial responsibilities in specification, testing, design and build between user and the assembly manufacturer.

For upgrades to existing switchboards built to previous standards:

What is the process required?

Either AS/NZS 3439 or AS/NZS 61439 may be specified for switchboard design and construction After May 2021 

AS/NZS 3439 can no longer be referenced

Replacing like for like electrical components is allowable Any modifications to the switchboard itself will require that section to be upgraded to the new standard, which may require upgrading to a whole new switchboard.

The Original Manufacturer* designs and tests their switchboard system with their desired switchgear brand up, to their target specifications for the characteristics in Annex D - Table D. Testing the ‘most onerous’ arrangements is the most efficient test regime, as the


1 2

Area of Difference

AS/NZS 3439 (OLD)

AS/NZS 61439 (NEW)

Term for a compliant switchboard

Type Test (TT) Partial Type Test (PTT)

Design Verified (TT & PTT no longer used)

Heat rise testing

Maybe undertaken in “Free air”

Must be completed as a complete system1

Temperature limits of copper conductors

ΔT of 70K above a mean ambient of 35°C

ΔT of 105K from a mean of 35°C Therefore, a maximum theoretical mean of 140°C on the copper2

Heat rise calculation using IEC 60890

Allowed up to 3150A

for a single compartment ASSEMBLY not exceeding 630A or for ASSEMBLIES not exceeding 1600A

Device substitution


Allowed if not exceeding 3150 A and conditions in Table 13 are satisfied

Testing with all covers fitted and electrical components connected. ΔT of 105K is specified in the standards as this is the maximum temperature rise before copper starts to anneal. This theoretically could allow a maximum absolute temperature of 140°C on the copper busbar. However, as under the new standard tests must be conducted as a complete system, other temperature limits will be reached before 140°C on the busbar. For example electrical components terminal and air temperature limits.



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standard allows verification by referencing a more onerous test arrangement but not from a less onerous test arrangement.

NECA will be hosting a series of webinars and sharing updates as they become available over the coming months. Send your questions through to and we’ll put them to our panel of experts.

For a new project 1. The user* (e.g. end user or user’s representative i.e. the consultant engineer) completes the Annex C details and includes with the project tender documents 2. The assembly manufacturer* (e.g. the switchboard builder) designs the switchboard to the requirements given by the user using a combination of the designs that were tested by the original manufacturer. To prove design verification, the assembly manufacturer must be able to provide documentation as per Annex D. 3. Upon successful award of the tender the assembly manufacturer assembles the switchboard as per the documentation from the original manufacturer. When complete, the assembly manufacturer performs routine verification before supplying the switchboard. 

If a switchboard is specified correctly by the user and also designed and assembled as per the original manufacturer’s documentation, then the original manufacturers documentation will come under investigation should a performance issue occur.

To ensure a switchboard is compliant, make sure Verification Documentation is submitted, checked and approved by the specifier at the time of tender.

Routine Verification – checks completed by the assembly manufacturer on the assembled switchboard. When it comes to Design Verification, AS/NZS 61439-1 Table D identifies a number of characteristics to be verified and nominates which of the 3 methods to use for each characteristic. This includes: Verification by Test The switchboard or relevant section of the switchboard is designed and assembled the same as the tested assembly.

*terms defined within the standard. Note, the assembly manufacturer and original manufacturer may be the same or different companies.

How to verify a switchboard design

Verification by Comparison

If a user incorrectly specifies details, then they may need to have corrections made via a variation of works with the assembly manufacturer.

To comply with AS/NZS 61439, all switchboards and panelboards require documentation to prove their performance characteristics meet or exceed the requirements for the installation as specified. This documentation comes in two parts:

The switchboard or relevant section of the switchboard is designed and assembled in a way that differs from the test, but the characteristics of the deviation satisfies the conditions within the standard.

If an assembly manufacturer supplies a switchboard not to the required specification - or that does not have supporting verification documentation, then they are potentially responsible to amend or incur the cost for correction.

Design Verification – compiled by the assembly manufacturer proving their design is the same or better than the verification documentation from original manufacturer. If the assembly manufacturer makes their own design, they become the original manufacturer.

Verification by Assessment This includes the correct application of design rules and calculations, including use of appropriate safety margins.

AS/NZS 61439 - the main details The Electrical Safety Act takes precedence over any standard As an example, for Victoria clause 54 states: ‘A person must not supply or offer to supply electrical equipment unless – (a) the equipment complies with the minimum standards prescribed for equipment of that class’ Therefore, all switchboards are required to satisfy a switchboard standard, including smaller boards; however, in AS/NZS 61439 the requirements are dependent on ratings i.e. 


Short circuit verification is not required under 10kA or 17kA when protected by current-limiting devices

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Temperature rise limit verification by calculation may only be completed for assemblies not exceeding 1600A (or single compartment ASSEMBLY not exceeding 630A)

AS/NZS 61439 has 8 parts: Part 0 A guide for specifiers to be used at tender Part 1 General rules Part 2 Low voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies Part 3 Distribution boards intended to be operated by ordinary persons Part 4 Assemblies for construction sites Part 5 Assemblies for power distribution in public networks Part 6 Busbar trunking systems Part 7 Marina, camping, market and charging 

Should an assembly manufacturer deviate from the original manufacturer documentation, then the assembly manufacturer is deemed to be the original manufacturer in respect of those arrangements. If a user accepts a switchboard without verification to one or more characteristics in Annex D, then they are at risk of being financially and legally responsible for any issues that may arise. Verification by comparison to a reference design requires demonstrating that the new characteristics are the same or better than the tested design. The ‘In-Country Notes’ that modify IEC 61439 to AS/NZS 61439 only affect the Assembly Manufactures requirements. Therefore any Original Manufacturers test documents to IEC 61439 may be used to support the assembly manufacturers verification assessment of the switchboard design to AS/NZS 61439.

Test certification to AS/NZS 3439 may be used for verification characteristics to AS/NZS 61439 only if the test methods required are the same. For example: 

Short circuit tests remain the same and may be used Heat rise test requirements differ, therefore may require further testing

Key takeaways The new AS/NZS 61439 series of standards has been developed and refined for decades, and represents the best possible solution for switchboard requirements. Remember: 1. Use checklists wherever possible to facilitate the creation of a customer specification. The most important tables are: 

Annex C User Template

Annex D Design Verification

Table 13 Short Circuit Verification

2. PTTA and TTA definitions have been replaced with verification 3. The final switchboard design must be verified using one of a number of permitted methods. Use Annex D Checklist; verification can be completed by method of test, comparison to a tested design and/or by calculation, using AS60890 and IEC 60865-1 4. The main busbar permissible operating temperature rating has been increased - understand the implications of operating copper busbar at 105°C VS 105 K (new for AS/NZS) 5. The forms of separation have been expanded to include images for use with circuit breaker chassis. Choose the Form of Separation to suit the maintenance requirement of the assembly once it is in use. New images have been included to assist in selecting forms of

NECA continues to investigate the requirements of AS/NZS61439 together with the Wiring Rules (including requirements proposed in Amendment 2 to the Wiring Rules AS/NZS 3000:2018) as well as relevant local legislation across Australia.

separation when chassis systems are used, Australian version (“i” and “h”). Appendix ZB (AS/NZS 61439.2) describes forms of separation 6. The arc fault containment options have been expanded to allow the international variant based on TR61641. Apply existing Australian ZC, ZD or alternatively TR61641 7. Appendix ZA in AS/NZS 61439.1:2016 lists all the variations between the AS/NZS standard and the IEC equivalent or why it is based.

This article has been published with the permission of NHP Electrical Engineering Products

Look out for regular updates in NECA News.



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March 2021

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INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER LAWS IN AUSTRALIA THE RECENT INTRODUCTION OF INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER LAWS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA HAS REIGNITED DEBATE ACROSS AUSTRALIA AROUND WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO PROTECT WORKERS. There are now Industrial Manslaughter laws in the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Victoria, Northern Territory and Western Australia. Other states are at different stages in considering such laws. New South Wales has rejected industrial manslaughter, but has boosted WHS laws by including an offence of gross negligence. In South Australia, the Greens introduced a private members Bill into Parliament in October 2020, while in Tasmania the opposition has called for industrial manslaughter laws and the government is considering them.

which includes where there have been serious and reckless breaches of an employer’s duty of care.

of up to 20 years and fines of up to $10 million are the maximum penalties under the Queensland legislation.

The Australian Capital Territory was the first jurisdiction to initiate industrial manslaughter laws back in 2003. Then the ACT added its new law to the Crimes Act and required a prosecution to establish that an officer was reckless about causing serious harm to an employee and/or criminally negligent about causing the death of an employee. The offence carried maximum penalties of 20 years imprisonment and up to $1.6million in fines.

After the ACT and Queensland enacted their legislation, a review on the effectiveness of national WHS laws was undertaken in 2018 by Marie Boland on behalf of Safe Work Australia and presented to the Council of Australian Governments. Ms Boland found that the national WHS laws were largely operating as intended but that there needed to be a new industrial manslaughter offence for instances of gross negligence.

NECA has long advocated that industrial manslaughter laws are not required in WHS legislation as the relevant criminal codes of each state and territory already provide for manslaughter offences,

Queensland then became the first state to enact industrial manslaughter provisions into their WHS laws in 2017. This essentially followed the Dreamworld theme park tragedy. Prison sentences

Since this time, Victoria and the Northern Territory have enacted industrial manslaughter laws within their respective WHS acts. These laws have all followed similar provisions to those in


Industrial Manslaughter Laws


Maximum Jail Time for Directors

Maximum Fines for Companies


Crimes Act 1900


20 years

$1.6 million


No Industrial Manslaughter Legistation


Work Health and Safety Act 1995; Electrical Safety Act 2002


20 years

$10 million


Work Health and Safety Act 2011



$10.2 million


No Industrial Manslaughter Legistation


No Industrial Manslaughter Legistation


Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004


25 Years

$16.5 million


Work Health and Safety Act 2020

2021 when proclaimed

20 Years

$10 million



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March 2021


the ACT and Queensland with regard to the tests for negligence and in penalties. Most recently, Western Australia has enacted industrial manslaughter provisions within its WHS Act, with these laws to come into effect sometime in late 2021 after the new laws are proclaimed. This is likely to be when the corresponding regulations have been drafted. While New South Wales has resisted introducing specific industrial manslaughter laws into their WHS legislation, they have instead confirmed that a person can be prosecuted under the NSW Crimes Act, punishable by 25 years imprisonment. They have also added gross negligence to the WHS laws with a maximum 5-year jail term. To date, Queensland has been the first state to take a prosecution forward, when in June 2020 a Queensland employer in the auto recycling business was found to have failed to address obvious risks posed in using mobile plant in the workplace after an employee was crushed by a forklift operated by an unlicensed driver. The business was found to have no safety systems in place, no traffic management plans and the two company Directors were found to have lied to investigators and police on how the incident occurred. The Judge considered that the two Directors knew of the risks to staff but consciously chose to ignore the risks. The court fined the business $3 million and sentenced the two Directors to 10 months imprisonment, but wholly suspended for 20 months. It is likely that industrial manslaughter laws will, at some time in the future, exist in all states and territories. While NECA has advocated against these laws being introduced, NECA has consistently stated that good workplace health and safety practices are fundamental to our electrical and communications industry. Safety in the workplace is a priority for NECA given the potentially hazardous nature of our work. Dangers to our electrotechnology workers include exposure to live electricity, severe cuts from sharp edges, coming in contact with asbestos, slips, trips and falls and the risks from noncompliant building products. So what can you do as contractors and directors in order to remove the risk of a fatality in your workplace and ensure


you meet all your obligations to look after yourself and your workers? There are a number of steps that you can take: 

Review all your workplace procedures and policies; Ensure all directors, managers and senior staff are aware of their obligations; Review your health and safety leadership culture; Identify all the risks and hazards in your work activities; Review all your incident procedures and responses; Make sure you have a suitable WHS safety management system in place to deal with all the risks and hazards; and Train all your employees on safe work practices and on your safety culture.

The best way to operate your business without needing to worry about industrial manslaughter laws is to have good business policies and practices, a strong workplace safety culture and a reliable safety management system. Investing in a safety management system is a critical first step. These systems can be tailored to both the size of your business and the type of work activities you undertake. Choosing a system fully backed by competent and highly trained WHS staff is also key, particularly in a complex industry. For more information on Health Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) Management Systems specifically designed to serve the electrical and communications industry, contact your local NECA Branch and ask to speak with a WHS expert.

Peter Lamont NECA Senior Policy Advisor and Member of the Electrical Safety Board, Queensland

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice.

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SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM THE RECENT LEGISLATIVE FOCUS ON INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER HAS PUT A SPOTLIGHT ON THE ROLE OF SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS IN THE WORKPLACE FOR ALL CONTRACTING BUSINESSES, REGARDLESS OF SIZE. According to SafeWork Australia, the annual cost of workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses across all industries is a staggering $61.8 billion. This is an estimate of the combined direct and indirect costs to employers, workers and the community. Nationally, between 2003 and 2015, 142 workers died as a result of contact with electricity and of these deaths, 87% happened when installing electrical infrastructure and half of these deaths occurred in the construction sector. SafeWork Australia also found that the highest risks were in work where the electrical equipment was operating in conditions that exposed it to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals and dust.

These statistics remind us of the clear and present dangers of working in the electrical industry and the imperative for all electrical contractors and workers to employ safe work systems at all times. We are also reminded of the obligations contractors have to conduct their business in a safe manner. The model workplace health and safety laws that operate across the country require a person in control of a business or undertaking (PCBU) to ensure the health and safety of all workers while at work, and any person as a result of work carried out. The definition of a PCBU includes all electrical contractors from the smallest to the largest. A structured approach to safety complements good management and

practices. The key benefit of having a safety management system in place is a reduction in the potential for having an incident resulting in harm. The direct and indirect costs to a contracting business of an incident are numerous. Direct costs can include insurance premium hikes or rectifying damage caused. Indirect costs can include loss of business, loss of reputation, legal and damage claims, loss of staff productivity, investigation costs, loss of damaged equipment and cost of equipment replacement. A well-structured and planned safety management system should provide for thorough risk assessments and comprehensive Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS). It is not sufficient to merely have a set of SWMS that you dust off for each job. You need to identify and understand all the risks in any job, and you need to ensure that you have the correct procedures in place that will make that job safe for you and your workers. Many tenders, particularly government tenders, now require contractors to have a safety management system in place such as NECA’s industry specific HSEQ management system in order to be able to bid for the work.

What is a Safety Management System? AS/NZS 4801 and ISO 45001 are standards that set out the requirements a business should undertake to systematically manage occupational health and safety in the workplace. The main objective of an AS/NZS 4801 or ISO 45001 safety management system is to reduce workplace illness and injury. The implementation of such a system can also help a business deal with the



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Identifying and minimising hazards associated with the business Reducing incidents, accidents and injuries in the workplace Reducing risks of legal action for worker’s compensation and liability claims Providing due diligence evidence should an incident or accident occur.

An effective Safety Management System protects employers, customers, suppliers, and other members of the public who may be impacted by the work environment. It also helps to communicate a business’s commitment to best practice. legal imperatives, ethical concerns, industrial relations considerations relating to workplace safety and improve its financial performance.

an effective system, everyone can see exactly where accidents and unsafe situations are occurring and take proactive steps to eliminate them.

A key component in safety management is the system used to record, manage and analyse safety-related data. With

A Safety Management System is designed to help a business create a safe, secure and well-managed workplace by:

Contact your local NECA Branch for WHS advice and for further information about NECA’s HSEQ management system, developed specifically for Australian electrical contracting businesses.




WHILE MOST ELECTRICAL WORKERS CONSIDER THEIR BIGGEST RISKS TO COME FROM ELECTRIC SHOCK, MANY STILL DON’T TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS FOR THE EQUALLY DANGEROUS BUT LESS UNDERSTOOD ARC FLASH HAZARDS. The recent arc flash incident on Queensland’s Gold Coast highlights the dangers associated with working on switchboards and significant risks of an arc flash due to the presence of high fault currents in typically confined spaces. The two electrical workers involved in the incident were working in the main switch room of the Ashmore Shopping Centre when an arc flash occurred at or below the terminals of a tenancy polyphase meter. The supply to the meter could only be isolated by turning off the main switch for the shopping complex, however the main switch was on and energised. Both workers were wearing polyester clothing and suffered serious burns as a result of the arc flash. This incident could have been avoided by scheduling work at times when the main supply could be de-energised. Workers should also have been wearing arc rated protective clothing.

What is an arc flash? An arc flash is often caused by the inadvertent contact between an energised conductor, such as a bus bar or wire with another conductor, or an earthed surface. When this occurs, the resulting short circuit current melts the conductors, ionizes the air and produces a fireball with extreme temperatures. Severe injuries, burns and possibly death can result from an arc flash. Injuries include external burns to the skin, internal burns from inhaling hot gases and vaporised metals, hearing damage, eye damage or injury from being thrown across the room. Solid metal debris and other loose objects, such as tools can also be turned into deadly projectiles.



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Australian regulators have estimated if a worker was working on a switchboard supplied by a 500kVA transformer, a fault causing an arc flash could result in temperatures of around 19,400 degrees Celsius. Any person exposed to high temperatures, for however short a time, will suffer significant injuries and burns.

situations where considerable control measures need to be in place.

Arc flash incidents

Electrical work that can cause an arc flash

Between 1992 and 2002, over 2,000 workers each year were victims of an arc flash according to the United States National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Local statistics are not so readily available. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, as an example, reported some 42 incidents in Queensland involving an arc flash between 2013 and the end of 2019, with more than 20 people hospitalised.

While the number of reported arc flash incidents seemed to decline for a while, we have seen a recent rise in the number of electrical and other workers suffering from arc flashes.

All types of electrical work carry some level of arc flash hazard. The highest risks are working in energy utilities, energy production, mining, manufacturing plants, and large commercial and data centres. There are also a number of areas where low

In 2015 Australia saw one of its worst arc flash incidents. Two electrical workers in WA were killed and two others were seriously injured when an arc flash occurred as a result of a short circuit in a high voltage electrical switch in the power supply to a shopping centre. The “fire ball” that resulted released extreme temperatures and molten oil on the workers, who were in a confined space. The men were working live on the switch box at the time. This incident provided a sharp and immediate response from regulators across the country who introduced laws to limit when and how live electrical work can be performed, particularly when working on electrical equipment. All work on electrical equipment needs to be done de-energised, except in a few

March 2021


voltage (LV) work has the potential to initiate an arc. Arc flash incidents have been reported in the following LV work: 

Connecting cables into live equipment

Testing with substandard instruments

Testing on damaged cables and/or equipment Work on or adjacent to live LV conductors Removing and/or replacing or inserting components such as circuit breakers into energised panel boards Switching and racking out LV switchgear.

Transformers and switchboards are statistically most likely to be involved in incidents causing electrical burns - but remember, it is usually worker activity that initiates a damaging arc flash hazard. The likelihood of an incident is greatly enhanced by poor worker competence and/or ignorance of the hazards. Common to this is dropping of noninsulated tools or fastenings, which can sometimes come out of clothing pockets. Even for competent workers, the loss of concentration, distraction and human error may be factors that lead to an arc flash.

Risk mitigation It may be necessary to consider mitigation to prevent injury where the risk can’t be controlled by prevention or where there is a residual risk of injury. The requirement for and suitability of mitigation techniques must form part of the risk assessment. There are a number of risk mitigation strategies that can be employed. Primarily, working de-energised. Alternatively, options can include remote operations or use of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs). The AS/NZS 3000:2018 Electrical Installations (Wiring Rules) has a section detailing the requirements for Protection Against Fire Hazards Due to Arc Faulting at 2.9. In addition, Appendix O on the Installation of AFDDs provides some information on the different types of arc faults (Series arc faults or Parallel arc faults), and when to install an AFDD. The health and safety and electrical safety laws throughout Australia all require whoever is in control of any work being done, to control and manage any risks that may result in performing that work. A risk assessment is mandatory and a safe system of work for managing the risk of arc flash should always involve:

Firstly, thinking about the work to be done and having a look at the worksite. Identify any hazards or simply work out what could cause harm. Assess or understand the nature of the harm that could be caused – how serious it could be and the likelihood of it happening. Work out the best or most effective way to control the risks. If possible, eliminate the hazards. If not possible, work out how you can isolate the hazards from people. Additionally, you need to look at administrative controls such as adequate training and use of PPE. Finally, you need to review the control measures and make sure you talk to any workers who are going to perform the work. They may have some good ideas.

Use of PPE As a last line of defence, it’s important to consider adequate PPE to help prevent injury. PPE used for arc flash protection includes garments made from flame resistant fabric. This fabric is designed to provide a thermal barrier and limit the flame exposure to the skin. Non flame-resistant clothing may ignite or melt and continue to burn after the arc flash has been extinguished. This means that ordinary clothing could become a hazard, and this should be considered as part of the risk assessment. The latest certified arc rated clothing is considerably lighter and flexible.

Best to work de-energised An arc fault hazard is effectively eliminated if work is undertaken on a completely de-energised switchboard and no switching operations are performed manually. To work deenergised, the electricity supply must be isolated in such a way it can’t be inadvertently reconnected for the duration of the work. Where an arc flash hazard can’t be eliminated, suitable risk controls must be put in place.


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Household electrical boxes and boards

Electrical meters, fuse boxes and boards can contain asbestos including asbestos based resin mounting boards, generally black in colour with brand names such as ‘Ausbestos’ or ‘Zelemite’ stamped on them. Behind these boards can be Products containing asbestos are still insulating asbestos side, back and manufactured overseas, and despite top panels of asbestos cement sheet, bans and border controlsto these productsbefore Things consider starting a job asbestos insulation board, asbestos sometimes enter Australia Not sure whether a illegally. material contains asbestos? millboard or even a combination of them. Asbestos was used in over 3,000 common products before being phased out by 1990 and banned in 2003. It is still present in millions of homes and public and commercial buildings.

• Ask to see the asbestos register, or • ask an asbestos professional for advice and have a sample tested, or • assume the material contains asbestos and take the necessary precautions.

Can the work be undertaken without disturbing or damaging the asbestos material? YES


YES Is the area less than 10m2? 10m2 of non-friable asbestos is equivalent to about four sheets of asbestos cement wall sheeting or one wall of an average size bathroom.


YES Will the removal take less than 1 hour (required in Victoria)?

An asbestos awareness course or the non-friable removal unit of competency is considered appropriate training.

Asbestos-containing millboard was widely used, often surrounding reheating banks or coils throughout the ductwork of airconditioning units. It is still present in many older airconditioning ducts.


YES Can you comply with legal requirements to safely remove and dispose the asbestos material?


You must engage a licensed asbestos removalist

YES Always use work practices that will prevent or minimise the release of asbestos fibres into the air. Further information on how to remove small amounts of asbestos is available in: Asbestos safety for trades and construction workers Even if you follow all the safety procedures to remove asbestos yourself, it is much safer and easier to engage a licensed asbestos removalist who is fully trained, insured and equipped to prevent or minimise exposure to asbestos. It often works out cheaper, too!



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Always take appropriate safety precautions including using appropriate PPE when running cables through asbestos containing materials. Also be aware that asbestos-containing materials can be hidden because they have been covered over from previous renovation or maintenance work.

Airconditioning ductwork NO

YES Are you trained in asbestos identification, safe handling and control measures?

Running cables

Asbestos cement was the standard material for construction of telecommunication pits, electrical connection pits and in some states water and gas meter covers. All non-plastic telecommunications pits should be treated as potentially containing asbestos.

Is the asbestos material non-friable? If you are unsure of the type of asbestos or it is in poor condition, treat it as friable

When working in older electrical cabinets and boxes, be aware that they often contain debris and dust, left over from previous drilling and installation, that could include asbestos fibres.

In ground pits and conduits


Visually inspect the material from time to time for deterioration or damage.

Asbestos debris and dust

Also, look out for… Asbestos cement sheeting used in ceilings, roofs, eaves and wet area walls, for example in kitchens and laundries.

When is Asbestos Harmful? Asbestos can be found in a friable or non-friable form. Friable: flaky, powdery, can be broken up easily with your fingers. Can be found in

March 2021


loose-fill insulation and pipe lagging. It is extremely hazardous because the fine asbestos fibres can be easily released into the air and inhaled. Non-friable: bonded securely as part of another compound, often cement. Can be found as part of cement pipes or fibro sheets. It is not dangerous if in good condition. It can be hazardous when disturbed, damaged or deteriorating as asbestos fibres can be released. If in any doubt about the type or condition of the asbestos material, you should treat it as friable.


Do You Know the WHS Laws in Your State? There are strict rules under Australian work health and safety (WHS) laws to ensure the safe management, control and removal of asbestos in the workplace. This includes residential premises that become a ‘workplace’ when a contractor is working there. Electricians carrying out work involving asbestos materials – including cutting holes into asbestos sheeting for installing cables – must: 

be trained in asbestos identification, safe handling and control measures use equipment designed to capture or suppress airborne asbestos, and follow safe removal, decontamination and disposal methods.

If Asbestos Needs to Be Removed… If asbestos is likely to be disturbed as part of demolition or refurbishment, then it must be safely removed before the work starts. In most circumstances, WHS laws require asbestos to be removed from workplaces by a licensed asbestos removalist. No more than 10m2 of non-friable asbestos can be removed by a business or organisation without a license, except in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) where any amount of asbestos material must be removed by a licensed asbestos removalist. All electricians working in the ACT are required to complete training

Cartridge half face mask (P2)

Disposable overalls

Disposable gloves

in 10852NAT - Course in Working Safely with Asbestos Containing Materials.

Safety Tips 

In Victoria the removal of less than 10m2 of non-friable asbestos can only be done without a license where the total time of all asbestos removal work carried out in any period of 7 days is less than 1 hour. This does not mean that removing up to 10m2 of non-friable asbestos is safe; it is legally allowed if all precautions are taken. WHS laws also require a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) to be completed for construction work that disturbs or is likely to disturb asbestos, because this is considered high-risk construction work. Contact your local NECA Branch for WHS advice.

What to Consider Before Starting a Job? Not sure whether a material contains asbestos?  

Ask to see the asbestos register, or Ask an asbestos professional for advice and have a sample tested, or Assume the material contains asbestos and take the necessary precautions.

Other equipment like a water spray bottle, a 200 micron thick plastic bag and duct tape

Ensure a SWMS is generated and followed for the work Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure it is fitted correctly Thoroughly wet down the asbestos material and keep it wet during your work to minimise dust Do not use brooms or brushes to drysweep asbestos containing dust Do not use high-speed power tools to cut, grind, sand or drill asbestos materials Do not use high pressure water or compressed air to clean asbestos materials Do not walk on asbestos-cement roofs as they are often brittle and may break Do not leave asbestos materials where they may be broken or crushed Wrap asbestos waste (including any offcuts or contaminated items) in two layers of 200 µm plastic sheeting or double-bag in asbestos waste bags Ensure the packaged asbestos waste is transported securely and disposed at a designated asbestos-waste disposal facility as soon as possible after removal.

For more information on asbestos safety and removal, visit and


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FOR ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING BUSINESSES Owning and running your own business provides opportunities that are exciting, rewarding, challenging and also exhausting. Unfortunately, hard work and personal sacrifice are not always enough to make a business successful. To ensure your business thrives and survives, particularly in volatile times, there are five key areas you need to have in order – vision, finance, systems, staff and marketing and sales. Commonly referred to as ‘business pain points’ a deficit in even one of these areas is enough to have a serious impact on the performance and longevity of your business. Successful business owners make the time to step away from the tools and the day-to-day grind to regularly review and reflect on these areas, using these learnings to increase profitability and productivity.

Getting Clear on Your Vision Do you have a clear vision of where you wish to take your business over the next 10 years? Do you have the plan to get you there, considering the possible business constraints, time, energy and mindset required? Reflecting on why you started your business and where you would like to take it in the years ahead will greatly assist you to re-energise and reactivate your business. Take the time to establish goals that support your vision, and ensure that you are consistently working ‘on your business’ and not just ‘in your business’. Consider your mindset, how you communicate and whether you are managing your time effectively.

Knowing Your Finances You have more than enough work to keep you busy, so you must be doing well financially, right? Not necessarily. Financial awareness is critical to making informed decisions that sustain and improve the financial well-being of your business. It is essential that business owners can confidently read financial reports, understand how to calculate



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and monitor gross margin, improve cash flow and identify the most effective ways to drive profitability.

Setting Up Fit for Purpose Systems Why does a business need to focus on developing systems? Your business may have grown quickly and the systems development has lagged – so errors are being made (by well-intentioned staff) too frequently. Your business is consequently overwhelmed with ‘fire-fighting’ and not working as efficiently as possible. Alternatively, your key systems are well developed but have stagnated, so your business is at risk of being surpassed by more innovative competitors. An effective business understands how to identify, implement and review the systems and procedures that will best enhance your key services and products.

Hiring the Right Team

Making Marketing and Sales Work for You Are there too few people in your business attracting and maintaining clients? Wouldn’t it be great if more key staff were committed (and equipped) to attract new clients and maintain current client relationships? It’s important for everyone in your team to learn that solving customer ‘pain points’ today, gives the business a competitive edge tomorrow. Identify who your ideal customer or customers are and develop a customer persona that helps you pinpoint their key drivers and motivations. Map out the typical customer journey and identify any weaknesses or pain points that may exist in the purchasing process. What makes your business special and different? How do you stand out from your competitors? Learn how to express your business story confidently in your marketing and harness your brand to improve your sales.

Hiring the wrong person for the job can be costly. The time and expense associated with advertising for and interviewing candidates, together with the negative long-term financial (and non-financial) implications of hiring the wrong person, are what make recruitment decisions critical. The ‘motivational fit’ during the recruitment process is consistently identified as critical. It’s important to conduct the right selection processes that will deliver the best outcome. Before anything else, you must determine what attitudes, mindset, skills and goals you need them to have. Then once you have selected someone, you need to set them up for success, with well-planned induction, training and support. Once you have the right employees on board, ensure you understand the key elements for inspiring staff to higher levels of performance and how to maintain effective workforce retention. Timing is just as important. If your systems are not set up to grow the business, then the extra size and cashflow could negatively impact you.

Do you need to make changes in your business, but are unsure of where to start? NECA has joined forces with Engine Room Business Innovation to develop the NECA Business Essentials Program - a 5 month coaching and training program facilitated by the developers of the highly esteemed Curtin Growth Program. Contact your local NECA Branch to find out more about the NECA Business Essentials Program. To register your interest, email in WA or for NSW, ACT, TAS and QLD.

March 2021

BUSINESS IN BRIEF HAS YOUR BUSINESS TAKEN THE NEXT STEP TO STP? One in ten small businesses in the Electrical Services industry are still not currently meeting their STP obligations. All employers are now required to report through Single Touch Payroll (STP).

allows approved applicants who need more time to move to Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting to ask their registered tax or BAS agent to report on their behalf on a quarterly basis until 30 June 2021.

You can report from your existing payroll or accounting software if it is STP-enabled. If you don’t currently use payroll software, or your current payroll software hasn’t been STP-enabled, you should look for a suitable product.

From 1 July 2021 only micro employers with exceptional circumstances will be eligible for the quarterly reporting concession.

If you have 1–4 employees, and you do not need payroll software, you can use an alternative solution. To find out what solution is suitable, it’s easiest to talk to your existing software provider or registered agent, or look at the STP product register.

Changes to reporting concessions for micro employers and employers with closely held payees The ATO has supported employers who needed help with STP reporting by offering a number of reporting concessions tailored to their circumstances. Quarterly reporting concession A quarterly reporting concession for micro employers (those with one to four employees) was one of these options. This concession

Exemption for closely held payees Another reporting concession has been provided for small employers (19 or fewer employees) with closely held payees, which are exempt from reporting through Single Touch Payroll (STP) until 30 June 2021. A closely held payee is an individual who is directly related to the entity from which they receive payments, for example family members of a family business, directors or shareholders of a company, or beneficiaries of a trust. No application is required for this exemption. From 1 July 2021, all closely held payees will need to be reported through STP. You will have the option to report this information on a quarterly basis. If you have any other employees (also known as arm’s length employees) they must be reported on or before each payday. For more information, resources, and detailed guidelines about STP visit

FIVE WAYS AN INSURANCE BROKER CAN HELP ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS With 2020 being such a hostile year due to so much uncertainty around COVID-19, it is important to ensure you keep making informed decisions with what you can actually control, especially when it comes to the stability of your business. Just like an accountant or lawyer who can provide you with professional financial or legal advice, a qualified insurance broker can do the same with your insurance needs. You want to be focusing on your business and not worrying about all of the insurance fine print. It can be tough to work through the range of insurance policies and providers; this is where the right insurance broker can offer real value. Your electrical business needs

a broker who can understand the unique challenges, changing landscapes and what your business is ultimately trying to achieve. Here are five ways an insurance broker can support and guide electrical contractors: 1. Help you understand what your business needs are to ensure that you are adequately protected. If you purchase insurance directly online ‘off the shelf’, you run the risk of not having the exact cover you require. 2. Find cover that is tailored specifically to the model and objectives of your business. Insurance brokers can use their extensive networks (both local and global) to identify the ideal solution

for you (which may not ordinarily be made available to the public). 3. Guide you through the process. If your business is new, it can be extremely hard to know where to start with your insurance requirements. 4. Ensure you are paying a competitive premium – not more than you should be. 5. Get your insurance set up and in place and then continue to ensure you are adequately educated on what you are covered for, and what to do if you need to claim. Over 400 NECA members choose to insure their business through NECAGuard. Email or phone 1800 335 014 for more information.

JOBKEEPER PAYMENT EXTENSION 2 HAS STARTED The second JobKeeper Payment extension started on 4 January and ends 28 March 2021. Employers can be eligible for the second JobKeeper extension even if they were not eligible for the first extension. To be eligible, employers will need to show that their actual GST turnover declined in the December 2020 quarter relative to a ‘comparable period’. This is generally the December 2019 quarter. To enrol, employers will need to declare this information through the ATO’s online services.



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The payment rates have changed for eligible employees in the second extension period. These rates are Tier 1: $1,000 per fortnight (before tax) and Tier 2: $650 per fortnight (before tax). Employers will need to ensure that they pay their eligible employees the correct payment tier. The ATO will then reimburse the employer on a monthly basis. To find out more about JobKeeper payment eligibility, visit

March 2021



mPRO’s all-in-one solution wil help you: Streamline team management

With more businesses moving online, fake or misleading reviews are a growing problem. While it’s great that customers can easily share their feedback about the services they receive, it also opens up businesses to the threat of malicious and deliberately misleading reviews. Here are 3 steps any business can take to address online reviews.

Improve productivity

1. Correct the Record

3. Other Options

If your business receives a malicious review, one of the first steps you should take is to respond to it. If it is a blatantly false review, responding in a comprehensive and public way corrects the record.

In Australia, businesses and review platforms that do not remove reviews that they know to be fake risk breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA). According to the law, reviews may mislead consumers if they are presented as impartial, but were written by:

The review might have been mistakenly directed, so it also provides an opportunity for the reviewer to remove or amend their review. It is important that any response be made in a professional and considered way. Avoid getting defensive or making it personal. Remember, your customers will be looking at your response – consider it as an opportunity to demonstrate how seriously you take customer feedback and reviews.

2. Report the Review You can report reviews to Google or Facebook if you think they don’t comply with their policies, but there is no guarantee it will be removed and it may take the platforms some time to respond.

the reviewed business

a competitor

someone paid to write the review who has not used the product someone who has used the product but written an inflated review to receive a financial or non-financial benefit.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) can take a range of enforcement actions for misleading and anti-competitive conduct. The Competition and Consumer Act applies to conduct in Australia as well as conduct outside of Australia by corporations carrying on business in Australia. In extreme circumstances, businesses may also consider contacting the police.

Optimise processes Communicate efficiently with both field and office staf Clearly identify where you are making and losing money

simPRO’s all-in-one solution w simPRO’s all-in-one solution will help you: Streamline team management

simPRO’s all-in-one solution w

Streamline team management

Improve productivity

Streamline team management Improve productivity

Optimise processes Improve productivity Optimise processes

Communicate efficiently with both field and officeprocesses staff Optimise Communicate efficiently

with b

Clearly identify where you are making and losing money Communicate efficiently with b

Clearly identify where you are m

Clearly identify where you are m


Schneider Electric’s Harmony range consists of highperformance pushbuttons, selector switches and pilot lights fit for commercial and industrial applications. Rated up to IP66 with batteryless and wireless options available, the harmony range also comes in metal and plastic versions. Discover new additions to this range and see how you can quickly deliver robust solutions. Improve operator safety and process efficiency with the new Harmony Illuminated Emergency stop button. Its new design with a dual indicator light lets operators quickly locate and see the status of their machine, even in the dark.

Add a touch of style to your machines and electrical panels with Harmony’s new built in flush pushbuttons. It offers a modern design to improve the look and feel of machines and can be quickly installed into a standard 30mm hole.

WISER WITH CLIPSAL ICONIC CONNECTED SOCKET Not just a double power point, the Clipsal Iconic double connected power point gives you app controlled switching with the Wiser Room App. Set schedules and timers for each outlet for energy savings and security. The 10A, 250V Iconic Connected power point can future-proof every home.



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BUT BETTER Hager’s new generation of single module RCBOs, ADC9, keeps all the features of the ADC3 and fits perfectly into their onekonekt system that celebrates almost 10 years of success in Australia. Apart from a reduction in size for ease of installation, it is almost the same product on the outside…but much better on the inside with benefits such as switched neutral capability and extension of the range to include D curve 30mA and 10mA type I. The new design makes it the perfect solution for a range of new applications including solar installations, electric vehicle charging stations, transportable structures (demountable, caravans, motor homes), construction sites (temporary boards) and patient areas.

March 2021


WORLD’S FIRST BATTERY POWERED FISH TAPE SOLUTION The M18 FUEL™ Powered Fish Tape is the world’s first battery powered fish tape solution. The Powered Fish Tape’s AUTO-RUN™ Powered Feed and Retract eliminates manual pulling tools for less user fatigue and automatically reels the tape back into the cartridge for a cleaner job site.


SPLICING CONNECTORS The WAGO Gelbox is a compact box pre-filled with siliconefree gel. The Gelbox is available in six sizes and provides IPX8 levels of moisture protection for WAGO’s 221 Series COMPACT Splicing Connectors. This protection type means that the connectors are completely sealed against water and can be permanently immersed in water.

The Powered Fish Tape features a POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor that provides the ability to pull cable and wire through a 30m run with 360° degrees of bends. The M18 FUEL™ Powered Fish Tape reduces downtime, with an automatic feed that pushes through bends fast for maximum job site efficiency. The Powered Fish Tape is powered by the M18™ REDLITHIUM™-ION battery pack (not included) and comes with the 30 m Non-Conductive Cartridge (49445195). It is also equipped with REDLINK™ PLUS Intelligence for maximum performance, and protection from overload.

Conventional potting compounds like polyurethane and silicone also meet IPX8 requirements. However, the WAGO Gelbox’s distinctive feature is that it protects the electrical installation exactly where it matters – at the connection points – without permanently encapsulating the junction boxes. Unlike siliconebased gel, the WAGO Gelbox’s silicone-free gel supports a virtually unlimited number of applications.

CONNECT TO THE FUTURE WITH THORN INDILOUVER PRO Zumtobel Group Pacific is proud to introduce the new Thorn Indilouver Pro, a unique combination of comfort and connectivity. The Indilouver Pro is prepared for any form of installation, including office, education and health care applications. Offering a sleek design with modern technological advancements it is an ideal solution to support Green Star certification and WELL Building standard requirements. Wellbeing in office spaces is enhanced by holistic lighting ecosystems. The Thorn Indilouver Pro features Active Light technology, which uniquely imitates natural light. Active Light is


linked to daylight dynamics, actively supporting the natural biorhythm and seamlessly ensuring maximum visual comfort for tasks. Such human centric lighting solutions bring people together and promote creativity.

The local production in Australia and the flexibility of the new Indilouver Pro allows clients to be creative and unique with their lighting solutions.

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AND THE WORKPLACE Achieving and maintaining good mental health and wellbeing is important for everyone.

Six ways employers can help make workplaces mentally healthier

It’s estimated that at any point in time, 1 in 6 Australian workers will be suffering from mental illness. Many others suffer from symptoms associated with mental illness such as stress and fatigue that will affect their ability to function at work.

Establish flexible working hours

Monitor staff workloads

Mental illness is one of the leading causes of sickness absence and longterm work incapacity in Australia and is one of the main health related reasons for reduced work performance. Employers and workplaces can play an active and significant role in supporting the health and wellbeing.

Provide stress management and resilience training

Encourage regular physical activity

Encourage mentoring and coaching

Provide mental health education to the whole team Reduce stigma - speak openly about mental health conditions Implement a mental health policy including zero tolerance of bullying and discrimination

1 in 6

Australian workers will be suffering from mental illness

ce Mental Health Toolkit

esources for employers and employees

Conduct mental health awareness programs Include mental health development in staff induction and development

5. Supporting staff recovery from mental illness 

3. Building better work cultures

What employers need to know

For employers, under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 workplaces need to prevent harm to the health and safety of workers. This includes physical and mental health. Under the Act, an officer is a person who makes, or participates in making decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of a business or undertaking.

Ensure your physical work environment is safe and encouraging

2. Building personal resilience

Both employers and employees have formal rights and responsibilities under discrimination, privacy, and work health and safety legislation.

4. Increasing awareness of mental health

1. Smart work design

Provide supervisor training on how to support workers recovering from mental illness and stressful life events Modify duties and work schedules when appropriate

6. Early Intervention  

Encourage staff to seek help early Consider wellbeing checks once appropriate supports are in place Provide mental health training so staff can support each other

$12 billion mental illness costs Australian business per year


R.O.I. for every dollar spent on mental health actions

For a copy of the Black Dog Institute Workplace Mental Health Toolkit or for more information or support on mental health in the workplace visit






NEW ARN-0214

The connected EV charging station for smarter charging EVlink charging stations are easy to use, tough, intelligent and universal. They are suitable for daily use and compatible with all type 1 and type 2 electric vehicles for public parking, corporate EV fleets, commercial private or residential areas. EVlink Parking and Smart Wallbox offer energy metering capabilities plus the connectivity you need to ensure user authentication, generate reports and perform remote maintenance. Easily connect your EVlink charging station to the EcoStruxure™ cloud platform and generate energy management reports or allocate costs to individual users. Everything you need to make EV charging easier than ever to manage! With EVlink, easily find the charging infrastructure that suits you whether you are a private user or a professional.

© 2021 Schneider Electric. All Rights Reserved. Life Is On Schneider Electric is a trademark and the property of Schneider Electric SE, its subsidiaries and affiliated companies. 998-20078453_AU-GB


NECA NEWS March 2021  

NECA NEWS March 2021  

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