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June 2021





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© 2021 Schneider Electric. All Rights Reserved. Life is On, Schneider Electric and FlexSelect are trademarks and the property of Schneider Electric SE, its subsidiaries and affiliated companies.

BOOKINGS ARE NOW OPEN FOR NECA’S PRESTIGIOUS EXCELLENCE AND APPRENTICE AWARDS Contact your your local statebranch office or Contact or visit for more more details details

IN THIS ISSUE June 2021 NEWS IN BRIEF 08 AZ/NZS 3000 Amendments 08 Australian Mutual Recognition 09 Additional Apprentice and Trainee Funding

POLICY AND ADVOCACY 10 Mega Projects – A Whole Lot More Than Construction 12 Federal Budget 13 Skilled Migration 13 Working with Children Checks — Occupation Codes for Vistorian Applications

BUSINESS FEATURE 14 How Effective is Your Estimating Method? 16 Succeeding in Business is All About Connection 18 Essential Business Knowledge for Every Contractor

QLD BRANCH 22 Branch Update 23 Independent Review of Queensland’s Electrical Safety Act 24 Electrical Contractor Licence Details in Advertising 24 Training Exemptions Being Lifted 25 NECA Industry Nights



26 Branch Update 27 2021 NECA Apprentice Awards 28 Crucial Women In Construction High Tea

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







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TAS BRANCH 30 Branch Update 31 Solar Panel Program for Schools Set to Roll Out in Tasmania 31 Review of the Occupational Licensing (Supervision of Prescribed Work) Code of Practice

VIC BRANCH 32 Branch Update


34 Warning to Industry After Fatalities 35 NECA’s Inspector Forum 36 Women in Electrotechnology

WA BRANCH 38 Branch Update 40 Home Building Contracts Act 41 Changes to the WA Electrical Requirements



56 ACRS Directors Report

72 OHM’s Law in the Wireless World

42 Relationships: The Key to Success

58 Switchboards and the Implementation of AS/NZS 61439

44 What to Expect from the WA Distribution Connections Manual

60 AS/CA S009 Revisions – Are You Up to Date?

45 The Electrotechnology Training Package is Changing 46 Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

62 Leveraging Industry 4.0 for Digital Transformation 64 Demystifying IoT/Industry 4.0 and the Role of Electrical Contractors

BUSINESS 74 How to Use Probation Periods Effectively in Your Business 76 Putting the Energy Back into Super 78 Business in Brief

47 NECA WA Industry Night Program

NSW/ACT BRANCH 48 Branch Update



66 New IR Laws for Casual Employees

80 Holograms – The Natural Evolution of the Video Call?

50 Super Guarantee Rate Increase 50 Big Canberra Battery Project


52 Signatures and WHS Requirements

68 Electrical Fatality Incident Data

54 NECA’s Telecoms Training Facility

70 The Importance of Injury Management



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TOOLS OF THE TRADE 82 Tools of the Trade

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.

BUILDING BUSINESS SUCCESS As we reach the year’s halfway mark, there is no doubt that the electrical industry is forging ahead, capitalising on its strengths and ability to adapt to a changing world. For many, the changes over the past twelve or so months have opened up a range of opportunities, with workers taking the chance to start their own contracting businesses and established businesses either expanding or moving into new sectors. With this in mind, in this issue of NECA News we have placed a strong focus on business management. We consider the essential business skills for contractors, tips for checking the effectiveness of your estimating methods and we review the Federal Budget and what it offers for contracting businesses. We also

speak with three contractors, who share their insights on the start-up, growth and transition stages of business. With employees being a key priority for business owners and managers, we take a look at the new IR laws for casual employees, mental health, injury management and how to use probation periods effectively. We round out our business theme by looking at the potential applications of holographic technology. This fascinating glimpse into the future encourages you to consider how your business can stay ahead in an evolving world. NECA has a strong commitment to helping contractors build strong and

successful businesses. In the coming months we look forward to celebrating those successes as we host Excellence Awards nights around the country, with finalists coming together at the National NECA Excellence Awards night in Adelaide in November. We wish all entrants the best of luck with their award submissions. Thank you for your continued feedback on NECA News. If you have something to share about what is 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

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June 2021

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NEWS IN BRIEF AZ/NZS 3000 AMENDMENTS Amendment 2 of AS/NZS 3000:2018 Electrical Installations – Wiring Rules, has now been released. Some of the key revisions relate to RCDs, switchboard accessibility, equipment connections, recording of results and compliance with the revised AS/NZS 61439 series. For switchboards, this standard is now mandatory for all new switchboards constructed after 24 May 2021. These revisions came about in response to:  new technology, new equipment and improved installation techniques;  industry feedback regarding readability and compliance;  identification and clarification of normative (mandatory) requirements and informative guidance material throughout the document; and  experience gained in the application of the previous edition as expressed to Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand. Except for NSW where the amendments were effective immediately, regulators are allowing a 6 month transition period until 30 October 2021, to ensure electrical contractors and workers have enough time to understand

and comply with the changes. From 31 October 2021, all electrical installation work must comply with the revised edition (Amendment 2) of AS/NZS 3000. Members can find more information on the changes in our Technical Knowledge Base (TKB) and on the NECA website. To view the presentation visit:

AUSTRALIAN MUTUAL RECOGNITION The Australian Government’s Mutual Recognition Amendment Bill 2021 has now been passed by the Senate. The Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR) reforms will enable licensed workers to operate across jurisdictions, without having to apply, pay for and wait for a further licence to perform the same type of work in another



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state. Contractor licences were not included as part of the reforms. Throughout the consultation process, NECA brought the government’s attention to the uniqueness of the electrotechnology industry, and the different licence types, CPD requirements, safety and installation rules that exist in each state. To ensure a truly effective

mutual recognition, NECA will be approaching other significant industry bodies and the union to push towards true, national harmonisation for our sector. NECA will continue to work with the federal and state governments and state-based agencies and regulators on this matter, and keep members informed of any developments.

June 2021


ADDITIONAL APPRENTICE AND TRAINEE FUNDING The Federal Government has extended its Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy program for new apprentices and trainees signed up prior to 30 September 2021. Through the subsidy, contractors who employ a new apprentice/trainee (or re-employ an existing one), may be eligible for a subsidy of 50% of wages, for twelve months from the date of commencement/recommencement. Key points to know: 

The subsidy is available for a maximum of $7,000 per quarter. There is no cap on the number of apprentices and trainees that can be funded. To be eligible, apprentices/trainees must be undertaking a Certificate II or higher qualification and have an approved training contract through your relevant state training authority. The subsidy is not available for those receiving any other form of Australian Government wage subsidy, for example, Supporting Apprentices and Trainees funding.

contractors to consider taking on apprentices/trainees and accessing this subsidy program to support your business. Further information on the support available to eligible businesses and employees is available at:

Apprentices and trainees are vital to the ongoing sustainability of the electrical and communications industry, making this welcome funding for contractors. NECA encourages all

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

WWW.NECA.ASN.AU national-electrical-and-communications-assoc./ NationalElectricalCommunicationsAssociation

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A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN CONSTRUCTION A CLOSER LOOK AT THE RISE OF MEGA PROJECTS ACROSS THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTRUCTION LANDSCAPE AND THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES THEY PRESENT FOR THE BROADER SUPPLY CHAIN AND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS. Increasingly, these targets are being transferred along the supply chain contractually. Principal contractors are self-performing less work, so the overall targets set by government can only be achieved through the work performed by major subcontractors and the goods provided by key suppliers. What might seem to be an inconsequential target or a minimum spend in a certain sector, can lead to major problems when written into contracts, if businesses don’t fully understand the requirements or the penalties for falling short.

NECA and ECA WA’s Group Training Organisations can help electrical contractors meet minimum apprentice targets on mega projects.

Congestion busting, record breaking, transformational: these are the catch phrases of mega projects dotted across the Australian construction landscape. Roads, tunnels, rail, dams, hospitals, energy, defence services and now even high-rise school projects are all becoming bigger, and so are the price tags. The current national infrastructure pipeline lists more than 280 projects valued at over $100 million, with an eye-popping 70 valued at $1 billion and beyond.

create social benefits and a positive community legacy through delivery. For the most part, states are seeking to achieve social benefits through contractual targets and processes written into the Principal Contract. Some examples of minimum targets include:  

Federal and state governments are funding the lion’s share of these projects, with nearly $225 billion of taxpayer funds forecast to be spent on infrastructure over the coming four years. The enormous increases in public spending on infrastructure projects is driving a need for governments of all colours to score political credit (and votes) for stimulating the construction industry. On time, on budget and built-to-spec is no longer enough for governmentfunded projects. As well as achieving the transport or service delivery objectives, projects must also



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 

Apprentice and trainee numbers; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and business spend targets; Employment programs targeting disadvantaged groups and the long-term unemployed; Sustainability (ISCA) ratings; Opportunities in construction for veterans and refugees; Local procurement and small and medium enterprise (SME) engagement; and Workforce gender and diversity targets.

It’s important that electrical businesses understand the social impact deliverables in contracts, especially for government-funded projects. The targets should be designed to maximise local and community benefits, not punish subcontractors. So, if you’re having difficulty meeting a certain target or need clarification, engage early with the principal contractor and if need be, the government client directly. Many government agencies have databases and local procurement networks that can help with Aboriginal participation and disadvantaged employment groups in particular. The field of social impact is rapidly evolving and targets are becoming higher and more enforceable. In 2021 NECA will be surveying interested members on their social impact capability, diversity and procurement challenges, and investigating ways we can help members gain a competitive advantage in this area.

Peter McCabe NECA Director Policy and Government Relations

June 2021

Protect yours. The Australian and New Zealand Standard and specifications for lugs, links and connectors is unique compared to the rest of the world. These standards were developed to protect lives and buildings, because an inferior lug can result in an arc flash explosion or other dangerous joint failures. 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 or call 133 122.

Certified? Always look for the CABAC icon and testing certificate

POLICY AND ADVOCACY FEDERAL BUDGET The 2021-22 Federal Budget handed down by the Treasurer, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, in May signals a willingness from the government to support and partner with business as the economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s certainly a grab of goodies that will help small and medium businesses with cash flow, whilst supporting future electricians through significant investment in skills training and apprenticeships. Budget highlights include:

Skills and Training: 

$2.7 billion to expand the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy; $506.3 million over two years to extend the JobTrainer Fund; and Support for 5,000 training places to help women break into non-traditional trades.

Infrastructure and Energy Projects: 

Tax and Business Investment: 

The Low and Middle Income Tax Offset retained for 10.2 million Australians for a further year, providing a benefit of up to $1,080 for singles and up to $2,160 for families; An independent umpire introduced to resolve disputes between small business and the ATO;

The instant asset write-off continued until 30 June 2023; The temporary loss carry-back scheme extended, allowing eligible companies to carry back tax losses from the 202223 income year to offset previously taxed profits as far back as 2018-19; Reforms to employee company share schemes to help attract and retain staff; and A “patent box”, enabling income earned from new patents developed in Australia to be taxed at a concessional 17% rate.



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New funding of $15 billion for road, rail, light rail and freight projects across Australia; $1 billion for road safety upgrades, and $1 billion for local road infrastructure projects; An additional $250 million, through the Building Better Regions Fund, for regional community infrastructure projects; $1.2 billion for a Digital Economy Strategy, including a new national network of Artificial Intelligence Centres to drive the adoption of new technologies; $643 million over four years to create regional hydrogen hubs and carbon capture, use and storage technologies; and Funding for various energy projects including the Katherine-Darwin Interconnected System big battery and microgrid, Port Kembla Power Station and a renewable energy microgrid for the Daintree Community.

Housing Stimulus: 

Support for 10,000 first home buyers to build new homes with 5% deposits; Support for 10,000 single parents to buy new or existing homes with 2% deposits; and An increase in the amount that can be released under the First Home Super Saver Scheme from $30,000 to $50,000.

The investment by the Morrison Government in infrastructure, housing and renewables provides a solid platform for growth across the electrotechnology sector. Many of the initiatives directly respond to NECA’s priorities identified in our pre-budget submission earlier in the year. While it’s disappointing the budget didn’t contain a specific initiative to support more mature-aged apprentices in trades, we will continue pushing this issue with the government in search of a more positive outcome.

June 2021


SKILLED MIGRATION NECA WA Secretary and ECA WA CEO Carl Copeland, alongside College of Electrical Training General Manager Steve Hall, recently appeared before the Joint Standing Committee on Migration, which is inquiring into Australia’s skilled migration program. Carl and Steve’s evidence on behalf of NECA and ECA WA informed the Committee of the current issues with the program and our industry. This includes the current use of ANZSCO codes for electrical workers, which captures electricians, electrical fitters and electrical engineers in one. The point was stressed to the Committee that a functional skilled migration system is needed to address immediate skills shortages; however, with the forecast pipeline of construction work on the horizon, more needs to be done to train Australian apprentices and retain local electricians.

WORKING WITH CHILDREN CHECKS — OCCUPATION CODES FOR VICTORIAN APPLICATIONS Whilst NECA Victoria communicated with members on Working With Children Checks (WWCCs) in March, we wanted to cover off on it again, to avoid confusion about the application process and appropriate occupation codes when completing the application form online. With an increasing number of contractors specifying a need for tradespeople to hold these clearances to access building sites, we have clarified this matter with the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

The Working With Children Act 2005, under which WWCCs have been issued to date in Victoria, was superseded by the Workers Screening Act 2020 on 1 February 2021. Consequently, the requirement to enter occupation codes will disappear from the online application form. When the changes under the new Act are implemented, WWCC cards will simply specify the cardholder as a volunteer (V) or an employee (E).

members applying for a WWCC can select any occupation code (with the exception of “kinship care”), as this makes no difference to the operation of the check or to the validity of the clearance, regardless of the type of work they perform. If more information is provided by the Department, we will advise members as appropriate.

It is unknown when these changes will be fully implemented. In the meantime,


HOW EFFECTIVE IS YOUR ESTIMATING METHOD? THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE ACCURATE ESTIMATES IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS A CONTRACTOR CAN HAVE. IT IS KEY TO SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETING PROJECTS AND BUILDING A BUSINESS. Estimating is the process of working out the cost of doing the work. A good estimate will also help plan how long a job will take and the steps involved, identify work that needs to be contracted out and consider potential cash flow issues.

Underestimating the amount and cost of time and materials needed results in unprofitable work. Here are some useful tips to help you review your estimating process so you can maximise your profits.

The Take-Off Sheet One of the key estimating tools is a ‘Take-Off Sheet’. A Take-Off Sheet is a purposedesigned form or spreadsheet used to record the various material and labour components of an estimate. The Take-Off Sheet may be a paperbased form, or part of a computerbased spreadsheet. Some software packages include a Take-Off Sheet as an integrated part of the job file.

What should a TakeOff Sheet include? To complete a well thought out estimate, your Take-Off Sheet should have the following components: 

An accurate estimate of the cost of all job materials, broken down into each stage of the job. A total of the expected labour hours and cost of labour, broken down into each stage of the job. A method of planning labour and materials requirements, as each stage of the job approaches. Estimates should be arranged in a sequence that parallels the expected progress of the works. A materials list to facilitate the purchase of items, as they are required for each stage.



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A safety margin for suspected but undefined problems that may occur. A way to easily compare estimated costs with actual costs. A technical reference for similar jobs priced at a later date. Details of the client, their name for the project, contact person (by name) and phone number. A method to allow you to determine a minimum profit margin, based on the number of labour hours in the job.

Know your charge-out rate Your charge-out rate is the hourly rate you charge for yourself and each team member. This needs to include the direct cost of wages plus ‘oncosts’ such as paid leave, public holidays, workers compensation insurance, superannuation etc. It also needs to include ‘overheads’, which are those business costs that cannot be directly attributed to any specific job. Examples include, but are not limited to, administration time/cost, office rent, telephones, liability insurance and equipment depreciation/replacement. To help calculate or review chargeout rates, the NECA Foundation offers a charge-out rate calculator on their website

Estimating methods In estimating, there are two main general methods used: 1. Practical experience: Where a job is broken down into its various parts based on the way it is expected to progress. Personal experience is then used to estimate the labour (hours) for each part. Since, in most small and medium operations, the contractor is also the estimator and is often involved in the site work, this method is the most commonly used. 2. Unit rate method: Where the estimator calculates the quantities of items from the plans and other job information and then allocates costs from a labour unit rate list to these items. Many larger, well-established contractors have developed a unit rate list, in which the labour components for many common tasks have been detailed. This method relies on the development of an accurate list, which can only be developed after the work rates of the labour force have been carefully analysed and rechecked over a long period of time.

Using your Take-Off Sheet A Take-Off Sheet is one of the most important components of any contracting operation. A well-designed Take-Off Sheet will bring all the


The contractor’s direct cost to perform a project. It provides a forecast of the expected labour and material components and the associated costs to the contractor to perform the work.


The price offered to the client to perform a project. This must include all appropriate conditions of trading, as it forms the basis of the contract upon which payment will depend.

June 2021


estimating information into one place, helping to perform several important functions. 1. Job costing: It will help detail the job’s components and develop a reliable cost estimate for the job. If the sheet has space to fully itemise the parts of the estimate, estimators can break down the separate parts of the job into individual material and labour components. Full detailing also allows the estimator (or someone else) to check the estimate to see if anything has been missed or doubled up. 2. Quoting: Once you have used your Take-Off Sheet to calculate your delivery costs (your estimate), you can determine the price you will offer your client (your quote). Quoting involves adding a margin to the estimated direct costs to allow for business overheads and your desired net profit. ESTIMATED COST + PROFIT MARGIN = PRICE OFFERED TO THE CLIENT A good quote will draw on the information from the estimate, providing both you and the client with a clear picture of the project, its scope, timing and costs. This helps to prevent misunderstandings and build and maintain good customer relationships. A well-prepared quote also includes terms of trade, forming the basis of the contract between the client and contractor. This enables contractors to pursue payment in the event that a client is unable (or unwilling) to pay. 3. Job Management: After the client has accepted the quote, the Take-Off Sheet can be used as a useful guide in running the job. (a) Materials List: A detailed TakeOff Sheet can be used to organise


jobs in advance, buying or hiring equipment, ordering materials and arranging labour. Using this approach, the hours lost obtaining supplies on a day-to-day basis can be reduced to a minimum. (b) Job Planner: Part of the estimating process involves mentally organising the job, its components and tasks. The Take-Off Sheet can refresh your memory and help you instruct site staff on the work required and help avoid doing the same tasks twice. 4. Reviewing your estimate: Once the job (or each stage) is complete, the Take-Off Sheet can be used to compare the expected job costs with the actual costs. This is an essential process that provides feedback on the estimate’s accuracy and the productivity of site activities. This is critical information for estimating similar projects in future.

The importance of effective estimating The most important function of estimating is to ensure you charge your client correctly so that the job provides a profit. Many electrical contractors operate at unrealistic low prices, often not covering hidden costs such as overheads and ‘on costs’. As a result, they make as much money, if not less, than they can working for someone else. This isn’t sustainable in the long-run. NECA is committed to helping electrical contractors run sustainable and successful businesses. It offers a range of tools to support contractors with the estimating process. These include estimating courses offered through NECA colleges, resources on the NECA Foundation website and legal and technical advice. For more information on the support NECA can offer your business, contact your local Branch.

Acknowledgement: The content from this article has been extracted from Ken Postill’s ‘Guide to Electrical Contracting’, which will soon be available to NECA members, free of charge on the NECA Foundation’s website:

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ALL ABOUT CONNECTION WHILE THE ELECTROTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY HAS A DIVERSE RANGE OF SECTORS AND OPPORTUNITIES, MANY CONTRACTING BUSINESSES FOLLOW A SIMILAR GROWTH SEQUENCE. BUSINESS OWNERS START OUT, OFTEN AS SOLE OPERATORS, THEN PROGRESS TO EMPLOYING APPRENTICES AND TRADESPEOPLE, GROWING THEIR BUSINESS TO A SIZE THAT SUITS THEIR GOALS. AS THEIR BUSINESS MATURES, OWNERS START LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, WHICH OFTEN INVOLVES DISCUSSIONS ABOUT TRANSITIONING THEIR BUSINESS INTO NEW HANDS. We interviewed three business owners at the start up, growth and transition stages who shared their experiences and valuable insights. One of the consistent messages was the important role relationships play in running a business. While contracting businesses often start out with a single person, they definitely don’t operate in isolation.

GREG SPURLING SPURLING ELECTRICAL Greg Spurling started Spurling Electrical in 2000. For the first two years, Greg worked on his own, building the business until employing a second tradesperson. As the business progressed, he started an apprentice and has now just employed their tenth apprentice. “One of the advantages of being selfemployed is the reward for your own effort, even though this is not always easy. As the owner operator, I liaise and quote with customers large and small, plan and supervise jobs, manage all facets of the business administration and support tradespeople and apprentices.” “I’ve been fortunate to have my sons Josh and Tom complete their apprenticeships with me and work as tradespeople and supervisors within the company. Josh has now relocated and is establishing himself as a contractor. Watching apprentices grow into successful tradespeople and adults, including spending time with my sons every day



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from leaving school through to their late twenties, has been a real highlight.” “I’ve also enjoyed spending time socially with other contractors at supplier events in Australia and overseas.” The majority of Spurling Electrical’s work is in the aged care sector, providing services to residential care centres and independent living centres. “We built our business through involvement in local football and surf lifesaving clubs over the years. For new contractors, it’s worth looking at ways to become involved in your local community through your family, schools and sporting clubs. This approach has helped us build a presence within our local area.” “For contractors planning to take their business to the next level, I also suggest they employ administrative assistance, whether this be through a partner or an additional employee.”

Greg is now 58, and although he cannot see himself retiring anytime soon, he is helping the business move into its next phase of ownership. He can see himself continuing in a supporting role to help the team continue Spurling Electrical and build on its success.

June 2021



Since Rick started Kalibre Electrics, his business has gone from strength to strength, providing a range of electrical, communication, phone and maintenance works. He’s valued the opportunities that come with being your own boss. “Some of my business highlights include being able to have more of a work-life balance and flexibility in the days and hours I work. I have also enjoyed the networks and relationships I’ve been able to develop with builders and clients. I wouldn’t have been able to do this before.” “I love knowing that the effort I put into my work shows in the output and results. Knowing I am personally able to achieve what I want to achieve is satisfying. All the hard work I’m doing is for me and my family and it makes it worth it.”

Building on his successes to date, Rick is positioning Kalibre Electrics for future growth. To support his business activities, Rick believes developing good systems and using software is critical. “I’m concentrating on creating more efficiencies in my office work. I’m looking into new systems and software to minimise my hours in the office and allow more time on the tools. My advice for other contractors is - don’t hesitate to invest in tools and software to make your life easier. It will be worth it and you’ll have more downtime to focus on family.” Rick currently operates as a sole operator, but has plans for expansion. The next stage will involve hiring another employee, investing in another vehicle and expanding his workshop. “This will enable me to take on more

work. Another focus is continuing to build my brand and network. Communication is the key to keeping strong and open relationships with our clients.”

MATT GOUNDREY TECHWORKS GROUP “Our first big break was working with a facility management company that managed Telstra assets. They were new to WA and we were their first electrician,” said Matt. “Our businesses grew together, with Techworks increasing to six people. Since then, we’ve continued to expand our team.”

“As individuals they are fantastic and collectively, what they achieve is incredible. This is the key thing that sets Techworks apart. Our team has a collaborative approach to everything we do. We meet regularly to work through and improve every aspect of the business.”

Having built their experience, Techworks approached commercial builders, building relationships that expanded the project side of the business. But during a difficult year that saw two project clients go into liquidation, the business made a strategic decision to concentrate on service contracts. Today, servicing and maintenance makes up 70% of Techworks’ business.

“For contractors looking to grow, my advice is to surround yourself with a great group of people and give them the resources and autonomy to do everything they can to achieve your business goals.”

Matt greatly values the people he’s worked with and the culture they’ve developed as a team. “The people we have are some of the best I’ve ever worked with,” said Matt.



Techworks’ current focus is on developing its health, safety and wellness culture. They recently launched their SafeWorks initiative, which has become the business’s driving force. Matt and his team are now focussed on embedding SafeWorks and bringing everyone on board. They are structuring the business for continued growth and creating a workplace where people want to be.

Over time, businesses evolve and change, but regardless of what point they’re at, relationships are consistently a key business driver. Clients, suppliers, employees, families and the broader community all play an important role in contractors’ sense of personal and business success.

“We want to create a place where team members feel happy, healthy and supported,” said Matt. “We believe growth for the business and individual team members will stem from there.”

As Richard Branson once said, “succeeding in business is all about making connections.” To have your inspirational story told, contact

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SMALL ENTERPRISES PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY AND MAKE AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES. NOWHERE IS THIS MORE EVIDENT THAN IN THE ELECTROTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY, WHERE THE MAJORITY OF ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS ARE SMALL, FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES. Running a successful business requires more than good technical knowledge and abilities. Business management skills are equally important, particularly as your business grows and your role shifts from being on the tools to overseeing the work. The people who do

well in electrical contracting are those that think as business managers and contractors, rather than as electricians. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some of the essential business management skills needed for businesses to thrive and prosper.

INDIVIDUAL BUSINESSES MAY BE SMALL, BUT COLLECTIVELY THEY HAVE A BIG IMPACT These statistics highlight small business’s role in Australia: 

The small business sector is large, vibrant and diverse covering many different types of business activities. Small businesses (employing less than 20 people) account for 97.4% of all businesses, with medium size businesses (20 – 199 people) representing 2.4%. Large businesses account for only 0.2% of all Australian businesses. Small business employs 41% of the business workforce, making it Australia’s biggest employer. By sector, small business employment is largest in the construction sector. Small business makes up 84% of all innovating businesses in Australia. The data shows innovative small businesses outperform non-innovative ones on all key metrics, including productivity and profitability. As at December 2019, small business employed 61% of Australia’s apprentices and trainees. Over 19% of small business owners are over 60 years of age, demonstrating the importance of this age group to small business and the economy more broadly.

Less than 8% of small business owners are under 30 years of age.

Women represent 35.4% of small business owners/managers.

Many businesses have demonstrated resilience and adaptability in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 40% of businesses surveyed by the ABS in June 2020 indicated that they had changed the way they provided products or services, with 20% indicating that they intended to retain these changes over the long-term.

Based on The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman data from ‘Small Business Counts December 2020’



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Business Planning A business plan outlines your strategies to develop and grow your business. It enables you to define your goals and identify the actions required to achieve them. By providing a clear sense of direction, business plans help with decisionmaking and employing people who will support your business goals. They also help you to communicate with others about your activities, present the business professionally and provide context for your marketing approaches and messages. When developing a business plan, consider the following: 

Your vision for the business. Why did you start it? What work do you want to do? What do you want to achieve? What resources you need to have in place. Training needs – both technical and/or business management. Your business strengths and areas you need to improve on. How big you want your business to be and in what timeframe. The sort of culture you want within your business and the types of people you need to develop it.

Write your plan down and review it regularly to keep your business on track. Harvard Business Review has noted that people with a formal plan are 16% more likely to achieve a viable business.

Make marketing and sales work for you Business growth rarely happens by chance. It requires a proactive approach to identifying the sectors you want to work in, the types of projects you’d like to take on, potential clients and

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the best way to connect with them. Importantly, you need to be clear about what you offer and what makes you stand out from the crowd.

processes in place ensures you charge the right amount, get paid for the work you do, support your own livelihood and the livelihood of your team.

Like business planning, developing a marketing and sales strategy helps identify your goals and the necessary activities to reach them. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate document, but it does need to outline your thinking and intentions. Ideally it will be linked to, and support, your business plan.

To successfully manage your finances:

To make the most of your marketing and sales activities: 

Develop a sales budget for at least a twelve-month period. Review the profit margins for your chosen sector in the industry. Can the sector meet your minimum chargeout rates? Can it deliver the work you need to meet your sales budget? Some sectors have very tight margins that do not allow a reasonable return on investment for contractors. Understand how your business fits into your chosen sector. Who else is working in it? What do they offer? What makes them successful?

Keep your business funds separate from your personal funds. Calculate your minimum hourly charge-out rate. Check your estimating and quoting processes to ensure each job provides for an adequate profit. Present your quote professionally and make it easy for clients to see what you’re offering and why they should choose you. Poorly formulated offers are a major source of misunderstanding, resulting in disputes and the loss of further work and referrals. Organise the delivery of materials as required for each project. Where possible, ask suppliers to deliver materials as needed, using a ‘just in time’ method. Monitor costs, including materials, overheads and net profit.

Make progress claims as the job progresses. The primary rule for minimising financial risk is to claim as much as possible, as often as possible. Each claim should include all costs associated with that part of the work (labour, materials, overheads and net profit).  Track and claim variations as the job progresses. Any variations occurring in the work should be included in the progress claim, and paid for as soon as possible.  Where possible, it is good practice to discuss the value of the claim (including any variations) with the client prior to submitting it. This minimises the chance of dispute.  Some clients (particularly large organisations) pay only on a statement, which is supported by an invoice. Check how your client operates, as failure to provide the statement may result in the claim(s) not being processed.  Monitor profitability by comparing actual costs to estimated costs as the job progresses. This is an essential process for business management. 

Get feedback from clients and act on it wherever possible and appropriate. Learn why your clients buy from you and what you could offer to attract more clients. Look at how you can sell more to your most profitable clients. Identify which products and services are most cost-effective and consider how you can promote these more. Select the right marketing platforms for your target market. Ensure you have a strong digital presence.

Actively manage your finances Finances are always a key topic for discussion as they underpin every business. Having effective


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Set up systems for success Business systems are made up of standard steps carried out in a certain order to achieve a particular result. They are the building blocks for any business that wants to grow. Having good systems removes business headaches, improves productivity and expands your capacity to take on new business. Systems free up time, support employees in their roles and improve cash flow through timely invoicing and effective cost management. From the client’s perspective, systems ensure consistent service delivery that meets their expectations and minimises mistakes and rework. Ideally, systems should be established early so that you’re well-positioned as the business grows. The following suggestions will help you get started: 

Aim to complete all tasks with the highest possible quality the first time round. Write your systems down – don’t leave anything to memory. Written systems ensure everyone is clear about what is expected, what they need to do, when they need to do it and what the outcome should be. It also provides an opportunity to step back and look at systems objectively. Make the most of your time and your team’s time. Review your systems to reduce downtime, unnecessary actions, double handling and hold-ups. Ask employees to follow your processes consistently, rather than do things their own way. This ensures the same tasks are being done in the same way each time, producing consistent results and quality. Encourage employees to be innovative and share their ideas for change. If they can see a better way of working, be open to their feedback and make continual improvements that will benefit everyone. Attend site meetings and liaise with your client throughout each project. Discussions with the client, and other contractors on site, can help you identify ways to improve your systems and service delivery. Consider how technology can support your business management and streamline your operations.



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Suitable software packages reduce administration time, decrease omissions and mistakes and help with financial management.

Ensure your clients have more favourable experiences with your business;

Find out what your applicant’s job aspirations are. Do their goals fit with what you can offer?  Consider hiring for work ethic rather than skills. Skills can be taught, but attitude and ethic are harder to instil.  Take the time to check your applicant’s references to get a sense of the person, the work they’ve done and how they interact with others.  Give them a trial period so you can see how they fit within your team and operate on the job.  Consider hiring apprentices. Training an apprentice is a great way to expand your labour force and contribute to the industry’s future. For businesses with an uncertain workflow, or those who don’t want the administrative burden, group training is an excellent option for hiring apprentices.

Develop a productive and motivated workforce;

Growing your business

Find employees who fit your business Electrical contracting businesses are built around people. A business is only as good as its employees and the services they deliver for your clients. In busy times, it can be tempting to hire quickly, but it’s important not to rush the process. Making sure you have the right fit might take a little longer, but the investment will pay off in the end. Hiring the right people helps to: 

Increase your capacity to grow your business and take on new projects; Create more time for you to work on your business; and Reduce employee turnover.

Tips for selecting employees with the right fit for your business: 

Think about the type of workplace you want to build. What qualities and characteristics do you value in your existing employees or other people that you’ve worked with? Be clear about your expectations and what you can offer.

Working for yourself can be a rewarding experience. The direct reward for effort is an essential part of why most contractors choose to run their own business; however, there are many challenges that need to be managed. By developing strong management skills, you can reduce the risks and maximise the benefits of being in business for yourself. Contact your local NECA Branch to discuss opportunities for Business Management training in your state.

Acknowledgement: Much of the content from this article has been extracted from Ken Postill’s ‘Guide to Electrical Contracting’, which will soon be available to members on the NECA Foundation website:

June 2021

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We continue to have disrupted lifestyles and business activities due to COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns; however, Australia is faring In our current timeswell, withparticularly the COVID crisis, whenof compared to thehave number many our businesses beenofpushed COVID-19 cases andhas deaths many to their limits. NECA beeninworking other countries, such as federal the USA,and the tirelessly to engage with UK, Italy and India. While our lockdowns state governments to advocate on behalf have been inconvenient, they have been of our industry and to provide timely and well worth it if they have saved lives. comprehensive information to our members. Although there is still no certainty in the long-term pipeline of work,to it is NECA Expands Resources welcome that business activity in the Support QLD Members construction sector continues to be considered an essential service. has During this time NECA Queensland taken the opportunity towork expand its At NECA Queensland our continues, service to very NECAactive members and we offering have been in in Queensland sharingup-to-date member service keeping our by members on delivery across the seaboard all the changes andeastern developments with NSW, ACT and as they happen. WeTasmania. have also been proactive in lobbying both the federal NECA members across thetostate and state governments, listenwill to the now have access to a comprehensive needs of our members when framing network of integrated services that their budgets and policy decisions. brings together a team of highly The Queensland rolling out experienced staffBranch acrossisour Branches. an active Roadshow Program through This includes a newly-formed Contact our Industry Nights acrosswith the timely state. Centre to assist members At these Industry Nights, we have been and immediate advice and services providing valuable member information, relating to technical, safety, legal, including presentations from the industrial HR and general Electrical relations, Safety Office, presentations membership enquiries. from our Technical Advisor and WHS Co-ordinator, and information from By sharing services, this has enabled us our Business Development Managers to expand locally in other areas including on how to get the best use out of your in our on-the-ground team of staff who

NECA membership. These roadshows have been well attended to date, and the program will continue across theon state in to thehelp coming months. are hand members, particularly through these challenging times. Another key issue for NECA members, is a grassroots review of the Electrical Safety Resources Safety Act and Regulations, conducted by the Queensland Government. The NECA members Queensland canand also original Act wasinwritten in 2002, access expanded HSEQ resources in the (almost) 20 years since then,which includes a free STARinsystem technology andSafety practices our industry for members, and broader have advanced in aleaps andTechnical bounds. Knowledge For those members The Act andBase. Regulations have not kept wanting more from their safety systems, pace with these changes, and now is the time look at how toitsfuture proof NECA WHStohas extended collection thesafety legislation. Aftertothe discussion of packages include two paper was published, NECA released new digital HSEQ systems that can be a member survey and prepared a purchased. submission to the review on behalf of NECA members. The Road AheadWe look forward to seeing the outcomes of the review. NECA QLD is excited to be hosting COVID-19 hasprogram disrupted aWhile digital education formany of our networking events over contractors to build their skillsthe in spite last twelve months, we of COVID restrictions. Wewent look ahead forward with our famous Race Day at Doomben to 2021, when we will be rolling out our Racecourse in June 2021. This is always long-anticipated roadshows across a popular event, with the chance for Queensland. information will follow members andMore our business partners over the coming months. to interact and make new business connections. The event is also about Thank you to our members and Business relaxing and rewarding your staff, Partners for your ongoing support of while enjoying the glorious weather we NECA and our industry. have QLD in winter in Queensland. NECA will continue to host events that create new opportunities for members.




NECA Queensland Executive Director and ACRS Director Peter Lamont has INDUSTRY ROADSHOWS been appointed as a member of the Ridges Gladstone Electrical Safety Board by the Minister  Wednesday, 21 July 2021 for Education and Industrial Relations, the Hon Grace Grace MP. Mercure Rockhampton  Thursday, 22 July 2021

The Board’s function is to give advice and make recommendations to the Minister Ibis Mackay  Friday, about policies, strategies and legislative 23 July 2021 arrangements for electrical safety. Its Fitzys Loganholme secondary role is to provide advice and

recommendations to the Regulator about energy efficiency and the performance NECA EXCELLENCE & APPRENTICE AWARDSof electrical equipment. Brisbane City Hall

 Friday, 20 August 2021 Board provides Minister Grace said “the an essential link between industry, the community and government in working to improve electrical For moresafety.” information and to register scan this QR code, or visit

Peter’s appointment is for three years, from 1 October content/qld-events 2020.

 Thursday, 2 September 2021

Kedron-Wavell Services Club  Thursday, 9 September 2021 June 2020 2021 SEPTEMBER



INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF QUEENSLAND’S ELECTRICAL SAFETY ACT QUEENSLAND’S CURRENT ELECTRICAL SAFETY LAWS WERE LAST REVIEWED IN 2002, WHEN THE ELECTRICAL SAFETY ACT 2002 (QLD) (THE ACT) WAS FIRST INTRODUCED. SINCE THEN, 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, the Queensland Government has initiated a review to ensure Queensland’s electrical safety laws are fit-for-purpose, specifically in relation to keeping pace with new and emerging technologies. Along with the Wiring Rules, the Electrical Safety Act and Regulations are the rules that govern the operation of Queensland’s electrical industry. NECA is committed to robust workplace health and safety practices, and believes they are fundamental to our electrical and communications industry. As part of this commitment to safety in the workplace, NECA has prepared a comprehensive submission to the review. The submission was prepared after extensive discussions with our NECA members and the broader electrical industry through roadshows, a members’ survey, continuous discussions by the NECA Safety Team and in a faceto-face meeting with the independent reviewer, Mr Dick Williams. Some of the key features NECA has proposed in its submission include: 

Seeking better clarity in the definitions of electrical work, live work, who is a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) in leased farms, and what constitutes electrical work on solar installations; Strategies to minimise the chances of an arc flash through de-energising when working near exposed live parts, having IR windows in HV Boards and introducing thermal imaging requirements on commercial, industrial and hospital facilities; Seeking better clarity around the link between risk assessment and Safe Work Method Statements;


Creating a central database for electricians to record and maintain mandatory test results; Introducing mandatory retrofitting of RCDs at point of sale or lease renewal in domestic properties, and introducing new requirements on rural, industrial and commercial premises; Introducing constructive and educational CPD requirements on Qualified Technical Persons on contractor licenses; Improving the rules around when electricians need to report faulty work or unsafe equipment to the regulator; Moving all electrical licensing requirements into the Electrical Safety Act and Regulations, including all the electrical licenses currently covered by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC);

NECA has also proposed that the new laws need to be accompanied by a comprehensive educational package, including roadshows and media material. We’ve also recommended the new laws have a transition period to allow the industry to adapt. The NECA submission provides a blueprint on the changes that need to be made to the current Act and Regulations. This will provide better clarity and take into account the substantial technological advancements that have taken place since the Act was originally brought in back in 2002. If you would like to read the full NECA submission, it is available on the NECA website:

Changing the licence validity timeframe for contractors and electrical workers to either two or three years; Including new requirements in the Electrical Safety Act and Regulations for electric cars, charging stations, solar installations and battery storage systems; Introducing better import, design and manufacturing laws to ensure quality and compliance of electrical equipment; and Only allowing electricians to purchase electrical equipment from wholesalers, retailers and online.

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ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING BUSINESSES MUST KNOW THE RULES, ABOUT WHEN AND WHERE THEY NEED TO INCLUDE THEIR REGISTERED NAME AND LICENCE NUMBER, WHEN ADVERTISING THEIR BUSINESS FOR WORK. The Electrical Safety Office (ESO) has been undertaking a priority compliance campaign to stamp out unlicensed electrical work. Through this campaign, they have been searching online and print media sites to look for unlicensed businesses. As part of this, ESO has issued information for our contracting businesses, to make sure they are correctly advertising their business and will not be the subject of an ESO visit or possible fine. ESO has advised NECA that advertisements that require licence details to be included are:  websites and social media pages – social media posts which only direct the viewer back to the business’s homepage do not require details, provided they are displayed on the homepage;  newspaper and Yellow Pages advertising;  posters, brochures and flyers;  fridge magnets and switchboard stickers;

vehicle signage;

radio and television advertising; and

telephone on-hold advertising.

ESO has further advised that licence details are not required on: 


business cards and stationery;

online advertising such as Google ads where the ads link back to the business’s website or social media homepage;

merchandising (e.g. hats, pens);

sponsorships (e.g. football jerseys);

shopfronts; and

telephone messenger services.

For clarity, the licence details need to be displayed clearly enough to be easily read on all printed materials. For spoken advertising, the licence details must be audible. For more information visit:




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June 2021



ARE PROVIDING MEMBERS WITH A GREAT SOURCE OF INFORMATION NECA QUEENSLAND HAS EMBARKED ON A ROADSHOW PROGRAM OF INDUSTRY NIGHTS ACROSS THE STATE, TO BETTER INFORM MEMBERS AND THE BROADER ELECTRICAL COMMUNITY ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY. These nights are proving to be very popular, with a host of speakers and ample opportunities to ask questions or provide comments and examples. The night provides a chance to engage with NECA’s business partners, with plenty of time to visit each trade display. Attendees have also enjoyed the chance to network and talk with their peers. The program kicked off at Loganholme on 25 February 2021, and will continue over the coming months, covering a range of important issues. Inspectors from the Electrical Safety Office (ESO) have been presenting to the groups on their compliance priorities and what ESO is doing to eliminate unlicensed electrical work in Queensland. NECA’s Technical Advisor has been providing an overview of some of the changes being introduced by the

Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), the correct way to go about the earthing of equipment and the rules around equipotential bonding. NECA’s Business Development Managers have been discussing how members can accelerate their profit, performance and sustainability with NECA’s Business Essentials coaching program. They’ve also reviewed how to get the best use out of our Technical Knowledge Base, which provides a wealth of helpful information as well as access to a number of Australian Standards. Our WHS Co-ordinator has been updating attendees on NECA’s Safety Systems, including the free system available to all members, the more advanced systems that members can purchase, how to go about completing Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), and

In 2020, during the height of COVID-19 travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, the Electrical Safety Office (ESO) introduced some exemptions for maintaining currency for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), pole top rescue (PTR) and low voltage switchboard rescue (LVR) training. These measures were introduced to assist industry where travel or a lack of class access, made it difficult for licence holders to attend formal training courses with a registered training organisation (RTO). Following recent consultation with the industry, ESO has announced that from 1 August 2021, the exemptions for CPR, PTR and LVR training will no longer apply.


the latest information on COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace. There has also been an opportunity to hear about the government’s review of the Electrical Safety Act and Regulations, and a chance to discuss some of NECA’s priorities from the review. The Roadshow Industry Nights are continuing across the state, and they provide a terrific opportunity to learn about what is happening in our industry at the moment. More details and registration information for Industry Nights in your area can be found on the NECA website: 2021-neca-qld-industry-nights

ESO has advised employers to check their training records, identify those who may require training, and contact their preferred RTO to discuss suitable arrangements to ensure all training is up-to-date by 1 August 2021. In the meantime, workers whose CPR, PTR, or LVR training is not current, must not act in roles that require this training, particularly safety observers for live work. The advice is that this work should be rescheduled or redesigned so a safety observer or rescuer is not required or have a safety observer whose training is up-to-date. For more information visit:

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BRANCH UPDATE Larry Moore NECA SA/NT Executive Director

OUR 2021 ROADSHOW SEMINAR SERIES HAS NOW COME TO A CLOSE. IT WAS ONCE AGAIN AN OUTSTANDING SUCCESS, WITH HUNDREDS OF ELECTRICIANS ACROSS THE STATE ATTENDING TO HEAR THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE INDUSTRY. The seminars have again been well attended and have received outstanding feedback, which we credit to the variety of information provided at the seminars by our industry speakers, as well as the great products and services on display from our dedicated sponsors. Our Annual Roadshow is the only electrical industry roadshow that travels across all regions of South Australia, and this is reflected in the growing number of attendees and sponsors we have every year. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we were unable to run the seminars last year, but this year has seen fantastic engagement from both attendees and sponsors who were all extremely happy to be back to face-to-face events.

collaborating with industry to develop the Vocational Education Pathway. SA Power Networks presented on the updates to the Service and Installation Rules as well as the new review they are conducting into the Rules, and the Office of the Technical Regulator spoke about all the latest rules and regulation changes. In addition, NECA presented on the new HSEQ Digital product offering and the Dual Trade Apprenticeship Pilot Program. The line-up of presentations was well-received by all attendees.

This year we heard from the Department for Education about how they are

Last but certainly not least, we greatly appreciate the dedication

We wish to sincerely thank all those who attended this year’s seminars. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the members at the shows this year after missing out last year.


NECA SA/NT CALENDAR OF EVENTS NECA Apprentice Awards Nominations Due  Friday, 9 July 2021  Master Builders NT Excellence in Building & Construction Awards  Darwin Convention Centre  Saturday, 28 August 2021  NECA SA/NT Industry Gala Dinner  Adelaide Convention Centre  Friday, 10 September 2021 

June 2021


and support of our sponsors and presenters, because without them it would be extremely difficult to run these seminars. It was great to see so many sponsors supporting our seminars this year and we have had fantastic feedback from them all. If you have any questions or feedback about the Roadshow Seminars, please contact Leah Boyce at the NECA SA/NT office on (08) 8272 2966.

2021 Excellence and Apprentice Awards Nominations Our Excellence Awards nominations have now closed and we are about to commence the judging process. We are looking forward to seeing all of the fantastic projects our members have nominated. As we were unable to run the Excellence Awards in 2020, this year’s program combines both the 2020 and 2021 projects. The Apprentice Awards nominations are open until early July and interviews with nominees will take place shortly after. The benefits of being nominated are endless for apprentices, including an opportunity to network, win prizes

and become an ambassador for the industry. If you have an apprentice who you think is worthy, we encourage you to consider nominating them if they are within twelve months of completing their apprenticeship. This year’s Excellence and Apprentice Awards celebrations will be held at our Industry Gala Dinner on Friday 10 September 2021, in the scenic Panorama Ballroom at Adelaide Convention Centre. We certainly hope you will join us for this fantastic event, which showcases some of the great work being completed in the industry today, as well as our high achieving apprentices who are the future of our industry. Of course it is also an opportunity to enjoy an excellent social event with your peers. If you would like to attend the Industry Gala Dinner, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Leah Boyce, Business Relationship Manager, who will ensure you receive an invitation to the event.

Dual Trade Apprenticeship

finalising the trade school schedule with TAFE SA. Therefore, we will be employing apprentices shortly, and are looking for interested host employers to take these apprentices on and train them on the job. The pilot program will run for five years for the apprentices to achieve both a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician and Certificate III in Airconditioning and Refrigeration. If you are a refrigeration and airconditioning or electrical business interested in hosting a dual trade apprentice, please get in touch with NECA Careers & Apprenticeships (NCA) on (08) 8272 0799. Members of NECA and RACCA receive discounted charge-out rates that are not available to non-members. We are pleased to see South Australia leading the way with this new program and we hope the rest of the country will follow suit. For further information or assistance with any of the above please contact the NECA SA/NT team on (08) 8272 2966.

The new Dual Trade Apprenticeship Pilot Program is progressing well, and at the time of writing this article, we are

RECOGNISE AND REWARD YOUR APPRENTICE IN THE 2021 NECA APPRENTICE AWARDS The NECA Apprentice Awards reward apprentices aspiring to make a career within this dynamic industry, and offer the opportunity for individuals to receive accolades from their peers and industry for their outstanding achievements and commitment to the trade. We know many of our members have some outstanding apprentices working with them, so now is your chance to reward them for their achievements and to be rewarded for your effort in training them too. Applications for the Apprentice Awards are now open and will be due on Friday 9 July 2021. All nominations are now completed online via the eAwards platform: This year’s apprentices will be rewarded at the pinnacle industry event for the electrotechnology sector, the NECA Industry Gala Dinner, on Friday 10 September 2021 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Peter Sheridan, employed by AHT Group, won the NECA National Apprentice of the Year Award last year in the Communications category. Congratulations Peter (pictured at the NECA SA/NT Apprentice Awards evening with Apprentice Sponsor Mark Rutter from Energy Space).


For further information or assistance please contact Leah Boyce, Business Relationship Manager at NECA SA/NT on (08) 8272 2966 or email

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CRUCIAL WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION HIGH TEA DOUBLES IN SIZE AFTER A SUCCESSFUL CRUCIAL WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION INAUGURAL HIGH TEA IN FEBRUARY LAST YEAR, THE 2021 EVENT WAS DESTINED TO BE EVEN MORE POPULAR. HELD IN THE BEAUTIFUL NATIONAL WINE CENTRE, THE EVENT HAD DOUBLE THE NUMBERS FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR AND OUTSTANDING FEEDBACK FROM ALL THAT ATTENDED. In conjunction with our allied associations Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association (AMCA) SA and Master Plumbers Association (MPA) SA, the event brought together like-minded women and men who support the fantastic work that women undertake in the construction industry. Attendees had the opportunity to listen to guest speakers, network, interact with a panel of women who work in the industry, win prizes and enjoy a delicious high tea at the scenic National Wine Centre. The Crucial Women in Construction (CWIC) initiative was established last year to celebrate and support the wonderful women who are a crucial part of their businesses in the subcontractor sector of the building and construction industries in South



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Australia. By bringing like-minded people together, the CWIC initiative looks at addressing the gender imbalance in the industry, whilst also ensuring we are supporting and celebrating the women in our male-dominated industries. We were pleased to secure Jessica Adamson as our MC for the afternoon, who engaged the crowd effortlessly with her genuine nature and flawless professionalism. Throughout the afternoon we also heard from our sponsors, Cbus Super, Lynch Meyer and HydroJet Solutions Australia, on the range of services they offer and why they are so passionate about supporting the cause. After a delicious high tea was served and the 152 attendees had a chance to network and enjoy the food and

champagne, we heard from Rebecca Pickering, Chief Executive Officer of Civil Contractors Federation SA and Director of Civil Apprenticeships and Careers, who had the audience hanging on to her every word. Rebecca shared her life journey and the hardships she has endured to get where she is now, which captured the audience’s attention entirely. Rebecca provided some advice and tips to the audience about how she manages life’s challenges and still stays positive, strong and hardworking. Her message was truly inspirational for all. The day concluded with an interactive panel of women in the industry, featuring Rebecca Pickering, Toni Hartley from the Department for Education, Bianca Ambroso from BHP, Monica Elgindi from Butterfields and Amber Shelton from Cushman & Wakefield.

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Photos from the day were taken by the wonderful Sandra Paterson Photography and the full album of photos can be viewed on the NECA SA/NT Facebook page:

The MC asked the panel questions regarding women in the construction industry, gender imbalances and tips and tricks for women wanting to get into the industry, followed by questions from the audience. It was a great interactive session that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to our prize donors we were able to give some fantastic prizes away to end the event including hampers, chocolate, a Garmin watch, massage voucher, meal vouchers, bottle of gin and more. We would like to sincerely thank all our wonderful sponsors for making this event possible.

Industry Sponsors: Cbus Super, MEGT Australia and Lynch Meyer. Electrical Sponsors: Clipsal by Schneider and Rexel Electrical Supplies. Mechanical Services Sponsors: D-STAL Electrical / Automated Air and O’Connors. Plumbing Sponsor: Hydro-Jet Solutions Australia.

Our fantastic prize donors were D-STAL Electrical / Automated Air, Rexel Electrical Supplies, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, Master Plumbers SA, AMCA SA and NECA SA/NT.

If you missed out on this event, don’t despair as we aim to hold at least two events a year for CWIC, so stay tuned for another event later in 2021. The High Tea will continue to be an annual event, to be held around the time of International Women’s Day. We have received fantastic feedback from all who attended and we look forward to bringing you the next event. For further information on this initiative, please contact Leah Boyce, Business Relationship Manager at NECA SA/NT on (08) 8272 2966 or

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BRANCH UPDATE WayneHobson Hobson Wayne NECATAS TASPresident President NECA

2020 TO BEAND A CHALLENGING TIME FOR WITH CONTINUES 2021 NOW WELL TRULY UNDERWAY, NECAEVERYONE. MEMBERS RUNNING A BUSINESS IN THESE TIMESITHAS BEEN PARTICULARLY IN TASMANIA ARE AS BUSY AS EVER. IS PLEASING – AND DIFFICULT EVER-CHANGING RESTRICTIONS, A RELIEF –WITH THATTHE CONDITIONS IN THE INDUSTRY APPEAR TO UNCERTAINTY AND TO DOWNTURN IN THEOFECONOMY. BE HEADING BACK SOME DEGREE NORMALITY AFTER THE DISRUPTION THAT COVID-19 INFLICTED ON US LAST YEAR, THERE’S STILL SOME WAY Bill 2020 (the TO Bill),GO. which will be tabled in Our abilityALTHOUGH to work together has resulted in our state’s successful COVID-19 safe record. This is testament to the responsible and swift actions of our government, It took close to a fortnight after polling and public. Both the day the on 1Tasmanian May, but the recent state state andinfederal governments are to be election Tasmania saw the Liberal commended forto their efforts alleviate Party returned office for ato third term the impact of thePeter COVID-19 pandemic. in majority, and Gutwein re-elected as Premier. We congratulate the Premier and his teamlegislation on their renewed mandate, Upcoming changes and look forward to continuing to work One change the thatissues our industry withupcoming them to advance of our needs to be of is the would Electrical industry. Myaware expectation be Safety that very little will change in terms of our dealings with the State Government, given it’s been in office for seven years and we enjoy constructive relationships at both ministerial and executive levels. Our State Excellence Awards are now quickly approaching, and I would like to wish all the best to all of the apprentices and category entrants ahead of this year’s gala event.

State Parliament later this year. Currently, Tasmanian legislation governing electricity safety is spread three Acts that Tasmania (CBOS) across on the review of several have been and updated the 1990s. of itsnot policies codessince of conduct, having made submissions regarding the NECA has beenLicensing advocating on behalf of Occupational (Supervision of members and made a submission the Prescribed Work) Code of Practiceon 2019, Bill early 2020. andinthe Occupational Licensing (High Voltage Electrical Work – The Bill will consolidate allCertification electricity and Energisation) Code of Practice. An safety requirements, making it easier update on to ourfind progress on the firstsafety of for people and understand these reviews follows this article. At the most recent Electrical Contractor Industry Liaison (ECIL) meeting in March, a number of issues of note were discussed. These included the following:

There is a review of AS/NZS 5033 (Australian Standards for the installation of solar panels) underway. Comment on the proposed revised standard closed recently. One aspect of the review addresses the significant number of failures of DC RECENTLY ANNOUNCED PLANS isolators on installations, particularly 



NECA has been advising Consumer, THE TASMANIAN GOVERNMENT Building and Occupational Services FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TASTAFE’S NEW TRADES AND WATER CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE. The state and federal funded project will see the construction of a new, stateof-the-art training facility that will deliver training across a range of trades, INDUSTRYelectrical, ROADSHOWS including plumbing and water, refrigeration and air conditioning The Old Woolstore, Apartment Hotel and smart buildings technologies,  Tuesday, 14 September 2021 in order to meet industry demands.


The Boathouse Centre

Over the past two years, NECA has  Wednesday, 15 September 2021 been working with federal and state Paranaple Convention Centrequalified governments to train more  Thursday, 16 meet September 2021 electricians and the demands of the

Tasmanian construction sector. This is a great opportunity for the electrotechnology industry, as the facility will have a strong focus on electrical trades, including NECA EXCELLENCE APPRENTICE AWARDS refrigeration and air&conditioning, as well asHobart access to upskilling in renewables Function and Conference Centreand hydrogen technologies.  Saturday, 14 August 2021 There are currently more than 500 electrotechnology apprentices at TasTAFE For at more information andexpand to and the new site Clarence will register scan this QR code, or visit capacity and see more tradespeople trained in this key industry. content/tas-events

June 2020 2021 SEPTEMBER


on isolators mounted to walls rather than roofs. The review will amend specifications applying to DC isolators. 

Aurora Energy’s tender for a metering provider has closed, with the contract awarded to Intellihub. Intellihub is part of a joint venture between Landis+Gyr and Pacific Equity Group, and will continue services provided by Yurika. Reviews of the Service and Installation Rules (a TasNetworks document) and the Electricity Consumption Metering Safety Requirements (a CBOS document), are also underway. CBOS and TasNetworks are both reviewing these documents to ensure consistency, as it is important they align with each other. TasNetworks has also changed its procedure for processing Electrical Work Requests. Historically, these were processed in order of receipt. This has been changed so requests are now assessed upon receipt, with straightforward requests processed quickly ahead of more complex, time-consuming requests that previously caused widespread and unnecessary delays.

Dates for further ECIL meetings in 2021 are 22 September and 8 December. The meetings will be held at Midlands Bowls Club in Campbell Town. I look forward to continuing to work with Tasmanian members during 2021 and beyond, and encourage all members to get involved with NECA’s events and industry forums during the year.

SOLAR PANEL PROGRAM FOR SCHOOLS SET TO ROLL OUT IN TASMANIA Solar panels will be installed in government schools across Tasmania, after both sides of politics committed to fund renewable energy programs in schools across the state during the recent election campaign. The program will see solar panels rolled out to all government schools, enabling them to cut their power costs, with all savings to be reinvested into the Renewable Energy Schools Fund. Whilst details of the timing and duration of the rollout are yet to be clarified, the State Government will spend $5 million on the program, which follows similar schemes already underway in New South Wales and Western Australia. NECA strongly supports community-based initiatives of this kind, as they provide work and jobs in local communities. The program will create opportunities for electrical contracting firms across Tasmania.

REVIEW OF THE OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING (SUPERVISION OF PRESCRIBED WORK) CODE OF PRACTICE Consumer, Building and Occupational Services Tasmania (CBOS) has approved a review of the Occupational Licensing (Supervision of Prescribed Work) Code of Practice, which governs the level of supervision apprentice electricians must receive when performing practical work in the course of their training. The review comes after protracted lobbying efforts by NECA, on multiple levels, over the past couple of years. NECA Tasmania has long advocated that a category of “broad supervision” should be introduced, enabling


apprentices to perform certain tasks (such as clipping cables and wiring nonenergised switches) without requiring the constant on-site presence of their supervisor. Currently, apprentices in Tasmania are subject to “direct” supervision (requiring constant oneon-one supervision) or “general” supervision (requiring the supervisor to remain on the premises at all times). Introducing the category of “broad” supervision would deliver greater flexibility to business operators, help expedite the training of

apprentices, and bring Tasmania into line with the rest of the states. CBOS has confirmed that a new draft Code containing the three categories of apprentice supervision, will be developed and released later in 2021 for public consultation as part of its subordinate legislative review program. NECA will keep members informed of these developments, and vigorously encourages members to participate in the consultation process as soon as the draft Code is available for comment.

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

Welcome to another edition of the Victorian NECA News update.


While there are several exciting developments happening in Victoria, we also need to assess the recent Federal Budget announcements, which affect our industry locally, as well as nationally. The economy seems to be recovering strongly and is set to return to pre-2020 levels earlier than expected, with employment already back to prepandemic rates. The local demand for housing and general renovations is certainly keeping many of our members busy already, with that pipeline of work looking relatively strong into the short and medium-term future. While at the time of writing, there is still a lot of analysis taking place around the details of the Federal announcements, it is clear our industry is particularly well-positioned to take advantage of several of the key government focus areas - especially the investment into energy and digital economy projects. NECA members who choose to participate in these segments of our industry will continue to be well supported by NECA and NECA Education & Careers in terms of the training and upskilling required. Our Solar, Battery and the pilot Application of Internet of Things for Electrotechnology Workers courses remain over-subscribed, with demand for such training being overwhelming. Business owners should also keep an eye out for other benefits, including the extension of asset tax write-offs, access to apprentice subsidies and continued access to the Small Business Loan Scheme. The NECA team is currently in the process of finalising a Victorian pre-budget submission at a state government level, which will include a call to action on several Victoriancentric opportunities close to the hearts of our Victorian members. Stay tuned for more information and updates on NECA’s local government engagements in this space.

With the recovery progressing well, there are still several avenues for businesses to tap into government funding. Please make sure your business is taking advantage of all the opportunities where you meet eligibility standards. If you need assistance or would like support through the application process, contact the NECA Victoria team, and we will do our best to guide you in the right direction.

Jobs Victoria Fund The Jobs Victoria Fund provides businesses, sole traders, and organisations with wage subsidies of up to $20,000 over twelve months to take on new, eligible staff from the following priority groups:  

women aged over 45 years; long-term jobseekers (unemployed for six months or more); jobseekers registered with a Jobs Victoria Partner; Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people;

people with disabilities;

people seeking asylum/refugees;

newly arrived migrants from nonenglish speaking backgrounds;

young people aged under 25;

people over 45 years;

veterans; and

people previously employed under the Working for Victoria initiative.

The subsidy amount paid will depend on each employee and whether the job is full-time or part-time. To be eligible, businesses must:  

be operating in Victoria; have an Australian Business Number (ABN); have a payroll of less than $20 million in the financial year immediately preceding the date when the application is made; and

June 2021


comply with all employer responsibilities and workplace laws. NECA can assist you with guidance and support around workplace relations, as well as occupational health and safety aspects if required. Please reach out to the team if you are unsure of your obligations or need support with compliance.

Small Business Digital Adaptation Program The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program provides $1,200 rebates, so small businesses can access a range of digital business tools. The Victorian Government has partnered with fourteen suppliers to help build or upgrade your website, improve your cash flow, start online marketing, manage your jobs and projects, and keep better track of stock. Products available through the Small Business Digital Adaptation Program can help sole traders, micro and small businesses improve their cash flow, increase productivity, attract customers, and assist them to tell their story. Eligible businesses can apply for a rebate of $1,200 to help pay for access to a new product or upgrade a current product. To take advantage of this program:  Participate in free training and workshops;

Apply for Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring via the Victorian Government website; Choose one or more of the digital products on offer; Purchase your product and start using it; Apply for the rebate to cover up to twelve months’ access; and Claim your $1,200.

Applications are open until funds are exhausted or 30 June 2021, whichever is earlier.

Business Recovery Advisory Service The Victorian Government’s Business Recovery Advisory Service is for business owners/operators in East Gippsland, Wellington and North East Victoria experiencing hardship. As part of the program, businesses get a free, one-on-one session with a local Business Recovery Adviser for help with all aspects of business operations, recovery planning and resilience building strategies. These strategies can help reactivate your business and develop sustainable business models to strengthen and grow through the recovery period and beyond.

Business Recovery Advisers can help with: 

Assessing how your business was impacted; Improving your cash flow, staff management and digital marketing practices; Developing an effective take home recovery plan; and Referrals to other agencies to access grants and services.

If you are interested in applying for this program, visit the Business Recovery Advisory Service website, or contact NECA Victoria for online registration form details. NECA will continue to keep our eyes open and ears to the ground as other opportunities are advertised or announced, to ensure our members are informed and can take advantage of government subsidies or programs. As always, we invite you to enjoy the rest of the material prepared for you by the NECA team across some of the Victorian-centric issues, as well as providing a sense of ‘what is hot’ across the other states. Stay safe folks, and as always, keep letting us know how the NECA Victoria team can be of assistance to your businesses. That is the only way we will continue to improve our services.

NECA VIC CALENDAR OF EVENTS Tech Talks — Eastern  Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Tech Talks — Mildura  Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Solar & Battery Information — Altona

Women’s Networking Event  Friday, 23 July 2021

30 CPD Points  Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Tech Talks — Mornington  Thursday, 1 July 2021 Lunch & Learn — Recruitment/Selection  Tuesday, 6 July 2021 Online Tax Planning Tips  Wednesday, 7 July 2021 Webinar Tech Talks — Bulleen  Wednesday, 14 July 2021 Solar & Battery Information — Swan Hill 30 CPD Points  Tuesday, 20 July 2021


Solar & Battery Information — Wangaratta 30 CPD Points  Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Lunch & Learn — Coverage  Tuesday, 3 August 2021 Online Tech Talks — Hamilton  Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Solar & Battery Information — Bendigo 30 CPD Points  Thursday, 12 August 2021

Tech Talks — Traralgon 30 CPD Points  Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Tech Talks — Bairnsdale  Thursday, 19 August 2021 VIC Excellence & Apprentice Awards  Friday, 27 August 2021

Tech Talks — Horsham  Wednesday, 4 August 2021 For more information and to register scan this QR code, or visit

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WARNING TO INDUSTRY AFTER FATALITIES I was saddened to hear of the two deaths related to electrical incidents in recent weeks. One was a man who came into contact with live wires while gardening at his home. An earlier incident involved the death of an apprentice working on a lift. The death of any person is a tragedy, but this was an apprentice electrician, someone who should have been kept safe. These are the least experienced and therefore the most vulnerable on any worksite. The investigation into this incident is ongoing, but my message to all is that employers of electrical workers must ensure effective supervision. This is not negotiable. Employers of electrical workers must ensure that: 

the organisation has clear and robust procedures in place to identify electrical hazards and eliminate or mitigate risks; appropriate training is provided so that workers understand how to do the job safely; and

ESV has defined effective supervision as:  being present at the site of the electrical work to the extent necessary, to ensure that the work is being correctly performed, and carried out in accordance with the Electricity Safety Act and any of the regulations relating to the installation and operation of electrical installations; and  being aware of the details of the electrical work being performed and giving detailed instructions and directions with respect to the electrical work. More information on your responsibilities as a supervisor are on the ESV website: No one should be working live. There is no reason for any electrical worker to work live, even highly experienced A-grade electricians. ESV has been working hard to ensure apprentices understand the importance of lock out, tag out through our LOTO Kit program. We recently concluded a four year program, supplying first year electrical apprentices across Victoria with a LOTO kit including locks, tags and

they understand what is ‘effective supervision’ of electrical workers, and in particular, apprentices.

insulated gloves. While the program was successful, feedback showed that many supervisors could have taken a bigger role in encouraging the practice of lock out, tag out. Last 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 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 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. While I believe most of the industry understands, one day, I hope the message gets through to those who think working live is still okay.

Marnie Williams Director of Energy Safety & CEO Energy Safe Victoria

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NECA’S INSPECTOR FORUM On Saturday 1 May, Licensed Electrical Inspectors (LEIs) came from all over Victoria to NECA Education and Careers in Lygon Street for our much-anticipated LEI Forum. The first NECA LEI Forum was held back in 2019, but thanks to COVID-19, it’s taken until now for us to be able to hold a second. It was clear that our LEIs were keen to get back together at an in-person event, as the room was packed and buzzing. Some attendees even

car-pooled from regional areas and stayed in town overnight to make the early start. NECA Victoria President Dean Spicer kicked off what proved to be a lively, interactive day of information and discussion of hot topics in our industry. There was a lot to cover! Solar installations were a big focus, including up and coming new changes to AS/NZS 5033, DVC voltages, issues around battery installation, positioning of components and improved safety requirements. Other topics included the changes around the Tenancy Regulations, Amendment 2 of AS/NZS 3000, new switchboard requirements, continuing professional development (CPD) for inspectors and electricians


and talks around the differences in the licensing, responsibilities and electrical connection process in our neighbouring state NSW and the ACT. The day was packed with up-to-theminute, industry and role specific information and Q&As for LEIs. But we won’t belabour the point here – to get the full benefit you need to come along! Many thanks to our presenters: Louis Knoops and Michael Weekes from NECA Victoria, Grant Morehouse (NECA NSW), Marnie Williams (ESV), Sandy Atkins (ESV), Mark O’Brien (WorkSafe) and Paul Corkill (Solar Victoria). We’d also like to thank Dean Spicer and everyone who came and helped to make it such a useful and enjoyable day. The next LEI Forum is scheduled for later in the year and promises to be just as lively and informative. To make sure you get advance notice, email and ask to be put on the mailing list.

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WOMEN IN ELECTROTECHNOLOGY 2021 IS SHAPING UP TO BE A YEAR THAT IS SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON WOMEN IN ELECTROTECHNOLOGY AND ALLIED TRADES, ON SEVERAL FRONTS. The NECA Women’s Network was established to bring like-minded women from the electrotechnology industry, under the one roof, to network, share knowledge and experiences, and create a supportive network. To kick start the year, NECA together with our partner Protect, hosted our prestigious 2021 Women’s Network event, celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD). The event brought together over 175 women connected to the electrotechnology industry, making this our largest women’s event to date! The buzz in the room at the Metropolis was electric [pun intended], as attendees delighted in the simple pleasure of stepping out and reconnecting face-to-face, after a challenging year of lockdowns in Victoria. As the sun shone through the floor to ceiling windows, the smiles grew wider, bread was broken and the inspiring conversations flowed, despite the 12-month COVID-19 hiatus. It was clear to see and hear at the NECA IWD event, that attendees were happy to be working in the industry. They were challenged and proud to overcome the issues they have been presented with, including workplaces that were

not open, receptive, or equipped to have women. Attendees were proud to be ‘on the tools’ and leading teams in predominately male-dominated workspaces. They have demonstrated that gender does not stop them from performing the task at hand.

“From challenge comes change…… so let’s all choose to challenge the way we think and challenge the status quo.”

One of the biggest “status quo challenges” in our industry is gender diversity. Women have consistently comprised only 2% of workers in the The International Women’s Day theme Australian construction sector over for this year was #choosetochallenge, the past 30 years. The electrotechnology industry figure is about 3%, with our industry lagging behind other traditionally maledominated industries, Big Build Apprenticeships (BBA) will provide employment The Jobs Victoria Fund provides such as mining and and training opportunities for more apprentices and businesses, sole traders, social engineering. So, trainees, and ensure a pipeline of skilled workers to enterprises and organisations the challenge is deliver the Government’s Big Build program and a skills with wage subsidies of up to out there for all of legacy for Victoria. The program will provide up to 1,500 $20,000 over 12 months to take us - individuals, opportunities for apprentices and trainees each year on new, eligible staff including businesses, NECA and going forward, ensuring apprentices and trainees can women aged over 45. The subsidy government – to play kickstart their careers on some of Victoria’s biggest amount paid will depend on each a part in increasing projects, such as the North East Link and the New employee and whether the job is our industry’s Footscray Hospital projects, with an expansion onto full-time or part-time. diversity profile and other major projects over time. Find out if you are eligible: building a strong Find out more: pipeline of women our-programs/jobs-victoria-fund within our industry.




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Advocacy/government funding Government, both at state and federal level post COVID-19, is focusing its attention on a number of initiatives to bolster the number of women in trades. This was a key topic of discussion at the event. The government is providing significant funding to attract, recruit and retain women in trades in broad programs, such as, Jobs Victoria Fund and Big Build Apprenticeships to name just two. NECA Victoria, together with NECA Education and Careers, are working towards tapping into these government-led initiatives, with the aim of assisting businesses and individuals within the industry. NECA will keep members informed of these opportunities as they develop throughout 2021 and beyond. NECA is also part of the consultation process for the government’s Women In Construction Industry Strategy and in particular, the Building Equality Policy, which seeks to create training and development opportunities for women in trades and managerial/specialised positions within the construction industry, through government procurement practices. NECA will keep members abreast of developments in the coming months.

They identified the biggest challenge for women in 2021 as the gender confidence gap - their internal talk and how it affects their mental health. Christine Field encouraged women to challenge the doubts they have, which fuel a sense of inadequacy. “Many women lack the confidence to achieve what they want or change what they don’t, and this stems a lot from how we talk to ourselves, even more so than the way others do. Some clients won’t even apply for a job unless they tick every single box and tend to judge themselves very harshly, making them more afraid to put themselves out there. It really is still prevalent in society that women struggle to embrace their unique strengths and underestimate the value they bring. So, what we need now is for women to dare to challenge the negative noises in our head, those critical voices urging us to think small and play safe. Words hold power and what we say to ourselves about ourselves is powerful. We need to challenge ourselves to own our value more fully, to defy our doubts more often and to dare to make a difference.” —Christine Field For more information about NECA’s EAP service please call 1800 554 654 or visit

Mentoring challenge One more challenge was thrown out to attendees on the day… NECA Victoria is looking to establish a mentoring program. 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. Mentors share their 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 and would really assist our industry. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact the Member Experience team at

Final note As the event drew to an official close, attendees reflected on the ‘choose to challenge’ theme, which was made that much easier over a selection of sumptuous desserts. Thank you to all of the attendees for engaging in the conversation and for making this event a memorable one. Our International Women’s Day event is becoming one of the must-attend events on the NECA calendar. With planning already underway, we invite you to mark a placeholder in your calendars for next year’s IWD event on Friday 4 March 2022.

Personal challenges In the midst of COVID-19, NECA introduced a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) service for members, their employees and their families, which is serviced by the amazing team at Hunterlink who know and understand our industry very well. Through NECA’s alliance with Hunterlink, we can be assured that everyone in the industry has access to their valuable services. We were honoured to have presentations by Christine Field, Hunterlink CEO and Jenelle Connors, EAP Operations Manager, who are experienced in handling issues raised by clients within the electrotechnology industry.


Joy Meilak General Manager Business and Commercial Services, NECA Victoria

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BRANCH UPDATE Carl Copeland NECA WA Branch Secretary


NECA WA Acts on Licensing So, for three months following the ALTHOUGH MARKET CONDITIONS REMAIN DIFFICULT, IT IS PLEASING Processing Delays successful completion of their studies,

TO HEAR FROM MEMBERS IN THE RESIDENTIAL SECTOR THAT THE an apprentice’s training licence NECA WA recently met with the new continues to have effect. They can VARIOUS GOVERNMENT STIMULUS PACKAGES AIMED AT INCREASING Minister for Commerce, the Hon. Ambercontinue to work as an electrical Jade MLA. As the THESanderson CONSTRUCTION OFMinister NEW HOMESworker IS HAVING A POSITIVE EFFECT. under that training licence, responsible for Building and Energy (B&E), provided their application for an we had a frank discussion regarding the Electrical Worker Licence is approved blow-out in licensing processing times. within that three However, NECA has met withmonths. the Minister for Industrial Members in this sector expect a considerable they cannot work unsupervised and Relations, Bill Johnston, and personally increase in work in the near future. Applications for Electricians’ Training they cannotour sign off on ato job. expressed concerns him. We were Licences are taking between four to Theweeks strongtoprices for gold iron ore in particularly adamant that the legislation six process. This and is simply particular have ensured that members Security of Payment Legislation must contain defences that protect unacceptable. Businesses cannot working in the contractors whose safety practices be expected toresource carry thesector cost ofare also Minister indicated at enjoying strong demand forwho electrical work. meet theSanderson legislativealso requirements. employing an apprentice, is our recent meeting that passing the unable to perform any electrical NECA Technical is taking as many, if not new Security oftoPayment legislation It is ridiculous have a situation where work to than government bureaucracy more,due calls it was before COVID, was a government priority. The a business owner has implemented delaying the licence application which indicates there are still lots of safety practices that for ensure compliance legislation was ready Parliament process to 30 working days. membersupperforming work. with all 2021, of their WHS obligations and yet in early however it was delayed can still be subjected to prosecution. The Minister was genuinely shocked due to the state election. Given the There is obviously still a long way to go in when with this information government controls both houses termspresented of a full recovery but it does seem NECA has lobbied the McGowan and that sheiswould of Parliament, the legislation is thatassured Westernus Australia bettertake placed government, as well as the Liberal action to rectify this unnecessary delay. expected to pass without change. than other states at present. Opposition and cross-bench members of Parliament, partpresenting of a coalition of more There is also a similar problem with NECA WA hasas been Industrial Manslaughter than twenty other industry the lengthy processing times for comprehensive information associations on the Legislation who also oppose this legislation. Electrical Worker Licence applications. legislation at the 2021 Industry Nights These are also taking up to six thus far and will continue to do so. We Sometimes there are critical pieces of I encourage every Western Australian weeks to process, which is absurd will also provide further details as they legislation that industry has to fight business owner and director to read the in an environment where there is a become available to members via our tooth and nail to prevent; the Western joint submission to government that chronic shortage of electricians in various communication channels. Australian Government’s proposed NECA WA has made along with the other the Western Australian workforce. industrial manslaughter legislation is industry associations. The submission, Electrical Contractor and such WA a law. which is on NECA WA’s website, is more NECA will continue to pressure the Electrical Worker Licences than 20 pages long but it is critical government to remedy this situation, It is vital that all contractors familiarise that you understand potential however members are advised NECA WA also recentlythe met with Mr Ian themselves with this legislation because implications MP, for you, your business, that under S26(2) of the Electricity Goodenough the Federal Memberyour it will criminalise workplace accidents. co-workers and your family. focused (Licensing) Regulations 1991: for Moore. The conversation The Government’s proposed industrial on the Federal Government’s manslaughter law training exposeslicence business Members can be assured thatsupport NECA WA “... an electrician’s for industry deregulation. Duringthis this owners to up to 10 years in jail and a will continue to fiercely oppose held by a person who successfully conversation, NECA WA strongly $2.5millionthe fineapprenticeship if an accident or occurs on legislation in its current form. argued completes course that such reforms should not include the your worksite – even youlicence haven’t been of training relevant to if that abolition of either Electrical Contractor reckless or negligent. continues to have effect until — Security of Payments Legislation or Electrical Worker Licences. a) the person is granted an It is vital that members understand the The State Government has also recently licence; NECA WA has always, and will always, riskselectrician’s they could face underorthe worst parts released its long-awaited draft Security argue forcefully that as we work in a (e.g. Section 30B) of the Western Australian b) the period of 3 months expires from of Payments legislation. This is vital high-risk industry, licences are essential Government’s proposed Workplace Health the time that the apprenticeship or legislation for NECA members and for to ensure that the our industry & Safety Bill.ofSection unique to WA. course training30B wasiscompleted, subcontractors in work general. undertakes is done safely to protect It is not found in any other state or territory. whichever occurs first.” our workers, customers and the public.

June 2021 SEPTEMBER 2020


CPD Update The Electrical Licensing Board (ELB) will shortly begin an industry consultation process to gather feedback about the proposed introduction of a mandatory Continuous Professional Development (CPD) program. Once the consultation period has concluded, the ELB will consider the feedback before deciding on its position on introducing a CPD program in Western Australia. The ELB will then provide industry with 12 months’ notice of the program structure and its commencement date. Given the above, I do not expect that any program will come into effect before the second half of 2022. NECA WA’s position is that any program should contain, at the very least, ELV rescue, CPR and a refresher on the Supervision of Apprentice guidelines.

Cyclone Seroja Following the devastation caused by Cyclone Seroja, NECA WA has worked closely with Western Power and B&E to maximise contractor involvement in the repairs and reconnections that were required. Together with B&E, we organised a contractor briefing, which was attended by representatives from more than fifteen different contractors in the Geraldton area.

Electrical Group Training (EGT) The first few months of 2021 have continued to be strong recruiting months for EGT, averaging sixteen new apprentices each month from January to March. This is a continuation of the stronger than expected recruiting from July 2020 onwards, on the back of the recovery from the COVID-19 recession. In April we also started our “JobKeeper run-off” program, continuing to discount charge-out rates at diminishing levels through April, May and June to protect against the sudden withdrawal of funding. I’m happy to report that the run-off program seems to be working, with no early signs of a drop-off in the take up of new apprentices. April also saw the first career expo for the year and the commencement of our work with schools to recruit the right apprentices into our trade - so


keep an eye out for us, as we will be out and about spruiking EGT. But it hasn’t all been good news, with the untimely passing of long-term Field Officer, Cliff James. Cliffy, as he was affectionately known, was a Field Officer with EGT from August 1997 until July 2019. He spent 22 years dedicated to guiding hundreds of apprentices through their apprenticeships and on to becoming successful tradespeople and business owners. Any apprentice of Cliff’s will remember an “old school” task master, who demanded high standards, but who would go above and beyond for his apprentices, in order to teach them all of the skills (and more!) that Cliff believed were essential to becoming quality tradespeople. He will be missed greatly and remembered fondly by everyone at NECA WA and no doubt throughout the entire electrical industry.

College of Electrical Training (CET) If we were to name 2021 the ‘Year of the …’, one phrase that comes to mind is the ‘New Normal’. January traditionally sees a steady flow of apprentice commencements, as industry gets up to speed after the holidays and associated shutdowns. 2021 really started for CET back in November 2020, where apprentice commencements were increasing every week. While we love seeing the support of industry for training and meeting the needs of this governmentincentivised construction boom, it has created a small backlog

in getting all these new apprentices into training. CET pioneered the rolling intake, and our administration teams are working hard to get all new apprentices into class as soon as possible. The number of new employers taking on apprentices and sending them to CET for their training is particularly encouraging. We thank you for choosing Australia’s largest electrical training provider and look forward to meeting with you all over the next twelve months. In the midst of all this activity, CET is actively working with our internal stakeholders, and the industry in general, to roll out the new Electrotechnology Training Package. Over the next couple of months, CET will liaise with employers to identify and plan the apprentice training required in 2021 and 2022, as all relevant apprentices are transitioned to the new training package in the second half of next year. The new package has a ‘back to basics’ feel about it, with a strong focus on the theory that underpins testing and inspection, as well as expanding on existing safety training to include industry-specific training, such as the isolation of alternative energy supplies. With battery storage and hybrid energy storage, such as Hydrogen Cell technology, becoming commonplace, training in isolation techniques will be essential to maintaining a safe and reliable industry. So, here’s to the ‘New Normal’!

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WORK ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA, THE HOME BUILDING CONTRACTS ACT 1991 (WA) (“THE ACT”) CAN APPLY TO WORK UNDERTAKEN ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES, INCLUDING ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING WORK, RESULTING IN VARIOUS LEGAL REQUIREMENTS. The Act and associated responsibilities apply when an electrical contractor:  forms a contract for the performance of home building work (including altering, improving, or repairing a dwelling);  the contract is entered into with the home owner;  the contract is fixed price; and  the contract price is more than $7,500 but less than $500,000.

Obligations for electrical contractors In situations where the Act applies, electrical contractors cannot request from customers a deposit exceeding 6.5% of the contract price. Furthermore, the contract must not contain a “rise and fall” clause.

key provisions. This notice can be found at Failure to comply with the requirements of the Act can expose electrical contractors to a risk of fines and/ or termination by the customer.

Electrical contractors are required to give customers a prescribed notice explaining the Act and its

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For further information on the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 (WA), call NECA Legal (WA) Pty Ltd on (08) 6241 6129 or email

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



FROM 1 JULY 2021

BUILDING AND ENERGY HAS UNDERTAKEN A REVIEW OF THE WA ELECTRICAL REQUIREMENTS (WAER) AND RELEASED A DRAFT OF THE UPDATED VERSION, WHICH IS SCHEDULED FOR IMPLEMENTATION ON 1 JULY 2021. When does the WAER apply? The WAER applies to all electrical installations, whether connected to networks or stand-alone electricity supplies, at voltages up to 330kV. Electrical installation designs commenced after 1 July 2021 must comply with the updated version. Designs started before then, and projects under construction or for which building contracts are signed at that date, may comply with the earlier July 2014 version. Amendments to the WAER are not required to be implemented retrospectively. Compliance with the WAER is mandatory under Regulation 49 of the Western Australia Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991. The WAER should be read with the Electricity Regulations 1947, Part VIII, and the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991. The Regulations take precedence.

What are the changes? 

Below is a summary of some of the main changes: 

Throughout Section 3, changes have been made to reflect the use of energy generation and storage systems. The existing Clause 3.2 Earthing Systems has been removed and subsequent clauses have been re-numbered. Clause 3.2 On Site Generation (previously clause 3.3) reference to AS/NZS 5139 and AS/NZS 3000 has been added, along with notification requirements.


Clause 3.3.2 is a new clause relating to strata connections. Clause 3.3.3 is a new clause referring to redundant connections. Clause 5.3 Service Connection Equipment has been amended to reflect current Network Operator terminology. A reference to Regulation 55 in the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991 has been added to Clause 6.2.1.

REMINDER – WHEN TO SUBMIT A NOTICE OF COMPLETION TO WESTERN POWER The WA Electrical Inspectors area of Western Power continues to receive a large number of Notices of Completion for non-notifiable work. This is resulting in unnecessary inspection jobs.

Definition of Notifiable Work: Notifiable work means all electrical installing work other than – a) maintenance work, unless that maintenance work requires the disconnection and reconnection of the supply of electricity to the electrical installation concerned or the replacement of service apparatus; or b) the addition or alteration of one final subcircuit including the addition or alteration of its protective device; or c) the alteration of one or more final sub-circuits. Visit our Technical Knowledge Base to access an easy to understand table that clearly indicates which types of electrical work require a Notice of Completion. The table also shows when Electrical Safety Certificates (ESC) are required.

Clause 6.2.2 General Requirements has been amended in relation to Service Protection Devices (SPDs). A new clause has been added - Clause 6.4 Test Reports and Measurement Accuracy of LV CTs. Section 7 has been renamed as Large Scale Installations. This section has also been reworded and includes additional clauses. Clause 8.1 Emergency Disconnection includes removal and operation of SPDs. In Clause 9.2.1, the minimum cable size for consumer mains has increased to 16 square millimetres for single phase and 10 square millimetres for three phase.

Clause 9.5 now includes mechanical protection for DC cables within brick veneer. Clause 9.10 (previously Clause 9.12) includes additional requirements for PV, inverter and battery installations.

To see a full list of changes and access a copy of the updated WAER, visit the Technical Updates section of the NECA WA Member Area. Alternatively, you can log into our Technical Knowledge Base (TKB).

Malcolm Scott Technical Services Advisor ECA WA

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The benefits of this have flowed onto our team. We wanted a progressive business culture that enabled everyone to put family first. In achieving this, we’ve created an environment where people want to stay with the business.

that Global Cabling will be there to back them up. As a result, we’ve ended up producing some really great projects.

What have been your business’s main highlights?

It’s all about relationships.

The great thing about Australia is you can start up a business reasonably easily. The challenge is that while you might know your trade, no one teaches you how to run a business.

One of the highlights has been creating a good balance of lifestyle and business. This can be a real challenge for trade-based businesses, when we’re used to the idea that being busy equals making money. We’ve learned to use our time well and work flexibly.



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This extends to our clients, too. We’ve used a partnership approach, working with clients as an extension of our team, rather than the traditional builder/ subcontractor relationship. This helps both clients and our business make better decisions and plans. Our clients have been able to go for jobs, knowing

What sort of challenges have you had to overcome?

We were in a situation where there were no systems in place. We were doing lots of work, but not invoicing it out. Despite being busy all the time,

June 2021

One product with double the options. cashflow was always an issue. For me, going into a business thinking it was better than being in a wages job just wasn’t coming true.

I realised I needed to invest some time into working on the business rather than in it. I decided to enrol in NECA’s Business Essentials Course and it was an eyeopener from day one. It gave me a sense of direction and as a result, we started putting better systems in place. We wrote a list of our top ten processes and worked out which ones to tackle first. Once we’d done the first two or three, we fixed half a dozen other problems. Straight away we were getting results. What advice would you have for contractors who are looking to grow their business?

Networking with other like-minded contractors is also important, whether it’s through training or industry events. It doesn’t matter if they’re your competition. You realise that everyone faces similar problems and you all want the same thing – to run a profitable business. It helps to know that you’re not alone. The opportunity to work together and create a contracting community also helps give industry a united voice. This is valuable, especially when dealing with government rulings and legislation that affect all of our businesses. You’re actively involved in local and international charities. Can you tell us a bit about that?

I’m currently working with Rites of Passage (, which provides camps for adolescents, to mark the shift from being boys to men.

is, at this stage, predominantly male. We want to look after the young people coming into our industry.

Introducing our new product release from GEN3 Industrial Switchgear. 6ka RCBOs with dual-path capabilities (wire in either direction), available in 10, 16, 20, 25 and 32amp. Fully tested and approved in Australia. Get in store now and grab yours today! It’s important to get a good understanding of how your business runs. Developing your business management skills makes all the difference. When I did the course, I really had to force myself to be out of the business for a day, especially at the start, but it was well worth it. Taking the time to step back, work out where the headaches are and find ways to address them was a good investment.


I started volunteering for a couple of reasons. I have three daughters, so I bring a different voice and perspective to those fathers with sons. I also work in an industry that

In Western culture, we don’t have any formal ways to acknowledge young people’s move into adulthood. The thing I like about Rites of Passage is how it provides an opportunity for young people to grow in a healthy way. As one person said to me, ‘it’s not about moulding but unfolding’.

To have your inspirational story told, contact Aimee Hills at

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WESTERN POWER, IN CONSULTATION WITH HORIZON POWER, ARE REVIEWING THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTION CONNECTIONS MANUAL (WADCM). The review will ensure the connection requirements reflect the evolving West Australian energy environment and market. The final review is expected to be in July and NECA will provide additional feedback at this stage. When the WADCM was first published in 2010, energy flow was fundamentally one directional (energy-import). Ten years later a lot has changed - the community, Western Power and Horizon Power are now moving towards a decentralised model of energy supply and generation via a mix of the traditional grid arrangements,

microgrids and stand-alone power systems (SPS). This change also applies to generation, with the concept of a single energy source being replaced by distributed energy resources (DER) via private renewable energy systems (solar PV), battery storage and electric vehicles. A substantial amount of feedback was received during 2020, which has been incorporated into the new edition of the document.

In line with the review, the WADCM will change its name to the West Australian Service Installation Requirements. We will advise members as soon as it becomes available online.

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FIND OUT HOW THIS AFFECTS COLLEGE OF ELECTRICAL TRAINING APPRENTICES AND EMPLOYERS. As you may be aware, after a lengthy review and consultation process, the Electrotechnology Training Package and associated qualifications have been updated. The improvements ensure that training for electrical apprentices now reflects industry best practice, current legislation and new and emerging technologies.

Will my apprentice/ apprenticeship be affected?

As a result of these changes, over the next two years many electrotechnology and electrical fitting apprentices will be required to transition to the new qualifications, which will need to be finalised by 1 October 2022.

Apprentices who do the following by 30 September 2022 will not need to transition to the new training package:  Complete their apprenticeship;  Pass their Capstone Assessment; and  Receive their paper certificate from CET.

What does ‘transition’ mean?

If any of these items are not completed by this date, from 1 October 2022 the apprentice will need to transition to the new package.

Transition refers to the process of transferring an apprentice’s existing qualification and associated units to the new qualification. If an apprentice is transitioned to the new qualification, they will: 

Receive credit for units that they have been deemed competent in and that have equivalent units in the new qualification. For units that they have been deemed competent in, but for which an equivalent unit does not exist in the new training package, the apprentice will be required to complete gap training between the old and new unit. CET will keep you updated on the details of any gap training your apprentice is required to complete. Apprentices will also be required to complete additional units that are part of the new qualification.

For units that apprentices have attempted, but have not yet been deemed competent in, we recommend that they complete these units ASAP. Old units of competency cannot be completed once an apprentice has transitioned to the new qualification.


First and second year apprentices The majority of apprentices who commenced their apprenticeship in 2020 or 2021 will be transitioned to the new training package. Third and fourth year apprentices

If they are deemed not satisfactory in their Capstone Assessment, they will need to reattempt the ‘not satisfactory’ assessments and be deemed ‘satisfactory’ before 30 September 2022. If the apprentice has not successfully completed their Capstone Assessment by 1 October 2022, they will be transitioned to the new training package.

Any questions? CET will continue to keep all CET apprentices and employers up to date with details regarding the transition. If you have any questions, please phone CET Joondalup on (08) 9233 5000 or email

Additional information for apprentices nearing the completion of their apprenticeship (due to complete by December 2022) CET will be reviewing the progress of these apprentices towards their Capstone Assessment to see if it is possible for them to complete their apprenticeship early and meet the 30 September 2022 deadline. To be considered, they will need to achieve the following:  They need to be deemed competent in all units;  Their eProfiling will need to be up to date with targets achieved; and  As their employer, you will need to be satisfied with their skill level. If all of the above requirements are met, the apprentice can be scheduled for their Capstone Assessment.

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PREVENT SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS IN YOUR WORKPLACE As with every risk or hazard in the workplace, the prevention of injury or damage as a result of slips, trips or falls begins with a risk assessment to identify the potential issues, followed by implementing the appropriate controls.

Slips, trips and falls: What are they? 

Trips can occur when you catch your foot on an object or surface. In most cases, people trip on low items that are hard to spot, such as uneven edges in flooring, loose mats, open drawers, an untidy environment, electrical cables or an untidy work area.

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Slips can occur when your foot loses traction with the ground surface, often due to slippery surfaces.

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Falls can result from a slip or trip, but many occur during falls from low heights such as steps, stairs and footpath kerbs.

It is not uncommon for several risk factors to exist at the same time, e.g. floor surface and condition, objects on the floor, open drawers or loose cables. In Western Australia, over the past five years 23.5% of all Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) have been a result of slips, trips and falls. A significant number of these incidents could have been prevented, had the cause been identified through a workplace inspection or risk assessment of the environment (Take 5) and appropriate controls implemented, such as good housekeeping.

Once controls have been put in place to reduce the risk of injury or damage from slips, trips and falls, it is important that they are reviewed to ensure they are effective and have not created additional safety hazards in the workplace. Our responsibility to both ourselves and those around us is to ensure our work environment is free from hazards and risks, which may result in slips, trips and fall injuries. If you see a hazard or risk, please remedy it.

Patricia Wilson OSH Consultant ECA WA

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NECA WA INDUSTRY NIGHT PROGRAM The 2021 NECA WA Industry Night Program is continuing to generate positive feedback and impressive turnouts across the state, as we present critical information to electrical contractors and provide opportunities to network and connect with local contractors, industry representatives, the NECA WA management team and our sponsors.


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Our Lathlain event in March, held at Mineral Resources Park (home of the West Coast Eagles) was our biggest Industry Night so far, with more than 70 contractors in attendance. Members had the opportunity to meet with Western Power Inspector Gavin Hodge and Western Power Inspection Manager Farhan Khan. Attendees received an update on some of the most

critical topics affecting WA electrical businesses, including Industrial Manslaughter legislation, the potential introduction of CPD in WA, cross-border recognition of electrical licences, new Security of Payment legislation and an update from Building and Energy. It’s not too late to register for the 2021 program, as we are coming to many more regional and metro locations right up until the end of the year.

The Kimberley Grande Resort Kununurra  Wednesday, 21 July 2021 Oaks Broome Hotel  Thursday, 22 July 2021 Rydges Kalgoorlie  Thursday, 5 August 2021 Abbey Beach Resort, Busselton  Thursday, 9 September 2021 Cockburn Bowling and Recreation Club  Thursday, 23 September 2021 Master Builders Association, Geraldton  Thursday, 14 October 2021 Quality Hotel Lighthouse, Bunbury  Thursday, 28 October 2021

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

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BRANCH UPDATE Oliver Judd NECA NSW/ACT Executive Director

AS WE SLOWLY EMERGE FROM A PERIOD OF FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY, I’M INSPIRED BY OUR INDUSTRY’S RESILIENCE AND OUR MEMBERS’ COMMITMENT TO SERVICE THEIR CUSTOMERS AND LOOK AFTER THEIR PEOPLE. Members have taken every change of protocol and temporary restriction in their stride, continually adapting their businesses to ensure safe, highquality electrical and communications services for homes and workplaces. For me, the pandemic has really reinforced how critical our industry is to everyday life and enterprise. It has also highlighted the role we’ll continue to play in the national economic recovery – skilling and employing people, building projects, incorporating technology and enabling access to vital services. I’m encouraged by the most recent Federal Budget from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Training and apprenticeship funding will allow us to continue welcoming record numbers of new entrants in NSW/ACT and across Australia, while a range

of other tax concessions and asset write-offs will help with cash flow and put more money in businesses and employees’ bank accounts. The Budget also reinforces the major project pipeline, which is great in terms of work coming to market, but also increases the challenge for contractors to scale and mobilise sharply. With access to offshore tradespeople restricted, keeping up with demand will remain a constant challenge for the foreseeable future.

Focus on Tech The suite of possible applications for new technology that’s around the corner is mind-blowing. Whether it’s renewable energy generation and capture, electric vehicles, robotics, smart buildings, 3D printing or sustainable agriculture




Penrith Bowling Club  Wednesday, 21 July 2021

The Realm (ACT)  Friday, 6 August 2021

Commercial Club Albury  Thursday, 29 July 2021

The Star (NSW)  Friday, 10 September 2021

Merrylands RSL  Wednesday, 13 October 2021 NECA HQ Fyshwick  Thursday, 21 October 2021

For more information and to register scan this QR code, or visit content/nsw-events

June 2021


– they’ll all need electrotechnology businesses to become reality. There is no doubt our industry and dayto-day tasks will look very different ten years from now, if not sooner. How NECA is positioned to upskill our members and be on-pace with emerging technology is a priority for me. I believe it will be the difference between a growing, thriving and sustainable electrotechnology industry and one that suffers and struggles with technology disruption.

Insurance Audit

Welcome Todd Shipp

NECA recently engaged a third party, LMI Group, to review the suite of insurance policies included in the NECAGuard Combined Liability Insurance Program. The review’s purpose was to ensure that the levels of coverage were suitable to businesses engaged in the electrical and communications contracting industry. We are proud to say that the NECAGuard Combined Liability policies are custom built, and only available to our member businesses.

NECA welcomes new Head of Marketing Todd Shipp. Todd joins us from Cabcharge and is squarely focused on the value of information and services we provide to members and where we can do better. Todd will support the National Office, NECA Group and NECA Training and Apprenticeships with all things brand and marketing. Welcome to the team Todd!

Site Office to Head Office (SOHO) NECA is receiving great feedback from participants in the SOHO training program, which has been designed to provide career pathways within the industry for aspiring leaders. The 2021 course is being run throughout August and September, so be quick to register if you’re interested.

Keeping in Touch with the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) NECA NSW/ACT has established a quarterly dialogue with the ABCC. As a key regulator of major projects and construction site activities, there’s no shortage of issues to be discussed. Recently, we were pleased to welcome ABCC representatives to NECA’s Chullora headquarters to present at our major contractors meeting. It was an informative presentation, and included useful information regarding code compliance. If you have anything you’d like me to raise with the ABCC, please get in touch and I’ll put it on the agenda for the next meeting.

NSW Government Fees and Charges Rebate Sole traders and small business owners may be eligible for a rebate on selected fees and charges paid to the NSW Government. Available until June 2022, a maximum of $1,500 per ABN can be claimed against costs such as trade licences and contractor registration fees, council rates and charges related to the cost of doing business. T&Cs apply, so visit the Service NSW website for more details:


From the NSW Building Commissioner NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler OAM is on a mission to stamp out dodgy developers and unfit contractors from the construction industry – and we support him. He has however identified a couple of building products that members may be tasked to install, and he’s reminded electrical contractors of their responsibility to ensure products meet standards. Car stackers, which are becoming more common in apartment basements and carparks, are of serious concern. Some models have unprotected moving parts with significant crush potential.

He has also expressed concerns over prefabricated kitchen and bathroom pods. Contractors need to ensure the certifications include all electrical components, such as wiring and light fittings, or you may be exposed. In other news from the Commissioner, his office will be overseeing Project Remediate – the NSW Government program to remove combustible cladding on buildings across the state. This will create opportunities for electrical contractors, so add the project webpage to your favourites and follow David on Linkedin to stay updated.

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THE SUPER GUARANTEE RATE WILL INCREASE TO 10% FROM 9.5% ON 1 JULY 2021 Employers/Businesses: are you ready for the Super Guarantee (SG) increase?  Ensure your payroll is prepared for the change.  Remuneration packages may need to be updated and employees advised of any change.  Check your super obligations and payments are up to date. A Super Guarantee Health Check for business can be found on the ATO Website: Employees: Ensure you are being paid the right amount of super or make extra

contributions to grow your super.  Check your super account online or your pay slips, make sure you get what you are entitled to get. Call NESS Super if you need help logging into our website.  You can grow your super by making extra payments yourself. Even small amounts add up over time, and voluntary pre-tax contributions could reduce the amount of tax you pay.  If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for government co-contribution.


Consider getting personal advice. We always recommend you consult with a suitably qualified person before making any financial decisions. NESS Super members can access general and simple advice over the phone at no cost. At NESS Super, we are here to help. If you have any questions about the SG increase, please contact us on 0436 000 401 or call the NESS Super Helpline 1800 022 067.

For more information and some helpful tips, visit the Smart Money website:


VALE BILL HARRISON NECA would like to acknowledge the recent passing of ‘Billy’ William John Harrison.

The ACT Government has begun the process to bring its Big Canberra Battery ecosystem project to fruition. The aim of the Big Canberra Battery storage project is to: 

increase network reliability by reducing pressure and congestion on the grid,

better integrate the increasing supply of renewable energy in the network,

reduce electricity price spikes, and

generate new revenue opportunities for the ACT.

The ACT Government has concluded a confidential submissions process, which sought industry suggestions on how a Big Canberra Battery ecosystem would work best in the ACT, including technical and financial considerations, as well as how the ACT Government can most effectively work with industry. The informal market sounding period, which finished in early 2021, will be followed by an Expression of Interest process and a formal procurement process through Tenders ACT. To register as an interested party, or for more information, members and stakeholders can visit

InstalTest XC

Bill was born in Belfast, Ireland and immigrated to Australia in the 1950s. He began his career with O’Donnell Griffin and rose through the ranks to eventually become assistant to the General Manager. In 1981, Bill and close friend, Ken Ross, left O’Donnell Griffin to form WILKEN Electrical Services. The business spanned more than 40 years, and throughout that time, WILKEN has been a valued NECA member. In 2001, Bill retired from the business, which was then taken over by current owners Patrick Power and Garrie Chappelow. NECA would like to extend its sincerest condolences to Bill’s family and friends. He was a friend to many NECA members and will be greatly missed.

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Tel 02 9519 3933 Tel 03 9889 0427 Fax 02 9550 1378 Fax 03 9889 0715 email


Tel 07 3275 2183 Fax 07 3275 2196


Tel 08 8363 5733 Fax 08 83635799


Tel 08 9361 4200 Fax 08 9361 4300 web


NESS Super is your super fund We operate on the principle ‘we’re large enough to matter, small enough to care’ and we are here for the electrical industry, so if you like a fund with:

Competitive fees

Personalised service

Then consider making the switch to NESS Super today.

Insurance cover to protect you & your family

NESS Super is your super fund The

* A C E N

owned super fund

1800 022 067

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 AFSL 238945, as Trustee of NESS Super ABN 72 229 227 691.

We operate on the principle ‘we’re large enough to matter, small enough to care’ and we are here for the electrical industry, so if you like a fund with:

* Jointly owned by NECA NSW and the ETU (NSW & ACT branch).

SIGNATURES AND WHS REQUIREMENTS COMPLETING SAFETY DOCUMENTS, SUCH AS SAFE WORK METHOD STATEMENTS (SWMSs), HAS BECOME A PART OF THE EARLY MORNING RITUAL FOR OUR INDUSTRY. BUT HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO ‘SIGN’ THESE DOCUMENTS? WHERE AND WHEN DO YOU NEED TO OBTAIN SIGNATURES AND WHAT FORMAT IS ACCEPTABLE? Must you sign at all? In New South Wales, whether it is a SWMS, policy, JSA or toolbox talk, there is no explicit requirement for a physical signature to be included on any safety document or SWMS under the Model Work Health and Safety Act or the Work Health and Safety Regulations. There is a requirement for workers to ‘acknowledge’ a confined space entry permit, but that is about as prescribed as it gets. The Model Code of Practice for Construction Work (the Code) provides that an “SMWS may include details of workers who have been consulted on

the SWMS, the date the consultation occurred and the signature of each worker acknowledging their participation in developing the SWMS”.

that must be included, and other information that should be included. Notably, the sample provides a space for workers to sign and date the document.

Safety documents and SWMSs are not legal contracts or deeds, but they can be considered legal documents that are admissible in court. The Code does not express that signatures on SWMSs are a control measure; therefore, when considering the SWMS, the presence or absence of a signature will not be the smoking gun needed to address business owners’ non-compliance.

While the Code does not mandate signatures on SWMSs, it is generally considered that an actual signature from the worker is evidence that they have:

However, the Code includes an example SWMS, which sets out the information

 

been taken through the SWMS, provided their feedback on the steps, and led to the person conducting a business or undertaking’s (PCBU) assessment that the worker understands the SWMS.

A code of practice is admissible in court proceedings as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control, and to determine what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code relates. However, compliance with a code is not mandatory, providing that any other method used, provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than a code suggests.



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BUSHFIRES AND CORONAVIRUS Obtaining signatures from workers is a good way to mitigate risk and show evidence of compliance.

What format is acceptable?

HSEQ professionals have long used ‘wet ink signatures’, where workers sign with ink and paper, as a strategy to meet their obligations, especially in paperbased HSEQ Systems. The aims of collecting signatures include: 

Demonstrating consultation, representation, and participation (Part 5 Model WHS Act);

Showing that review and revision of a control measure has taken place (Part 3.1 Model WHS Regulations); Pre-Coronavirus, air quality was a high  Proving information, priority issue with bushfires and dust. training, and We were told to: instruction (Part 3.2 Model  protect ourselves by staying indoors WHS Regulations); and with windows and doors closed and  Ensuring compliance with, avoiding outdoor exercise. and review of, a SWMS (Part 6  adjust our air conditioning systems to Model WHS Regulations). recirculate the air and shut off fresh Before you decide to go out and give air supplies. your workers writer’s cramp by signing every bit ofnoting paper you you may It is worth thathave, air quality in want to consider other options. Canberra in recent months reached more than 22 times the hazardous rating. Another perfectly acceptable method While last December, some Sydney is ‘electronic signatures’, which suburbs had air quality more than 10 are widely used as they reduce times the hazardous amount. costs and increase efficiency. An electronic signature includes: Fast forward a few months and, in our  new coronavirus the advice is to Checking a boxreality, or a ‘click improve ventilation. to accept’ button;  Consider other ways to increase the  Typing a name; supply of fresh air; for example, by  Pasting an image of a signature; opening windows and doors.  Drawing a name or initial with a  Improve the circulation of outside air stylus or by hand on a touchpad; or and prevent pockets of stagnant air  Electronically signing with in occupied spaces by using, for aexample, service such asfans DocuSign, ceiling or desk fans or eSignature, and Adobe Sign. opening windows. 

 Turn off recirculation and use a You don’t need to stop there; you can fresh in your think outairofsupply the ‘sign heremechanical box’. ventilation systems.


Although the risk of air conditioning spreading COVID-19 in the workplace is believed to be low, it is recommended, if you use a centralised ventilation Mobile apps that are password system that circulates protected doremoves not evenand need to be air to different that you turnwill off signed. Hitting rooms, the ‘submit’ button recirculation and use aand fresh air supply. usually provide a time ID stamp, sometimes even with geolocation. However, you do not need to adjust air That is even better than a signature. conditioning systems that mix some of thecan extracted air with freshSWMSs air and Apps also extend beyond return it safety to the room this increases to other tools.asFor example, the fresh air ventilation rate.talks on you can record your toolbox video using your trusty mobile phone. Unless of course, you have to re-adjust If everyone agrees to be filmed, there the settings to turn the fresh air supply would be enough evidence to bypass back on after the bushfire season. Also, the added requirement to sign as well. you do not need to adjust systems in This will also allow you to review how individual rooms or portable units as well a toolbox talk was delivered. these operate on 100% recirculation. Developing online quizzes is one of the Good ventilation can help reduce the risk best ways of achieving compliance, as of spreading coronavirus, but it can also workers can complete the quiz to verify lower indoor air quality during the bushfire their understanding of instructions. season, back-burning operation or dust We wrote and developed the NECA storms. There has never been more Redbook Quiz just for this reason.

demand to be able to adjust and control fresh air settings of indoor spaces. So, for operators and duty holders of Reading tracking software, such as indoor spaces on the East coast, to have one of the many features available maintained the best possible indoor air on NECA’s Safety ELITE HSEQ system, quality, you should have shut off your is another superior method to fresh air back in October 2019 due to the signing. This sends, tracks and bushfires, and you should have opened stores authentic records of everyone it up to full around February/March 2020 who should read and acknowledge due to coronavirus. With back-burning any documents or instructions. planned in the coming months you should consider how you are going to The key takeaway shut it off again. It is critical that your workers fully Operators of indoor air spaces should understand the health and safety speak to their HVAC technicians on how requirements of any work they are best to adjust the fresh air settings undertaking. Communicating, and depending on the outdoor air quality importantly verifying, that your workers and the risks created by the pandemic. have been issued, read, and understood Adjustments may need to be made daily. your safety documents can be achieved through several methods. We encourage Should you require any assistance or you to review your options and decideyour further clarification, please contact what work best for your business. local will NECA Branch.

Owen Owen Leslie Leslie WHS WHS Manager, Manager, NECA NECA Group Group 1300 361 099

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NECA’S TELECOMS TRAINING FACILITY Places are now open for our telecommunications courses in our newly-built specialist telecoms training facility in Chullora! As technology rapidly advances, the demand for specialised skills continues to increase, and many NECA members are looking to expand their capabilities into new, complementary areas. The cabling environment, especially in the area of telecommunications, has dramatically changed in recent years. With new technology driving specialised solutions, the need for more advanced technicians with greater, more comprehensive skills is constantly growing. Standards for these new technologies are continually evolving in an environment that has always been, contrarily, heavily regulated. It is critical that training keeps pace with the changes, so electrical contractors have up-to-date skills that can support customer demand, such as for the rollout of the NBN network.

With this in mind, NECA Training identified the need for a facility that could upskill technicians in the Australian telecommunications industry, and provide a pathway for cablers to grow their business in the digital age.

A purpose-built training facility NECA Training has launched a purposebuilt telecoms training facility as part of its Chullora Centre of Excellence, stage 2 works. The Centre provides the latest digital and IP equipment and hands-on training by subject matter experts, delivering the necessary skills for members who support these emerging markets. The purpose-built labs are designed to deliver telecommunications training to students who wish to gain the ACMA registration. Traditionally electrical and communications cablers have concentrated on open registration and endorsements.

NECA has designed a skillset for convergence cabling and equipment and provides an excellent pathway for both types of cablers to build their expertise by acquiring telecom-specific skills. The NECA skillset includes basic IP, equipment installation and network fault location to close the gap between the cabler and the equipment / IT installer. The result is a more comprehensive kit bag of skills with up-to-date best practices, that will support improved productivity, profitability and business growth. NECA Training continues to expand its offering of training courses to support members. They have also recently added AS/NZS 3012 Construction Wiring, Stand-Alone Solar and CIII Gap Training for Trades Assistants who previously completed part of their apprenticeship. For a complete list of courses, visit

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ACRS DIRECTORS REPORT Peter Lamont Director ACRS and Senior Policy Advisor

The Australian Cabling Registration Service (ACRS) is one of five registered cabling registration providers approved by the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA). ACRS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NECA. As well as providing cabling provider registration services, ACRS provides access to regular, timely, and up-to-date information on the state of the data and telecommunication industry, and makes representations to the Federal Government on behalf of the industry on policy and compliance matters. At the end of the March 2021 quarter, there were 26,239 providers registered through ACRS. Of those, almost half (12,719) work primarily in the telecommunications industry. A further 40% of providers (10,351) work primarily within the electrical industry sector, with the balance being made up of

workers in the computing, data, fire, security or other industry sectors. New studies from ACMA show the use of social media apps rose across the community at a rapid rate between 2019 and mid-2020. Online meeting apps, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, are in regular use by many people and businesses. The work of data and telecommunication cablers has never been more important than it is at present. With the COVID-19 lockdowns and growth in work from home arrangements over the last twelve months, cablers have been busy ensuring infrastructure is installed to ensure people can seamlessly conduct their business in this new environment. ACRS has been pursuing stronger compliance activities from ACMA. This has been based on the growth in the importance of our cabling

work, and because much of this work occurs in often dangerous locations, such as ceiling and wall cavities. It is also time for registered cablers to know that we are well into the transition period for AS/CA S009:2020 Installation Requirements for Customer Cabling (Wiring Rules). This standard was published on 20 August 2020, and applies to the installation and maintenance of fixed or concealed cabling or equipment that is connected, or is intended to be connected, to a telecommunications network, including any cord or cordage, or that part of any cord or cordage, that is connected as fixed or concealed cabling. An 18-month transition period commenced on the publication date and during this time cablers can use either the new standard or the old standard AS/ CA S009:2013. After 19 February 2022, only the new standard can be used.

ACRS ARGUES FOR BETTER COMPLIANCE ACTIVITIES FROM ACMA In February 2021, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released a consultation paper on Compliance Priorities for 2021/2022. The Australian Cabling Registration Service (ACRS), prepared a submission to ACMA, encouraging them to initiate a robust compliance audit of the cabling industry. In its submission, ACRS pointed out that on 19 February 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced that more than 8.1 million households and businesses are now connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN). With the NBN, a large percentage of devices connected to it, will rely heavily on conductive (copper) transmission lines. In spite of the community’s perception that the NBN is a comprehensive optical fibre network to every building in the country, it is in fact largely copper connected, and will remain as such for decades. According to NBN Co’s 2017 Corporate Plan, by the end of the rollout, a whopping 71-75% of Australian premises will be connected via copper-based technologies.

cabling. Of this, 63% related to communications Wiring Rule breaches, with the main breach being inadequate separation from the LV electrical cables. The majority of non-compliance was found in low-rise building sites. This migration to the NBN, has the potential to increase the degree of electrical conductivity, and therefore the risks associated with safety and network integrity, rather than the opposite. Additionally, ACRS pointed out that the Internet of Things (IoT) will most certainly introduce power feeding over the communications transmission path. While wireless communications will be extensively deployed in IoT, the majority of WAPs will undoubtedly be remote-powered over twisted-pair copper cabling. Further, there has been a significant and rapid shift towards remote working, as Australians respond to COVID-19 social distancing measures. This has led to a substantial increase in demand on Australia’s telecommunications networks.

ACRS was concerned that much telecommunication cabling work involves working in significant hazard risk areas, such as ceiling spaces. These risks include: electrocution risks, risks from sharp objects, asbestos, high temperatures, vermin, insulation material, accessibility and gas piping.

ACRS therefore contends that it is imperative for ACMA to complete another comprehensive round of compliance audits of data and telecommunication cabling works, similar to the work they carried out in 2017.

In fact, ACMA through its own compliance audit of 178 sites in 2017, found that 35% of these sites had non-compliant

It is ACRS’s opinion that to not do so exposes workers to unnecessary and potentially fatal risks.



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COMPLIANT FOR CABLING? COMPLIANT FOR CABLING? Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions have led to more Australians using digital communications, including social media apps, than ever before.

Research fromaa the Australian Thinking about move into data data and and Thinking about into Thinking about move into data and Thinking about aa move move into data and Communications and Media Authority communications as way to diversify your communications as aa way to diversify your Thinking about aa move move into data and your communications as a way way to diversify your Thinking about into data and communications as a to diversify (ACMA) shows that in June 2020, some contracting business? Here are a few critical contracting business? Here are a few critical communications as aa way way toare diversify your contracting business? Here are a few few critical critical communications as to diversify your contracting business? Here a 77% of Australians hadyou used app questions tobusiness? ask before before you getan started. questions to ask get contracting business? Here are astarted. few critical critical questions to ask before you get started. contracting Here are a few questions to ask before you get started. to make voice calls, video calls or questions to to ask ask before before you you get get started. started. questions Am registered to do the work? send messages indo thethe previous Am IIII registered to work? Am registered to do the work? six Am registered to do the work? months, compared tothe 67%work? in 2019. Am registered to do do the work? Am II registered to In Australia, all cabling work, including In Australia, all cabling work, including In Australia, Australia, all all cabling cabling work, work, including including In The research shows that more than one telephone, data, fire and security alarm telephone, data, fire and security alarm In Australia, Australia,data, all cabling cabling work, including telephone, data, fire and and security alarm In all work, including telephone, fire security alarm in threecabling, Australians their use system cabling, that connects with the system that connects with the telephone, data,that fireincreased and security alarm system cabling, that connects with the telephone, data, fire and security alarm system cabling, connects with the of social networking apps following the telecommunications network must be telecommunications network must be system cabling, cabling, that that network connectsmust withbe the telecommunications network must be system connects with the telecommunications introduction COVID-19 restrictions. performed byof a registered registered cabler, or under under performed by a cabler, or telecommunications network must be performed by a registered cabler, or under telecommunications network must be performed by a registered cabler, or under According to ACMA, “more people cabler. the direct supervision of registered cabler. the direct supervision of aa registered performed by aa registered registered cabler, or orcabler. under the direct supervision supervision of a a registered registered cabler. performed by cabler, under the of aredirect now relying on social networking the direct direct supervision supervision of of aa registered registered cabler. cabler. the What is required required to become become a a registered registered apps and mobile communication What is to What is required to become registered What is required to become aa registered cabler? services like Facebook, Messenger cabler? What is required required to become become registered cabler? What is to aa registered cabler? and Zoom to stay connected.” cabler? cabler? To become become a a registered registered cabler cabler you you must must To To become registered cabler you must To become aa registered cabler you must The research also showscabler that: complete the appropriate training course complete the appropriate training course To become registered cabler youcourse must complete the appropriate training course To become aa registered you must complete the appropriate training for the work to be undertaken through for the work be through a complete theto appropriate training course for the work to be undertaken undertaken through a complete the appropriate training course for the work to be undertaken aa  In regional locations, use of through Registered Training Organisations (RTO). Registered Training Organisations (RTO). fornearly the work work to be undertaken through Registered Training Organisations (RTO). for the to be undertaken through Registered Training Organisations (RTO). all communication services aa Registered Training Organisations (RTO). Registered Training (RTO). increased. Use of Organisations messaging/ An Open Registration is required for An An Open Open Registration Registration is is required required for for An Open Registration is required for calling apps increased from commercial and domestic premises commercial and domestic premises An Open Open Registration Registration is required required for commercial and domestic premises An is for commercial and domestic premises 48%For in 2019 to 73% in 2020. work. For work in domestic premises you work. in domestic premises commercial and domestic premises work. For work work indomestic domesticpremises premises you you commercial and work. For work in domestic premises you  Facebook was the most used social only require a Restricted Registration. only require a Restricted Registration. work. For work in domestic premises you only require a Restricted Registration. work.require For work in domestic premises you only a Restricted Registration. networking app for all age groups, only require aa Restricted Restricted Registration. only require Registration. You must also have minimum of 80 You must a of 80 used byalso 93%have of social network You must also have a minimum minimum ofusers, 80 You must also have aa minimum of 80 hours cabling experience for Restricted hours cabling experience for Restricted followed by YouTube (73%), Instagram You must also have a minimum of 80 hours cabling experience for Restricted You must also experience have a minimum of 80 hours cabling for Restricted (57%) and WhatsApp (48%). hours cabling experience for Restricted Restricted hours cabling experience for  The report shows a continuation of the long-term trend of declining use of fixed-line home phone services. This applies for all age groups except those aged 75 and over, whose usage was unchanged since 2019.

Nearly all (99%) adult Australians used a mobile phone in the previous six months to June 2020.  From texting to mobile phone calls, emails, messaging/calling and Registration and 360 360 hours hoursapps for Open Open Registration and for Registration and 360 hours for Open Registration 360 hours for Open social media,and nearly three-quarters Registration. Holding an electrical Registration. Holding an electrical Registration and and 360 hours hours for Open Open Registration 360 for Registration. Holding an electrical electrical Registration. Holding an (74%) of Australian adults used five licence, Security licence or enAbleTM licence, Security licence or enAbleTM Registration. Holding an electrical Registration. Holding an electrical licence, Security licence or enAbleTM licence, Security licence or enAbleTM or more communication services in NBN Card will suffice. NBN Card will licence, Security licence or enAbleTM enAbleTM licence, Security licence or NBN Card will suffice. suffice. NBN Card will suffice. the six months prior to June 2020. NBN Card will suffice. NBN Card will suffice.  Once Once I’ve completed the the training, who do do Nearly three-quarters (73%) of who I’ve completed training, Once I’ve completed the training, who do Once I’ve completed the training, who do adult internet an app who register with? IIIOnce register with? I’ve completed the training, training, who do do I’ve completed the register with?users used IOnce register with? to make voice register with?calls during the six IIThere register with? are number of Cabling There are a of Cabling months prior to June This was There are a number number of2020. Cabling There are aa number of Cabling Registrars authorised by the Australian Registrars authorised by the up from 42% in 2019. Over the same There are a number of Cabling There are a number of Cabling Registrars authorised by the Australian Registrars authorised by the Australian Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) period, useauthorised of anand app to video(ACMA) Registrars authorised bymake the Australian Registrars by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Communications Media Authority in Australia, including ACRS, that can calls also rose from 41% to 47%. in Australia, including ACRS, that can Communications and Media Media Authority (ACMA) Communications and Authority (ACMA) in Australia, Australia, including including ACRS, that can can in ACRS, that verify cabler’s eligibility for registration. cabler’s eligibility for registration.  verify in Australia, including ACRS, that can can In Australia, thea months from 2019 in including ACRS, that verify atwelve cabler’s eligibility for registration. verify aa cabler’s eligibility for registration. to June 2020, Zoom and Microsoft verify cabler’s eligibility for registration. registration. verify aamy cabler’s eligibility for Do all staff need to be registered? Do all my staff need to be registered? Do all my my staff need need to be beways registered? Do all staff to registered? Teams became common to Do all my my meetings, staff need needwith to be beZoom registered? Do all staff to registered? conduct at 43% No. To ensure compliance with the No. To ensure compliance with No. To To ensure ensure compliance compliance with with the the No. the and Microsoft Teams at 15%. At June ACMA guidelines, cablers must be either ACMA cablers must be No. Toguidelines, ensure compliance compliance with the the No. To ensure with ACMA guidelines, cablers must be either either ACMA guidelines, cablers must be either 2019, there was limited data available registered or, directly supervised at all registered or, directly supervised at all ACMA guidelines, cablers must be either ACMA guidelines, cablers must be either registered or, directly supervised at all registered or, programs, directly supervised at all on these two so they were times by cabler who is registered for times by aa cabler who is registered for registered or, directly supervised at all registered or, directly supervised at all times by a cabler who is registered for times by a cabler who is registered for not included in previous reports. the type work being done. the type work done. times by of a cabler cabler who is is registered for for times by aof who registered the type of work being being done. the type of work being done. Interestingly, satisfaction with the type type of of work work being done. done. the being mobile phone services also rose in every aspect between 2019 and 2020. This includes satisfaction Peter Lamont Peter Lamont Peter Lamont Lamont Peter with billing information, call costs, Director, ACRS ACRS Director, Director, ACRS Peter Lamont Director, ACRS Peter Lamont service information, service reliability, Director, ACRS Director, ACRS coverage, data costs, customer service, complaints handling, and wait times. 

This data goes to show just how much we have adapted in both our working and social life following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions.


In order to do cabling work, you must hold a current cabling registration.of The types What are the the consequences consequences of doing What are doing What are the consequences of doing What are the consequences of doing of registration can be open, restricted cabling work without being registered? cabling work without being registered? What are are the consequences consequences of doing doing cabling work without being being registered? registered? What the of cabling work without or lift. You may also need additional cabling work without being registered? cabling work without being registered? The ACMA has has a a range range of options options available to The ACMA of available competencies on your registration for to The ACMA has range of options available to The ACMA has aa range of options available to enforce compliance. These include: formal enforce compliance. These include: formal anyACMA specialist cabling to undertake The ACMA has aa range range of options options available to enforce compliance. These include: formal The has of available to enforce compliance. These include: formal warnings; non-compliance notices to the warnings; non-compliance notices to the structured, coaxial and fibre optic work. enforce compliance. These include: formal warnings; non-compliance notices to the enforce compliance. These include: formal warnings; non-compliance notices to the telecommunications carrier, which may telecommunications carrier, which warnings; non-compliance non-compliance notices to the the telecommunications carrier, which may may warnings; notices to telecommunications carrier, which may If youin are not registered, then you can result in disconnection from the network; result disconnection from the network; telecommunications carrier, which may result in disconnection from the network; telecommunications carrier, which may result in disconnection from the network; do cabling work only iffrom you the are directly telecommunications infringement notices telecommunications infringement notices result in disconnection disconnection from the network; network; telecommunications infringement notices result in telecommunications infringement notices supervised by a registered cabler (on-the-spot fine of $2,040); and the (on-the-spot fine of $2,040); and if the telecommunications infringement notices (on-the-spot fine of ofinfringement $2,040); and andnotices ifat the telecommunications (on-the-spot fine $2,040); ifif the matter is serious enough, taking court all times. matter is serious enough, taking court (on-the-spot fineenough, of $2,040); $2,040); andcourt if the the matter is serious serious enough, taking court (on-the-spot fine of and if matter is taking action, which may result in a conviction action, which may result a matter is is serious enough, taking court action, which mayenough, result in intaking a conviction conviction matter serious court action, which may result in a conviction The supervisor is then and/or fine of up to $20,400. and/or aa fine of up to $20,400. action,a which may result in aa conviction conviction and/or awhich fine of of upresult to $20,400. $20,400. action, may in and/or fine up to responsible, and they must: and/or a fine of up to $20,400. and/or a fine of up to $20,400. The biggest consequence isofthat, that, should The biggest consequence  be The biggest consequence is that, should The biggest consequence is that, should registered for the typeis workshould you anything go wrong or your work is found anything go wrong or your work is found Theare biggest consequence is that, that, should anything go consequence wrong or or your your work work is found The biggest is should anything go wrong found doing (open, restricted or is lift); to be faulty, your business insurance is to be your insurance is anything go wrong wrong or your your work work is found found to be faulty, faulty, your business business insurance is anything go or to faulty, your business insurance is  be take full responsibility for theislead unlikely to cover you. This could lead to unlikely to cover you. This could to to be be faulty, faulty, youryou. business insurance is unlikely to cover cover you. This could could lead to to to your business insurance is unlikely to This lead standard of work you complete; litigation and substantial financial loss litigation substantial loss unlikely to toand cover you. This Thisfinancial could lead lead to litigation and substantial financial loss unlikely cover you. could to litigation and substantial financial loss  ensure for your business. for your business. all work complies with loss litigation and substantial financial loss for your business. business. litigation and substantial financial for your the rules and requirements for your business. for your business. Not being being registered registered is is not not worth worth the the risk. risk. Not Not being registered is not worth the risk. Not being registered not worth the risk. for cablers; and is Not being registered is not worth the risk. Not being registered is not worth the risk.  complete the cabling advice forms at the end of the job. These requirements are part of the Telecommunications Cabling Provider Rules 2014 (Part 4 section 4.1(2)). Remember that if you complete cabling work without a registration, or under direct supervision as detailed above, then you could be liable for prosecution or in the event of an incident, your insurance is likely to be invalid.

Cabling Registration run Cabling Registration run Cabling Registration run Cabling run Cabling Registration run by the industry, for the industry by for the industry the industry, industry, Cabling Registration run by the for the industry forforthe by thebyindustry, the industry, theindustry industry by the industry, for the industry The Australian Cabler Registration Service (ACRS) provides a fast, reliable and

TheAustralian AustralianCabler Cabler Registration Registration Service The Service (ACRS) (ACRS)provides providesaaafast, fast,reliable reliableand and The Australian Cabler Registration Service (ACRS) provides fast, reliable and low-cost registration service for the electrical and communications industry. The Australian Cabler Registration Service (ACRS) provides a fast, reliable and low-cost registration service for the electrical and communications industry. The Cabler Registration Service (ACRS) provides and The Australian Australian Cabler Registration Service (ACRS) provides a a fast, fast, reliable reliable and low-cost registration service for the electrical and communications industry. low-cost registration service for the electrical and communications industry. The Australian Cabler Registration (ACRS) a fast, reliable and low-cost registration service for theService electrical and provides communications industry. Peace of mind costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and reap the low-cost registration service for the electrical and communications industry. Peace of mind costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and the low-cost registration service for electrical and communications industry. Peace of mind mindcosts costs lessthan than60c 60caaaaaaaweek! week! Register with ACRS and reap reap thetheof Peace of mind costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and the Peace of costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and reap the benefits of Peace less Register with ACRS and the Peace of of mind mind costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and reap reapreap the benefits benefits of Peace ofmind mind costs less 60c aaweek! Register with ACRS andregistry reap the benefits of Peace ofwith costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and reap thethe benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist while low-cost registration service for electrical and communications industry. benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while Peace ofmind mind costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and reap Peace of costs less than 60c aaweek! week! Register with ACRS and the benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while being the only Australian electrical specialist registry while avoiding hefty fine. Peace of mind costs less than 60c week! Register with the being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while avoiding aa hefty fine. Peace of mind costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and reap the Peace of costs less 60c aaaaACRS week! Register ACRS and reap being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while avoiding abenefits hefty fine. Peacewith of mind costs less than 60c aaweek! Register with ACRS and reapwith the benefits of being the only Australian specialist while avoiding a hefty fine. Peaceelectrical of mind mind costs less than thanregistry 60c week! Register with ACRS and reap the the Peace of mind costs less than 60c a Register with and reap the of Peace of mind costs less than 60c week! Register with ACRS and reap the avoiding a hefty fine. benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while avoiding a hefty fine. avoiding a hefty fine. benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry Peace of mind costs less than 60c a week! Register with ACRS and reap the benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while avoiding a hefty fine. benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist while benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while being with theanyone only Australian electrical specialist registry while avoiding acabling hefty fine. It is illegal for anyone other than a registered cabler to or maintain that benefits being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while avoiding hefty fine. It for other than registered cabler to install or maintain that Peace ofaaof mind costs less than 60c a week! week! Register withacabling ACRS and reap the avoiding fine. Peace of costs less than 60c ainstall Register with ACRS and reap the It is is illegal illegal for anyone other than aamind registered cabler to install or maintain cabling that It is illegal for anyone other than registered cabler to install or maintain cabling that avoiding hefty fine. avoiding fine. avoiding ahefty hefty fine. benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while avoiding aaahefty fine. avoiding hefty fine. avoiding hefty fine. avoiding aaaaahefty hefty fine. connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are installing any equipment benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while It is illegal for anyone other than registered cabler to install or maintain to the telecommunications network. So if you are installing any equipment benefits of being with the only Australian electrical specialist registry while Itconnects is illegal for anyone other than registered cabler to install or maintain connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are installing any equipment It is illegal for anyone other than a registered cabler to install or maintain It for anyone other than a registered cabler to install or maintain cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are installing any equipment It is illegal for anyone other than a registered cabler to install or maintain It is illegal for anyone other than a registered cabler to install or maintain cabling that avoiding athat hefty fine. hefty fine. other avoiding aafrom hefty fine. will connect to the network smart home systems to extra phone lines It illegal for anyone other than aa registered registered cabler to install or maintain that will connect to the network –– smart home systems to extra phone lines –– cabling connects to the telecommunications network. So ifor you are Itavoiding isis illegal for anyone than cabler to install or maintain connects to the telecommunications So if you are ItIt cabling is illegal for anyone other than registered cabler install maintain that willthat connect to the the network –a from smartother home systems to extra extra phone lines – It is is illegal for anyone other than registered cabler to install install or maintain maintain connects tofor the telecommunications network. So ifnetwork. you are installing any equipment will connect to network – smart home systems to phone lines – cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are It illegal for anyone than aato cabler to or Itthat is illegal for anyone other than afrom registered cabler toregistered install maintain connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are installing any equipment cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So ifor you are Itthat is illegal anyone other than registered cabler to maintain is illegal for anyone other than aafrom registered cabler to install or cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are you need aany current cabling registration. cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you you need a current cabling registration. installing any equipment that will connect to the network – from smart home cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are you need a current cabling registration. installing equipment that will connect to the network – from smart home cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So ifor you are that will connect tocabling the network – from smart home systems to extra phone lines – are you need afor current registration. It is illegal for anyone other than a registered cabler to install or maintain that will connect to the – from smart home systems to extra phone lines – installing any equipment that will connect to the network – from smart home cabling that connects tonetwork the telecommunications network. So if you are It is illegal for anyone other than a registered cabler to install maintain any equipment that will connect to the network – from smart home cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. are It installing is illegal anyone other than a registered cabler to install or maintain cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you installing any any equipment equipment that that will will connect connect to to the the network network – – from from smart smart home installing installing any equipment that will connect to the network from smart home installing any equipment that will connect to the network –– from smart home systems to extra phone lines – you need a current cabling registration. cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you arehome systems to extra phone lines – you need a current cabling registration. you need a current cabling registration. cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So if you are Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the installing any equipment that will connect to the network – from smart home you need a current cabling registration. Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the systems to extra phone lines – you need a current cabling registration. installing any equipment that will connect to the network – from systems toconnect extra phone lines you need current cabling registration. systems extra phone lines –will you need ato current cabling installing equipment that connect to the smart systems to extra phone lines ––network you need aaaafrom current cabling registration. Carrying aany current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the cabling that connects to the telecommunications network. So ifthe you arehome installing any equipment that will the network –registration. home Carrying ato current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the systems to extra phone lines ––will you need current cabling registration. systems to extra phone lines you need current cabling registration. installing any equipment that will connect to the network – from smart home installing any equipment that connect to network – from smart home relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete the work to the systems to extra phone lines – you need a current cabling registration. relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete the work to the systems tocurrent extra phone lines you need current cabling registration. relevant training and gained the professional experience to–complete complete the work work to the the systems to extra phone lines ––you you need aato current cabling Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the relevant training and gained the professional experience to the to installing equipment that the network smart home systems toany phone lines –will need acabling current registration. Carrying a cabling registration card confirms you have completed the systems extra phone lines you need current cabling registration. systems to extra phone lines ––cabling you need aafrom current cabling registration. Carrying current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the Carrying aaconnect current registration card confirms you have completed the Carrying aaaaextra current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the Carrying aato current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the customer’s expectations. Carrying current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the customer’s expectations. Carrying current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the Carrying current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the Carrying current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the customer’s expectations. relevant training and gained the professional experience toto complete the work to the thethe customer’s expectations. relevant and gained the professional experience to complete the work to systems totraining extra phone lines –the you needand a current cabling registration. relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete the relevant training gained the professional experience to complete relevant training and gained the professional experience complete the relevant training and gained professional experience to complete the relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete the relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete the Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete the Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete the Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you the Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the customer’s expectations. Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the For more information visit or call 1300 667 771. customer’s expectations. work to the customer’s expectations. For more information visit or call 1300 667 771. work to the customer’s expectations. For more more information visit orgained call 1300 667 771. 771. work to the the customer’s expectations. work to the customer’s expectations. For information call 1300 667 work to customer’s expectations. work to the customer’s expectations. relevant training andor gained the professional professional experience to complete complete the the relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete complete the relevant training and the experience to work totraining the customer’s expectations. relevant training andvisit gained the professional experience work to the customer’s expectations. relevant training and gained the professional experience the the Carrying a current cabling registration card confirms you have completed the relevant and gained the professional experience to For more more information information visit visit or call call 1300 667 667 771. 771. work to to the the customer’s customer’s expectations. For or 1300 work expectations. work tothe the customer’s expectations. work to customer’s expectations. work the customer’s expectations. relevant training and gained the professional experience to complete the work toto the customer’s expectations. work to the customer’s expectations.



If you add a Circuit Breaker (CB) to an existing switchboard, how can it be verified?

AS/NZS 61439 compliance is mandated in Amendment 2 for assemblies rated greater than 10kA and above, or for assemblies having more than 125A of connected load per phase. This applies regardless of whether or not AS/NZS 61439 is specified by the client/consultant.

Verification of the alteration includes the following:

If a tender was submitted prior to May 2021, can the switchboard still be manufactured to AS/NZS 3439?

No. The new standard applies to switchboards that are being energised from May 2021 onwards, regardless of the tender date. This may vary in certain jurisdictions.



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Is the new CB installed as per the original manufacturer’s instructions, using verified means (busbars, support, size of enclosure etc). This is expected to require consultation with the switchboard builder. Will the new load corresponding to the additional breaker overload the existing busbars? This can be verified by understanding the existing maximum demand on the switchboard section busbars, and seeing if the proposed additional load will exceed the rating of these busbars (as documented by the switchboard builder).

Will the additional load overload the main incoming breaker and/ or distribution breakers? As per the previous step, the existing load is required, and it must be verified that the additional load does not exceed the maximum rating of the supply breaker and/ or distribution breakers feeding the additional load (as documented by the switchboard builder).

What about repairs to existing switchboards? If it’s an alteration, for example adding additional circuits or a new breaker, then it needs to be certified to AS/NZS 61439. The previous question addresses the verification process. If it’s a repair, then it is not required to comply with AS/NZS 61439.

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Are there certified parties that can validate compliance? Contractors are required to take responsibility for the compliance of their work. In the event of an installation’s failure, contractors may be found responsible if the installation was deemed non-compliant by the forensic inspector (who is expected to have access to qualified persons to assess the installation’s compliance). Parties that can validate compliance include supply authority and electrical inspectors, test stations and individual companies. Does the testing have to be done at a test station? No. It can be done on your own premises if you have the equipment to run the test. Then you will need to prepare a suitable report of the test, including evidence of the results achieved so they can be reviewed at a later stage, should any failure occur on site. Note: Some consultants may choose to specify where verification tests are performed, for example a “NATA approved laboratory”. If testing is done outside the test station, calibration/verification of the test equipment is required. Also, an impartial third party should witness/verify the test.

We’ve been advised that a mechanical service switchboard (less than 250A/10kA) located in a plant room is classified as a DBO. Is this correct? No. DBOs are assemblies intended to be used by “ordinary people”. AS/NZS 3000 clause K3.2 confirms the definition of ‘ordinary’ as being: “neither skilled nor instructed”. It is assumed that on WORK premises, anyone using plant equipment is either skilled or instructed, otherwise they should NOT be using equipment that they have not been trained to use. Can you expand on the electrician as the ‘assembly manufacturer’ for off-the-shelf/over-the-counter switchboards when there is no switchboard builder involved? The electrician becomes the assembly manufacturer and takes on that responsibility in the interpretation of AS/NZS 61439. They become responsible for the design. They can follow instructions from the original manufacturer or do their own thing, in which case they are responsible for providing design verification evidence to support a potential compliance claim. Following the question on buying overthe-counter, for the everyday Joe doing small jobs, this could potentially be a major cost expense to the end user/ customer. It will also take away from a simple solution for a fix to become a longer completion time on the job.

As per AS/NZS 10.2.2, the corrosion resistance test is only required for ferrous material/parts. If we make cut-outs in the switchboard doors/panels will this affect the arc fault containment ability. Is there a minimum size of cut-out which would be acceptable? Cut-outs will affect the internal arc fault performance of the assembly. The term ‘containment’ is not used in AS/NZS 61439 and it should not be used in this context since arc events can be expelled from the board in safe directions. Can you put an IP55 switchboard within an outer enclosure to raise the Ingress Protection (IP) rating? Or will that affect how the switchboard is designed?

Only if the instructions are complex. It is expected simple instructions will be provided. The alternative is far more serious. Overloading a Distribution Board (DB) can start a fire, posing a risk to people on site.

The IP rating of a switchboard is not raised when fitted inside an outer shell. The outer shell has one IP and the inner enclosure has another. This will affect the switchboard’s performance based on airflow, temperature inside the enclosure etc.

Can a switchboard (MCC) be relocated with its corresponding equipment?

View the full webinar

If the environmental conditions (e.g. ambient indoor/outdoor temperature) and installation conditions (e.g. prospective fault levels) at the new location are the same or better, this may be possible. However, a proper study would need to be done to confirm this.


Do marine grade aluminium and stainless steel switchboards comply with the corrosion test without actually being tested?

To find out more about AS/NZS 61439, including the key changes, definitions, documentation requirements and contractors’ responsibilities, view the full webinar:

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NECA RECENTLY PRESENTED AN INFORMATIVE WEBINAR ON THE AS/CA S009 REVISIONS. BELOW IS A SUMMARY OF THE NEW ENERGY CLASSIFICATIONS AND CABLING DEFINITIONS, PLUS A QUICK GLANCE AT SOME OF THE OTHER CHANGES TO THE STANDARD. New Energy Classifications The most significant change comes from the new energy classifications based on AS/NZS 62368.1:2018 Audio/ Video, Information and Communications Technology Equipment. Within the revised standard, there has been a shift away from the traditional concepts of safe extra low voltage, extra low voltage, low voltage and high voltage. The standard now uses the following terms: 

Electrical Energy Source Class 1 (ES1), which can be worked on by an ordinary person - a person who is neither a skilled person nor an instructed person, such as endusers and the general public. Electrical Energy Source Class 2 (ES2), which can be worked on by an instructed person - a person instructed or supervised by a Skilled Person as to energy sources and who can responsibly



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use equipment safeguards and precautionary safeguards with respect to those energy sources. 

Electrical Energy Source Class 3 (ES3), which can be worked on by a skilled person - a person with the relevant education or experience to be able to identify hazards and to take appropriate actions to reduce the risks of injury to themselves and others.

Within these classifications, for any voltage up to the voltage limit, there is no set limit for the current. Likewise for any current up to the current limit, there is no set limit for the voltage.

New Cabling Definitions The revised standard has also introduced a number of new definitions as follows: 

What does this mean? The new standard doesn’t just cater for a typical AC/DC source, but a broader range of energy sources. When calculating the voltage and current limits, workers now need to consider how the energy is delivered, what combinations of AC/DC are used and what frequency is being used.

Generic Cabling: Cabling which meets the Cabling installation conformance requirements of a Cabling design document in the AS/NZS 11801 series or ISO/IEC 11801 series of standards. Special Application Cabling: a Cable that— (a) is intended to carry steadystate or change-of-state DC signals or AC signals less than 300 Hz between devices; (b) is a Cable intended to carry an industrial data signalling protocol, e.g. RS232 or RS485; (c) is intended for multidiscipline use; or (d) is a hybrid Cable. Movable Cabling: a section of fixed or concealed Cabling which is likely to be moved as part of—

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(a) the use of the Cabling in a physically reasonable manner; (b) the use in a physically reasonable manner, or the normal automatic operation, of anything that the Cabling is fixed to, supported by or enclosed by; (c) an activity (other than Cabling Work or demolition of Cabling) which is— (i) commonly carried out at; and (ii) reasonable for;

the type of location and type of Premises where the Cabling is installed; or

(d) a particular type of activity (other than Cabling Work or demolition of Cabling) which has been made known to the Cabling Provider, either expressly or by implication, as likely to occur at the location where the Cabling is installed.

More Changes at a Glance Other changes to the standard include: 

New definitions for Registered Engineers, ‘arm’s reach’ and Remote Feeding Telecommunications (RFT) Circuits.

New conductor size and temperature recommendations for generic cabling. New requirements for plug terminated cabling. Updates to separation and subducting to cater for ES1, ES2 and ES3.


Updates for optical fibre system inspection apparatus, laser warning marking, safety and labelling. Updates on cabling between buildings and surge suppression for paired conductors. New requirements for installing earth bars/terminals at distributors. Guidance on compatibility of 6P plugs and 8P sockets.

Additional information on network boundaries for Fibre, HFC and wireless terminations. Guidance on FTTC connectivity.

To find out more about the key changes to AS/CA S009 and familiarise yourself with the new provisions, speak to your local NECA Branch.

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INDUSTRY 4.0, INDUSTRIAL INTERNET OF THINGS (IIOT), SMART MANUFACTURING, DIGITAL PLANT, CONNECTED INDUSTRY – NO MATTER WHAT YOU CALL THIS NEXT WAVE OF INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, IT IS QUICKLY GAINING IMPORTANCE. THEREFORE, IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS INVOLVED AND WHAT BENEFITS ARE EXPECTED. Industry 4.0, the next evolution in industrial processes, promises to deliver true integration of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), enabling dramatic improvements in efficiency while reducing costs. Where Industry 3.0 was all about automation, connecting devices, and determining what we could learn about the operations of business-critical equipment, Industry 4.0 is about



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applying advanced computer models to make more informed operational decisions. It’s less about understanding the behaviours and characteristics of individual machines and motors, and more about understanding interdependencies — cause and effect — of the entire complex production line, plant operation, and the plant itself. Getting there, however, will require industrial businesses to rethink and improve their existing infrastructure.

IIoT is making way for more flexible models of accessing process and machine data. Generating and collecting data is an important aspect of IIoT, but this alone does not enable the full benefit of IIoT. There are other components to consider: 1. Smart connected devices that are IIoT ready, deliver an “advanced sensing system” that generates information with the first level of data analysis

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completed by the device itself. Smart connected devices that are IIoT ready means embedding internet technologies like WIFI and web services natively into those devices. For example, motor starters play a crucial role in driving critical infrastructure assets such as conveyor belts, pumps, compressors, agitators, fans and others. But despite their key operational role, traditional motor management approaches often fail to optimise performance. If a motor failure occurs, it can cause costly plant stoppages, damage to equipment and be a risk to people and the environment. In order to prevent such a failure happening, it is important that you have access to information about what the motor is doing and preventative measures that can be taken when a potential fault is detected. Motor starters are essential in providing information on motor use, and other devices like sensors and relays provide information on the device lifecycle. Embedded digital services also become critical to support process optimisation. For example, the new series of Altivar Process drives or TeSys Island Digital load management system (smart DOL) with built in web technology standards, ethernet connectivity, intelligence and asset management or energy management features deliver additional contextual information, including real-time events, alarms, drifts, and historical data. 2. An edge gateway to aggregate data, display information and connect to the cloud for advanced analytics. Edge computing at the equipment level can provide more intuitive interfaces for monitoring and controlling operations, using the latest communication and automation technologies to detect and manage process issues across networks. This can include web-based access to operating parameters and interfaces with other systems. An edge gateway will aggregate data collected from various sources and deliver real-time business


information to the right people at the right time. This is the key interface between the internet world and the process (the things). Devices such as Harmony HMIs act as an edge gateway ensuring a high level of performance and connectivity to address the critical needs of the IIoT platform. 3. Applications and services to further analyse data and put it into context to help reach business goals. Analytics and services layers are increasingly cloud-based and merge and correlate data to assess current equipment status and potential problems. Digital applications and services are critical to end users, achieving the business performance gains promised by IIoT. Such applications and services include installation optimisation, energy management, asset management and protection and conditionbased monitoring among others. For example, with intelligent motor management solutions in place, maintenance teams no longer need to be close to asset components to troubleshoot. Abnormal situations can be addressed before they become critical and cause a production stop through pre-alarming that is based on pre-set behavioural parameters. The

data gathered is combined and analysed with dedicated software solutions, such as EcoStruxure Asset Advisor, so that the future performance of the customer’s assets can be predicted. The total cost of ownership can be optimised with advanced analytics to identify potential failure modes via actionable web dashboards, timeline reports, and recommendations with operational support for people on site. What approach can contractors take? 

Familiarise yourself with the technologies available today and upskill your workforce. Having control application and system integration capabilities in-house can be beneficial. Electrical contractors can now offer these monitoring/management services to facility owners as part of a post-construction services agreement, creating a new, recurring revenue stream. Look for opportunities to install smart devices so that the facility is future ready. For example, retrofitting with smart circuit breakers and smart motor starters instead of traditional methods will save energy, reduce environmental impact, reduce downtime and simplify installation and diagnosis.

Irene Kaur Operational Offer Manager — Motor Control & Universal Enclosures

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INDUSTRY 4.0 IS OPENING UP MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS. ONE AREA TO CONSIDER IS UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLIES (UPSs) AND THE VALUE THEY BRING IN AN INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT) WORLD. Industry 4.0 is all about automating industrial processes for efficiency and scale. Historically, automation has been accomplished by combining various means of mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, electronic, and IT. But Industry 4.0 will take automation to another level, one where machines talk to each other to get things done. Not only will robots coordinate tasks, but they will also integrate forecasting, production scheduling and supply chain management for a dynamic and efficient production environment. More efficient, sure, but dynamic? Yes. The day will come when the device being manufactured will communicate with the production environment, giving instructions on configuration and options, resulting in each device being “custom mass produced”. This, of course, will be enabled by adding significantly more IT capacity. And I am not talking about just leveraging centralised cloud computing. I am talking about edge computing.

the companies will be generating big data. Integrating, interpreting, and analysing this data for their benefit is key, and it requires IT in the form of compute and storage. This is an opportune time for most companies to consider a local micro data centre in the control room of the manufacturing site; this solution is the secret sauce of Industry 4.0 for manufacturing. All that infrastructure is aimed at delivering benefits such as improving

the speed and accuracy of supply chains, improving quality management, enabling predictive maintenance programs and more. But here’s a line from a recent Forbes article that really struck me: “The most critical success factor all these use cases depend on is secure, scalable and reliable end-to-end integration solutions that encompass on-premise, legacy and cloud systems, and platforms.” The word “reliable” is the one that caught my eye, because it is spot on. IoT applications require reliable infrastructure To understand why, you need to grasp how a typical IoT application works. First, it relies on some sort of device – a sensor or a machine running IoT

Cloud Computing located farthest from on site edge networks providing greater compute, network and storage resources

So, what is edge computing? In the race to digitally transform, many companies are adding a serious number of IoT sensors, meters, and high-definition video into their operational processes. Think proximity sensing and contact tracing for public transportation, IoT soil sensors in agriculture, or IoT sensors communicating with robots in manufacturing.

Local Servers on the edge providing highly available resources and low latency access close to edge devices at the site

Edge: Industrial Internet of Things Real-time data processing

By massively scaling their metering, sensing, and video capabilities,



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software, for example – that collects and transmits data. In a manufacturing environment it might be data about the health of machines while in a bakery. It might be sensors that monitor oven and refrigerator temperatures. The device then sends that data to some sort of collection point. For a small or medium business, that is likely a small server or appliance located on premises, which then sends the data to a cloudbased service provider or other form of centralised collection point. That is where applications exist that make sense of the data and deliver actionable intelligence back to the business. The whole setup only works if all the components that play a role are functioning as they should. Having stable and clean electrical power, of course, is fundamental to their reliable function.


This is where electrical contractors come in. When doing a job for almost any company today, have a conversation about the kind of equipment that will be on site. Find out if the company is using some form of IoT equipment (even if they do not use the term IoT). If so, explain the importance of reliable power to the proper functioning of that equipment and how an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) offers power protection in the event of a utility power outage. That includes clean and stable power, as the UPS acts as a filter thanks to its double conversion technology.

Industry 4.0 is a game changer that will further automate industrial processes. Edge computing is an integral part of the system, enabling reliable delivery of IT capabilities in extreme proximity to the operation. Opportunities abound. The key for electrical contractors is to start a conversation, and get customers thinking about the value their IoT applications are delivering – and why they warrant reliable power protection.

Karthik Iyer Sales Manager – Industrial & Commercial Segments

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(1) A new definition of a casual employee Under the new definition, a person is a casual employee if they accept a job offer from an employer knowing there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work. In determining whether the employer has made no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work, regard must be had to: 

Whether the employer can elect to offer work; The person can elect to accept or reject work; The person will work as required by the employer; The employment is described as casual; and The person will be entitled to a casual loading.

Once employed as a casual, an employee will continue to be a casual employee until they either: 

become a permanent employee through:  

casual conversion, or are offered and accept the offer of full-time or part-time employment; or

stop being employed by the employer.

there is a reasonable business justification not to do so. To be eligible, the employee must have worked regularly and on an ongoing basis for at least six months of that period.

entitlements to paid leave, notice and redundancy pay. This is a prerequisite for accessing this new statutory right to set off casual loading against claims for NES entitlements.

The obligation to offer conversion will not be imposed on small business employers (less than fifteen employees) although, small business employers will still need to grant conversion requests from eligible casuals unless they have reasonable grounds for refusing the request.

Transitional provisions

Employers must give every new casual employee a Casual Employment Information Statement (the CEIS) before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job and to existing casual employees as soon as possible after 27 March 2021. For more information on the CEIS visit: The amended FW Act clarifies that previous service performed as a casual employee, will not form part of the length of service for determining NES entitlements such as annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, payment in lieu of notice and redundancy pay.

(3) Setting off casual loading against claims for NES entitlements

For existing casuals who were employed immediately before 27 March 2021 and whose initial employment offer meets the above definition, they will continue to be casual employees under the FW Act.

The amended FW Act allows Courts to offset casual loading amounts paid to an employee against certain permanent employee entitlements, during a period when that employee was not a casual employee.

(2) A legislative entitlement for casuals to request conversion to permanent employment

As such, employers should ensure their instruments used to engage casuals expressly link the payment of loadings with the absence of NES

The National Employment Standards (NES) now requires employers to offer eligible casual employees conversion to permanent employment after twelve months of service unless



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The new amendments will have a significant impact and employers have been given until 27 September 2021 to assess all existing employees against the conversion criteria and offer conversion to permanent employment if the employee meets the eligibility requirements. The Fair Work Commission will review all Modern Awards between now and 27 September 2021, to ensure their consistency with the new NES casual conversion provisions. Awards will be varied to the extent of any inconsistency. Any employment offers made before 27 March 2021 will fall within the meaning of casual employment under the FW Act if they satisfy the criteria in the new definition of casual employment. In this way, the new statutory definition of casual employee, casual conversion and offsetting provisions will apply retrospectively. Exceptions to the retrospective application apply where an employee: 

is found by a Court not to be a casual employee before 27 March 2021; or has converted to an employment basis other than casual under the FW Act or a contract of employment.

Employers should now re-examine their casual contracts to ensure they take advantage of the certainty provided by the new laws.

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For more information on NES entitlements, call the legal service offered by your local NECA Branch.

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ERAC is made up of all of the electrical safety regulators across the country as well as New Zealand and is chaired by Energy Services Victoria. Recently ERAC released its report on all fatalities in 2019/20, including summary data going back to 2000/01. Reading this report is very sobering and it shows how dangerous an industry we work in, particularly if corners are cut or chances are taken.

Fatality Incidents Twelve electrical deaths were recorded in Australia and New Zealand in 2019/20. This is equivalent to 0.39 deaths per million people. Eight of the twelve deaths occurred in Australia. There were six distribution network related deaths, with five of these deaths being associated with overhead conductors and one was associated with a substation. Six deaths involved customers’ installations, appliances or equipment. Of the total twelve people who were electrocuted in 2019/20, 42% (5 of 12) were electrical workers, 50% (6 of 12) were non-electrical workers and 8% (1 of 12) were from the general public. In all, eleven of the twelve deaths were in a workplace and one death was in a non-workplace.



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were from misuse or interference with equipment or wiring (around 50%); failure or deterioration of equipment or wiring (around 17%); poor work practices (around 16%); and other causes which make up around 17%.

When looking at the trend analysis for fatalities over the last twenty years, from 2000/01 to 2019/20, there were 398 electrical deaths in Australia and New Zealand. The highest single year was 2000/01 with a staggering 39 deaths. The lowest was five in 2017/18. With 398 deaths over a twenty-year period, industry has an average of almost twenty deaths each year. Of the total of 398 deaths, 176 were members of the public, 125 were non-electrical workers, 75 were electrical workers and the balance were supply workers. Over this period, some 90% (123 of 137) of the electrical deaths associated with electricity networks were as a result of working on or near energised overhead conductors. Of the fourteen other deaths associated with electricity supply networks, the balance was mostly while working in substations with two fatalities from underground cables. Between 2000/01 and 2019/20 there were 261 deaths involving consumer installations or equipment. In most years, the deaths from consumer fixed wiring made up approximately two-thirds of the number of deaths, with the other third being from consumer equipment, appliances or accessories. The main causes of deaths involving consumer installations

The Importance of Being Vigilant While it is encouraging to see that the number of deaths by electrocution has declined in recent years, it remains disappointing to read that we still have unnecessary deaths each and every year. This report is a welcome reminder that we need to be vigilant in maintaining a safe working environment. NECA members are made up of a range of varied businesses from large multi-state employers to small family-run businesses. Our members work on electrical, data and telecommunications, refrigeration and air-conditioning, and test and tag. In all of these areas it is critical to work safely.

NECA helps members to manage the WHS risks in our industry through a range of safety management systems that are either included in their base membership or available for purchase at rates tailored to their business size and needs. NECA also provides members with access to WHS information and Australian Standards through our various communications channels, on our Technical Knowledge Base (TKB) and website, at various roadshows and workshops and via local technical and safety staff in each Branch.

Peter Lamont Director ACRS and Senior Policy Advisor

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This process is managed by the workers compensation and injury management agencies of the various states and territories: Australian Capital Territory WorkSafe ACT New South Wales State Insurance Regulatory Authority (NSW) Northern Territory NT WorkSafe Norfolk Island Norfolk Island Workers Compensation Agency Queensland WorkCover Queensland South Australia ReturnToWork SA Tasmania WorkCover Tasmania Victoria WorkSafe Victoria Western Australia WorkCover WA

Injury Management focuses on early treatment, rehabilitation and returnto-work programs being implemented by all parties involved including: 

the injured person,

the treating medical practitioner(s),

the insurer, and

any other parties engaged in the rehabilitation process, e.g. physiotherapists.

Why is Injury Management important? Having an injury at work can be a daunting event and can result in more than just physical injuries. A work injury can trigger anxiety about job and wage



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security, affect communication with work colleagues and bring about feelings of isolation during the recovery process.

liaise with their manager or Human Resources Department to manage any time off work that is required and to discuss any other conditions.

Research has shown that the longer a worker is away from work, the longer it can take for them to fully recover and return to their original position, or even return at all.

Developing an Injury Management Plan for your business

When it comes to work injuries, the stakes are high. That is why having a clearly defined and easy to understand Injury Management process is essential for all electrical contracting businesses.

What to do if an injury has taken place? When someone has been injured at work, it is important that the injured person receives appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible. This may involve first aid and/ or further assistance from a medical practitioner. It is also important to note that there are certain incident types that must be reported to the relevant governing agency in your state or territory (listed above). Make sure you are familiar with the requirements that apply in your local area.

What about Workers Compensation? After suffering an injury at work, the injured person may be entitled to lodge a Workers Compensation Claim to cover the medical costs incurred during their recovery, including lost wages. Although it isn’t standard practice, an injured person has the right to decide to not to pursue a claim and manage their recovery personally. In this instance, the injured person would complete an indemnity form and

To successfully manage injuries in your business, it is important to have an established Injury Management Plan. This should be incorporated into your Safety and Health Management System (if your business has one) and include procedures to manage the following: Providing first aid and/or obtaining medical attention Ensure your workers are aware of how to access first aid and/or medical attention, and who to speak with internally when an injury occurs. When, and to whom, should injuries be reported to? As previously mentioned, each state and territory has specific guidelines on what type of injuries must be reported and in what timeframe. A detailed list is available on their websites. Implementing a Return-to-Work Plan Developing a Return-to-Work Plan requires input from the treating doctor, medical professionals such as physiotherapists and the provider of suitable/light work duties, where relevant. The plan identifies restrictions, such as hours of work, and physical limitations, such as limited exposure to bending, stretching or reaching. Once approved by the injured person, the plan is forwarded to the provider of light duties so they can ensure the environment for the employee is conducive to their recovery and their reintroduction into the workforce. The Return-to-Work Plan is reviewed regularly, usually at the injured worker’s medical reviews, and is updated as recovery progresses to the point where they can return to full normal duties.

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What are the responsibilities for an Injury Management Coordinator?

An Injury Management Coordinator can help in the management of injury recovery and implement the return-to-work process as follows: 

Managing medical appointments and attending the appointments with the injured person, offering support and encouragement. Obtaining a medical certificate from the medical practitioner that meets the state/territory injury management and workers compensation requirements. This details the injury diagnosis, the treatment plan, work restrictions, any advice in preparing a Return-toWork Plan and the next review date. Completing the Workers Compensation paperwork that is required by the company insurer. The insurer must be advised within five working days of an injury taking place (assuming a Workers Compensation Claim is being lodged).

Developing the Return-to-Work Plan based on the instructions provided by the treating medical practitioner and noted on the medical certificate. And most importantly, maintaining regular contact with the injured person, to ensure that their recovery is proceeding as expected and provide them with ongoing support and encouragement.

The ultimate goal of Injury Management is to get the injured worker back to their original state of health (or as close as is possible) to ensure that they can

We are Hiring in Adelaide

continue with the same quality-of-life they enjoyed before becoming injured. This may be a slow process, but it is important that both the injured worker and those involved in the Injury Management process, work together to remain committed and positive throughout the employee’s recovery.

Patricia Wilson OSH Consultant ECA WA

Do you have programming and commissioning experience and want to be part of our close knit team? We are looking for someone with technical know how and a passion for people.

If you live in Adelaide or are looking to relocate and feel you are the right person for this role or know someone who is please contact us


OHM’S LAW IN THE WIRELESS WORLD FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE STOOD IN FRONT OF A CLASS OF KEEN PRE-APPRENTICES OR FIRST YEAR APPRENTICES, THE LOOK OF SHEER HORROR THAT WASHES OVER STUDENTS’ FACES AS YOU DRAW A FORMULA THAT INCLUDES LETTERS, FOLLOWED BY A SOLUTION THAT INCLUDES GREEK SYMBOLS WHEN YOU SOLVE IT, NEVER GETS OLD. The old refrain, ‘when will I ever need algebra’ suddenly becomes a regretful choice of statement! Yet without Ohm’s Law, our industry likely wouldn’t exist as it does today. When Alessandro Volta proposed that electricity wasn’t some ‘Star Wars’ type force in living beings, and went about proving it by inventing the battery, he set in motion the work of Georg Ohm. Ohm understood that a mathematical application could be applied to determine the current flowing in an electrical circuit. In his ground-breaking paper, Die Galvanische Kette, Mathematisch Bearbeitet, Ohm proved mathematically that a directly proportional relationship existed between voltage and resistance and their impact on current flow. This fundamental of electrotechnology theory provides a basis for many of the calculations used by electricians, technicians and engineers. For an electrician, Ohm’s Law is what Einstein’s Law of Relativity is to a physicist. The simple equation allows us to calculate an unknown value, if the two other variables are known. Whether voltage, current or resistance, any given two can be used to calculate the unknown quantity. For many apprentices, their



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first experience in electrical theory is based on calculating and then measuring volts, amps and ohms. As they finish their apprenticeship, the

Capstone Assessment draws on those fundamental relationships, from the design, to testing and fault finding.

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Yet we live in a time where there is ‘an App for everything’. True as that is, being able to quickly and accurately use Ohm’s Law to determine the characteristics of an electrical circuit, without reaching for your phone, is a basic but essential skill all electricians need. In fact, the first ten essential performance capabilities required for electrical licensing in Australia all relate to Ohm’s Law. Volt drop, current carrying capacity, insulation resistance – all require a working knowledge of Ohm’s Law. Certainly, modern calculators have made the math side easier, but when you find yourself up in a ceiling space, or in a switch room, a plant room or working on a bore pump in a paddock, using Ohm’s Law to determine a fault or to commission the system is still a must.

how does a law based on actual hardwired circuits still have relevance? We are still a long way off from ‘wireless’ power. Motors, transformers, apparatus and appliances still need an electrical supply. As we move from lower efficiency devices to higher efficiency ones, being able to resize cables, redesign control circuits and deploy new and emerging technologies, knowing how it was originally designed will remain an essential.

We stand on the cusp of a major shift in electrical use.

Electricity prices no doubt play a part in this changed behaviour, but social and corporate responsibility have become increasingly powerful drivers in developing new ways to shrink our carbon footprints. LED downlights, smart motor control, VFD/ VSDs, battery and inverter technology and hydrogen cells will all lead to a future of lower energy consumption. Yet the underpinning theory for all this technology remains a simple three-part equation. I=V/R.

From World War II, power usage in Australia rose year on year. But in the last ten years, we have seen a focus on reducing our energy consumption.

Ohm’s Law – it is still relevant in a wireless world.

What about in a wireless world? Where Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC and other touchless technologies are booming,

Steve Hall General Manager, College of Electrical Training


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HOW TO USE THEM EFFECTIVELY IN YOUR BUSINESS HAVE YOU EVER HAD A NEW EMPLOYEE WHO JUST DOESN’T SEEM TO FIT IN? IN THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS, THE POTENTIAL EMPLOYEE MAY HAVE TOLD YOU ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT TO HEAR; THEY ARE ALWAYS PUNCTUAL, RELIABLE, HARDWORKING AND THEY GET ALONG EASILY WITH MOST PEOPLE. Within a couple of weeks of that employee starting you see a different person. On a number of occasions your new employee has been showing up to work late without any good reason, and they have had heated arguments with their supervisor or team members about the best way to do things. Whilst they are a hard worker, you are concerned that this person is going to be ‘difficult’ to manage, and there is a good chance that they probably will not fit in with what the business wants to achieve in the long term.

What should you do now? Firstly, here are some of the legal requirements you need to consider before taking action.

What is a probation period? It is considered a trial period where the employer and employee assess whether the employment arrangement is going to work in the long term. The length of time required for a probation period will be specified in the Contract of Employment or Industrial Instrument, such as an Award or Enterprise Agreement; however, this is usually between three to six months. In general, employers use this period to assess an employee’s ability to do the job, his or her skills, standards, behaviours and cultural fit. On the flip side, an employee will be assessing you as an employer, what the work environment is like, whether they get along with their new team members, the support they receive from their manager, how the company treats its customers etc.



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The employer or employee will generally be able to end the employment relationship, by providing a period of notice that is less than what is required following the completion of the probation period.

Legally how does this work? Employers are protected under the Fair Work Act 2009 from employees claiming unfair dismissal, when the employee has worked for his or her employer for less than the minimum employment period. The minimum employment period is defined in the Fair Work Act as:  six months for employers who are not considered to be a small business employer; or  twelve months for employers who have less than fifteen employees and are considered a small business employer. (Note that this protection does not apply to sole traders and partnerships in WA who fall under the WA State system). It is important to note that if you are intending to terminate an employee’s employment during his or her

probation period, you must provide them with the appropriate period of notice before the six or twelve month minimum employment period expires. The Fair Work Act requires that the employer or employee is required to give the other party one weeks’ notice prior to terminating the employment arrangement.

Does this mean that an employer can terminate an employee for any reason during the Minimum Employment Period? In short, the answer is no. All relevant employment legislation such as Equal Employment Opportunity, AntiDiscrimination and general protection laws under the Fair Work Act during this period apply. For example, you cannot make a decision to dismiss an employee based on his or her gender, race or disability, or because they have exercised a workplace right such as raising a complaint relating to their employment or having to take sick leave.

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The employer should also consider whether the decision to terminate the employment relationship could be in breach of the employment contract. Therefore, it is important for the employer to be able to demonstrate that there is a lawful reason for the dismissal. Ok, so with the legal stuff covered, here are the main points on what should be considered when taking action to address your concerns about a new employee.

1. Don’t wait to take action You do not need to wait until the end of the probation period to discuss any concerns you may have about a new employee who is not meeting the performance or behavioural expectations. Depending on your concerns, and whether it is likely that these can be resolved, you should not hesitate to make a decision to dismiss an employee well before the probation period expires.

2. Make sure the employee understands why there is an issue As mentioned previously, it is important for the employer to be able to demonstrate that there is a lawful reason for dismissing an employee. A best practice approach to ensuring this occurs, is to do the following: 

Raise any concerns with the employee as they occur. Do not save a number of issues up to discuss at a later date. Have a meeting with the employee to discuss your concerns. Ask the employee if there is anything going on that you are not aware of. Allow the employee to respond to the specific concerns you have raised. Be specific on what actions the employee needs to take to resolve these concerns. Indicate to the employee what the potential outcome could be if the concerns are not resolved, e.g. terminating his or her employment.

Nyssa Starr Human Resources Manager ECA WA www.

3. Is an extension an option? It is, however you need to consider whether this is simply delaying a decision which is unavoidable and if this is fair on the employee. You should also consider the appropriate length of time required for any concerns to be resolved, if this is likely to happen and whether this will fall outside the minimum employment period of six or twelve months. Naturally as employers, we all want to see our employees succeed and grow. Having to implement an action such as dismissing an employee during his or her probation period, should be an exception to the rule. When it does happen, it can be costly to your company’s reputation. However, what is more costly in terms of productivity and time-consuming to manage, is having a permanent employee who does not ‘fit in’.

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



THE PANDEMIC SAW MANY EMPLOYEES LOOKING AT OPTIONS FOR GETTING A LITTLE BIT OF EXTRA FINANCIAL HELP. JOBKEEPER AND JOBSEEKER HELPED BUILD THAT BRIDGE, BUT WITH MANY FEELING THE PINCH AND A LOSS OR REDUCTION IN INCOME, SOME EMPLOYEES MAY HAVE DIPPED INTO THEIR SUPER EARLY. This may impact them at retirement. Canstar crunched the numbers for a person aged 45 with a superannuation balance of $80,000. When they withdrew $20,000, they could see $55,603* less in retirement. As an employer, you want the best for your employees. Here are some tips on how your employees can supercharge their super.

1. Add what you can (even it is only a small amount) Statistics show most of us don’t take an active role in our super, viewing retirement as something ‘too distant from now’ to be considered in current financial decisions. The earlier money is put into super, the more an employee will have when they retire. The money employers put into super is just a start - if an employee adds a bit more, it can make a huge difference. For example, adding $20 a week over 40 years could add an extra $125,000 to an employee’s super at retirement.

Remind employees that when they make super contributions, even voluntary contributions are locked away until they retire, except for certain circumstances. To find out more, visit MoneySmart ‘Super contributions Optimiser’ at

2. Combine your super ‘Lost super’ is a common issue for many employees. It’s easy for them to find their lost super - they can visit the Energy Super website or find more information on the ATO website. Combining their super into one fund saves employees time and money. They only have to pay one set of admin fees, have more control over their investment strategy and can more easily track their super to ensure they have enough for retirement.

Before combining their superannuation, employees should consider any insurance policies with their previous superannuation fund. They may want to apply to increase their insurance with Energy Super before consolidating their superannuation.

3. Government co-contribution up to $500 Low-income earning employees may be eligible for a co-contribution from the government. For example, if they earn less than $38,564 in this financial year and make a personal contribution of $1,000 (or more), the government will contribute the maximum amount of $500 into their super account. Employees don’t need to do anything. The contribution will automatically be applied when they complete their tax return. These tips will help your employees, following what has been a tough year. Even if they have taken the option of early release, there are still ways they can supercharge their super and minimise any impact on their retirement.

Damien Griggs Manager, Employer and Education Services Energy Super

*Source: Based on a starting gross annual income of $86,237, growing 2.1% annually, per ABS Weekly Earnings and Wage Price Index, retiring at age 67. Person’s wage is assumed to have decreased by 20% for the first two years of the simulation (so they qualify for the early access scheme) after which the person’s wage returns to their original wage. Early withdrawal amount of $20,000 for Scenario 1 is applied to balance at as $10,000 withdrawal at the start of the fourth quarter of the first year and a second $10,000 withdrawn at the start of the fourth quarter of the second year. Employer contributions are presumed taxed at 15%. SG contribution amounts per Government announced rates. Investment returns assumed to be 7.90% per APRA average 10-year annualised rate of return. Net performance deducts average fees calculated at the start of each year and based on products in Canstar’s database for the person’s age as a percentage of balance (to the nearest $20,000 up to a maximum of $140,000) to account for diminishing dollar based fees as the balance increases. Average life insurance premium of $189.34 is assumed charged at the end of each year, increasing annually by 2.5%, based on products in Canstar’s database for an average balance of $80k and age of 45 years old. End balances at retirement are shown in “today’s dollars”, i.e. they have been adjusted for inflation of 2.5%. Please note all information on income, annual superannuation fees and performance returns are used for illustrations purposes only. Actual returns and the value of your investment may fall as well as rise from year to year; this example does not take such variation into account. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is only general advice. It does not take into account your specific objectives, financial circumstances or needs. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your specific circumstances before taking any action. If you wish to obtain a financial product as a result of the general advice, you should obtain a Product Disclosure Statement in relation to that product before taking any action. You should consider obtaining specific advice before making any decisions with respect to financial products. Information in this document is accurate as at 30 April 2021. Issued by Electricity Supply Industry Superannuation (Qld) Ltd (ABN 30 069 634 439) (AFSL 336567) as the Trustee and issuer of Energy Super (ABN 33 761 363 685). If you need assistance, talk to one of our financial advisers. Any information or advice included in this message is provided by ESI Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 93 101 428 782) (AFSL 224952). ESI Financial Services Pty Ltd is a wholly owned entity of Energy Super.



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We’re the industry super fund that’s just the right size to deliver strong long term performance and personal connection. We exist to benefit members and our decisions We’re industry that’s just thefor right size aren’t the driven by thesuper need fund to generate profit shareholders. to deliver strong long term performance and personal We’re big enough to matter but small enough to care about your employees, that’s why we talk to over half of our connection. We exist to benefit members and our decisions members each year.

aren’t driven by the need to generate profit for shareholders. We’re big enough to matter but small enough to care about Scan QR code yourto employees, that’s why we talk to over half of our find out more members each year. Scan QR code to find out more


Income Protection:

As a proud industry super fund, we work to keep our fees low, so our profits go back to the members.

We offer short 14 day waiting periods with excellent claim rates and give access to a leading provider of income protection insurance.

WHY CHOOSE US FOR YOUR STAFF? Energy Care : We truly do care, that’s why we offer a Low Fees: complimentary service to all members for financial, physical and mental As atheir proud industry super fund, we work wellbeing, designed as a holistic to keep our fees low, so our profits go program to help members reach back to the and members. retirement make the most of their super.

Energy Care :

Personal Advice:

Income Protection:

If your employees would ever like some personalised theirwith We offer shortexpert 14 dayadvice waitingabout periods Energy Super Account over the phone they excellent claim rates and give access to can access our Single Issue Advice service aatleading provider income protection no extra cost. Orofthey can speak to our Financial Advisors*. To book an appointment insurance. visit our website or call us on 1300 436 374 between 8am-6pm AEST Monday to Friday.

Personal Advice: We truly do care, that’s why we offer a complimentary service to all members If your employees would ever like some for their financial, physical and mental expert advice about their For help or wellbeing, further information, please speak to Damien Griggs on 0458personalised 147 111 designed as a holistic or email For enquiries from Western Energy Super Account over the phone they program to help members Australia, please contact Steve Scott onreach 0437 398 432 or can access our Single Issue Advice service email retirement and make the most of their at no extra cost. Or they can speak to our super. Financial Advisors*. To book an appointment * Energy Super offers financial advice through ESI Financial Services (AFSL 224952), a wholly owned entity of Energy Super. Information in this document is current as at 26 April 2021. Electricity Supply Industry Superannuation (Qld) Ltd (ABN 30 069 634 439) (AFSL 336567) is the Trustee and issuer of Energy Super (ABN 33 761 363 685). visit Financial advicewebsite is provided byor ESI Financial Pty Ltd (ABN our call usServices on 1300 43693 101 374428 782) (AFSL 224952), a wholly owned entity of Energy Super. Any advice contained in this document is general in nature and not specific to your particular circumstances. You should consider your financial situation before acting on the advice. You should also obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). A PDS is available from or by calling 1300 436 374. While all due care and diligence between 8am-6pm AEST Monday to Friday. has been taken in the preparation of this document, the Trustee reserves the right to correct errors or omissions.


MENTAL HEALTH AND SMALL BUSINESS Running your own business can be hugely rewarding, but for many small business owners having sole responsibility for the company’s success or failure can take its toll.

MAKE THE MOST OF THE GREAT BUSINESS SAVINGS YOU RECEIVE THROUGH YOUR NECA MEMBERSHIP NECA provides a range of benefits to support your business operations, including discounts on mobile phone bills, health, business insurance, fleet vehicles, fuel and more*.

Are you considering a vehicle upgrade? As we near the end of another financial year, many businesses may look at upgrading their employees’ vehicles as part of their employment package. A vehicle purchased for the business has certain tax advantages for the business owner, whether the owner is the business or the employee. The ATO website provides a detailed outline of how to claim motor vehicle expenses. Depending on your business structure, you can claim expenses such as fuel and oil, repairs and servicing, interest on a vehicle loan, lease payments, insurance, registration and depreciation.1

It can make sense to buy a new vehicle. Most contractors require work vehicles, and if you use it solely in carrying out your business, and you are registered for GST, you are generally entitled to claim a GST credit.1 With a range of expenses being tax deductible, and instant asset write-off provisions in place for some vehicles, you could end up saving a bundle come 30 June. NECA members can save thousands of dollars, simply by purchasing a vehicle through one of our negotiated deals. Whether you are a sole trader or a large business, you can access these discounts through your NECA membership. You can also take advantage of NECA’s fuel scheme, which provides NECA members with great savings off the fuel pump price and stress-free record keeping. For more information contact the NECA Branch in your state, or visit the NECA website

While it can be tempting to focus all of your time and attention on your business, it’s also essential that you take care of yourself. As an employing small business owner, or sole trader, you can face a range of unique challenges that can affect your mental health and the mental health of your staff. Depending on the type of small business that you have, these challenges may include:  * Member benefits vary in each state. Contact your local NECA Branch to find out more.


PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE – DO YOU NEED IT? ARE YOU PAYING TOO MUCH? Have you considered Professional Indemnity insurance? Professional Indemnity provides your business with cover for mistakes made while delivering professional services that cause a financial loss for your customers. As a business owner, you may be providing a large range of professional services, either as a stand-alone service or as part of installation and maintenance work. When the time comes for renewal, take the time to review what professional services are included in your policy. Your policy may include services such as testing and tagging, design of PV solar systems, switchboards, security systems or event fire safety assessments. Even the preparation of plans, specifications, calculations and designs is considered to be professional services. Over 400 NECA members choose to insure their business through NECAGuard. Email or phone 1800 335 014 for more information.



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regularly putting in long hours and working intensely to meet the demands of your business or to get your business off the ground; undertaking business-related activities such as responding to business emails and calls after hours - blurring the boundaries between work and home; feeling isolated with not always having someone to share business worries with or with someone who can understand the demands of running a small business through experience; managing ongoing cash flow and financial issues, including chasing invoices and feeling concerned over where the next job is coming from; having multiple roles as well as managing the additional demands of administrative and government regulations - on top of everything else; and feeling responsible to yourself and to others such as family and employees who are being involved in the business to ensure it is successful.

It is important to take care of yourself and stay well as a small business owner so you can stay on top of your businesses demands as much as possible, and still have energy to enjoy life outside of work. If you are struggling with your mental health – you are not alone, get in touch with Heads Up. Visit

June 2021

mySchneider Contractor Program Simple. Innovative. Collaborative. Focusing on efficiency and innovation, the new mySchneider Contractor Program provides you with the tools and resources to drive profitable business growth. By joining the program, you will gain exclusive access to several benefits that range from increasing your day-to-day productivity to certifications that will help establish yourself as a trusted expert with your customers. Here you will find: • Educational resources and personalised training paths • End to end self-service tools and software • Priority product support Through the program, you’ll also gain preferential access to Schneider’s latest innovation and offers, as well as the opportunity to join Schneider Electric Exchange. A global platform that brings industry experts and peers together into a new digital ecosystem for collaborative interactions to drive innovation. Through the mySchneider Contractor Program, you will also gain eligibility to become a Schneider Electric EcoXpert. EcoXpert partners deliver expert competencies for EcoStruxure solutions and services all over the world.

The mySchneider Contractor Program provides differentiated benefits, rewarding business performance, and innovation achieved by ability. Benefits


Premier Plus


Delivery & Quotation Support




Digital Platforms & Tools




Training & Education




Commercial policy











Reward program Innovations & Offers Earlier access & test to our newest offers

Exposure & promotion VIP events invitation, Case Studies, marcom collaterals © 2021 Schneider Electric. All Rights Reserved. Life is On and Schneider Electric are trademarks and the property of Schneider Electric SE, its subsidiaries and affiliated companies.



THE NATURAL EVOLUTION OF THE VIDEO CALL? COVID-19 HAS DRIVEN AN INCREASED SHIFT TO ONLINE COMMUNICATION, WITH MANY PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES PERMANENTLY CHANGING THE WAY THEY CONNECT. WITH UK RESEARCH SHOWING A LEVEL OF DISSATISFACTION WITH VIDEO CALLS, HOLOGRAPHIC TECHNOLOGY MAY BE THE NEXT EVOLUTIONARY STEP FOR COMMUNICATIONS. In April this year, Virgin Media’s futuristic, UK-based ‘Two Hearts Pizzeria’ hosted the world’s first holographic dinner. The pizzeria’s two venues, located at London’s Southbank and Edinburgh’s Castle Street, offered loved ones living almost 650km apart, the chance to reunite after a year of pandemic restrictions.

Holographic technology The cutting-edge technology involves projecting life-size 3D holograms, enabling people to see, hear and interact with each other in real-time, as though they were seated together at the same table. The experience makes people feel that they are together in-person, with the live hologram seamlessly appearing opposite them, enabling eye contact without staring at a screen.

A glimpse of the future. Photo source: Virgin Media



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It seems that the unique dining experience offers a glimpse of a not-so-distant future. Dr James Bellini, Futurologist and tech forecaster, has predicted that hologram technology will become commonplace in UK homes by 2030. “Advancements in technology and lightning-speed broadband mean that pioneering forms of connectivity, such as holograms, are now viable options for when we want to feel closer to those we’re not physically able to be with. With technology moving as quickly as it is now, it wouldn’t be strange for holograms to be commonplace in UK households by the turn of the decade.” Virgin Media’s initiative followed their research findings that “half (50%) of Brits are ‘bored’ of video calls with

63% saying they don’t give them the level of interaction they want. Nearly a third (31%) of Brits say they’d prefer to keep in touch via hologram as it would help them feel closer (23%) and more connected (24%).”

What does this mean for contractors? While the UK experience has focused on loved ones separated by the pandemic, the technology’s potential has far-reaching implications. Dr Bellini has noted, “Holograms can enhance our lives by removing barriers to human connection, be that screens or distance. A more frequent use of the tech could revolutionise the workplace, our social lives and events, travel and leisure or dining experiences. Having a 3D life-size, real-time connection with someone via hologram opens up a world of possibility.” Australia has a way to go before its telecommunications infrastructure can support mainstream access to holographic technology. Despite this, the technology’s availability poses interesting questions, and potentially significant opportunities, for the next generation of electrical and communications contractors who will be essential to its implementation. Now is the time for contractors to look to the future and think about how they can position their business to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving world.

June 2021

CHAMPION PRO G3 DESIGNED FOR RECREATIONAL FIELDS AND AREA LIGHTING True to its name, the new Champion Pro G3 floodlight provides excellent spill light control and project flexibility. It is an ideal choice for a wide range of new and existing installations - in sports and other areas.

Recreational sports

Multi-sports halls

Apron spaces

Transportation & industrial areas +61 1300 139 965 |



FlexSelect is Schneider Electric’s online interface for configuring and ordering distribution boards instantly – the power to design and order is in your hands.

The WAGO Gelbox is a compact box pre-filled with silicone-free 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. Conventional potting compounds like polyurethane and silicone also meet IPX8 requirements.

Schneider Electric are pleased to announce the launch of a new and improved version of FlexSelect, which boasts an easy-to-use interface for faster configuration. More design options are now available, including several metering options and loose components including smart solutions.

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 silicone-based gel, the WAGO Gelbox’s silicone-free gel supports a virtually unlimited number of applications.

Our distribution boards are manufactured and dispatched within five business days (for most selections). Breakers come fitted and limited control wiring and other options are available, allowing you to install immediately and meet project deadlines. Instant access to drawings, including control schematics, and extensive options with a choice of IP42 and IP66 enclosures in X15 Orange, N42 Grey, or natural stainless steel are available. Choose from standard encapsulated, isobar or hybrid chassis options.

THORN LIGHTING – BASE PRO LED Base Pro is the latest generation of downlights for functional lighting from the Zumtobel Group. Unsurpassed in lighting quality and energy efficiency of up to 100lm/W, the new range has colour rendering greater than 90%.


Base Pro is the latest generation of downlights for functional lighting from

the Zumtobel Group. Unsurpassed in lighting quality and energy efficiency Base Pro has a discrete design. It’s completely sealed with an ingress protection of 44 and is of up toin100lm/W, thesizes: new 100mm, range has colour greater 90%. available three cut-out 150mm andrendering 200mm. To achievethan greater flexibility, the Base Pro family was developed with various lumen outputs ranging from 1000lm to over Base Pro has a discrete design. It’s completely sealed with an ingress protection 3000lm. This ready to install fitting is supplied with a remote DALI driver and is the perfect base of 44 and is available in three cut-out sizes: 100mm, 150mm and 200mm. To for any new or existing office projects and retail applications. achieve greater flexibility, the Base Pro family was developed with various lumen outputs ranging from 1000lm to over 3000lm. This ready to install fitting is supplied with a in remote DALI driver and is the perfect IMAGE:​ (please see attachment) base for any new or existing office projects and retail applications. WEBSITE:​ (product will be there by the time this article go live)



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NECA NEWS June 2021  

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