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September 2020




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IN tHIS ISSUe SEPTEMBER 2020 09 09 12 14 16

Welcome to the New-Look NECA News A Word From the President News in Brief Powering Up the Australian Economy Industry Growth Opportunities, How to Get in on the Action

22 Capturing the Attention of the Next Generation

NSW/ACT BRANCH 24 Branch Update 24 Renewable Energy Zones to Generate Work for Electrical Contractors

25 Building and Construction Industry

Security of Payment Regulation 2020

26 NECA Innovates in Online Training in Response to COVID-19

28 ASPs Need to Comply With Safety Observer Requirements

30 SafeWork NSW Inspectors are Targeting Mobile Crane Safety in 2020

31 Business Insurance Tips 32 Women in Construction 34 Meet ACT’s New Business Development Manager

34 ACT Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan 35 Air Conditioning and Ventiliation During Bushfires and Coronavirus

QLD BRANCH 36 Branch Update 37 A Word From the Electrical Safety Office 37 New Mechanical Services Licence



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







L4,30 Atchison Street, St Leonards NSW 2065

49 Tennant Street Fyshwick ACT 2609

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14 SA/NT BRANCH 38 Branch Update 40 Employing an Apprentice Checklist 40 Event Updates and Calendar TAS BRANCH 42 Branch Update 42 Electrical Training in Tasmania 44 The Value of Group Training in Uncertain Times

44 Event Updates and Calendar VIC BRANCH 46 Branch Update 46 Energy Safe Victoria Update 48 Industry Update, a Snapshot of

Victoria’s Economy in the Midst of a Pandemic

50 Say Yes, Work Hard, and Make Your Own Luck

52 The Future of Renewable Power in Victoria Remains Strong

52 Event Updates and Calendar 53 COVID-19 Work Downturn Options for Businesses

54 COVID-19 a Potential Workers’ Compensations Matter

HEALTH & SAFETY 66 Getting Back to Good Electrical Survival Habits

68 Silicosis, the New Asbestosis

BUSINESS 80 Business In Brief 82 A ‘Smart’ Way to Diversify Your Business

84 Can Digital Tools Give Your WA BRANCH 56 Branch Update 58 Unfair Contract Terms for Small Businesses

59 Everett Smith, Creating a Cultural Legacy

60 Western Power Update 61 Switchboard Requirements for

Small Strata Lot Developments

62 Working at Heights 64 Event Updates and Calendar 65 Pre-Apprenticeships in WA



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WORKPLACE RELATIONS 71 Minimum Wage Increases

85 Is Your Business Compliant

HUMAN RESOURCES 72 The Reality of Redundancy

TOOLS OF THE TRADE 86 Tools of the Trade

TECH TALK 74 A New Era of Switchboards 76 Swimming Pool Bonding Requirements 78 What You Need to Know About the

HEALTH & WELLBEING 88 How to Ask R U OK? 88 Resetting Your Body Clock 89 Your Body is Your Most

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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.

According to the IEC/EN standards

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NEW-LOOK NECA NEWS IT IS FINALLY HERE! THE NEW NECA NEWS IS NOW THE SINGLE VOICE FOR THE NATIONAL ELECTRICAL AND COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION (NECA), AND THE ELECTRICAL AND COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY IN AUSTRALIA. Building on the NECA Branch publications you will all be familiar with, NECA News now brings together insights and expertise from every state and territory across the country.

industry news, technologies, regulatory updates and practical solutions related to owning and operating a contracting business. You can also register for events and access special reader offers.

In many ways, the timing of this new magazine could not have been better, as we all work together as an industry and reconnect through the lens of the pandemic.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our inaugural issue advertisers. Without your support, we would not be able to share this valuable resource with electrical and communications industry professionals across the country:

Although NECA News has gone nationwide, we are still thinking local. We continue to value local connections and local communities. If you’ve got something specific to share about what’s happening in your corner of the country, let us know. We’d love to hear from you. We are also going online with the new NECA News. Each issue of the online magazine will be packed full of additional digital resources to support the latest

ACRS, ADM Instrument Engineering, APS Industrial, Brooks, CABAC, CET, Clipsal, Emona Instruments, Energy Super, FireSense, Lawrence & Hanson, Mean Well, Milwaukee Tools, NECA Education and Careers, NECA Training and Apprenticeships, NESS Super, NHP, Protect, R N Baker Switchboards, Schneider Electric, simPRO, Uniquip, WEX Motorpass, Zedflo, Zumtobel Group.

This magazine would also not be possible without the contributions of NECA experts and industry specialists. Or, without the ongoing support of NECA members, a number of whom are featured in this issue. In this launch issue of NECA News we also take a look at what electrical contractors can do right now to capitalise on new business opportunities, what NECA is doing to support industry on the back of COVID-19, and some of the regulatory changes and standards that will impact our industry over the coming months. Look out for the December issue of NECA News where we announce our 2020 National Apprentice Awards.

Take care and enjoy! The NECA News team


We are thrilled to share with you the first nationwide edition of NECA News.

this happen - it has been many years in the making.

The move to a national magazine provides the Australian electrical and communications industry with an even stronger platform to inform, educate and advocate on behalf of NECA members and the wider electrotechnology sector in Australia.

The publication you are reading today builds on the individual NECA Branch publications that have kept members informed for decades. This launch issue truly is the culmination of the efforts of every NECA Branch across the country and our extensive network of industry experts.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to all those involved in making

We hope NECA News is a valuable resource for you and your business.


We welcome your ongoing input and ask that you contact the NECA News team with your ideas, insights and experiences.

Bruce Duff NECA President

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

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NEWS IN BRIEF FEDERAL ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S POST-CORONAVIRUS INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS REVIEW The federal government’s JobMaker plan is a targeted package to get workers back into jobs. Part of this plan is to explore reforms to Australia’s industrial relations system. Five Industrial Relations Working Groups have been set up and tasked with finding ways to urgently regrow jobs lost as a result of COVID-19. NECA has made a formal submission to the working groups convened by the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon. Christian Porter MP. The submissions address matters concerning:

UPCOMING 2020 NATIONAL NECA APPRENTICE AWARDS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN DECEMBER Some of the industry’s best and brightest electrical apprentices will be recognised on 9 December 2020, when NECA announces the winners of this year’s National Apprentice Awards. For more than three decades the NECA awards have recognised and rewarded apprentices and their employers for outstanding performance and commitment to the electrotechnology industry. The awards present an opportunity for those nominated and winning apprentices to stand out from the crowd and be recognised for their dedication, hard work and commitment in this challenging industry. These awards are also an opportunity for employers, who have dedicated time, effort and resources to the future of our industry by nurturing and supporting their workers, to gain recognition from their peers and the community. The 2020 Apprentice Awards will recognise apprentices across three categories - Commercial/ Domestic, Communications and Industrial. Look out for details of the winners in the December issue.



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 

Casuals and fixed-term employees Award simplification (covering Awards in industry sectors heavily impacted by COVID-19)

Enterprise agreement making

Compliance and enforcement

Greenfields agreements for new enterprises.

You can review NECA’s submissions online at

NOT SURE ABOUT THE MEANING OF A BUILDING TERM? THERE’S A NEW WAY TO LOOK IT UP To bring further clarity and consistency to industry, Standards Australia, alongside the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), has launched a National Dictionary of Building and Plumbing Terms. The online dictionary combines terms and definitions from the National Construction Code (NCC), Australian (or joint AS/NZS) Standards, and Handbook 50:2004 Glossary of Building Terms. Future enhancements to the dictionary will seek to expand the content, such as relevant terminology used in state and territory building legislation. This next stage emanates directly from the 2018 Building Confidence Report and forms part of the National Implementation Framework agreed to by the Building Ministers’ Forum.



MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF CONTRACTOR LICENCES NECA has praised the State and Federal Treasurers for agreeing at National Cabinet to harmonise their laws so qualifications are recognised nationwide with the aim of having the barriers removed by 1 January 2021. This will allow tradespeople and vocational workers to cross state borders more easily and offer increased business opportunities. Different licence requirements in different states has been a major burden for contractors and NECA has long called for harmonisation of licensing to support labour mobility. NECA’s Pre-Budget Submission called for a single national occupational licensing scheme for electrical and communications contractors, which would ensure the ability and freedom for them to work freely across Australia and would remove significant red tape. We welcome the National Cabinet’s decision and urge state governments to expedite the legislative changes required to make this a reality for hardworking tradies across the country.

PAYMENT TIMES REPORTING SCHEME NOW A REALITY NECA has welcomed the federal government’s Payment Times Reporting Scheme, saying it is an important step in ensuring small to medium enterprises (SMEs) get paid in full and on time but cautioned that it must not mire business in red tape. NECA has long called for improved policy to strengthen security of payment for SMEs, and its efforts were acknowledged in the Senate’s Payment Times Reporting Bill 2020, which introduced the new Scheme. Under the Scheme, large businesses and applicable government enterprises with a total annual income of over $100 million will have to report publicly on how and when they pay their small business suppliers. This Scheme will provide unprecedented transparency and will show Australians how big businesses pay their suppliers. NECA said the Scheme will bring much needed transparency to business payments and help hard working SMEs, but warned it must be simple for businesses to report so it does not become a barrier to big business working with SMEs. NECA will be working with government to ensure the Scheme is not an unnecessary burden on larger businesses while ensuring it fulfils its aim of protecting payments to smaller businesses. The Scheme is a positive sign of progress and NECA will continue to advocate for additional protections including further improvements to security of payments, trust account schemes for construction industry project work and enhanced unfair contract term protections. The Scheme will begin on 1 January 2021.

WORKING TOGETHER FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY THIS OCTOBER Each October, Safe Work Australia invites workplaces to take part and focus on health and safety at work during National Safe Work Month.

and reflects the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on Australian businesses, employers and workers.

It’s an opportunity to build awareness of work health and safety, encourage discussion about safety at work and share best practice.

Workplaces have had to quickly adapt their practices and procedures to reduce the WHS risks arising from COVID-19 and to manage the psychological effects of the pandemic on workers.

This year’s theme, Work Health and Safety through COVID-19, acknowledges

It’s easy to get involved – visit, download


the National Safe Work Month campaign kit and use the resources to promote work health and safety in your workplace.

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POWERING UP THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY, TOGETHER COVID-19 HAS HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY IMPACT ON THE ELECTROTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY IN AUSTRALIA. THROUGHOUT THIS TIME, NECA HAS BEEN ADVOCATING ON BEHALF OF THE INDUSTRY TO ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT FOR INITIATIVES THAT WILL SUPPORT BUSINESS, PROTECT AND ENCOURAGE JOBS AND DRIVE POSITIVE CHANGE NOW, AND IN THE LONG TERM. The effects of COVID-19 have been felt all over the world. In Australia, it has resulted in the first recession in almost 30 years. The Australian federal government has committed $314 billion and the state and territories $44 billion (as of August 2020) to help the economy and community cope with the impacts of the pandemic and get the country back on its feet. Electrotechnology is an essential industry that services all parts of the community, from homes to offices, schools and hospitals. The ’essential’ nature of our sector has shielded the industry from total shutdown.

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NECA’s Four Point Plan to ‘Power the Economy’ On the back of industry research, NECA released a four-point plan that outlines measures that can be introduced to support business and encourage jobs. Our plan emphasises that the nation’s recovery must be led by local businesses, working within their local areas to rebuild and restore their local economies. This will foster long-term resilience, productivity and competitiveness.

Our industry has however not been exempt from the impacts of COVID-19. Our industry has experienced job losses, supply chain shortages, increased contractual and legal risks, industrial risks, reduced productivity (due to physical distancing and increased health requirements), and a heightened level of uncertainty and increased NECA’s plan includes: cautiousness amongst consumers to  Backing small business through engage contractors targeted economic stimulus – for electrical work/ supporting local businesses to work in projects. These localto areas to ∫rebuild local economies Review Vocational Education and that only the Government commit a impacts have THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON RESPONDENT BUSINESSES Training landscape; comprehensive pipeline of ‘nation and local communities; been amplified ∫ Streamline Security of Payment building’ infrastructure across by long-standing in line with the Murray Review Australia.  Unlocking a pipeline of infrastructure 40% policy and Unlocking systemic recommendations; Infrastructure and superto generate jobs and economic 35% ∫ Introduce legislation in relation to a business Initiatives: issues thatcharging require activity; low-cost Retention of Money Trust ∫ Unlocking and fast-tracking a pipeline 25% urgent government Account scheme for the building and of major infrastructure ‘shovel Taxation and regulatory system intervention, further construction sector; ready’ projects for medium to large 20% ∫ Moratorium on liquidated damages the economy to what has businesses already to stimulatereforms to ensure a sustainable 15% provisions as well as flexibility for the e.g. Government construction been put in place. and self-sufficient economy that Extension of Time (EoT) provisions; projects, large scale renewable energy 10% encourages consumer and ∫ Incentiviseconfidence onshore manufacturing generation, local Government works NECA has been 5% investment; andto ensure supply chain certainty; and across metropolitan, regional and successfullyremote Australia. ∫ Abolish all payroll tax. 0%  Energising No Minor Moderate Signifi cant Prioritise these projects, reducing the future through advocating∫ on behalf impact impact impact impact tape and removing institutional 4.ENERGISING THE FUTURE of members red to all supporting a diverse workforce, labour 1 to 5 employees 6 to 20 employees Independent contractor road blocks such as simplifying and The COVID-19 crisis is re-defining levels of government mobility, training and development. streamlining planning systems, the future profi le of the electrical 21 to 50 employees 50+ employees for critical stimulus improving Government coordination and communications industry, andnew increasing collaboration with compounding existing skills shortages. initiatives and


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infrastructure projects. NECA’s view is that a sustainable COVID-19 safe recovery requires additional and longerterm projects. Given the benefits, size and contributions of our sector, NECA calls upon all levels of government to introduce industry-based initiatives and funding streams that will help to kickstart our economy.

Despite the quiet optimism that businesses will eventually recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the research paints a sobering picture with few 14 Wa opportunities on the horizon and pipeline of work expected to dry up within 3-6 months. Consequently, the industry looks toward Government for leadership.


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The complex industry-wide impact of COVID-19 on SMEs must be properly recognised and an urgent response by Government is needed to jump-start the industry, support jobs and boost business. Small Business Jump-Start Initiatives:

financial institutions.

3. REGULATORY, TAXATION AND SYSTEMIC REFORM The COVID-19 crisis has exposed and amplified a number of systemic regulatory and taxation issues. NECA calls upon all levels of Government to

NECA asserts that this presents an excellent opportunity to encourage young people into the industry as well as reskilling prospective apprentices SEPTEMBER from other aff ected vocations.2020 Resilient Energy Future Initiatives: ∫ Federal Government to develop


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NECA COVID-19 INDUSTRY IMPACT SURVEY NECA IS ACTIVELY ENGAGING WITH OUR MEMBERS AND THE BROADER INDUSTRY TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT COVID-19 IS HAVING ON OUR INDUSTRY. NECA surveyed 470 representatives of the electrical and communications industry during May 2020 on their experience operating within COVID-19. Businesses that responded to the survey represent more than 10,000 employees across all States and Territories, as well as remote, regional and metropolitan Australia. The results of the survey have informed the evidencebased solutions proposed by NECA to drive a nationwide economic recovery. Look out for updated industry insights from NECA’s September COVID-19 Industry Impact Survey.


93.8% of businesses said COVID-19 has had an impact on their business, with most experiencing a significant or moderate impact. Almost 50% of businesses have reduced employee work hours to buffer the impact of COVID-19. 80% of all businesses surveyed have seen a negative financial impact as a result of COVID-19 with one in five experiencing a reduction in revenue of more than 50%. All areas of the electrotechnology industry have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.



93.8% of businesses said COVID-19 has had an impact on their business with most experiencing a significant or moderate impact Almost 50% of businesses have reduced employee work hours to buffer the impact of COVID-19 80% of all businesses surveyed have seen a negative financial impact as a result of COVID-19 with one in five experiencing a reduction in revenue of more than 50% All areas of the electrotechnology industry have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic Businesses are concerned about the future pipeline of work, with more than 50% of new projects and installations impacted and at least 80% of work underway due to come to an end within 6 months Opportunities for future work is uncertain with 70% less tender opportunities compared to last year A majority of respondents are somewhat confi dent their WWW.NECA.ASN.AU business will recover, however see Government support as critical to industry recovery Almost 60% of businesses have

Businesses are concerned about the future pipeline of work, with more than 50% of new projects and installations impacted and at least 80% of work underway due to come to an end within 6 months. Opportunities for future work is uncertain with 70% less tender opportunities compared to last year. A majority of respondents are somewhat confident their business will recover, however see government support as critical to industry recovery. Almost 60% of businesses have applied for government assistance, with a further 7% intending to apply. 70% of respondents believe investment in infrastructure and construction is required to stimulate the economy, however any stimulus must be supported by regulatory reform. 36.2% of respondents believe extending apprentice subsidies to all businesses and the provision of adult apprentice wage subsidies (27.9%) will assist in the COVID-19 recovery. Regulatory reform is key to moving forward with 28.9% of respondents seeking adoption of a uniformed approach to Security of Payment laws. Other ways respondents believe government can support business include: introduction of Unfair Contracts legislation (24.3%); introduction of a moratorium on liquidated damages (21.3%) and a relaxation of Extension of Time provisions (14.7%).

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In today’s world, there are many courses on offer. With so much available, how do we know which learning opportunities are right for us?

future consideration, but there are many opportunities you can access right now.

Consider how your interests connect with growth industries and sectors where government and the community are investing. This will help you capitalise on areas with significant prospects both now and into the future. To get you started, we’ve provided an overview of some opportunities that you can start moving into today.

One of the unexpected outcomes has been a rare opportunity for us to stop and look at what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and the other options that might be available. Sometimes we’ve looked for temporary changes to see us through the crisis, but in many cases, we’re also planning and making decisions that will shape the future direction of our careers and businesses. Planning can be a challenge at the best of times and with rapid changes and ongoing uncertainty, predicting the future is harder than ever. The reality is we don’t know how long the COVID crisis will last, or what life will look like when it’s run its course. Given that, it makes sense to position our businesses and industry to be resilient, flexible, adaptable and equipped to take on opportunities as they arise. Fortunately, there are plenty of prospects for electrical and communications contractors. Some are still evolving for



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If you’re looking for growth opportunities, the best place to start is with building your skills and knowledge. And if business has been a bit quieter of late, now is the perfect time to make that investment.

Skill Building – a Vehicle for Business Growth NECA has always championed a variety of training courses so you can keep your skills current and relevant. Courses serve two purposes: 1. They help you upgrade and broaden your skills to become better at your current work (upskilling); and 2. They provide additional skills that increase your capabilities and move you and your business into new areas (reskilling).

Start by thinking about the areas you have a genuine interest in. Would you like to expand on your current work areas or are you looking for something different?

Accessible Business Opportunities Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Energy efficiency and renewable energy continues to be one of the fastest-growing markets, with government, enterprise and residential consumers investing in this space. As technology costs drop, and new forms of energy become the norm, each year an increasing number of consumers are exploring renewable energy and efficiency options. According to the


Completion of this course provides four units of competency (UEENEEK123A, UEENEEK128A, UEENEEK134A and UEENEEK139A). It is generally expected that students will have completed Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems prior to completing the Standalone course. The Grid-Connected course includes unit UEENEEK125A, which is the fifth unit of competency needed to meet the CEC’s requirements for Standalone Power System Design and Install accreditation.

Data and Communications The world has become more digital than ever, with new innovative services under development and increasing amounts of data being consumed every year.

Clean Energy Council, in 2019, renewable energy made up 24% of our electricity generation, providing almost 23,000 jobs. For contractors, the areas currently seeing considerable growth include: solar panel installations, solar water heaters and air-source heat pump systems, battery back-up and the installation and testing of renewable energy equipment and systems. There are also opportunities in concentrated solar thermal, wind, hydro, biomass, wave energy and geothermal technology. In Australia, there are a number of standards and legislative requirements that apply to the sector, which require installers to be trained, licensed and accredited. If you’re interested in this sector you should consider the following courses. Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems This nationally-accredited course provides knowledge and practical skills in designing and installing, setting-up, testing, fault-finding, repairing and maintaining grid-connected photovoltaic systems. It meets all the requirements for Clean Energy Council (CEC) Accreditation. The three units of competency (UEENEEK125A, UEENEEK135A and UEENEEK148A) also contribute to the


completion of relevant Certificate III, Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications from the current UEE11 Electrotechnology Training Package. Battery Storage for Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems This nationally-accredited course follows on from Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems. It provides knowledge and practical skills for designing, installing, fault-finding and repairing battery storage systems for grid-connected photovoltaic systems. Completion of this course provides two units of competency (UEERE4001 and UEERE5001) and meets the CEC’s requirements for Battery Storage endorsement. Standalone Power System Install and Design This nationally-accredited course is for people wishing to design and install power supply systems that are not connected to the grid. The course covers the renewable resources available and Australian Standards and industry guidelines and provides the skills to select and match components, design, install and maintain standalone power systems to meet customers’ requirements.

The way we interact with each other, and interact with the things we use in day-to-day life, is changing. In addition to advances in mobile device technology, desktop computers and e-infrastructure, data and communications are becoming increasingly integral to cars, heating/ cooling systems and domestic appliances as well as industrial and commercial equipment and machinery. This trend is set to continue and regardless of whether you work in the residential, commercial or industrial sectors, networking, data and voice cabling is likely to be a part of your future work. Having skills in this area has now become a necessity. In Australia all cabling work, including telephone, data, Internet of Things (IoT), fire and security alarm systems cabling, that connects with the telecommunications network must be performed by a registered cabler or under the direct supervision of a registered cabler. The following courses can get you started. Open Registration Course To become registered, you will need to complete an Open Cabling Registration Course. This course (UEENEEF102A) covers skills in wiring rules, telephony and switching systems, cabling design, installing cabling from socket to socket, terminating cables, equipotential bonding and maintaining cabling records.

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INDUSTRY’S GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES Once you receive your course statement of attainment, you can apply for a registered cabler licence through the Australian Cabler Registration Service: An Open Cabling Registration Licence enables you to install and maintain telephone, security and fire alarm cabling in a range of premises; however, there are additional endorsements required for structured cabling, coaxial cabling, or optical fibre installations. Structured and Coaxial Cabling Structured and coaxial cabling are two separate endorsements that can be added to your Open Cabling Registration. The course (UEENEEF104A) builds on the knowledge gained during the Open Registration Course and gives greater insight and detail in structuring telecommunications infrastructure and installing, terminating and testing category 5/6/7 structured and coaxial cabling. Optical Fibre Optical Fibre is another endorsement that can be added to your Open Cabling Registration. This course (ICTCBL302) provides the skills to pace, secure, test and terminate optical fibre cable in new installations and upgrade existing networks in domestic, commercial and industrial installations. It includes installing multiple data lines and backbones using optical fibre cabling,


terminating at distributors, splices and on socket outlets, testing and compliance checks and completing cabling documentation.

providers. For further information, contractors are encouraged to check with the relevant regulatory authority in their state, or local NECA Branch.

Security and CCTV

Smart Microgrids

Home and business owners are increasingly wanting to secure their premises and their data. New innovation opportunities, driven by improved connective technology, is making it easier than ever for consumers to invest.

As we enter a new decade the way we use and distribute electricity is changing. In order to adapt, electricians will need to be equipped, and learn as much as possible about smart microgrids. Smart microgrids are all about interconnectivity and how to integrate multiple different services and technologies into the electricity grid. Additionally, they find new ways to integrate technology with our day-to-day life and activities.

There are several areas of major expansion. Improved image quality, improved affordability and user-friendly remote access are making CCTV systems increasing popular in both residential and business settings. Integrated intercom, access controls and electric gates are also becoming more common in residential homes. Cyber and information security is considered a significant area, with annual growth expected to be around 15%. Home automation, integration and all-in-one solutions have also showed an important growth trend. With the security market expected to continue to grow, it is worth thinking about how you can include security as part of your business offering. To supply, install, maintain, monitor, repair and service security equipment, different licensing or certifications apply in all states and territories. Many state and territory requirements involve completing courses through registered

For example, imagine driving home and when you enter a defined radius, your electric car talks to your house letting it know you’re almost there. Your house responds by switching on the air conditioning (and other services you may need) ready for your arrival. Once home, and you’ve plugged your car in, your house will determine the best place to draw power – it may be from the grid or perhaps it accesses unused capacity in your car. Scenarios like this are a small taste of things to come. Smart microgrids also feed into Industry 4.0, a major area of government investment and collaboration. Considered to be the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 explores how our physical world connects with the digital one. It includes: advanced automation and robotics, machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication, virtual reality systems, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, sensor technology and data analytics. This sector is rapidly growing and will play a significant role in the industry in coming years. Contractors working in this space will need to be multidisciplined with skills including renewable energy, information technology, communications, air conditioning, programming and automation for homes and industries. They will also need to be innovative and use critical thinking skills to identify new applications for the technology they’re installing. Now is the time to get in front of the game. To position yourself for this emerging field there are several places you can start. In addition to renewable energy, data/ communications and security options,



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you can complete the Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) Course or a Certificate IV in Instrumentation. The accredited PLC course (UEENEEI150A) provides the skills and knowledge to develop, install and test programs for programmable logic controllers and industrial systems requiring advanced control functions. PLC units can contribute towards completion of the Certificate IV Instrumentation. The Certificate IV Instrumentation is a nationally-accredited qualification that delivers training, skills and knowledge in the functional operation, calibration and fault finding of basic industrial instrumentation and electrical equipment. Students receive a number of competencies including: UEENEEK145A, UEENEEE038B, UEENEEE117A, UEENEEE124A, UEENEEI101A, UEENEEI102A, UEENEEI103A, UEENEEI104A and UEENEEI105A. While we’ve summarised some opportunities that apply Australia-wide, there are also a number of state-specific options. For example, in New South Wales Accredited Service Provider (ASP) training is available, which enables electricians to work with electric power lines, connecting homes and commercial premises. Contact your local NECA Branch to explore what is available.

Thinking Outside the Box There are also exciting opportunities in aligned industries that can expand your electrotechnology options. The increasing use of remotely-piloted aircraft systems, otherwise known as drones or UAVs, is just one example. Drones require a significant amount of training and expertise to operate correctly and safely within the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA) rules and regulations. They are used for a wide variety of purposes across a range of different industries including power utilities, construction, renewable energy, mining and resources and asset inspections. As technology improves, the unmanned aviation industry is expected to grow significantly, creating high demand for trained pilots with specialised, industryspecific skills. This trend doesn’t just apply to Australia - it is worldwide. Obtaining your Remote Pilot Licence is the first step to being able to operate drones for commercial or business purposes. The course includes


aerodynamics, navigation, air law, radio operations, meteorology, risk assessments and planning. Completing this course will enable you to pursue employment opportunities in the industry or use the qualification as a stepping stone into further studies.

Critical Business Skills Estimating Know-How Building your business doesn’t just require technical skills; it also relies on business management skills such as estimating. The estimating process aims to help you plan for and successfully complete your projects – whether they are small or large. It helps you identify the expected delivery costs including time and materials. It also helps plan how long a job will take and the steps involved, identify work to be contracted out and consider potential cashflow issues. People with good estimating skills also know how to prepare a quote or tender response that provides a clear picture of the project. Ensuring everyone is clear about the project scope, timing and costs, before the job starts, helps to build and maintain good customer relationships. To build your skills, look for courses that provide the theory as well as practical experience working through an estimate. The content should cover receiving a request for a quote or tender document right through to final submission.

Whether you’re a sole trader or working as part of a larger contracting business (or thinking about going into business), accurately estimating a project is an essential skill for success. Getting your Electrical Contractors Licence Many electricians are also taking time to explore options to start their own contracting businesses. For an electrician to contract and advertise to do work, they must first complete what is required to secure an electrical contractor licence in their state or territory. All states and territories have the same base electrician qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology; but to get your electrical contractor’s licence, the necessary training course requirements (through an RTO), local authorising bodies, fees and minimum on-the-tools experience post-qualification, all differ. Electrical contractor licence training ensures electricians have the skills to manage an electrical contracting business, including an understanding of relevant statutory and legislative requirements, small business finances, and how to operate and manage large and small scopes of electrical contracting work. If you’re unclear about what is required in your state or territory, contact your local NECA Branch.

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INDUSTRY’S GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES Refresher Courses Checking and Testing an Electrical Installation To minimise risk of harm, all installations must comply with the Australian and New Zealand Electrical Installations Standards (AS/NZS 3000). As part of compliance requirements, all new electrical installations and any modification to existing installations (such as repairs and upgrades), must be tested before being put into service or use. To keep your skills current, it is suggested that you complete a checking and testing course annually. This is a good investment for any business. First Aid and Low-Voltage Rescue Being able to respond to an incident is a valuable skill both in work situations and in the broader community. There are a couple of options available to contractors. The nationally-accredited Provide First Aid (HLTAID003) course includes responding to an emergency situation, applying first aid procedures, communicating incident details appropriately and evaluation of the incident and personal performance once the incident is over. Going hand-in-hand with first aid, the nationally accredited Perform Rescue from a Live LV Panel course (UETTDRRF06) provides skills and knowledge to perform rescue procedures from live LV apparatus in the workplace (not including overhead lines and underground cables). Both courses include accredited training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in line with the Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines. They provide practical and theoretical training on how to recognise and respond to an emergency situation, how to perform CPR, and communicate incident information to emergency services personnel and supervisory personnel in the workplace.


Finding the Right Training Provider

Is the course delivered by people with recent industry experience?

Once you’ve identified the areas you’d like to expand into, the next step is choosing a training provider. Here are a few questions to consider before committing your time and money.

All instructors should have a deep understanding of the subject they’re delivering. They should also have qualifications in training delivery and assessment.

Do you need a nationally accredited course?

Does the course enable you to gain hands-on experience?

Are you looking to build your general skills e.g. estimating, or do you need to obtain formal accreditation e.g. cable registration? Quality providers will be clear about course accreditation and the next steps to obtain any relevant certification/licences.

Good training providers will have a mix of theory as well as opportunities to practise skills and obtain feedback. They will be able to explain (and where necessary adapt) their training methods and provide support to suit students’ needs.

Is the course provider credible?

Is the course delivery time appropriate?

All registered training organisations (RTOs) need to meet specific quality standards and must be accredited to deliver a specific scope of work. Check the, or websites, which will flag any concerns about an RTO’s training.

Developing solid skills takes time and effort – there is no ‘quick fix’. Consider whether providers are offering a ‘fast track’ course. The old adage stands - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Manufacturers also provide industrybased training. Most reputable manufacturers, particularly those with technical products, provide high-quality technical training courses, seminars and workshops, specific to their product categories. This ensures that electricians can not only install a product correctly, but also extract the full potential from the solution. This is particularly important as products and solutions become increasingly complex and integrated. What is the provider’s track record? In today’s market, there are many training providers to choose from. Consider whether they are industry specialists who understand your day-to-day operations. Ask people you trust for feedback on training. Word of mouth can provide valuable information to assist you with your training investment.

A World of Opportunity With the world going through considerable change and innovation, there has never been a better time to be an electrician. As the peak body for the electrical industry, NECA works closely with state and federal governments to stay informed about emerging trends and industry priorities. We’ve provided an overview of just few of the options you can harness right now. In future issues of NECA News we will explore significant emerging areas, including smart microgrids and Industry 4.0, so that you can be prepared. By expanding your skills and capabilities, you can capitalise on the opportunities available and enhance your business’s prosperity. Now is a great time to put down the tools and pick up a course that could change the direction of your career or your business.

It is recommended that both First Aid and LV Rescue training be completed annually. In some States this is mandatory, for example in South Australia, Low Voltage Rescue must be completed annually to comply with electrical licence regulations and WHS regulations.



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WE BRING ENERGY TO YOUR SUPER If you want to supercharge your superannuation, you need a fund that’s built for you. We’re here to support you

Energy Super is an Industry SuperFund

Energy Super focuses on the Electrical industry and is open to all workers and employers.

No shareholders to pay means low fees and a super fund run only to benefit our members.

Our EnergyCare program supports your physical, mental and financial wellbeing.

No commissions to financial advisers.

Investing in major renewable energy projects nationally.

Quick-win strategies to rebuild your super This year Energy Super amped up the energy we put into our members. It’s been that kind of year, with market volatility and social anxiety at its peak. That’s when we shine brightest. If your super balance has taken a dip and you’re not sure how to go about rebuilding it, we can help. There are plenty of ways to rebuild your balance. In fact, you’ve probably come across some of these rebuilding strategies but never thought – or needed – to adopt them before. They’re tried and true strategies that work for most people who are trying to grow their investment to live comfortably in retirement. Consolidate your super accounts. If you never got around to doing this, now’s a good time to combine your super accounts. With your super in the one place, you’ll pay only one set of fees. It’s a good idea to check if you have insurance or services with your other fund before you combine accounts. Take advantage of the Government Co-contribution. From now to late June next year, you can make small contributions to your super account. If you’re a low-income earner, you may then be eligible for a co-contribution from the Government when you submit your 2020/21 tax return. Consider reinvesting any unused super that you accessed via Early Release. You can make a lump sum contribution to your super at any time, as long as you keep within the contributions limits. This could include any super you accessed via the Government’s Early Release of Super scheme introduced in April. Use the spouse contribution rule. Your spouse can contribute to your super to help you rebuild – as long as contribution rules are met.

Energy Super is a AAA-rated super fund and has been awarded SuperRatings’ ‘Best Value for Money’ fund every year since 2008.

For more information or to join today, please speak to Energy Super’s Fund Development Manager, John Curtin on 0429 538 028 or email

Scan QR code to find out more

This editorial was prepared in August 2020 by Electricity Supply Industry Superannuation (Qld) Ltd (ABN 30 069 634 439) (AFSL 336567), the Trustee and Issuer of Energy Super (ABN 33 761 363 685), and may contain general financial advice which does not take into account your personal objectives, situations or needs. Before making a decision about Energy Super consider your financial requirements and read the Product Disclosure Statement, available at or by calling 1300 436 374.




So what do know about them? Zoomers (a name that is starting to gain traction in the social media world) are truly the first digital natives, but they may not be digitally literate. They are very familiar with Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, but less so with Word and Excel. They’ve grown up with the internet, smart phones and tablets, and their intuitive acceptance is clear evidence that traditional approaches to engaging them just isn’t going to work. Remember, this generation is the one that probably can’t tell you where they were on 9/11; they may not even have been born. They have watched their parents struggle through the GFC, and now they are experiencing their first real world event – COVID-19. Also, they face the disruptions that will emerge due to a 4th Industrial Revolution, the ‘internet of everything’ being rolled out as they enter the workforce. ‘Jobs of the Future’ are constantly dangled before them, with STEM, coding and automation held out as the keys to a prosperous future. So how does a trade education capture the attention of this distracted generation? The electrician of the future faces rapid deployment in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, threedimensional printing, nanotechnology, quantum computing and autonomous vehicles. Gen Z is uniquely placed as they are not bound by having to ‘learn’ the technology; they’ve grown up with it. However, this intrinsic familiarity with technology has often come at the expense of the ‘soft skills’, teamwork and effective communication. Gen Z has a lot to say, just not verbally.

electrician. US-based start-up, Pymetrics Inc, has started using neurosciencebased games and AI to predict the right person for a job, while removing bias from the process. Companies such as Rio Tinto have also started using this approach. Gamification, as foreign as that may sound to a potential Gen X employer, is now being used to increase student engagement. The national Department of Education has identified that, ‘Effective games typically feature a series of goals or progressions, clear rules, elements of story, high interactivity, and continual feedback including some kind of reward. They may also incorporate social elements of teamwork and communication. Games can enhance student focus and motivation and can provide the freedom for students to try, fail, and explore’. So while we may think of it as ‘playing’, we need to start reframing gaming in our minds as another way of ‘learning’. As an employer, to engage Gen Z, we will need to accept that disruptions in industry are the norm, and that the Gen Z workforce may enable us to build

agility into our organisations. As a ‘man in a van’, handing over some of the administrative functions of your business to an apprentice may seem like lunacy. But as current technology allows them to access cloud-based management software, instantly update job cards, assist in completing paperwork, issue invoices and receive payments – all without having to wait until returning to the office – this is exactly the kind of efficiency you need to succeed in the ‘roaring 2020s’. As the European Roundtable of Industrialists (2017) note, “Digital skills” should not be confused with “ICT skills”. Digital skills will be increasingly required for each and every occupation. This calls for the development of new fields of education (e.g. privacy engineering or data analytics), and an update of existing ones, such as engineering or marketing. The right attitude to succeed in a digital economy is to be agile in adapting, and entrepreneurial in acquiring skills. So to capture the attention of the next generation, we may need to let go of our past, and embrace their future.

Steve Hall General Manager, College of Electrical Training

The ‘old school’ type interview (getting dressed up, printed resume under the arm), may not be the most effective approach to attracting your future



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BRANCH UPDATE Oliver Judd NECA NSW/ACT Executive Director

I’M SURE I’M NOT SAYING ANYTHING MEMBERS DON’T ALREADY KNOW, BUT THE CONDITIONS THE INDUSTRY IS OPERATING UNDER AT PRESENT ARE UNPRECEDENTED. None of us have experienced anything like the Coronavirus pandemic and there’s no clear end point. Certainly, the construction sector has been impacted less than many other areas of the economy, but as I speak with members and our colleagues across the country about their own experiences, it’s clear that we aren’t immune to it either. What we are seeing

however, is that our members are resilient in the face of the disruption and enthusiastic about playing their part as the economy continues to recover. It’s been encouraging that building and construction has been identified by government as an industry that can create jobs and help claw back some of the employment opportunities that have been lost elsewhere; in turn, this means



NECA strongly supports the News South Wales Government’s initiative to create up to three Renewable Energy Zones (REZ), which will play a crucial role in delivering affordable energy generation as coal-fired power plants are phased out in coming decades. A REZ involves the co-ordinated development of new grid infrastructure in energy-rich areas to connect multiple generators (such as solar and wind farms) in the same location. REZs capitalise on economies of scale, unlocking new generation at lower cost, and are essentially the modern-day equivalent of a power station, combining generation, transmission, storage and system strength services, to ensure a secure, affordable and reliable energy system.

The NSW Government is in the planning stage for the State’s first pilot REZ, which is set to be built in the Central-West Orana region. In time, the REZs are forecast to deliver up to $23bn in investment in regional NSW and create 2,000 construction jobs, including opportunities for electrical contractors. Separately, NECA has used its pre-budget submission for the 2020-21 Federal Budget to advocate for the federal government to stimulate the economy by fast-tracking “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects for medium to large businesses, such as construction projects, large-scale renewable energy generation, and local works across metropolitan, regional and remote Australia, which would further support medium to large electrical contractors.



more opportunities for electrical and communications contractors and more opportunities for young people to join our industry.

Getting on With Business in Unusual Times

Expert Advice at Your Fingertips NSW and ACT Branch members now have access to an expanded group of experts and our dedicated local contact centre, providing expertise in the following areas: 

Technical Advice relating to Australian Standards and other regulatory information;

Our team has been getting on with the job too, on behalf of our members and our industry. We have been engaging with government on a raft of issues ranging from Security of Payments arrangements in NSW to an investment by the ACT in jobs to boost recovery in the nation’s capital. Working alongside government to fast-track approvals and free up the pipeline of shovel-ready projects will be crucial in the coming months to maximise opportunities for members.

We have had Belinda Binnington join our WHS advisory team. She is a former WorkCover NSW inspector with a great deal of commercial experience as well.

NECA is also representing the interests of members through the government’s annual pre-budget submission process to ensure our industry is well positioned in the NSW and ACT Government decision-making regarding actions and investments that will support and drive the economy and country forward.

Yale Stephens has also joined the NECA team. Yale is a policy advisor who previously worked at the Australian Retailers Association. Yale will be jumping into a pretty demanding role focused on supporting key member issues such as unfair contracts and security of payments.

Industrial Relations and Human Resources;

Workplace, Health and Safety; and

Contract advice and debt recovery.

Member COVID-19 Support Programs In July we launched the first of two COVID-19 member support programs. The first was a partnership between Willis Towers Watson and NECA to contribute a minimum of $100,000 to subsidise the insurance requirements of members through NECAGuard. The program is available for a full year to ensure all members have access to the scheme. The second program was launched at the beginning of August and provides for a member discount of 15% off clothing and PPE purchased through the NECA Trade Services website. This program is available until the end of October, but may be extended. We know things are tough at the moment and we hope that these two initiatives will provide some relief to our members’ businesses.

BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY SECURITY OF PAYMENT REGULATION 2020 AN IMPROVEMENT, BUT MORE CHANGE NEEDED AMENDED REGULATIONS GOVERNING SECURITY OF PAYMENTS IN THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ARE BEING FINALISED BY THE NSW GOVERNMENT. NECA believes the updated draft regulation provides for better payment outcomes for electrical contractors compared to the old regulation, but that more change is needed. While measures contained in the draft regulation – such as reducing the retention money trust account threshold from $20 million to $10 million – are a step in the right direction, NECA believes this should be reduced to $1 million, and the exemption for owner/occupier


construction contracts abolished, to better safeguard the payments and ultimately the business cashflow of small and medium contractors. NECA made a submission on the draft regulation in July 2020, advocating for further change, particularly with regard to the introduction of cascading statutory trusts. NECA has been advocating for this change over many years, and believes the introduction of such arrangements is crucial to fully

protect the income and entitlements of small and medium contractors who are subcontracting on major projects and who are at risk of loss if head contractors become insolvent. Consultation is continuing on the draft regulation, and NECA will continue to advocate for changes in the best interests of its members and the broader industry.

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IN ONLINE TRAINING IN RESPOSNSE TO COVID-19 THE GLOBAL COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS BEEN CHALLENGING FOR ALL AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES, AND IT WAS NO EXCEPTION FOR US AT NECA TRAINING AND APPRENTICESHIPS. the apprentices’ learning and means they are on track to complete their courses on schedule. Electrical contractors are recognised as providing an essential service, so they can continue working under current government rules and are set to play a critical role in the economic recovery as governments invest in infrastructure and construction. Demand for electrical work and the apprentices’ skills is, therefore, remaining relatively strong. Recognising this, NECA Training and Apprenticeships moved quickly to convert its post-trade courses, so qualified electricians could continue to upskill – for example, with solar grid connect and battery storage training – and maintain key qualifications. In NSW, this includes ASP (Accredited Service Provider) training, which allows an electrical contractor to work on the electricity network, often undertaking maintenance that is critical to keeping the lights on. NECA Training and Apprenticeships employs nearly 800 apprentices and then partners with electrical contracting businesses, who provide on-the-job experience. As the business landscape changes rapidly, it was great to see how the team came together to adapt and innovate so that the learning environment could continue without disruption. The ability to change rapidly was noticed by industry and even picked up by the media, including an article in the SMH where NECA was praised for our ability to adapt, and recognised for our efforts in re-homing 100 apprentices. It was great that electrical contracting was deemed an essential service, which helps to keep demand high. While many training providers have closed their doors due to COVID



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19, leaving apprentices and their employers in limbo, NECA Training and Apprenticeships quickly modified its schedule so learning could continue. All theory lessons were moved online, and the number of apprentices attending practical lessons was reduced to adhere to social distancing requirements. NECA Training and Apprenticeships’ approach meant minimal disruption to

The success of NECA Training and Apprenticeships’ model has minimised the impact on the fledgling careers of the apprentices. While some apprentice opportunities have disappeared, such as those servicing businesses in the hospitality sector, new opportunities have emerged, such as hospital projects. With group training systems like NECA’s, apprentices can continue to learn through periods of major change.

Tom Emeleus General Manager, NECA Training and Apprenticeships




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Why is this being highlighted? Ausgrid has recently conducted audits amongst Level 2 ASPs paperwork and other incidents where Level 2 ASPs have been working on the network without a safety observer and PPE. In addition, SafeWork NSW is inspecting Ausgrid’s audits of their staff, including ASPs. These audits are the result of a fatality last year, where an Ausgrid employee died while working ‘live’. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and having a competent and qualified safety observer/rescue person standing by is for your protection. I have been involved personally in incidents where I was lucky to have a competent and qualified observer/rescuer in place. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here to tell you the tale.

the appropriate safety controls are not in place or haven’t worked, the liability is yours and yours alone. It is not the kind of pain that you would want your family to endure, knowing that you made a mistake that could have been avoided.

Ausgrid’s Advice Ausgrid has requested that Level 2 ASPs in conjunction with NECA maintain a safe work practice regarding a safety observer and rescue person when working ‘live’. However, there is an exception in Ausgrid’s ESRs in Section 9.5.4 Part F. Please ensure that if you are mitigating the need for a safety

observer/rescue person that it is with due regard for your safety and others around you. This should be a last resort.

NECA’s Advice NECA recommends the exception is to be applied under the ESRs for testing only at the POA, provided that the appropriate controls are in place. This procedure must be documented on the Hazard Assessment. Please check your current SWMS and Hazard Assessments and update them. NECA Members can download a free copy of SWMS documents by logging onto NECA’s Technical Knowledge Base.

As an electrician, working ‘live’ is something that we take for granted. It is inherently dangerous work that can only be completed safely if all the safety measures are in place. I know we all enjoy paperwork (not really); however, your site safety hazard assessment is for your benefit. It is to make you stop and think about what the work is.

Can I do the work without a safety observer/rescuer? The answer should always be ‘no’ although some ASPs will argue that they don’t require a safety observer. The problem is that a situation can go pearshaped very quickly. When this occurs, you get caught up with the incident. So, who comes to your rescue? No one. Unless you have that observer/rescuer in place, then you are on your own. Also bear in mind that, if an incident occurs and you are injured or killed and



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Grant Morehouse Technical Advisor, NECA For advice or assistance, contact 1300 361 099



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Mobile cranes pose a serious risk to workers and the general public, with the most common types of incidents being:

 

 

crane tip/roll-overs; people struck by the load or falling objects from the load; people struck or crushed by a crane part; crane contact with buildings, scaffolds and powerlines.

Inspectors are visiting sites state-wide to talk with site supervisors, health and safety representatives (HSRs), operators and doggers regarding the site set-up safe load movement, and to check operators hold the correct class of highrisk work licence for the mobile crane they are operating. Inspectors will also be checking crane operation and dogging knowledge levels on key safety issues.

have the appropriate controls in place to manage the risks of falling objects; and ensure inexperienced or new operators and doggers (typically those with five years or less experience) are adequately mentored, supported and supervised.

Licence Requirements Mobile crane operators must only operate a crane within the high-risk work licence class that they hold. For example, if they have a C6 licence, they cannot use slewing mobile cranes with more than 60-tonne capacity. Some crane licences incorporate other classes. For example, the C6 incorporates the C2 (up to 20t), CN (non-slewing mobile crane) and CV (vehicle loading crane) licence classes. Persons operating these types of cranes under their slewing mobile crane licence must be trained in the safe operation of the crane.

that these cranes require from the overhead powerlines. Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy and Transgrid have specific safe working distances relative to their network assets. When hiring a crane, ask the operator: 

if they have the licence required;

proved, Cer tified  

whether they have a qualified dogger; whether the crane can operate within the boundaries of the worksite; and SWL load of the crane.

alist Supplier of Flexible When 2HR Fire Ra working with cranes:

What you can do to work safely M Certified with mobile cranes

Level 1 Contractors utilising a crane borer needCertified to adhere to the following ivFire advice from SafeWork:

On-the-spot fines apply for persons who undertake high-risk work, including using cranes, without holding the correct class of licence for that work or type of plant $3,600 for businesses and $720 for individuals.

understand which slings are required and how they should be attached to the equipment; Check wear and tear and correct ratings for slings, chains and shackles; Carry spare lifting equipment; and

Document the risks associated on the Persons undertaking work that requires only operate a crane that is within the assessment form. If the crane a high-risk licence must carry out that maximum rated (MRC) of your proved tocapacity AS/NZS 5000.2 & AS hazard 5000.1 is encroaching within safe approach work safely and competently at all times mobile crane high risk work licence class; distance of the overhead powerline, or risk having their licence suspended call out the problem to the site  ensure the mobile crane/plant is or cancelled or being disqualified from er 25 years’ experience industry supervisor, crane operator or dogman. holding the licence. in the fire maintained as per manufacturers recommendations; 

plan the job, taking in to account site set-up, load movement, underground and overhead service proximity conduct and record pre-start checks; avoid lifting or moving suspended loads

What do Electrical Contractors need to be aware of when working with cranes?

Safety is our responsibility as well as the crane

Contractors working on sites where cranes operators. For more information on operating and are present also need to be aware of hiring mobile cranes, visit overhead powerlines and the clearances or contact 13 10 50.

over the heads of workers or the public 03 9646 4557

07 3890 8842

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BUSINESS INSURANCE TIPS Keeping Track of Your Unspecified Items Tools of Trade or General Property policies are a great way to insure against theft of tools from locked vehicles, site lockers or private residences. Most policies offer you an amount for unspecified Items. This makes the quote process quick and easy but don’t expect that the insurer will simply hand you a blank cheque in the event of claim. NECA recommends that in the event of a claim insurers will most likely ask you to provide evidence of the loss, which will often include providing original ownership. We recommend keeping a spreadsheet of all your tools and save various copies of the original purchase invoice (USB, iCloud etc).

Reviewing Your Turnover and Employee Numbers in the Face of COVID-19 The primary rating factor for a Public Liability premium is often turnover or employee numbers. Insurers use this as a way of determining the overall exposure for your business. A higher turnover indicates an increased chance of a claim occurring or an increased cost of a claim. NECA recommends that when it comes time to renew your policy, take the time to review the estimated turnover or employee numbers for the upcoming year. This element is particularly important if you are estimating a decline over the next 12 months due to COVID-19.


Is it Time to Review Your Business Description? Have you reviewed the business description or activities listed on your Public Liability policy recently? Does it just say Electrical Contractor or Electrician? Insurers use a very narrow definition of ‘Electrician’ and will usually only provide cover for the activities listed. NECA recommends that you review your business description annually and ask your insurer or broker to add any activities not listed. Some of the activities that should be stated include Data & Telecommunications Contractor, Security System Installation, Solar system design and install.

For assistance in your business insurance needs, get in touch with the NECA Team on 1300 361 099 or visit the NECA Group website

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IN THIS ISSUE, WE GET TO KNOW NECA MEMBER LEA HICKS, GROUP GENERAL MANAGER AND CO-OWNER OF HIX GROUP. LEA AND HER HUSBAND IAN HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS TOGETHER SINCE 1992 WHEN IAN, AFTER 18 YEARS OF WORKING WITH THE RMS, DECIDED TO TAKE THE LEAP AND START THEIR OWN BUSINESS. WE CAUGHT UP WITH LEA TO HEAR ABOUT HER STORY. How did you get involved with this line of work? Ian wanted to become an electrical contractor and that initially paved the way to owning our own business. As the work rolled in, Ian relied more on my involvement in the day-to-day running of the business. Thinking back, our first round of marketing was a DL-sized card with a fuse wire wrapped around it and a magnet on the reverse side, so that it could be placed in a switchboard. We later found out that most of the houses in the area had circuit breakers.

and the relationships formed with those customers assisted in bringing more work to the business. There are many aspects of running an electrical business, with networking a central element for developing business relationships. We were fortunate to have a very “social” group of electricians in our community. We would meet up at NECA events and electrical wholesalers’ events. What has surprised you most about working in the industry?

What was your first impression of the industry?

In the early days, it wasn’t common for women to be actively involved in running a business let alone an electrical one. The industry was male-dominated, and people would comment that “Ian had a great business” without considering me as part of it. In today’s world, more women are diversifying into the construction industry, and rather than being a hindrance, are seen as an asset and their skills shine at a range of levels across these businesses.

When we first started the business, the industry was not as diverse as it is now. I enjoyed the interaction with customers

The construction industry has become very inclusive of both men and women, offering a broad range of opportunities

As we became more committed to growing the business, the “home office” became a factory, and from two staff, we now employ more than eighty people, who are spread over six different divisions.

for both, if you are willing to work hard and adapt to changes. What do you find most challenging about this industry? We have always had a focus on employing apprentices, with our first one starting in 1994 and staying on for 20 years. To some degree, I am still regarded as the “House Mum”, but I am probably a bit tougher these days. I find the structure of Apprenticeships Training Plan, both on the job and off the job, challenging to navigate, in particular the lack of a clear connection with off-the-job training providers. With my background as a TAFE teacher and TAFE Board member, I can see how beneficial a closer relationship between the employer, the off-the-job training provider and government administrators can be in making the learning process more effective and relevant. Sadly, the red tape seems to prevent these changes. Is there a moment that stands out for you? Our most valued moments revolve around our team, whom we consider as part of our extended family. Our culture is born out of teamwork, pride and responsibility. For me, when I see our team members take pride in their work and working for the Hix Group, it brings on an immense sense of achievement and contentment about the 28 years that we have been in this industry.

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2. Always base your expectations on fairness and “doing the right thing”. 3. Always document your processes. What advice would you give to a young woman considering an electrical apprenticeship? The industry is so diverse; if you can see this as a career path, then “go for it”. The barriers are indeed coming down. What is your favourite piece of advice you have received?

back” through supporting charities, the youth and employment in the community. I am proud that our business has afforded us these opportunities. What do you consider as one of your most prominent accomplishments? Winning big contracts, that secure work for a few years, brings a great sense of accomplishment, knowing that I am keeping people employed. What is your most memorable face-palm moment? Some time ago, one of our Senior Managers defrauded our business. This taught me a valuable lesson in tightening business processes that make it easier to trust people and for people to trust us, ensuring that business knowledge and assets are traceable. From that moment on, we have focused on the “people” and implementing

the right processes and systems that support our business, which has complemented Ian’s focus on technical, customer and business development. My background in Human Resources and Training and Development has given me the time and experience in developing systems and compliance, including our safety systems, which are the key to our success. What advice would you give to other women who are starting their own business or stepping into leadership roles? Three pieces of advice that I would offer: 1. Don’t waste time re-creating the wheel. Instead, try to connect with other like-minded people who can help and support you.

My husband Ian says, “Don’t underestimate the power of the Friday lunch”. While I pretend to disagree, I do believe in the philosophy of team bonding – it is a powerful means of sharing ideas and encouraging a more positive work culture and relationships. Lastly, any closing words? Although I ended up in this industry by default, I have had a challenging and satisfying career that has afforded opportunities for me to use my HR and Management skills to work alongside Ian and our growing team. Additionally, being part of the NECA NSW Board has not only allowed me to contribute and share my business and industry knowledge, but also to bring attention to the need for more women in the industry, whether it be in management or trade.

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

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER NATAISHA MARTIN RECENTLY JOINED THE NECA ACT TEAM AS ITS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER. ORIGINALLY FROM SOUTH AUSTRALIA, NATAISHA’S BACKGROUND IS IN RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION, AS WELL AS MANAGING AND MENTORING APPRENTICES. HERE NATAISHA SHARES WHAT LED HER ON THIS JOURNEY TO NECA. How did you get involved with the industry? Having worked within the housing industry and other Group Training Organisations since 2007, these experiences have provided me with the skills and patience to nurture people’s progression and growth. Moving from South Australia to the ACT presented the opportunity to look for a new career challenge with the NECA team here. What challenges have you faced so far? With the COVID restrictions, getting face-to-face with businesses is a little tricky, especially when trying to demonstrate how our services and benefits, such as the Technical Knowledge Base operates. I’m looking forward to the time when we can switch off Zoom and get out and meet in person.

What has surprised you most about working in this industry? What has truly surprised me is that women make up just under 5% of those employed in electrotechnology industry, and 3% of those are electrical apprenticeships across Australia. NECA Training and Apprenticeships are doing a fantastic job in trying to attract more female apprentices, increasing their female apprenticeship numbers from 0.5% a few years back to currently over 5% in training. As a mother of a daughter, I look forward to a time when there is

more gender equality in the industry, and a career based on an electrical trade is equally attractive for men and women. What has been your impression of NECA members? What is impressive is the engagement of our members – I am overwhelmed by the support within the electrical community in the ACT and Southern NSW. The interaction I have had with existing and new members has allowed me to hear what is important to our members and communicate that within the NECA team. It is through this feedback that NECA can continue to provide the best value to members. Whether you are a small or large organisation, your business is our business. NECA is here to help, and I look forward to meeting you virtually or at any future events over the coming months.

Nataisha Martin Business Development Manager, NECA ACT 0428 758 570

ACT JOBS AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN NECA’s ACT Branch has welcomed the employment plan recently unveiled by the ACT Government, which will boost the ACT economy as it recovers from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The plan includes proposals to drive major infrastructure projects at the Canberra Hospital, three new tertiary education campuses, and a raft of projects based on schools and transport links.

The ACT’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan recognises the non-government sector (across all industries) is a crucial driver in rebuilding employment, and NECA believes the initiative will drive growth in new jobs and get the ACT economy moving.

These will create opportunities for businesses in the electrical and communications contracting sector and in turn, will safeguard existing jobs and provide opportunities for apprentices and young people looking to join the industry.

The ACT Government’s Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, committed to investing in business partnerships to create 20,000 new jobs and drive total employment in the ACT above 250,000.

NECA has signaled its support for the program, and encourages members to stay abreast of opportunities that arise as the plan is implemented and more details become available.



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Pre-Coronavirus, air quality was a high priority issue with bushfires and dust. We were told to: 

protect ourselves by staying indoors with windows and doors closed and avoiding outdoor exercise. adjust our air conditioning systems to recirculate the air and shut off fresh air supplies.

It is worth noting that air quality in Canberra in recent months reached more than 22 times the hazardous rating. While last December, some Sydney suburbs had air quality more than 10 times the hazardous amount. Fast forward a few months and, in our new coronavirus reality, the advice is to improve ventilation. 

Consider other ways to increase the supply of fresh air; for example, by opening windows and doors. Improve the circulation of outside air and prevent pockets of stagnant air in occupied spaces by using, for example, ceiling fans or desk fans or opening windows. Turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply in your mechanical 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 system that removes and circulates air to different rooms, that you turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply. However, you do not need to adjust air conditioning systems that mix some of the extracted air with fresh air and return it to the room as this increases the fresh air ventilation rate. Unless of course, you have to re-adjust the settings to turn the fresh air supply back on after the bushfire season. Also, you do not need to adjust systems in individual rooms or portable units as these operate on 100% recirculation. Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, but it can also lower indoor air quality during the bushfire season, back-burning operation or dust storms. There has never been more

demand to be able to adjust and control fresh air settings of indoor spaces. So, for operators and duty holders of indoor spaces on the East coast, to have maintained the best possible indoor air quality, you should have shut off your fresh air back in October 2019 due to the bushfires, and you should have opened it up to full around February/March 2020 due to coronavirus. With back-burning planned in the coming months you should consider how you are going to shut it off again. Operators of indoor air spaces should speak to their HVAC technicians on how best to adjust the fresh air settings depending on the outdoor air quality and the risks created by the pandemic. Adjustments may need to be made daily. Should you require any assistance or further clarification, please contact your local NECA Branch.

Owen Leslie WHS Manager, NECA Group 1300 361 099

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BRANCH UPDATE Peter Lamont NECA QLD Executive Director

In our current times with the COVID crisis, many of our businesses have been pushed to their limits. NECA has been working tirelessly to engage with federal and state governments to advocate on behalf of our industry and to provide timely and comprehensive information to our members.

NECA Expands Resources to Support QLD Members During this time NECA Queensland has taken the opportunity to expand its service offering to NECA members in Queensland by sharing member service delivery across the eastern seaboard with NSW, ACT and Tasmania. NECA members across the state will now have access to a comprehensive network of integrated services that brings together a team of highly experienced staff across our Branches. This includes a newly-formed Contact Centre to assist members with timely and immediate advice and services relating to technical, safety, legal, industrial relations, HR and general membership enquiries.

are on hand to help members, particularly through these challenging times.

Safety Resources NECA members in Queensland can also access expanded HSEQ resources which includes a free Safety STAR system for members, and a broader Technical Knowledge Base. For those members wanting more from their safety systems, NECA WHS has extended its collection of safety packages to include two new digital HSEQ systems that can be purchased.

The Road Ahead NECA QLD is excited to be hosting a digital education program for contractors to build their skills in spite of COVID restrictions. We look forward to 2021, when we will be rolling out our long-anticipated roadshows across Queensland. More information will follow over the coming months. Thank you to our members and Business Partners for your ongoing support of NECA QLD and our industry.

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


QUEENSLAND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR APPOINTED TO THE ELECTRICAL SAFETY BOARD NECA Queensland Executive Director and ACRS Director Peter Lamont has been appointed as a member of the Electrical Safety Board by the Minister for Education and Industrial Relations, the Hon Grace Grace MP. The Board’s function is to give advice and make recommendations to the Minister about policies, strategies and legislative arrangements for electrical safety. Its secondary role is to provide advice and

recommendations to the Regulator about energy efficiency and the performance of electrical equipment. Minister Grace said “the Board provides an essential link between industry, the community and government in working to improve electrical safety.” Peter’s appointment is for three years, from 1 October 2020.



A WORD FROM THE ELECTRICAL SAFETY OFFICE Developing a Safe System of Work for Electrical Work The Electrical Safety Office (ESO) has recently released a practical guide for electrical contractors on Developing a safe system of work for electrical work. The guide will assist contractors, qualified technical persons and qualified business owners to develop safe systems for their workplace. The guide contains advice and information about the electrical safety legislation; contracting licence requirements; training and supervision of workers; and processes for electrical work. The ESO said that many incidents investigated by ESO could have been avoided by ensuring that good risk management processes were followed

and work was carried out under welldeveloped safe work processes and procedures. Furthermore, understanding the risks associated with electrical work, and having processes in place that promote a proactive approach to safety, ensures that electrical contractors are well-placed to meet youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re their electrical safety duties.

Restructuring your business might mean you need a new licence

NECA can assist contractors to meet their electrical safety obligations, ensuring the safety needs of themselves and their workers are met. For information on how to maintain a safe workplace and comply with safety regulations, get in touch with your local NECA Branch.

Additionally, possessing a new licence may mean that you need to adjust your insurance policies, including public liability insurance. New licensees must also meet the training requirements for the Qualified Technical Person and the Qualified Business Person on the licence.

If you have held your electrical contractor licence as an individual or partnership, and have restructured your business as a company, you may need to obtain a new electrical contractor licence in the name of the company.

For a copy of the guide visit

NEW MECHANICAL SERVICES LICENCE REQUIREMENTS Recently the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) introduced new mechanical services licensing requirements. These include licensing requirements relating to airconditioning and refrigeration work. NECA is concerned the new licensing requirements are confusing for our members, so we have made representations to the QBCC regarding the requirements for electricians. Based on fact sheets and information on the QBCC website (including provisions contained in the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act and Regulations), NECA is firmly of the view that electrical contractors holding a Certificate II in single head split air conditioning installations are exempt from holding a QBCC licence if they are undertaking this work in a Class 1a or


Class 10 building. This is clearly written in the QBCC Regulation 2018 at Schedule 1A. It is also NECAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s position that exemptions from holding a QBCC licence for work on split system air conditioning to the value of $3,300 or less is an outdated amount. This is particularly the case now that the cost of the units starts at around $2,000. When the cost of labour and other related electrical materials are added, it often brings the actual cost above the $3,300 threshold. A more reasonable threshold would be around $5,000. It is also the view of NECA that limiting electricians to installing one split system without a QBCC licence is restrictive to the trade of electrical contractors, and is an unnecessary impediment to the mechanical services licence as most dwellings now utilise more than one air conditioning unit. The electrical

efficiencies of modern air conditioning units incorporating new electrical technologies have made it more feasible to have an increased installation of these individual split systems. In regard to electrical work, it is also clear that an air conditioning unit is a piece of electrical equipment, as it is a major component of an electrical installation. In this regard, NECA has also pointed out that, regardless of whether an airconditioning contractor holds a QBCC Mechanical Services Licence or not, it is only a licensed Electrical Contractor who can perform the electrical installation work for the air conditioner. NECA awaits a response from the QBCC.

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BRANCH UPDATE Larry Moore NECA SA/NT Executive Director

IT IS VERY PLEASING TO HEAR THAT MANY OF OUR MEMBERS HAVE A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF WORK AT THE MOMENT, PARTICULARLY WITH RENOVATIONS AND NEW BUILDS IN THE RESIDENTIAL SECTOR, THANKS TO THE HOMEBUILDER SCHEME. It is even more pleasing to note that the retention of existing members in our recent renewals has been fantastic, and the number of new members joining in recent months has almost doubled compared to previous years. Difficult times, such as what we are experiencing with COVID-19, certainly require additional assistance and advice from an external source, such as an industry association, and we are pleased that we have been able to provide such services to our members during this challenging year. We are always extremely grateful for the continuing support of our members and we certainly hope that we have been able to assist you and your business during these tough times. Of course, please continue to contact our office with any queries or issues you have, as we are here to support you at all times.


COVID-19 In both South Australia and the Northern Territory, the COVID-19 situation is thankfully under control and it is fantastic to see both SA and NT doing so well. The extension of JobKeeper is a most welcome stimulus package; a significant number of businesses in the building and construction industry have utilised the payment scheme to retain employees and remain in business. As most would be aware, we have been distributing regular updates in our fortnightly eNews on the COVID-19 situation and, in particular, what the requirements are for your business.

If for some reason you have not been receiving the eNews, please contact the NECA SA/NT office.

NECA SA/NT 2020 Apprentice Awards Dinner In our last newsletter, we advised of our plans for the 2020 Apprentice Awards, but due to COVID19 regulations, such as physical distancing requirements, we are now required to have a seated dinner function, which has meant a change in venue. The dinner will be held in the Panorama Ballroom at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday 9 October 2020. Registrations are now open for the dinner, and we would love to see you there to support the future leaders of our industry through the awarding of the NECA Apprentice of the Year Awards. Visit our website to access the Invitation/Registration Form. We have just completed the judging of all nominated apprentices and it is pleasing to report the high standards of SA/NT apprentices has not diminished. If you have any queries or would like further information on the Awards or the dinner, please contact Leah Boyce, Business Relationship Manager at NECA SA/NT on (08) 8272 2966, or visit our website.

Specialist Contractors SA Members will no doubt be aware of our involvement in Specialist Contractors SA, an association formed by NECA SA/ NT, Master Plumbers SA, Air Conditioning



and Mechanical Contractors SA (AMCA), National Fire Industry Association (NFIA) and Australian Subcontractor Association (ASA) which is working to achieve timely payments in accordance with contract terms and for a fair and equitable allocation of risk in the building and construction industry. As I am sure all would know, an inappropriate level of risk is regularly transferred to subcontractors through grossly unfair contract terms by head contractors or builders. Specialist Contractors SA have clearly identified this issue to both governments and other building industry stakeholders. It is particularly disappointing to note the lack of empathy, even amounting to opposition to resolving this matter, by the major building industry employer association, who one must assume has the same lack of interest in their own subcontractor members. I would add that this issue is not unique to SA/NT and NECA has been raising it at a national level, seeking legislative change in how the contractual chain operates in the building and construction industry, including the establishment of Project Statutory Trusts and a review of the outrageous management of contract variations by Cost Consultants. It is significant to note that the five member associations of Specialist Contractors SA represent approximately 80% of subcontractors in South Australia and undertake between 70 and 80% of the actual work on building projects – which is undoubtedly the reason the association is gaining traction with government departments in SA (such as

the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI)) with regard to proper management of contracts and payment terms. We will certainly keep members posted on future developments of Specialist Contractors SA. In the meantime, you can find out more about us at or follow our LinkedIn page:

Dual Trade Apprenticeship Another project we are working on with industry is a Dual Trade Apprenticeship titled “Electrician and Refrigeration/Air Conditioning Technician”. This is an outcome that both NECA and RACCA have been seeking for many years, and we are very pleased to see it finally coming to fruition. The outcome of this apprenticeship will see the completion of both the Electrical Trade Certificate III (UEE30811) and the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Trade Certificate III (UEE32211), which will result in the Electrical Refrigeration Air Conditioning Technician being fully licensed in both trades. Dual trade apprenticeships are not widely used in Australia and the method of delivery proposed is unique in delivering the dual trade qualifications concurrently, rather than completing one and then undertaking the second. This innovative step is intended to better align the apprentices’ learning and skills development with on-the-job experience, in a greatly reduced timeframe. A pilot program is being established to commence in Semester One of

2021 through our GTO, NECA Careers & Apprenticeships (NCA), and support will be required by both sectors in the employment of the dual trade apprentices, who will bring substantial future benefits to those companies who operate in both industry sectors. If you are interested in being involved in this project or would like to know more, please get in touch by emailing or calling the NECASA/NT or NCA Office.

Electrotechnology Training Package Endorsement As Chair of the Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (IRC), it is pleasing to report that the Electrotechnology Training Package – which covers some 87 qualifications, 75 skill sets and 614 units of competence – has finally been endorsed by the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) and is currently with the Skills Ministers across the country for final sign-off, which should be completed by the end of September. This training package covers the qualifications for the electrical, electronics, hazardous areas, instrumentation, rail signaling, refrigeration and air conditioning, renewable and sustainable energy sectors. The AISC has also recommended a 2-year train-out of the existing UEE11 training package, in recognition of the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of this training package has been a long, and at times tortuous, journey and I would like to acknowledge and thank my fellow NECA members of the IRC, Carl Copeland and Peter Beveridge, for the hard work and dedication they have put into this process.

Further Information and Assistance Please continue to use NECA for guidance and support through these challenging times. We are here to help you and your business in any way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on (08) 8272 2966 or via email at


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EMPLOYING AN APPRENTICE CHECKLIST ARE YOU CONSIDERING HIRING AN APPRENTICE? MAKING THE DECISION TO HIRE AN APPRENTICE CAN BE A GREAT INVESTMENT FOR YOUR BUSINESS. IT ALSO GIVES YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHAPE THE NEXT GENERATION OF WORKERS. The decision to hire an apprentice also comes with responsibilities and obligations that your business must meet. The following checklist aims to provide an outline of the apprentice hire process in South Australia.

1. Register to Employ To employ and train apprentices and trainees you need to be registered with the Department of Innovation and Skills. Once you have been approved your name will appear on the Training and Skills Register which lists employers registered to undertake training contracts with apprentices and trainees under the Training and Skills Development Act 2008 (SA).

2. Find an Apprentice If you do not have an apprentice in mind, you can advertise the position through

MEGTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s free jobs board which can be found at

3. Find an Apprenticeship Network Provider Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers are contracted by the Australian Government to provide free Australian Apprenticeships support services to apprentices and employers. Apprenticeship Network Providers, such as MEGT, assist with the following: a. Training Contract sign-up b. Assess and advise on government incentives and facilitate payments c. Explain rights, obligations and responsibilities to the employer and apprentice d. Monitor process throughout the apprenticeship


For the full details of all Apprenticeship Network Providers in South Australia contact NECA SA/NT.

4. Ensure Registered Training Organisation (RTO) enrolment All apprentices must be enrolled in an RTO within three (3) months of them commencing the training contract. As an employer, you are responsible for the cost associated with trade school. This means apprentices attending technical colleges, schools, RTOs or TAFE who are presenting reports of satisfactory progress must be reimbursed for all fees paid by the apprentice less any amount paid to the apprentice for reimbursement of these fees by the government. You are also required to pay any costs associated with prescribed text books and for their time spent at trade school. This does not apply where a failed subject needs to be repeated.

2020 NECA SA/NT Apprentice Awards NECA would like to invite members, their partners and guests to the 2020 NECA SA/NT Apprentice Awards Dinner for an enjoyable night filled with networking opportunities, great entertainment and delicious food and wine. This is an exclusive premier event in the electrotechnology industry, where we recognise the achievements of the future leaders of our industry through the awarding of the NECA Apprentice of the Year Awards.

Picture: Leah Boyce, Business Relationship Manager at NECA SA/NT and Larry Moore, Executive Director at NECA SA/NT pictured with winners Alexander Morisset and Steven Thomas at the NECA National Awards last year.



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5. Provide Adequate Supervision As a minimum, first and second year apprentices need a ratio of one (1) supervisor (who is suitably licenced) to one (1) apprentice. Additional conditions specific to electrical apprentices can be found on NECA SA/NT’s Guidelines for Supervision of Apprentices. As an employer you must: 

ensure the supervision is carried out by a person registered to carry out the work in question without supervision; consider the kind of electrical work being undertaken, especially with regard to whether live parts are being worked on or are in the vicinity of the work area; have regard to the level of competence of the person to be supervised; and ensure that, where apprentices are working in the vicinity of live parts, a registered electrical worker is in close proximity to, is in sight of and can communicate directly with the apprentices/trainees.

6. Check for a Restricted Electrical Worker’s Registration Apprentices need to register for and obtain a restricted worker’s licence through Consumer Business Services (CBS) at Any licensing costs are included in the apprentice’s all-purpose hourly rate, and therefore must be paid for by the apprentice.

7. Calculate Correct Wage Rates Check the latest NECA SA/NT Wage Bulletin for applicable rates, allowances, and conditions for your apprentice. The Wage Bulletin is updated every June with the new financial rates (or more frequently if there are legislative changes).

8. Follow the Steps for Starting a New Employee In addition to the above, there are a number of other factors to be considered when employing an apprentice. This includes registering with ReturnToWorkSA, Portable

Sabina Pola NECA SA/NT Workplace Relations Advisor (08) 8272 2966

Long Service Leave, and setting up Superannuation and PAYG. Please refer to the NECA SA/NT Resource: Steps for Starting a New Employee for more information. If you do not have an HR Manual or any employee management systems in place, NECA SA/NT has a variety of NECA HR products available for purchase, to suit businesses of all sizes, with their employee-related needs.

9. Take Advantage of the Probationary Period All apprenticeship training contracts have a probationary period built into them (generally three (3) months). This time allows you and your apprentice to work together and assess whether the apprentice is suitable for the role and business before deciding to commit to the training. After the probationary period, you and your apprentice or trainee are contracted to each other for the length of the training contract, so it is integral you monitor their organisational fit during this time.

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

Last year’s Apprentice Awards were an outstanding success for South Australia with two of our winners also taking out the National title! Congratulations to Alexander Morisset from CME Group for winning the National NECA Apprentice of the Year in the highly competitive Commercial/ Domestic category and to Steven Thomas from PEER and Apex Communications for winning the National NECA Apprentice of the Year in the Communications category. We could not be more proud!

Friday 9 October 2020 and includes a sumptuous two-course dinner and drinks package, plus live entertainment with Master of Ceremonies Jessica Adamson and a special guest keynote speaker.


Pre-dinner drinks start from 6:30pm, with the main event from 7pm to 11pm.

Master Builders NT Excellence in Building and Construction Awards Dinner

For further information and to register, simply visit our website and click on the “Bookings Are Now Open” banner.

 Darwin Convention Centre

We hope to have just as much success in this year’s Awards and we would welcome your attendance at the NECA SA/NT dinner to recognise the state finalists and winners. The event will be held in the Panorama Ballroom at Adelaide Convention Centre on

Winners from each state will then have the opportunity to enter into the National Apprentice Awards, where they must go through two rounds of judging, including submission of a project and an interview. National winners will be announced in early December 2020.


NECA SA/NT Apprentice Awards Dinner  Friday, 9 October 2020  Adelaide Convention Centre

 Saturday, 31 October 2020

RACCA SA Annual Industry Night  Friday, 6 November 2020  Astor Hotel, Adelaide CBD

Driving People and Leadership Performance Workshop with Ray Hodge  Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Crucial Women in Construction (CWIC) Event  Friday, 5 March 2021

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BRANCH UPDATE Wayne Hobson NECA TAS President

2020 CONTINUES TO BE A CHALLENGING TIME FOR EVERYONE. RUNNING A BUSINESS IN THESE TIMES HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT WITH THE EVER-CHANGING RESTRICTIONS, UNCERTAINTY AND DOWNTURN IN THE ECONOMY. Our ability 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, and the Tasmanian public. Both the state and federal governments are to be commended for their efforts to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill 2020 (the Bill), which will be tabled in State Parliament later this year. Currently, Tasmanian legislation governing electricity safety is spread across three Acts that have not been updated since the 1990s.

Upcoming legislation changes

The Bill will consolidate all electricity safety requirements, making it easier for people to find and understand safety

One upcoming change that our industry needs to be aware of is the Electrical Safety

NECA has been advocating on behalf of members and made a submission on the Bill in early 2020.



THE TASMANIAN GOVERNMENT RECENTLY ANNOUNCED PLANS 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, including electrical, plumbing and water, refrigeration and air conditioning and smart buildings technologies, in order to meet industry demands. Over the past two years, NECA has been working with federal and state governments to train more qualified electricians and meet 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 refrigeration and air conditioning, as well as access to upskilling in renewables and hydrogen technologies. There are currently more than 500 electrotechnology apprentices at TasTAFE and the new site at Clarence will expand capacity and see more tradespeople trained in this key industry.



obligations and their responsibilities. In summary, the Bill will: 

regulate the safety of electricity infrastructure, electrical installations, electrical equipment, and certain activities near electricity infrastructure and electrical installations; apply current technical standards, to ensure the safety of electricity infrastructure, electrical installations and electrical equipment, so that they are designed, maintained and managed in a manner that protects persons and property; and introduce a new statutory authority, the ‘Director of Electricity Safety’ who may issue electricity safety determinations or codes of practice.

We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.

CPD Training program is back for 2020 To enable electrical licence holders to complete their continuing professional development (CPD) within a COVID-19 safe work environment, NECA has adapted our Tasmanian training and events CPD activities into a series of virtual sessions.

Licence holders who have not been able to complete their CPD requirements will be able to renew their licence on the condition that any outstanding requirements are met within the next CPD period. NECA is working closely with Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) regarding how these changes will be implemented.

providing $14 million towards the stateof-the-art facility.

The virtual training program starts with a session in September 2020 on ‘Debt Recovery for electrical contracting businesses’ and continues in October with ‘Safe working on or near lowvoltage equipment’.

The pandemic has created many hurdles in the training sector, with both training organisations and apprentices needing to adjust to flexible learning models. NECA Careers and Training is working hard with Skills Tasmania to ensure our apprentices have access to skilled lecturers, who, before COVID-19 restrictions would have travelled to Tasmania in person.

For more information on the 2020 CPD program and to register for the online events, visit NECA Tasmania.

Education and Careers NECA recently welcomed the federal government’s $7 million investment into TasTAFE’s new Trades and Water Centre of Excellence; this will expand the state’s capacity for electrical training, a move which NECA has long advocated for. This brings the total investment for the Centre of Excellence to $21 million, with the Tasmanian Government

NECA, in collaboration with Master Plumbers of Tasmania, has been working with the federal and state governments for over two years so we can train more qualified electricians and meet the demands of the Tassie construction sector.

Amongst all the challenges we are facing personally and professionally, we are starting to hear positive stories from our members about how they are working to get through this difficult time. If you would like to share an experience that would be valuable for your industry colleagues to hear, please get in touch. Stay safe and look out for each other.

According to Suresh Manickam, CEO of NECA, apprentices are the real winners and they will have the opportunity to learn in a purpose-built, world-class facility. “This is critical because the trades are becoming more technically demanding and sophisticated, therefore we need a learning environment that reflects the technical demands of the trades. “Now more than ever is the right time to be investing in apprenticeships, because when the economy starts booming again in a few years, we will be able to pump out qualified tradespeople to match the skills demand in the Tasmanian economy. This should also mean that Tassie won’t need to import skills from the mainland; it’ll be selfsufficient and sustainable.” Construction of the TasTAFE Water and Trades Centre of Excellence will begin later this year.


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AS WE CONTINUE TO FEEL THE EFFECTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE TASMANIAN ECONOMY LOOKS BLEAK FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR, WITH VARYING DEGREES OF CHALLENGE AHEAD FOR MANY BUSINESSES. THE CONSTRUCTION AND ELECTRICAL INDUSTRIES HAVE NOT BEEN IMMUNE TO THIS OF COURSE AND IT LOOKS AS THOUGH WE MAY SEE ONGOING EFFECTS WITHIN THESE SECTORS FOR SOME TIME. The climate ahead has potential to affect current apprenticeships and future career opportunities for those wanting to move into the electrical industry. Group Training Organisations in Tasmania are acutely aware of how this will affect current and future apprentices, and are focused on ensuring that the great work over recent years to increase the number of apprentices entering the trade in Tasmania is not eroded. Electrical contracting businesses familiar with the many benefits of partnering with a Group Training Organisation appreciate that during difficult times, these training models can be of great value to both the hosts and apprentices by providing that safety net for ongoing sustainable apprentice employment. As workflows can have many peaks and troughs at the moment, NECA’s Group Training facilities are able to assist via apprentice rotations between its many valued host partners. This is the safety net that can help host businesses maintain work flexibility and that all-important labour mix within their business. It allows the host to better coordinate daily work activities between busy and quiet periods, taking out some of the stress while meeting business

EVENT UPDATES To enable electrical contractors to meet their CPD obligations, NECA has moved all training and events online for the remainder of 2020.

needs. At the same time apprentices can continue in work, which ensures that they are actively engaged and continue to gain the broad range of skills required as part of their apprenticeship. It is extremely important that we continue to keep all apprentices in the training system so that we do not lose future skills via job losses

or have a situation where opportunities for the uptake of new apprentices cannot occur. Any employer of apprentices having difficulty in managing workflows and staff numbers should consider the options that Group Training Organisations provide, not only for individual contracting businesses and apprentices, but the industry as a whole.

Gary Vidler General Manager, NECA Education and Careers

eVeNt CALeNDAr NECA CPD Event — Online

Topic: Debt Recovery for Electrical Contracting Businesses

 Thursday, 10 September 2020

Presenter: Stafford Poyser, NECA Legal

 4.00pm – 5.00pm

CPD Points: 1 Point

NECA CPD Event — Online

Topic: Safe Working on or near Low-Voltage Equipment

 Thursday, 29 October 2020

Presenter: Owen Leslie, NECA WHS

 10.30am – 11.30am

CPD Points: 1 Point

For more information and to register for this online event, visit



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

WELCOME TO THE HOME OF THE VICTORIAN NEWS, VIEWS AND UPDATES ON ELECTRICAL AND COMMUNICATION ISSUES. AS WE TRANSITION TO A NATIONAL NECA MAGAZINE, WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT OUR BRANCH SECTION COVERS ALL THE ISSUES AFFECTING TO VICTORIA, OUR VICTORIAN MEMBERS AND OUR BUSINESS PARTNERS. In the last few months, Victoria has gone through some unprecedented changes as a result of COVID-19. The last few weeks have been particularly challenging, as we all learned to cope with Stage 4 restrictions. The Victorian Treasury summed up some of our recent challenges as ‘the biggest economic shock [the world] and Victoria has experienced since the Great Depression.’ As we come out of lockdown and slowly work through a recovery, there is no doubt

we will see some systemic changes in the environment, which will be here to stay for a while. At NECA Vic, we are committed to providing our members – our ‘NECA family’ – with the latest industry insights, tailored business support and a strong industry voice. Consistent with this, many of you would have seen a lot of activity and communication from NECA Victoria recently. There have been some very



Licensing Lineworkers Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) will introduce a new licensing regime for lineworkers from 1 January 2021. This means all currently registered lineworkers will receive a licence - initially at no cost - that will be subject to renewal every 5 years.

Licensing of lineworkers is a priority for the Victorian Government. It ensures lineworkers have met minimum requirements and understand the complexities of their work.

Lineworkers will also be subject to a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme, due to be introduced in 2026.

All lineworkers already registered with ESV will automatically transition to a licence at no cost. Costs will apply to licence applications after this time. If you are a registered lineworker, ensure your details are current.

Lineworkers who are not already registered with ESV need to register as soon as possible. Online registration will be available from September on the ESV website.

ESV is carrying out a consultation process with industry and other stakeholders to understand any concerns around regulations that have been developed to support the licensing regime.



determined advocacy efforts together with key Construction Industry stakeholders, to clarify and influence the initial Stage 4 guidance, as well as supporting members, Partners and in some cases even non-members, through of the complexity of the current events. The resilience we Victorians have shown is very heartening. While the industry has seen impacts, most of our membership continues to adapt to the challenges with a sense of toughness and optimism which makes NECA very proud. However, COVID-19 has not been the only area of complexity to contend with in Victoria. Our industry continues to work through several other initiatives and complexities, many of which will continue to affect us over the coming months. NECA has been deeply involved in representing the industry voice in several regulatory change conversations. Many of you had the opportunity to provide some very constructive inputs on the challenges we need to work through around the proposed Licensing Regime changes. The National Regime recently announced, which is quite a welcome initiative, will further influence this

Definitions of linework and lineworkers in the Electricity Safety Act are very broad and the understanding of the lineworker’s work is varied. The tasks required to be completed by licensed lineworkers have been determined following extensive consultation with industry participants and are now the subject of a public consultation process through the release of the draft Regulations and a Regulatory Impact Statement from late August to late September.

Continuing Professional Development Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for electrical workers will be introduced in Victoria commencing with skills maintenance training by 2023 and requiring skills development training by 2028. Training must be completed within the two year period before making an application for the renewal of a licence.


conversation. Continual Professional Development (CPD) has also become a focus area, with NECA consolidating and presenting many member insights in our submission. Discussions have also started around some suggested improvement to Licensing Electrical Assessments, as well as educating and guiding members through some of the legislative implications stemming from the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter, which came into effect in Victoria on 1 July this year.

Mid this year, we started preparing NECA’s On the Road to Recovery Checklist, as it looked as though we were coming out the other side of the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, now it is looking more like this just the beginning of a very long haul to recovery. We hope some of the checklists and resources have been helpful. The Checklist provides a practical, step-by-step roadmap to re-establish your business processes, and plan a pipeline of work, to ensure that your business thrives.

Many of you operating in the solar industry, have experienced changes recently in the approach to compliance and enforcement. Many of these changes are well intended, however communication and operationalisation of some of these improvements leaves room to learn from. Based on a disturbing volume of escalations, NECA Victoria has taken up some of these issues directly with the respective bodies. It is pleasing to see a lot of desire to work through issues and address some of the challenges our members have raised. This can only lead to a growing maturity and resilience in this challenged segment of our industry.

We hope you enjoy the content the Victorian team has prepared for you in this edition, including a quick local economic snapshot, how to best navigate some of the downturn realities, some practical implications of COVID-19 on the OHS Act and some technical updates to be aware of.

The skills maintenance component will be introduced first for a five year cycle. Specific courses are currently under development in consultation with industry representatives.

ESVConnect offers more functionality than ever with its latest update introducing public registers, accessible to industry and the general public.


The register provides a search function allowing users to look up and find current RECs, their expiry date and REC number. You can verify an electrical worker’s status, searching them by name or licence number. Also, search for and sort Licensed Electrical Inspectors (LEI) by licence number, name, suburb, phone number and class. This makes it easy to find a LEI in your area. Inspection Companies are also listed and searchable.

This is also a reminder to upgrade to ESVConnect, which has celebrated its first anniversary. To date, 40% of Licensed Electrical Workers (LEWs) and 72% of Registered Electrical Contractors (RECs) have upgraded to ESVConnect. Over 70% of prescribed and 65% of non-prescribed Certificates of Electrical Safety (COES) are now completed with ease via the online platform.

Please continue to stay safe folks and keep the refreshing optimism we get to experience every day, as we engage with many of you. In the meantime, please reach out to our friendly NECA Vic team whenever you are unsure about any aspects of your business – we are here to support and guide you through these uncertain times.

Marnie Williams Director of Energy Safety & CEO Energy Safe Victoria

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A SNAPSHOT OF VICTORIA’S ECONOMY IN THE MIDST OF THE PANDEMIC “THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC REPRESENTS THE BIGGEST ECONOMIC SHOCK THE WORLD AND VICTORIA HAVE EXPERIENCED SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION.” The above is the opening line of the July 2020 Economic Update from the Victorian Treasury and Finance Department. It’s dramatic – but in the light of the recent State of Disaster declaration, it’s probably not an over-statement. The latest modelling estimates that real Gross State Product (GSP) could fall by 5.25% in the 2020 calendar year, which translates to 11% lower than the forecasts in the 2019-20 Budget Update. It’s not hard to see why, when you look at the situation underlying the estimates. Stay at home restrictions, though necessary, have had a huge impact on the Victorian service sector; while the closing of national borders has curtailed tourism and education exports and reduced migration, which has a flow-on effect in residential construction and the parts of the economy that depend on consumer spending. Local spending has also been influenced by unemployment. In the June quarter, around 160,000 Victorians lost their jobs. The official unemployment rate for June was 7.5% in Victoria and 7.4% nationally. But when adjusted for a significant decline in labour force participation since March, the number is much higher; 9.8% for Victoria and 10% nationwide. These figures, while startling, are actually lower than was predicted earlier in the year. Government action, at both federal and state level, has contributed to a lesser impact on jobs and business that was feared in March. But it’s likely to get worse before it gets better, particularly given the second wave of infection and the resulting Stage 4 restrictions. The official



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unemployment rate is expected to rise as high as 9% in the September quarter.

Firmly in the centre of all of this discussion is the construction industry.

The pandemic-driven recession in the rest of the world also plays a part, by reducing demand for Victorian goods and services and disrupting supply chains that Victorian businesses depend on. Unsurprisingly, consumer and business confidence is down.

As Victoria grapples with a bleak economic outlook, confidence in the ability of the building, construction and development industry to continue to operate is vital, as it is a major contributor to the state’s taxation, revenue and employment base.

Demand for installation work on new buildings has slumped following the COVID-19 outbreak and falling household income has dampened demand for home improvement work by small-scale contractors. Intense competition in construction and maintenance markets has driven down profitability and new installation work on non-residential buildings is also in decline. On the positive side, both federal and state governments are committed to continuing to support both jobs and the economy in general. While this will naturally cause greater deficits than anyone would like, experience to date seems to indicate that it is the right course for the economy. And counter-intuitive as it may seem, interventions to curtail the spread of the virus (such as movement restrictions) are apparently also the right approach for the economy – as well as for the obvious humanitarian benefit. To quote from the Update: ‘Getting on top of coronavirus (COVID-19) is the key to long-term economic recovery. Despite the economic cost of the restrictions… …OECD and IMF forecasts indicate that jurisdictions that have been less successful or have taken a less interventionist approach to slowing the spread of the virus will experience greater economic damage.’

The value of construction work undertaken per annum in Victoria is over $57 billion – representing almost 13% of Victoria’s GSP and accounting for over 45% of the state’s tax revenue. Construction employs nearly one in ten workers in Victoria, which translates to approximately 300,000 people in full and part-time positions, in more than 200,000 businesses. As the pandemic has progressed in Victoria, the building, construction and development industry has recorded a job loss of around 8,300 people, or a 3% decline from the first quarter of 2020. Residential building approvals declined by nearly 15% in the June quarter, with the greatest falls being in multi-unit approvals. While forecasts still predict a reasonable pipeline of activity across our industry, it is expected to reduce by over $6 billion, with more than $2 billion in lost tax revenue for the state. Lower interest rates are anticipated to stimulate demand for some building construction. However, reduced foreign investment in building projects may negatively affect the subdivision. Demand from the infrastructure construction market is forecast to underpin the industry’s expansion. Declining oil prices may lower operating costs for some firms, assisting business viability and profit margins should



of Commitment, has reduced hardship for businesses, workers and their families and lessened the burden on the Victorian economy.

strengthen slightly due to demand for installation and maintenance services. The position of the electrical and communication industry is a microcosm of construction; in short, a short-term contraction but a cautiously positive outlook in the longer term. COVID-19-specific challenges in the Electrical Services industry include disruptions in the supply chain of imported electrical components and equipment as well as the supply of

skilled labour. Electrical contractors are also being affected by having to change work practices to comply with social distancing regulations and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). The Victorian Government’s formal recognition of the vital importance of our industry, through two key Statements


Overall, the industry’s performance is forecast to continue to deteriorate over the short term, partly due to COVID-19 and partly to reduced investment in largescale apartment developments and the downward correction of demand from the non-residential building market as several landmark hotel and office developments are completed. In the medium term, an anticipated upswing in demand from the residential building and industrial markets supports an improvement in the industry’s performance from 2023-24. NECA will continue to work assiduously to ensure that the industry’s importance to the Victorian economy is understood, valued and supported by the government and all stakeholders, to maximise our members’ success through and beyond the pandemic.

IBISWorld: AU Industry (ANZSIC) Report E3232 Victorian State Government Dept. Of Treasury and Finance Report July 2020

SAY YES, WORK HARD, AND MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK HOW AMBITION AND DRIVE TOOK JARROD SMITH FROM APPRENTICE TO DIRECTOR AND GENERAL MANAGER OF FREDON VICTORIA When Jarrod Smith took up his electrical apprenticeship at 16, he saw it chiefly as a means to an end. He had his eye on a life as a pilot and the electrical work was a way to pay for his flying lessons (along with a morning paper round and trolley collecting at night). But by the time he was 18, his priorities had changed (as they do). His pilot dreams hadn’t taken off, so he switched his prodigious energy and ambition to building an electrical career. Ambition was something that came naturally to Jarrod. As a boy, when he wanted a motorbike, he started a business selling backyard lemons and passionfruit to his neighbours (along with his own original paintings). Of course, it might have been better if he has asked his Dad first, but in his

defence, the budding entrepreneur was only four years old at the time... Energy and ambition notwithstanding, entering the industry as an impressionable 16 year old was definitely an eye-opener. In 1993 the electrical business was, Jarrod says, “quite rough and tough, with questionable safety practices and limited support for apprentices. Thankfully the industry has evolved with key focuses on safety and support mechanisms for apprentices and staff in general.” Fortunately, even back then, the industry also offered wonderful people to work with and a seemingly endless opportunity to learn; a great attraction for someone with Jarrod’s thirst for knowledge! Jarrod’s first opportunity to learn came with WH Electrics. In his 12 years

with them, he grew with the business, progressing from apprentice to estimating, winning work, and delivering projects on site. Financial difficulties saw the business lose one of their biggest projects to Watters in 2005, but Jarrod was invited to continue as Project Manager and went on to complete that job, and several more high profile large projects with Watters, across various sectors. In 2008 Jarrod was approached by Nilsen to step into new role which revolved around his favourite task, designing. During his two years there, as Bid and Design Manager, he led two successful PPP (Public-Private Partnership) bids: Lend Lease with the Melbourne Markets relocation project and H2JV with the Ararat Prison project. Each of those projects was worth around $30 million for the electrical. Both teams were incredible to work with, and he learned a lot, especially with Lend Lease, who were particularly welcoming. These bids were incredibly demanding and involved working 7 days a week for the 3 month tender period. When he was offered a more senior national role with KLM in late 2010, Jarrod waved goodbye to Nilsen. Jarrod says, “KLM in the early days was very much like Watters, a great family business with an exceptional team culture. As Design and Proposal Manager I had the opportunity to reengineer and negotiate many large commercial projects across several States. After a few years in this role I moved to Contracts Manager, then to General Manager, under the rebadged Programmed Electrical Technologies.” But this trajectory led him away from his main passion; construction. So, in late 2015, following a few conversations with a persuasive recruiter about a start-up opportunity, he flew to Sydney to meet with the two Alans of Fredon.



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It’s fair to say that the meeting went well. Jarrod and Alan Brown got on so well that a planned one-hour interview turned into three, and he nearly missed his flight home! During the interview, Jarrod was tasked with completing a business case to build a large, tier 1, electrical business in Melbourne. It was an excellent opportunity to ensure that the goal was viable and with his trademark drive, in six days of working day and night, Jarrod produced an ambitious plan that he still carries with him today. Interestingly (and a testament to Fredon’s vision in engaging Jarrod) the business growth has tracked quite closely to this original plan. In January 2016 Fredon Electrical opened for business in Victoria, in a small office in Kensington, with just Jarrod on the payroll. But he soon set about selling his dream and vision to others, to build the formidable team they have today. His first employee was a former colleague, Rudy Adlaf. Together they worked countless hours preparing tenders small to large. Luke Osenkowski came on board as Estimating Manager, then Gary Falvey joined, not long after, to head up the construction division and Angelo Graci the service division. Building the Fredon business over the last four and a half years has been demanding and very challenging and Jarrod credits their success to the talented and dedicated staff he is proud to have gathered around him. He is particularly proud of their success in the 2018 NECA Awards, where Fredon secured two awards and two commendations. “Everyone had worked so hard. We strive for high quality and installations that surpass client expectations. It was great to be recognised amongst peers and such tough competition.” These days, Jarrod spends most days in meetings of various kinds, from tender reviews, forecasting reviews, strategy sessions and client catch-ups, to supply chain discussions. Other than the usual reports, he enjoys checking in with staff and maintaining a hands-on approach. Design remains his passion and he regularly finds himself pulling projects apart.


Jarrod Smith with the late Alan Brown, former President of NECA and Deputy Chairperson at Fredon

Professionally, life is not without its challenges. Even before COVID-19, the industry was forecasting a talent pool shortage with the known upcoming work, including the large infrastructure projects. But COVID-19 has presented all industries with unexpected trials. The electrical industry has been lucky compared to some industries, but no business can avoid the effect on both the local and international economies and we will need to stay nimble to navigate through these unprecedented circumstances.

a reason they say that failing to plan is planning to fail! Draw up a business plan, step it out in logical order. Set up your short and long term goals and link everything together with 1-5 year budgets.

On a personal level, Jarrod says his biggest challenge is juggling the work/ home life balance and making sure he can spend time with his wife and five kids. He likes to exercise as a stress outlet so you will often find him in the gym at home or the park with the kids. He also enjoys cars and motorbikes when he gets a spare moment!

Lastly, Jarrod says that you should find what works for you, what fuels you, and let that drive you. Don’t let doubts stop you from having a go. When Jarrod was approached by Nilsen, he at first questioned his ability to step up into more senior roles. His wife told him to ‘fake it till you make it.’ He took the advice and the rest is history! He also likes Muhammad Ali’s advice to ‘fall down seven times and get up eight.’ Find the inspiration that speaks to you, work hard, follow your dreams and you’ll go far!

To those starting out in the industry, Jarrod’s advice is to, first and foremost, believe in yourself and back yourself. Secondly, planning and setting goals is vital to any business’s success. There’s

Also, recognise that you can’t do it on your own. Surround yourself with talented people, back them and build a positive, successful, driven team and inclusive culture. There are a number of business courses Jarrod would recommend; Melbourne Business School runs many, from beginner to advanced.

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

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IN VICTORIA REMAINS STRONG Solar installations in Victoria have grown substantially with the Victorian Government’s Solar Homes Grant Program, administered by Solar Victoria. Typical households can save up to $890 per year on their electricity bills when they install solar panels, but the initial cost can be a barrier. These rebates are substantially reducing the cost to households and giving them access to affordable solar. Federal rebates are also available, and when combined, these two incentives represent a significant cost reduction at the point of sale for homeowners. With the cost of solar installations continuing to reduce, in part due to greater uptake, the price per watt for an average installation can be as low as one dollar per watt. With the government rebates, this figure could be substantially lower, making solar in Victoria a very good option to reduce energy costs. Installers are encouraged to take advantage of this demand.

of becoming more self-sufficient. Battery storage options enable consumers to be both less dependent on the grid and have greater control over energy use across the day. With the increase in battery storage options, we saw a new battery Standard introduced in October 2019. AS/NZS 5139:2019 is now fully implemented in most states. The Standard has provided some challenging design aspects and is also written differently to most standards. The section of the Standard that applies to an installation is dependent on which battery system is being installed. AS/NZS 5139:2019 is available on NECA’s Technical Knowledge Base (TKB). The most common issues with battery installations appear to be around location, restricted areas and the requirement of a non-combustible material installed behind the battery system, where there is a habitable room directly behind it. Habitable rooms are rooms used for normal living

activities associated with a domestic or residential electrical installation such as a bedroom, living room, lounge room or kitchen. Other issues relate to; distance from exits, windows, and appliances; the installation of associated equipment within the restricted zones; and the hazards associated with installing a battery system. The requirements for battery systems have also been included in the Victorian Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019. REG 249 (3) For the purpose of section 45 of the Act, Prescribed electrical installation work means electrical installation work on all or part of any battery system, including work on associated wiring systems, switchgear, control gear and accessories. This indicates it shall be inspected by a Licensed Electrical Inspector in the state of Victoria. The future for renewables is an ever-growing industry and an exciting one at that.

Battery Storage The Victorian Government has also implemented rebates for battery installations, which has been welcomed by Victorian households as it reduces the cost

Louis Knoops Technical Manager NECA Victoria




NECA is excited to announce a new partnership with Hunterlink to provide FREE mental wellbeing services for NECA Victoria members, their employees and their families.

Join us virtually for local ‘Sparky Blender’ networking nights and Webinars. NECA is offering interactive webinars and networking events to help you grow your business and get the most out of your membership. Webinars and networking events are held regularly and some sessions are available on demand to watch at a time that is convenient to you. Check out the schedule at:



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If you are a NECA member and you or someone in your immediate family needs to talk, you can call Hunterlink 24/7 on their confidential and free helpline. Your call will be answered by a trained, professional counsellor providing mental health and wellbeing support through any barriers you may experience at work or home. Give them a call on 1800 554 654.





AS THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK CONTINUES TO BE A MAJOR DISRUPTOR THROUGHOUT THE NATION AND WORLDWIDE, BUSINESSES ARE LEFT GRAPPLING WITH THE CHANGES AND THE NEED TO MAKE CRITICAL DECISIONS TO ENSURE THEY MAKE IT TO THE OTHER SIDE. Many contractors will now need to consider their options and obligations around employee hours of work and duties. While in most cases there will be a need to scale back operations temporarily, redundancy should not be the first option. The following should be closely considered prior to resorting to role redundancies: 

Accessing government financial support (such as the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme)

requirements or additional requirements under an Enterprise Agreement.

A JobKeeper Direction Many businesses will now be eligible for JobKeeper and can therefore issue a ‘JobKeeper enabling stand down direction’. The following options are available under this direction:  

Allowing employees to access paid or unpaid leave

Modifying duties or rosters

Reduction of hours by agreement

Stand downs

For a detailed explanation of these options please contact your Workplace Relations Advisor.

Standing Down Employees Under section 524 of the Fair Work Act (Cth) 2009 (FW Act), an employer may lawfully stand down an employee without pay where an employee cannot usefully be employed due to, but not limited to, a stoppage of work for any cause which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible. An employer is not required to make payment to employees for the duration of a stand-down period. You may allow employees to access any accrued annual leave or long service leave during this period. In order to enact a stand down, businesses are encouraged to first seek advice to review any additional contractual


reduce hours worked in a day; reduce the number of days employees work; reduce their overall number of hours; or stand down employees entirely (with no requirement to work during this period).

When deciding on options it is important to keep in mind the principles of fairness that were highlighted in a recent matter (MR Ryan La Plume v Thomas Foods International Pty Limited T/A Thomas Foods International [2020] FWC 3690) before the Fair Work Commission. It was found that it was not fair that the employer imposed the whole burden of the reduction of hours on one full-time employee (by standing that employee down), whilst retaining full-time employment amongst other members of the same team. In the decision, Deputy President Anderson commented that a fair approach would have been for the employer to “apply some apportionment to the reduction to comparable employees” in that team and not singularly to that one employee.

This has been reinforced by another recent decision of the Fair Work Commission in Kurt Stelzer v The Trustee of the Ideal Acrylics Unit Trust trading as Acrylics 2020 FWC 4129 (7 August 2020), where a senior FWC member re-emphasised the need for pandemic affected employers to spread the burden fairly, after the business stood down a worker for 3 months, so others could retain their full-time hours. Employers must also provide employees with at least three days’ notice of any JobKeeper enabling direction taking effect.

Steps Required in Order to Make a Direction Step 1: Issue initial notification of stand down in writing. This is in line with the requirement that the intention should be issued in writing at least 3 days before issuing the direction (unless your employees genuinely agree to a shorter timeframe). Step 2: Consult with employees. Consult with employees (or their representative) about the direction. You should keep a written record of the consultation. Step 3: Confirm the stand down in writing by issuing a stand down letter. It is also essential to maintain contact with employees throughout the stand down period and ensure you keep them updated. If you are unsure of your obligations, we highly suggest you seek specific advice to ensure you are not in breach of any legislative or contractual obligations. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your local NECA branch.

Natalie Mill Workplace Relations Advisor, NECA Victoria 1300 300 031

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This means that employers and self-employed persons must notify WorkSafe if COVID-19 is confirmed in the workplace. Failure to notify WorkSafe will incur the standard (substantial) penalties under the OHS Act: currently a maximum penalty of $39,652.80 for individuals and $198,264.00 for companies. WorkSafe must be notified immediately when either employers, or self-

employed persons, who are in control of the workplace become aware that: 

an employee, independent contractor, employee of the independent contractor or self-employed person has received a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19; and the employee, independent contractor, employee of the independent contractor or selfemployed person has attended

the workplace within the relevant infection period. WorkSafe will then determine the need to investigate the matter. A key item of reportable incidents is the need to preserve the site until advised by WorkSafe. However, for a COVID-19 notification it is essential that the site is cleaned and disinfected, in order to prevent further transmission of the virus, so preservation is not required.


COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation

But what if an employee contracts COVID-19 – will they be entitled to workers’ compensation? 

With the incident notification trigger, it is now very likely that COVID-19 will be considered an occupational disease and will see workers potentially eligible for workers’ compensation. There are of course several matters that will need to be confirmed (as for any claim) such as: 

The workplace and work performed by the worker will need to be seen as a ‘significant contributing factor,’ and or any entitlement to workers’ compensation, there must be a clear demonstration that the: 

worker has suffered an ’injury’ (illness);

the ‘injury’ (illness) has arisen out of, or during, employment and the work performed has contributed in some significant way to the contraction of the virus; and the ‘injury’ (illness) of contracting COVID-19 can be clearly linked to occurring during the course of employment.

As you would recognise, a claim for virus contraction by a worker from either a co-worker or vendor will present a far greater obstacle of proof. However, some workplaces and occupations will find the links easier to establish. Healthcare workers, for instance, who are required to interact

directly with infected people, or workers who need to attend ‘high risk’ areas, with known significant outbreaks, due to the speciality of the services they provide. Insurers, courts and regulators can be expected to cast intense scrutiny on all decisions and steps an employer has taken to manage COVID-19 risks in their workplace and this will potentially become very important when considering whether the workplace is a ‘significant contributing factor’. This situation continues to highlight the need for businesses to have an OHS Management System in place, to help improve safety outcomes and reduce risk of personal injury or ill health to employees, subcontractors, visitors, and the general public.

Peter Tsoubos HSEQ Manager, NECA Victoria for more information about implementing an OHS Management Systems

BRANCH UPDATE Carl Copeland NECA WA Branch Secretary

ALTHOUGH MARKET CONDITIONS REMAIN DIFFICULT, IT IS PLEASING TO HEAR FROM MEMBERS IN THE RESIDENTIAL SECTOR THAT THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENT STIMULUS PACKAGES AIMED AT INCREASING THE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW HOMES IS HAVING A POSITIVE EFFECT. Members in this sector expect a considerable increase in work in the near future. The strong prices for gold and iron ore in particular have ensured that members working in the resource sector are also enjoying strong demand for electrical work. NECA Technical is taking as many, if not more, calls than it was before COVID, which indicates there are still lots of members performing work. There is obviously still a long way to go in terms of a full recovery but it does seem that Western Australia is better placed than other states at present.

Industrial Manslaughter Legislation


Sometimes there are critical pieces of legislation that industry has to fight tooth and nail to prevent; the Western Australian Government’s proposed industrial manslaughter legislation is such a law. It is vital that all contractors familiarise themselves with this legislation because it will criminalise workplace accidents. The Government’s proposed industrial manslaughter law exposes business owners to up to 10 years in jail and a $2.5million fine if an accident occurs on your worksite – even if you haven’t been reckless or negligent. It is vital that members understand the risks they could face under the worst parts (e.g. Section 30B) of the Western Australian Government’s proposed Workplace Health & Safety Bill. Section 30B is unique to WA. It is not found in any other state or territory.

NECA has met with the Minister for Industrial Relations, Bill Johnston, and personally expressed our concerns to him. We were particularly adamant that the legislation must contain defences that protect contractors whose safety practices meet the legislative requirements. It is ridiculous to have a situation where a business owner has implemented safety practices that ensure compliance with all of their WHS obligations and yet can still be subjected to prosecution. NECA has lobbied the McGowan government, as well as the Liberal Opposition and cross-bench members of Parliament, as part of a coalition of more than twenty other industry associations who also oppose this legislation. I encourage every Western Australian business owner and director to read the joint submission to government that NECA WA has made along with the other industry associations. The submission, which is on NECA WA’s website, is more than 20 pages long but it is critical that you understand the potential implications for you, your business, your co-workers and your family. Members can be assured that NECA WA will continue to fiercely oppose this legislation in its current form.

Security of Payments Legislation The State Government has also recently released its long-awaited draft Security of Payments legislation. This is vital legislation for NECA members and for subcontractors in general.



Overall NECA WA is reasonably happy with the proposed outcomes. The Government has enacted much of what we asked for in our 2018 submission. The main areas of reform are: 

Making the legislation more consistent with those in other Australian states and territories. Better protection of cash retention and security in the event of an insolvency through a deemed trust scheme that will apply across the contracting chain. Any cash retentions in these trusts cannot be accessed by head contractors for use in their day-to-day business operations. The money can only be accessed for the return of retentions to the subcontractor at the end of the project. Importantly, retentions would be protected should the head contractor go into administration during the project. Provides greater power to ban contractors with a history of nonpayment and/or “phoenixing.”

However, one important issue which the government hasn’t addressed is the introduction of deemed trusts for progress payments. The government has said that they thought this was a step too far when introducing these proposed changes. NECA and many associations representing subcontractors in other trades, firmly believe that deemed trusts for progress payments are a vital tool in the protection of our members, so we will continue to lobby for their introduction.

Meeting with Building and Energy NECA recently had a very productive meeting with Building and Energy (B&E). Some of the issues that were discussed included: Disconnection and reconnection of pillars on Small Strata Developments. NECA asked Building and Energy for its thoughts on allowing contractors on the Contractor Connect Scheme (CCS) to disconnect an existing dome and reconnect it to the new site main switchboard in order to comply with Western Power’s new Small Strata Development Guidelines. B&E indicated it had no immediate objection to such


an arrangement. As a result, NECA has now commenced discussions on this proposal with Western Power. Training Licences A common source of frustration with members is the time it takes to get an apprentice’s training licence approved so that they can commence working. B&E indicated that there are plans to amend the Electrical Licensing Regulations so that training licences are deemed to become active when the application is submitted. This would mean an apprentice could commence performing electrical work the same day as they apply for their licence. B&E hope this arrangement will come into effect before the end of 2020. Introduction of a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) program In Western Australia, there is currently no requirement for electrical workers to undertake any professional development or mandatory training once they have obtained their electrical licence. NECA WA believes that this has resulted in some electrical licence holders having considerable deficiencies in both their technical knowledge and their knowledge of current safety practices. To provide some context, in Western Australia, an electrician who became a tradesperson 10 years ago has been under no formal requirement to have familiarised themselves with either the last two updates to AS/NZS 3000 (2013 and 2018), or the last eight updates to the Western Australian Distribution and Connections Manual (WADCM), or the previous six changes to the WA Electrical Requirements (WAER). NECA believes that a CPD program would help ensure that an electrical worker’s technical knowledge is kept up-todate, as this is an essential requirement for completing tasks in a technically proficient and safe manner.

Member Events Western Power representatives have recently attended events in Geraldton and Bussellton and I am delighted to inform members that Western Power have agreed to send a representative from the Inspectorate to our future Industry Nights in Perth and the regions.

Apprentice Funding Available While we are talking about apprentices, I strongly urge you to ensure you are accessing the considerable amount of funding which is available to your business if you are employing apprentices. We appreciate that members may have been discouraged from pursuing all the funding they are entitled to because of the ‘red tape’ involved. However, if you have a direct indenture apprentice we would strongly urge you to contact the Apprenticeship Community, as they can help guide you through the requirements and simplify the process. If you hire your apprentices through EGT, then this funding is accessed, processed and passed back to you by EGT.

College of Electrical Training (CET) With the easing of restrictions, the vast majority of CET’s students have returned to the classrooms and workshops. CET has comprehensive processes to ensure its two campuses are COVID-19 safe. Whilst our preference is to continue delivery in a face-to-face environment, CET now has a virtual classroom platform available. As a result, we will be able to engage with our pre-apps, apprentices and post-trade students, regardless of any future COVID outbreaks. In response to considerable lobbying by CET, the government and the Construction Training Fund (CTF) have announced extensive opportunities to undertake free and heavily subsidised training courses. Whether it is CTF supplementary skills funding for apprentices, or the decrease in apprentice fees, the result is the cost of tuition fees being halved for some apprentices and pre-apprentices.

Tony Mancini Tony Mancini continues to make considerable progress following his March accident. By the time you read this article, he will have hopefully left hospital to continue his rehabilitation at home. Tony sends his sincere thanks for all visits he has received, as well as the many supportive emails and texts.

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To determine if a contract is a Standard Form contract, certain factors must be taken into account such as: 

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 was amended in late 2017 SO THAT “unfair contract terms” contained in a Standard Form Small Business Contract for goods and services are legally unenforceable. This restriction is specifically aimed at assisting small businesses. A contract is a Standard Form Small Business Contract for goods and services if:

The bargaining power of the parties and whether the contract was prepared by one party before the negotiations.

Whether the contract was offered on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis or whether the small business was given effective opportunity to negotiate about the terms and changes thereto.

There is a presumption that a contract is a Standard Form contract, unless it is proven otherwise. So, when is a term unfair? A term could be declared unfair if the inclusion of the term: 

Will cause a significant imbalance in rights and obligations (the onus is on the Applicant) and

Any relevant matter may be taken into account but the extent to which the term is transparent and the contract as a whole must be taken into account. Here are some examples of terms that have been declared unfair in recent cases: 

The unilateral right to terminate, assign or renew the contract by one party The unilateral right to determine whether a breach occurred or to determine the meaning of a term by one party A limitation of one party’s liability or limiting the evidence that a party may produce to prove or disprove a claim A term permitting one party to vary the price or characteristics of goods and services without the other party’s right to cancel the contract after that variation.

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One party to the contract employs less than 20 persons; and

The upfront contract price is less than $300,000, or $1M if the duration of the contract is for longer than 12 months.

Is not reasonably necessary to protect the party’s legitimate interests (the onus is on the Respondent) and Will cause a detriment to the small business party to the contract (the onus is on the Applicant)

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For more information on contractual obligations, call NECA Legal (WA) Pty Ltd on 08 6241 6129 or email

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Nearly 6,000 square metres in size, the new Museum features galleries, learning studios and experiential spaces, as well as retail and cafe areas.

requiring extensive 3D Modelling and visualisations. Due to the unique architectural design of the new build, and the requirement to have minimal impact on the existing heritage buildings fabric, innovative lighting solutions were required to light the spaces both internally and externally.

NECA was pleased to interview Terry Smith, one of Everett Smith’s founding partners, to gain his insight into this remarkable project.

Beyond the building, we installed a new high voltage ring to the Cultural Precinct, incorporating the State Library, Art Gallery and State Theatre onto one network.

What was Everett Smith’s role in the project?

What sort of technical problems did you overcome?

As part of the base build, Everett Smith designed, installed and commissioned all power distribution systems, all general power, architectural lighting and the communication infrastructure systems. We also carried out systems upgrades within the Cultural Precinct.

Electrically this was a very challenging project. Our team had considerable input into the design. As part of our planning, the product selection, layouts, installation methods and technical factors were all carefully considered.

We are now pleased to be working on the gallery content fit-out works.

Despite all our planning, the project was full of the unexpected challenges that always arise when working with older infrastructure.

This project aimed to create a worldclass attraction and visual landmark at the heart of Perth’s CBD. Its bold design integrated a newly-constructed, modern building with existing, restored heritage buildings, some dating back to the mid-1800s.

with tions. Can you share some of the project’s innovations?

Every aspect of the museum has the latest, state-of-the art technology for lighting, controls and communications. Not only did we integrate old infrastructure with new, but we readied the infrastructure to meet the 6ka RCBOs with museum’s needs well into the future.

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Blown Fibre Optic infrastructure throughout the development and Cat 6A horizontal data cabling throughout the galleries and activated spaces. This allows a high degree of flexibility in exhibition design. The lighting was highly specialised


Where possible, we carried out redesign to deliver savings. For example, we identified spare capacity within the generator in the adjacent State Library, which had capability to also provide backup essential power to the new museum. We rearranged the Electrical Distribution and Power Management System to meet essential needs in the event of an isolated or general building outage. For the communications solution, the building’s physical size and disparate location of the Communications Rooms necessitated an innovative and flexible solution. A blown fibre network was established throughout the site, providing 100% redundancy and spare

capacity for the needs of the WA Museum well into the future. What are some of the project’s success factors? Our experience with specialised projects was a key factor. We have a reputation for quality, technical competency and being solution-focused. It’s also important to acknowledge the calibre and quality work of our team on site. You can have the best design, but how it’s implemented makes all the difference. Our site team was able to take the designs and translate them into both aesthetic and highly-reliable technical outcomes. Collaboration, and building cooperative relationships with the other trades, was also integral. Do you have any final thoughts to share? August 2020 sees Everett Smith celebrating 55 years in business. In all that time, this was the most challenging, satisfying and spectacular project I have ever been involved in. It’s been wonderful for our team to contribute to something that will become part of Western Australia’s heritage. I hope it will be enjoyed for many generations to come.

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Switchboard Arrangements for Small Strata Lot Developments Over the last few months, you will have received updates from both Western Power and industry associations regarding the requirement of a switchboard installation for small strata lot developments. This change came into full effect on 1 July 2020.

Reminder: What This Change Means for You 

If you are working on a two-lot strata development, that has been granted conditional approval from the Western Australian Planning Commission (Survey Strata) or Landgate (Built Strata), before 1 February 2020, direct connection will be permitted to the pillar where the consumer mains cables to both lots do not exceed 30m from the connection point (pillar). Or, for all other small strata lot developments requiring a connection after 1 July 2020, the customer’s point of supply shall be via the customer’s strata subdivision site main switchboard to the network nominated pillar, as determined by Western Power. The maximum collective number of standard connections shall not exceed four, as prescribed by the Guideline and the WADCM.

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FOR SMALL STRATA LOT DEVELOPMENTS NECA WA’s Technical team has recently received many enquiries regarding supply arrangements for small strata subdivisions up to four lots. The Western Australian Distribution Connections Manual (WADCM) clause, only allows two freehold lots to be connected to one pillar. In addition to this, the Underground Distribution Schemes Manual clause (e), requires a main switchboard, suitable for supplying all strata lots to be installed when strata lots are created on a freehold lot. Therefore, any small strata development up to and including 4 lots will require a main switchboard capable of supplying a standard three phase supply for each of the lots to be installed. In areas supplied by Western Power, this may be achieved by installation of a main switchboard and distributed master metering with the meters on the individual dwellings as per figure 45 from WADCM below, or multiple master metering with all the meters in the main switchboard. In areas supplied by Horizon Power, distributed master metering is not permitted, therefore the switchboard will need to be suitable for multiple master metering.

Figure 45: Typical WP distributed master metering layout Notes: Consumer Main Switch(s) must include overcurrent & short circuit protection for the sub mains. MP - Meter protection in accordance with WAER and Network Operator requirements. MS, CE - Switching, isolation and protective devices in accordance with AS/NZS 3000. Meters supplied by Network Operation or Service Provider.

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How do I use a ladder safely? Ladders can be hazardous if they are not correctly maintained and used. Regulation 3.26 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 details the requirements for working with portable ladders. The employer should make sure that ladders are properly stored and inspected regularly and only used for light work of short duration or for access. The employer or supervisor should give you instructions and show you how to use a ladder safely and what safety checks to make before using a ladder. This includes checking that the ladder: 

has no damaged, loose or missing parts; is secured against movement and be supported from a firm, level, non-slip surface; projects at least 1 metre above the landing place; is placed at a slope that is no steeper than 4 units of height to 1 unit horizontally; and is rated for industrial use, not domestic use.

When using a ladder: 

always have two hands free to climb up and down (three points of contact);

 

any materials or tools (other than those held on a worker’s belt) should be transferred to the work area separately; always face the ladder while climbing up, down or working; never place feet higher than 900mm from the top of the ladder; never over-reach from a ladder; never work from a ladder above another person; never have more than one person on a ladder at any one time; do not use a ladder in an access way or where it may be hit by a door; do not undertake work requiring restricted vision, welding or metal cutting from a ladder; and use a non-metallic ladder where there are electrical hazards.

What should be covered in prevention of falls training? Training in prevention of falls should include: 

safe work systems and practices to prevent falls; hazard and incident /accident reporting systems;

 

Selection of an appropriate type of Elevating Work Platform (EWP) should be made following consideration of: 

type of work to be carried out;

height and reach of the unit;

safe working load of the unit;

existing ground conditions; and


Vehicle Collision


Hit by Moving Objects


Falls from a Height


Hit by Falling Objects


Trapped Between Stationery and Moving Object


Trapped by Moving Machinery Other Mechanisms




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existence of any electrical hazards such as power lines.

Safety precautions that should be taken include: 

Work-Related Injury Fatalities by Mechanism of Fatal Injury, 2018

safe methods of working on brittle and fragile material.

What safety precautions should be taken when using an Elevating Work Platform (EWP)?

selection, fitting, use, care and maintenance and storage of PPE; selection, use, care and storage of tools and equipment to be used;

emergency response procedures; and

operator and personnel are appropriately trained and familiar with the EWP; the EWP is checked for operational safety prior to use; the support surface for the EWP is free of penetrations and is preferably flat; pneumatic tyres are in good condition and free of defects; any travel when the platform is raised is in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations; harnesses are connected and worn at all times if a boom-type EWP is used; and do not climb in or out of the platform while the EWP is elevated.

Persons operating boom-type EWPs with a boom length of 11 metres or more must hold a WP Class High Risk Work Licence. What are the requirements for the inspection of fall injury prevention systems? Regulation 3.51 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 requires that a competent person inspect fall injury prevention systems. The regulation details the circumstances under which inspections should be carried out.



What are the requirements for the inspection of anchorages? Regulation 3.53 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 requires that a competent person inspect anchorages. The regulation details the circumstances under which inspections should be carried out. What are the requirements for edge protection? Regulation 3.55 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 requires that edge protection must be provided to the edge of a:   

scaffold; fixed stair; landing;

suspended slab;

formwork; or

falsework at the workplace

where a person is at risk of falling two or more metres. Edge protection or a fall injury prevention system must also

be provided at any other edge at the workplace where a person could fall three or more metres. There are also requirements in relation to holes and openings. Regulation 3.54 What are the requirements for working on brittle or fragile roofing? Regulation 3.57 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 details the requirements for working on or from brittle or fragile roofing. Brittle or fragile roofing materials include roofing made of:


cellulose cement roof sheets;



acrylic; or

similar synthetic moulded or fabricated material used to sheath a roof or in a roof

which is likely to endanger a person standing on them.

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EVENT UPDATES After a break due to COVID-19 restrictions, NECA WA is back on the road! The NECA team and Western Power representatives will present an update on all the changes that have happened in the industry over the last few months, particularly issues and information regarding: 

Western Power This update will be presented by an inspector who will discuss common issues found during inspections, defect trends and new Western Power rules and guidelines.

Hot Technical Topics NECA Technical takes more than 1,000 enquiries each month. We will discuss the Top 5 issues.

eVeNt CALeNDAr NECA Industry Night — Perth Metro North  Thursday, 10 September 2020  4.30pm - 6.30pm  Joondalup Resort

Country Club Boulevard, Connolly NECA Industry Night — Perth Metro South  Thursday, 24 September 2020  4.30pm - 6.30pm  Cockburn Bowling Club

40 Birchley Rd, Yangbup NECA Industry Night — Bunbury  Thursday, 29 October 2020  4.30pm - 6.30pm  Quality Hotel Lighthouse

Carey St, Bunbury

Building and Energy (formerly Energy Safety)

NECA Industry Night — Kalgoorlie

New Security of Payment legislation to ensure contractors get paid

 Thursday, 12 November 2020

Increases in funding for employers of apprentices

Proposed Industrial Manslaughter legislation This is a CRITICAL piece of legislation for all contractors as it contains potential penalties for business owners and senior managers of 20 years jail and fines up to $5,000,000.



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 4.30pm - 6.30pm  Rydges Kalgoorlie

21 Davidson St, Kalgoolie Visit the Member Area events calendar to register your attendance to our Industry Night events:





WESTERN AUSTRALIA HAS LONG HAD AN AFFINITY WITH PRE-APPRENTICESHIPS, AND PARTICULARLY WITH THE PRE-APPRENTICESHIP IN SCHOOL (PAIS) PATHWAY. The opportunity for a school-based pre-apprentice (or ‘pre-app’) to be able to use their time in years 11 and 12 to begin their electrotechnology journey, has proven to be of great value to industry – and the student. Mandatory work experience, conducted under the requirements of a training licence addd a level of integrity to the training. Whereas the institutional delivery of Certificate II qualifications is suitable for the business or nontrade pathways, without mandatory work experience a number of negatives present themselves. Let’s look at a few areas where a genuine preapprenticeship brings benefits.

Safety Safety in our industry is of the highest importance, and mandatory training licences required for work experience ensure that the pre-apprentice is aware of the dangers before they venture into the workplace. Building and Energy’s ‘Apprentice safety assessment guidelines, test and report’ regime requires the pre-apprentice to complete a safety assessment before they can be issued their training licence. The assessment includes ‘supervision’ and ‘not working live’ elements. This assessment must be completed under the invigilation of a fully licensed electrician.

Job Ready Potential employers considering an apprentice are now relying on the preapprenticeship pathway as an introduction to job-ready apprentices. Reason being, they have been exposed to the realities of tradie life. The school environment, with relatively late starts, long breaks and early finishes, isn’t a practical preparation for the life of an electrician. The pre-apprenticeship is like a monthlong interview, with the student having to front up to site on time, in PPE and


with a ‘can do’ attitude. It might be all exciting on day one, but their attitude by day 20 (especially as they aren’t getting paid), is the real test of their metal.

College Ready School isn’t the same as Trade College, as the learning shifts from curriculum to competency-based. Additionally, the pre-apprentice now has to be selfmotivated – always a job-ready quality. The trade teacher isn’t going to push the student the way their high school teacher would. The learning habits from school change, and lifelong learning habits need to be developed, especially if the pre-app gains an apprenticeship.

The pre-apprenticeship allows the future sparkie to get their hands on the gear, to strip and terminate cables, solder components and learn how to use a drill correctly. With safety training intrinsic to each unit undertaken, the pre-app is developing skills and valuable knowledge that transfer into the apprenticeship. Summing up, the pre-apprenticeship is now the prominent pathway into the Cert III Electrotechnology Electrician qualification. Knowing the difference between a Cert II and a Cert II PreApprentice, can be all the difference between employing a ‘job-ready’ apprentice or not.

Steve Hall General Manager, College of Electrical Training

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GOOD ELECTRICAL SURVIVAL HABITS LET’S FACE IT, ELECTRICAL WORK IS DANGEROUS. Most electricians work on or near energised electrical installations. Work such as switching, isolating, removing fuses or links, isolation verification, testing, fault-finding or even ‘live electrical work,’ are all considered high-risk activities that could result in a fatality. We all know what we should be doing, but from time to time we could all do with a reminder of good electrical habits that will secure our safety.

 Assume everything is ‘live’

 Verify your test equipment

Always treat every conductor and equipment as live.

When using voltage testers to prove de-energisation, test for correct operation before and after use, using a known source, to confirm the tester is working correctly, particularly if the test result indicates zero voltage.

 Separate yourself from earth Before you start any electrical work, check your surroundings and equipment. Voltages between phases and earth (including metalwork, damp situations, other conductive surfaces and persons nearby) can result in electric shock. Use insulated barriers or mats, PPE, insulated tools, fiberglass ladders and look for loose cable connections. If separation between yourself and earth is not possible, ensure a safety observer/rescuer is present.

 Always test for dead All electrical conductors and parts, including neutral and earthing conductors, should be treated as energised until proven de-energised. Always follow correct testing and isolation procedures and techniques (AS/NZS 4836:2011: Safe working on or near lowvoltage electrical installations and equipment). a) Positively identify the relevant electrical equipment and conductors, all of their energy sources and the isolation points. b) Isolate electrical equipment and conductors from all energy sources.

 Always use insulated tools and equipment Always hold the insulated/ covered parts of pliers and screwdrivers and never touch the uninsulated part of the tool. Inspect your tools regularly and replace them if insulation is inadequate.

 Use your gloves Whenever testing or fault-finding, use insulated gloves that meet the relevant standards. Remember to check the date, air test, and look for cuts and tears before use.

 Get the right gear Any work on or near low-voltage energised conductors requires arc-rated clothing as a minimum. Always wear safety glasses near electrical equipment and use an arc-rated face shield with a chin cup for higher current equipment.

c) Secure the isolation (Lock Out Tag Off). d) Discharge, where necessary, any stored energy, e.g. capacitors.

 Leave your watch and jewellery at home

e) Prove the de-energisation of all relevant electrical equipment and conductors.

Bracelets, rings, neck chains, exposed metal zips, watches and other conductive items should not be worn while working on or near exposed energised conductors or live conductive parts. They can also get caught in equipment.

f) Verify your test equipment. g) Identify the limits of the safe area of work.



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 Be aware when working in small spaces

 Check your work

Extra care should be taken when working in areas of reduced mobility due to restriction of movement and the inability to readily escape the area. This includes restricted areas in and around switchboards; ceiling and roof spaces; under floors; in pits or trenches; and up ladders, scaffolds or elevated work platforms.

All electrical work must be verified as per AS/NZS 3017:2007 and a certificate of electrical compliance or safety completed and submitted (this will vary across states and territories). This is your guarantee that the work is compliant and your reputation remains in check.

When working on or around live conductors and equipment in small spaces, it is best practice to have a safety observer/ rescuer present, with a rescue kit nearby.

 If in doubt, don’t do it

 Strip, twist and tape every time

It is all too common for electrical contractors to be asked to work under pressure and potentially dangerous conditions.

When roughing in, always ensure cable ends are stripped, twisted together and taped. This is to ensure that when completing a final test, if something is not fitted off, the test will fail.

Disruptions cost money, but they shouldn’t cost lives. Never put financial gain ahead of safety. Your survival depends on it.

When it comes to electrical work, there are never any risks worth taking.

 Always check for compliance If a product does not meet Australian Standards, you should not be installing it. Always purchase or install products from reputable wholesalers and reputable manufacturers. Look for the RCM tick or other appropriate approved marking. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer to obtain a compliance certificate or the regulator in your state/territory.

 Follow the instructions AS/NZS3000: 2018 clause 1.7.1 (c) states electrical equipment should be installed in accordance with the requirements of this Standard and the additional requirements as specified in the manufacturer’s instructions.


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SILICOSIS THE NEW ASBESTOSIS THE RISE OF RESPIRABLE CRYSTALLINE SILICA RELATED ILLNESSES IN AUSTRALIA IS CONCERNING. FIGURES AT THE END OF 2019 SHOW AROUND 350 PEOPLE WITH SILICOSIS. Asbestosis has always been widely publicised as an occupational lung disease, however Silicosis, first reported in the 16th century, has only recently gained more recognition and exposure from government and industry.

What is Silica? Silicon dioxide, a naturally occurring mineral (quartz), is contained in most rocks, soils and sands. It is also found in some plants and animals, and in ligaments, cartilage and muscles in the human body. Silicon dioxide is also man-made and is used as a food additive in protein powders, baking powder and dried spices. Also known as Silica, it comes in several forms, depending upon how it is manufactured. The different forms of silica are: Crystalline Silica, Amorphous Silica and Colloidal Silicon dioxide. Crystalline silica is the most prominent form of Silicon dioxide, and the one most relevant to the building and construction industry. It is found in concrete, brick, mortar, and other construction materials. It comes in several forms, with quartz being the most common. Quartz dust is respirable crystalline silica (RCS), which means it can enter the lungs.

Risk of Exposure There are a number of work activities that have a high risk of exposure to silica dust. Work activities that electrical contractors may be exposed to that can generate respirable silica dust particles include: 

fabrication and installation of composite (engineered or manufactured) stone countertops;

paving and surfacing;

construction labouring activities;

brick, concrete or stone cutting/ drilling, especially using dry methods; abrasive blasting (blasting agent must not contain greater than 1 per cent of crystalline silica); and angle grinding, jack hammering and chiselling of concrete or masonry.



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Crystalline Silica Health Effects Crystalline silica is by far the most dangerous form of silica to humans. When small enough it can be inhaled into the lungs. When this occurs, it is known as respirable silica crystalline (RCS) which has a Time Weighted Average (TWA) of 0.05 mg/m3. TWA is worked out over an average 8 hour shift.

 

Respirable crystalline silica can cause a number of diseases, including Silicosis, Lung Cancer and Kidney Disease. Silicosis occurs as a result of breathing in crystalline silica, which causes nodule lesions to form in the lungs, which creates hardening (fibrosis) of the lung tissue. Like other interstitial lung diseases (Pneumoconiosis), the symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing, fever and cyanosis (bluish colour of the lips).

the task to be measured; the control measures in place and their performance; what sampling and measurements were taken (long and short-term) including information on the calibration of the sampling equipment and analysis equipment; an interpretation of the results: exposure sources; adequacy of current control measures; assessment of risk including identification of tasks not measured that are likely to be an exposure source and any workers that could be exposed but were not measured, and compliance with WHS laws; and recommendations, for example: dust control action plan; changing control measures and work practices; worker training; further air monitoring; and health monitoring.

Responsibilities of a PCBU

Health Monitoring

A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers engaged, or caused to be engaged, while at work in the business or undertaking. To discharge this duty of care, office holders need to practice due diligence, which means ensuring they have a safe system of work for all activities. This includes documentation such as SOP’s, JSA’s and SWMS, as well as risk assessments, polices & procedures, adequate supervision, training, serviceable PPE and equipment.

If there is a risk to the health of workers because of exposure to silica dust, a PCBU must organise and pay for health monitoring. This includes workers who are not directly generating dust but may be in the vicinity of silica dust, or in contact with silica dust. Health monitoring records must also be kept for 30 years.

Key regulatory requirements include: Air Monitoring If a person reasonably expects that a worker may be exposed to RCS which exceeds the TWA then they must organise air monitoring. The results of air monitoring must be kept for 30 years and be available for anyone involved in the task and their representatives. An air monitoring report should include: 

the background and purpose of the air monitoring, including the current Workplace Exposure Standard (WES);

Workers that should be provided health monitoring include: shapers, saw operators, finishers, polishers, labourers, and construction workers. Health monitoring should begin at the time a worker is first employed or when they first start working with silica and silica containing products. This is so that any changes to the worker’s health can be detected. Health monitoring must be carried out or supervised by a doctor with experience. Health monitoring for silica dust includes workers being screened with specialised equipment. Depending on the worker’s past exposures and medical history, some doctors may recommend carrying out further tests with a specialist in order to detect early stage silicosis.



be aware of noise and vibration levels at your workplace and issue personal hearing protection as needed. A combination of local exhaust ventilation and wet cutting should be used together on products containing a high level of silica. Administration Consider the following administration controls: 

The doctor carrying out health monitoring will provide a health monitoring report. They must be kept for at least 30 years and the worker must receive a copy of the report. A health monitoring report must be provided to your WHS regulator if the doctor doing monitoring: 

informs that a worker may have contracted a disease, injury or illness as a result of carrying out work using, handling, generating or storing silica, or recommends that remedial measures (such as removing a worker from work) are taken.

In some jurisdictions, the doctor may notify a worker’s disease diagnosis to the Department of Health.

Hierarchy of Control The following hierarchy of controls is targeted at those actively working with silica products and not all will apply to electrical contractors, however when on site, it is important to ensure everyone is safe. Knowledge and awareness is critical for all employees and employers. Substitution Substitution of silica and silica containing products will depend on the workplace and the work tasks the workers are to carry out. Substitution can be an effective way of managing the risk of exposure to silica dust. For example: 

use products that do not contain silica or have less silica in them; use a silica-containing product that does not need to be cut, ground or polished; and use a liquid or paste form of a silica product.

 

restricted access;

providing physical barriers and exclusion zones between different workers and workstations to prevent dust or water mist from moving into other work areas, or towards other workers;

distancing a work process from other workers;

shift rotation policies to make sure workers are not exceeding the WES; providing a laundry service for dusty PPE and ensuring work clothes are not taken home; policies for storage, cleaning and maintenance of equipment and PPE that require: 

designating a room or area for other tasks, such as changing or eating, away from the work area; and

eating areas would include removal of PPE (clothing) and washing of hands before entering area.

dusty PPE and equipment to be stored in sealed bags when not in use; cleaning of PPE and equipment to be done in designated areas only; and signage at the workplace highlighting there is a dust hazard and any use of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and PPE.



Engineering controls to control silica dust include:

The following are recommended PPE controls:

automation when cutting, grinding or drilling;

using wet cutting methods;

local exhaust ventilation;

drills, routers, saws and other equipment designed to be fitted with H-class local exhaust ventilation and a water attachment to suppress dust; using sacrificial backer-boards or spoil boards; fitting large machinery such as excavators and bulldozers with positive pressure enclosed cabs; and cleaning up dust with a M or H-class industrial vacuum cleaner.

When considering and using engineering controls, be aware of other hazards that may be introduced. As many engineering controls are motorised, you should

all respiratory masks (P3 filter minimum) must be fitted correctly, even powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) that have positive pressure must be fitted correctly; dust catchers, ventilation devices and equipment must all be serviceable and in good condition; and training must be provided to ensure everyone knows how to fit and use all equipment.

PPE alone is not an effective control against silica. Having effective policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly, serviceable PPE and equipment, training, supervision and consultation with employees will better manage the risks of exposure to respirable crystalline silica and therefore reduce the risk of developing silicosis.

Isolation Barriers that remove the worker from contact with silica dust are the most effective form of isolation controls. They can include:


Ben Simpson NECA SA/NT HSEQ Manager (08) 8272 2966

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Combined Combined Professional Professional Combined Professional Indemnity, Indemnity, Public Public Liability Liability Indemnity, Public Liability and and Management Management Liability Liability and Management Liability - Continuity - Continuity of professional of professional indemnity indemnity -

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Workers Workers Compensation Compensation Workers Compensation - Dedicated specialist team in Sydney -----

Dedicated Dedicated specialist specialist team team in in Sydney Sydney Dedicated specialist team in Sydney Coordinating the paperwork with Coordinating the paperwork withthe the NSWworkers’ workers’the compensation scheme Coordinating paperwork with the NSW compensation scheme NSW workers’ scheme Provision Provision of of the thecompensation quote to to ensure ensure that thatthe the correct classification and premium has Provision of the quote to ensure that the correct classification and premium has beencalculated calculated correct classification and premium has been been calculated -- Certificate Certificate of of Currency Currency issued issued in inaatimely timely - manner Certificate of Currency issued in a timely manner directly directly from insurer insurer manner directly from insurer

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18/09/2020 4:44:34 PM 18/09/2020 18/09/2020 4:38:27 4:38:27 PM PM




EVERY YEAR, AN EXPERT PANEL OF THE FAIR WORK COMMISSION REVIEWS MODERN AWARD MINIMUM WAGES AND SETS A NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE ORDER FOR EMPLOYEES NOT COVERED BY ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS OR MODERN AWARDS. This year, the Fair Work Commission’s minimum wage panel has increased the Federal Minimum Wage by a modest 1.75%, in recognition of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, lower than the latest consumer price inflation figure of 2.2% and the previous year’s increase of 3%. What is the increase? For anyone not covered by a Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement, the new National Minimum Wage (NMW) will be $753.80 per week – or $19.84 an hour. This equates to an increase of around $13 per week. All Modern Award rates of pay will also increase by 1.75% however, the Commission has set different start dates between July this year and February next year. The Fair Work Commission president and minimum wage panel head, Justice Iain Ross, said three operative dates have been chosen, based on the impacts of the pandemic on each sector. When does the increase apply? This is the first time the increases to the Modern Award wages will not be applied at the same time. In considering the impact of COVID-19, the panel felt that there were exceptional circumstances that justified the deferment of the wage increases for certain industries. Workers covered by ‘Group 1’ awards, such as frontline healthcare and social assistance workers, teachers and childcare workers and other essential services, received their increase from 1 July 2020. The Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010 and Clerks (Private Sector) Award 2020 fall under “Group 2” awards. Workers covered by ‘Group 2’ awards, in construction, manufacturing, and other


industries, will receive the increase from 1 November 2020. Those in ‘Group 3’, in accommodation/ food services, arts/recreation, aviation, retail and tourism, will receive the increase on 1 February 2021. What about the allowances? All the allowances will increase at the same time the wage rates increase – on 1 November 2020. Some allowances in the Awards are calculated based on the standard rate stipulated in the Awards. As such, they will increase in accordance with the new wage rates. Other expense-related allowances, such as meal allowance and first aid allowance, will increase by the relevant Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure.

What should you do? If your employees are covered by one of the Awards listed above, and you pay your employees Award minimum wages, you must increase these wages by 1.75% on 1 November 2020. If your employees are covered by an Enterprise Agreement or individual employment contracts, and they are receiving slightly above Award minimum wages, you should review your wage and allowance rates to ensure that you are still paying at or above the minimum rate of pay as of 1 November 2020. If you pay well above the Award rates, then the increase will not affect you. NECA will release an updated wage bulletin for the Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010 prior to 1 November 2020.

Saraswathy Varatharajullu Workplace Relations Advisor, NECA Victoria 1300 300 031

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

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THE REALITY OF REDUNDANCY BOTH EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES ARE FACING SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES AS A RESULT OF COVID-19. WHILE MANY BUSINESSES HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT’S JOBKEEPER SCHEME TO ALLEVIATE THE FINANCIAL BURDEN, NOT ALL BUSINESSES ARE ELIGIBLE AND THERE HAS BEEN AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES WHOSE POSITIONS ARE BEING MADE REDUNDANT BY BUSINESSES WHO CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO KEEP THEM EMPLOYED. Redundancy is never easy. As an employer, if you find yourself in a position where your business experiences changes in operational requirements that result in restructuring, downsizing, closing down or outsourcing (for example), it is important to ensure you satisfy the requirements of a genuine redundancy. If not, an employee may bring an unfair dismissal claim against you, following their dismissal.

What is a Genuine Redundancy? For a genuine redundancy, an employer must meet its obligations under section 389 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act), which states a person’s dismissal will be a case of genuine redundancy if: 1. the employer no longer requires the job to be done by the employee; 2. the employer consults with the employee about the possible redundancy; and 3. it would not have been reasonable for the employee to be redeployed into an alternative position. Job No Longer Required A redundancy will only be genuine if an employer no longer requires anyone to perform the relevant role. If the role is still required by the employer, then the redundancy cannot be deemed to be genuine. Accordingly, an employer cannot dismiss an employee by way of redundancy, and immediately place an alternative employee in that same role. Consultation The consultation requirement of a genuine redundancy is extremely important and is often a crucial step that is missed by employers when making an employee redundant.



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A significant portion of NECA members are covered by the Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010 (MA000025) (Modern Award). Clause 8 of this Award sets out the specific requirements for consultation regarding major workplace change, which includes the termination of employment. It should be noted that this consultation requirement applies notwithstanding the number of employees that the employer is seeking to make redundant. Under the Modern Award, the employer must adopt the following steps to meet its consultation requirements: 1. the employer must provide (in writing) to the employees concerned (and their representatives, if any) all relevant information about the operational changes, including:  

the nature of the proposed changes; the expected effects of the changes on the employees; and any other matters likely to affect the employees;

2. the employer must then discuss the operational changes with the affected employees (and their representatives if any). Such discussion must include the following:  

the introduction of the changes; the effects that the changes are likely to have on the employees; and measures that the employer has taken to avert or mitigate the adverse effects of such changes on employees.

Usually, enterprise agreements will have a similar (if not the same) consultation process. Note that if the employer is in a union enterprise agreement, there may be some additional steps required, such as notifying the union when consulting with employees.

In any event, all employers should review their industrial instrument to ensure that they are complying with their consultation requirements. If an employer fails to follow the consultation process, the dismissal will not be a case of genuine redundancy and the employer may be subject to an unfair dismissal claim. Redeployment The third step in the genuine redundancy process is to consider whether there are any opportunities for redeployment for the affected employee/s. In doing so, an employer should consider the following: 1. Is there a position available within the employer or the enterprise of an associated entity? 2. If the available position is with an associated entity, does the employer have the power to offer it to the employee? 3. Does the employee have the skills and competencies required to perform the role to the required standard, either immediately or within a reasonable period of retraining? 4. Does the location of the position, in relation to the employee’s residence, make redeployment feasible? 5. Will the employee earn less in the vacant role, such that redeployment is not feasible? Any redeployment opportunities should be incorporated into the consultation process with the relevant employee. If an opportunity for redeployment is offered to the employee, and the employee does not accept that opportunity, an employer can apply to the Fair Work Commission to reduce the



amount of the redundancy payment (which may include a reduction to $Nil).

When will a redundancy that is not genuine be an unfair dismissal?

If a redundancy is not genuine (i.e. the employer has not met the above steps), the employer may face a claim for unfair dismissal. It is at this stage that the Fair Work Commission will consider whether the dismissal was unfair according to the Act. Further, redundancies may be unfair where employees were made redundant for prohibited reasons such as due to race, sex, age, temporary absence from work due to a sickness or injury, union membership or making a complaint regarding the exercise of a workplace right.

Who has to make redundancy payments? Pursuant to the National Employment Standards (NES), employees are entitled to redundancy payments if they have been employed with the same employer for at least one year of continuous service and the employer has over fifteen employees. Small businesses (businesses with less than 15 employees) do not have a legal obligation to make redundancy payments. An employee will also not be entitled to redundancy payments if they are:


 

an employee who is employed for a stated period, an identified task or project, or over a particular season; a casual employee; terminated because of serious misconduct; a trainee engaged only for the length of a training agreement; an apprentice; or terminated because of ordinary and customary turnover of labour.

In deciding who should be made redundant, factors such as employee skills, experience, training, and performance should be taken into consideration. NECA members are strongly advised to contact your local NECA Branch for assistance in developing selection criteria or making any decision with respect to which employees are to be made redundant.

What happens with redundancy of fifteen or more employees? The Act provides that employers must give Services Australia (i.e. Centrelink) a written notice of the proposed dismissals if the employer is intending to terminate fifteen or more employees due to redundancy.

Such notice must be provided to Centrelink before the employees are terminated. The written notice of termination must outline the reasons for the dismissals, the number of employees that are likely to be affected, and the period which the employer plans to carry out the dismissals. In addition, where an employer intends to make fifteen or more employees redundant, the employer must advise the union of those employees that are members of the union.

What redundancy payments are required? Where an employer is required to make redundancy payments, such payments must be made in accordance with the NES (unless the applicable industrial instrument provides for more beneficial payments). Payments differ based on an employee’s ‘period of continuous service’. An employer will also be required to provide the employee with the applicable notice of termination or payment in lieu of.

Lauren Howe Senior Associate, CTI Lawyers t/as NECA Legal 1300 361 099

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

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SWITCHBOARDS AFTER A FIVE-YEAR TRANSITION PERIOD, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS HAVE ONLY A FEW MONTHS TO BECOME FAMILIAR WITH A NEW SERIES OF STANDARDS THAT GOVERN BOTH THE SPECIFICATION AND INSTALLATION OF ELECTRICAL SWITCHBOARDS. WE TAKE A LOOK AT HOW THE NEW STANDARDS WILL IMPACT ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS, MANUFACTURERS, END USERS, AND THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE. The Standards which set out the requirements for low-voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies (switchboards) in Australia have been updated. The AS/NZS 3439 series will soon be superseded by the AS/NZS 61439 series, which has been adopted from the IEC 61439 Standards and modified for Australian conditions. These changes will come into effect in May 2021.

a switchboard design meets the specified ratings. It is also important for contractors to understand how electrical ratings are presented in test documentation and the key differences between reports and certificates.

The new AS/NZS 61439 series resembles the AS/NZS 3439 series to some degree, but over time standards evolve to better protect both people and assets.

The new Standard outlines both the way electrical switchboard manufacturers are required to manufacture electrical switchboards and how those switchboards are tested in a laboratory setting. Switchboards will be subjected to a variety of tests that determine how they operate in an installed environment such as short circuit, IP rating and temperature rise testing. For example, when a short circuit fault occurs on the switchboard, will the switchboard hold up or will the fault cause consequential events that harm the installation and/or personnel?

These changes mean that some switchboard designs will no longer be compliant with the current Australian Standard. It is critical for contractors to get familiar with the new Standard and the testing process that ensures

Another advantage, for both the manufacturer and electrical contractor, is that the new standard is a performancebased specification. This means the electrical switchboard manufacturer tests the switchboard to its limits in

So what does this mean for the electrical industry, nearly 20 years after the AS/NZS 3439 series was published?

NECA National Excellence Award 2019 - Industrial Medium Category Winner Nilsen (SA) - Cobdogla Pump Station - Nilsen Switchboards



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a test laboratory in order to identify where and how the switchboard fails and, in doing so, determines the suitability of the switchboard. Under AS/NZS 3000:2018 clause, it details that a switchboard shall be suitable for the mechanical, electrical and thermal stresses that are likely to occur in service, and the environment in which it is to be installed.

What does this mean for the industry, the switchboard manufacturer, the electrical contractor and the end user? A switchboard can be designed and tested based on the electrical switchboard manufacturerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conceptual designs. There will no longer be an option to shrink a switchboard by 100mm to fit into a space that is not fit for a switchboard, or install a certain brand of electrical switchgear that the electrical switchboard manufacturer has not tested with. If the electrical switchboard manufacturer has tested with certain equipment or material and they are the successful supplier, then what they have tested must be accepted. Deviation around tested data is not accepted unless it is verified under the rules and parameters stipulated under the AS/NZS 61439 series. We are seeing an industry where developers, builders and end users are wanting to build buildings and facilities and upgrade plants in the most cost-effective way to improve ROI. However, this may not always lead to the best result. Installations must comply with the Wiring Rules AS/ NZS 3000:2018, which makes many references to electrical switchboards and how they fit into the scheme of the electrical installation.



manufacturers). This means design and manufacture of the electrical switchboard is entirely their responsibility. This also means they must ensure the equipment (i.e. electrical switchboard) is manufactured to AS/NZS 61439 Standards.

NECA SA/NT Excellence Award 2018 Commercial Large Category Winner NSG Boffa - Health Innovation Building BE Switchcraft Switchboards

How the new AS/NZS 61439 series of Standards ensures switchboards operate in the way they are intended A clear understanding of design requirements There are 7 sections to AS/NZS 61439. This is a series of Standards, not just one Standard. The series starts at Part 0 (AS/NZS 61439.0:2016) and concludes at Part 6 (AS/NZS 61439.6:2016). The first document (i.e. Part 0) AS/ NZS 61439.0:2016 is a very important document. This is known as the guide to specifying assemblies, or the specifier’s guide. This allows the end user and/ or consultants to specify what they are wanting in a switchboard. Not all switchboards are identical; the guide allows for design intent. A table is provided in Part 0, which is to be filled out. There is also a section on terms and definitions, that provides a clear explanation of what certain terms mean. These can be referred to, to provide a better understanding of terminology used in the table. Once this table is completed, both the end user/consultant and the electrical switchboard manufacturer have an understanding of what is required in the design of the switchboard.

When a switchboard is designed, the end user must go through the drawings and technical specification of the switchboard to ensure it is as per the specifier’s guide and is fit for purpose. There may be items that a switchboard manufacturer may not be able to adhere to. A simple example of this may be IP rating. If the specifier’s guide notes IP42 and the switchboard manufacturer has tested to IP44, then the technical documents must show the correct IP rating; i.e. that the switchboard was tested to IP44. If this was the opposite, where the specifier’s guide notes IP44 and the switchboard manufacturer has only tested to IP42, then there are only two options. Option one, accept the tested IP rating (i.e. IP42) or two, ask if the switchboard manufacturer has tested to a higher IP rating (i.e. IP54).

Another large part of this is discrimination/selectivity of protective devices across all low-voltage switchgear. While using the same brand of switchgear may not be ideal, there is still a requirement for compliance to AS/NZS 3000:2018 if the same brand is not used. A discrimination study would be required in all instances to ensure the electrical installation operates in the manner it is intended. This will allow for the upstream and downstream switchboards to clear a fault in the prescribed time to maintain a healthy electrical system and without causing nuisance tripping, or not clearing a fault as it is intended. There may be some confusion and vagueness around the new electrical switchboard Standard, but during 2020 and into the start of 2021, the National Electrical Switchboard Manufacturers Association (NESMA) will be working closely with NECA to educate the industry around switchboard compliance, ahead of May 2021.

Another large aspect of testing is the brand of switchgear used when testing a switchboard. If the switchboard manufacturer has tested with a certain brand of switchgear, that brand of switchgear cannot be changed at the request of the end user/consultant. There are certain criteria relating to device substitution that must be met, under AS/ NZS 61439, in order for this to take place. Switchboards within the context of an electrical installation Switchboards are only one major piece of the electrical infrastructure. While switchboards play a critical role in an electrical installation, they are also part of the overall electrical design. For example, we need to make sure that cable connected to the electrical switchboard is protected or, if we have an electrical switchboard that has an IP rating of IP54, that the correct cable glands are used to maintain that IP rating.

NECA National Excellence Award 2019 – Commercial Medium Category Winner NSG Boffa - Adelaide Botanic High School – BE Switchcraft Switchboards

Switchboard design and manufacture responsibilities Electrical switchboard manufacturers are OEMs (original equipment


Mina Shehata NESMA VIC President

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BONDING REQUIREMENTS THERE HAS BEEN SOME CONFUSION WITHIN THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY ABOUT THE REQUIREMENTS FOR EQUIPOTENTIAL BONDING IN SWIMMING POOL AND SPA INSTALLATIONS. What is Equipotential bonding? AS/NZS 3000:2018 Wiring Rules defines Equipotential bonding (Clause 1.4.60) as an electrical connection intended to bring exposed conductive parts or extraneous conductive parts to the same or approximately the same potential, but not intended to carry current in normal service.

Why is bonding required? There are two clauses within the Wiring Rules that directly relate to why bonding is required: 5.1.2 Selection and installation, relates to earthing arrangements. Specifically, how these should be selected and installed to perform certain functions or have certain features.

As per clause where any items in the clauses above are required to be bonded, the bonding shall extend to any conductive materials that are within arm’s reach (clause 1.4.16). This may include conductive window frames that are in contact with earth either directly or indirectly, such as within a brick wall.

Example: A pool support clamp for a glass fence, provided no direction greater than 100mm is accessible. Non-conductive pools (fibreglass)

In the case of a concrete pool, there is no question that everything conductive within arm’s reach of the pool’s edge, that is in contact with the general mass of earth either directly or indirectly, needs to be bonded, as well as the pool reinforcing metal.

In the case of a fibreglass pool, clause is clear that where there are exposed conductive parts of electrical equipment within the pool zone or exposed parts of electrical equipment in contact with the pool water, then bonding of conductive fixtures and fittings within arm’s reach of a fibreglass pool is required.

One exception to clause is any fixed conductive parts and fittings that are not part of electrical equipment and have no individual accessible part greater than 100mm in any one direction does not need to be bonded.

In summary, pools require bonding of everything conductive within arm’s reach (clause 1.4.16) of the pool’s edge that are in contact with the general mass of earth including the reinforcing mesh, pool steel fencing, metal ladders

5.6.1 General, provides detail relating to Equipotential bonding and its role in minimising the risks associated with the occurrence of voltage differences between exposed conductive parts of electrical equipment and extraneous conductive parts.

Swimming pool bonding requirements Conductive pools (concrete) As per AS/NZS 3000:2018, clause, where the pool structure is conductive, (concrete pools are considered to be conductive) all conductive parts that are directly or indirectly in contact with the ground and that are within arm’s reach (clause 1.4.16) are required to be bonded to earth. This includes the pool reinforcing metal. Clause states that any exposed conductive parts of electrical equipment in the pool zones (clause 6.3) or electrical equipment in contact with the pool water also needs to be bonded. Figure 5.9 Example of Bonding Arrangement for Pools and Spas



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and possibly aluminium windows in a brick or steel framed wall.

What else to consider with swimming pools? 

Check for overhead service mains and consumer mains, and other overhead cables. These cables cannot pass over a pool. See Clauses and 3.12. Ensure switchboards, socket outlets, luminaires, appliances, switches and other electrical equipment are not in pool zones, as outlined in Clause 6.3 and the subsequent clauses in this section, and Table 6.2 including Figures 6.15 to 6.17. 

Check that there are no electricity distributor or transmission assets within 30 metres of the location of the pool. Seek clarification from relevant authorities regarding the requirements for pools near electricity infrastructure in your State/ Territory.

If a customer experiences shocks and tingles, some of the possible causes can relate to a fault in the customer’s premises, the distribution network or a neighbouring premises. These faults can be traced, in some cases, many hundreds of metres away and are not always obvious. The only way

to find these faults is through a series of comprehensive tests. If you find the fault in the customers premises, isolate and advise the customer on what must be done. If you find that your customer’s premises is not the source of the fault, contact the local electricity distributor.




SINCE 1 MARCH 2020, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO REGISTER DISTRIBUTED ENERGY RESOURCES (DER), INCLUDING SMALL-SCALE SOLAR PV, BATTERY STORAGE AND OTHER SMALL GENERATORS ON THE AUSTRALIAN ENERGY MARKET OPERATOR’S (AEMO) DER REGISTER. These rules apply to installations in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. The anticipated ‘go live’ date for the DER Register in Western Australia is early 2021.

systems to be provided to the DER Register within 20 business days of system activation or de-activation.

While the DER register is not new, if you’re not regularly involved with DER installations, you may not be familiar with the requirements. Here’s what every electrical contractor needs to know.

5 critical steps every contractor needs to know

What is the DER Register? The Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Register is a national database of DER device information, including smallscale solar PV, battery storage and other small generators across Australia. What will the DER Register be used for? The DER Register provides the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) with visibility over small-scale solar PV, battery storage and other small generators across Australia. With the increase in popularity of DER devices, especially rooftop solar PV, visibility of these devices gives AEMO the ability to operate the grid more securely and efficiently. What do I need to do? Electrical contractors who install DER are required to support networks by collecting information on any small-scale generation or storage equipment they install. This information feeds into the DER Register. All DER installations must be approved by the network operator for new, replaced, upgraded or decommissioned DER equipment. There is a new requirement for information on these



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The DER Register must be updated for all DER installations, regardless of size.

The DER Register has been designed to work in with existing network operator DER installation registration processes to minimise any impact on contractors and DER installers. The process will also utilise existing mobile apps in the future. Below are the 5 critical steps contractors need to follow on DER installations: Step 1 Apply to the network operator for a connection and receive approval Step 2

Customer agrees and installation goes ahead

Step 3

Electrical contractor to install system and collect information about what is installed on site

Step 4 Electrical contractor to provide information to the network operator / AEMO DER Register portal Step 5

Network operator provides/ approves data and AEMO website generates a receipt. Installers who provide information directly to the AEMO DER Register portal can also download the receipt from the Portal.

What information will network operators or AEMO’s DER Register portal ask for? The information required by network operators or the DER Register portal includes: 

Equipment installed (i.e. manufacturer, model, serial numbers and type of generator) Protection and control settings for the DER installation and equipment

What happens when contractors don’t follow the new DER registration rules? Complying with the DER register is directly linked to the terms of the approval to connect, or the connection agreement, between the network and the customer. This is the contract that permits the customer to generate electricity while connected to the network. If the required data is not provided to the network operator, the customer’s generation may be disallowed by the network. How to stay up to date Contact the Connections Team at your local network operator for details on how to provide information to the DER Register, and whether you need to create an account in AEMO’s DER Register portal. If you have questions Contact your local network operator Connections Team if you have any queries about the information required or the process for updating the DER Register.

Visit to learn more or email questions to:


BUSINESS IN BRIEF HAVE YOU RECEIVED A GOVERNMENT PAYMENT OR GRANT? If your business has received a grant or payment from the federal government, or a state or territory government, you may need to include it in your tax return. Some grants and payments are assessable income and so need to be included in your tax return. Grants and payments that are assessable income include: 

JobKeeper payments, fuel tax credits or product stewardship for oil benefit; grants, such as an amount you receive under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program; and

subsidies for carrying on a business.

There are some government grants and payments that you do not need to pay tax on. One example of this is the cash flow boost. How and where you report assessable grants and payments in your tax return will depend on your business structure. Remember, registered tax agents and BAS agents can help you with your tax and can help you if you are uncertain about the tax treatment of government grants or payments you have received.

MISSED THE STP DEADLINE? According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), around 1 in 5 small businesses in the Electrical Services Industry are not currently meeting their Single Touch Payroll (STP) obligations. With Single Touch Payroll (STP) you report employees’ payroll information – such as salaries and wages, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and super – to the ATO each time you pay them through STP-enabled software. Is your business STP ready? Now is the time to make the switch, through your STP-enabled software. If you don’t currently use payroll software, or your current payroll software hasn’t been STP-enabled, talk to your software provider or registered agent, or search the STP product register. What about ‘closely held payees’? Small employers (with 19 employees or less) are exempt from reporting what are called ‘closely held payees’ through STP-enabled software until 1July 2021. STP and JobKeeper? Reporting through STP may make your JobKeeper payment application easier



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and also help you meet your monthly reporting requirements for the subsidy. Have you finalised your STP report for 2019-20? If your business has already started reporting through STP, you were required to finalise your employees’ 2019–20 end-of-financial-year payroll information by 14 July for businesses with 20 or more employees, or 31 July for businesses with 19 or fewer employees. The sooner you finalise your end-ofyear payroll information, the sooner your employees’ information will display as ‘tax ready’ in their ATO online account so they can lodge their tax return. If your employees use data that is ‘not tax ready’ to lodge their tax return, the data they see in their ATO online account may not align with the data in your payroll software, and they may need to amend their tax return and pay additional tax. What if I need help? With so many Australians experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19, businesses that have concerns about their ability to transition to STP can contact the ATO for help, and can also request a deferral.

For more information, resources, and detailed guidelines about STP visit





The federal government’s JobKeeper scheme will continue to be available to eligible businesses (including the self-employed) until 28 March 2021.

The ACCC’s Targeting scams report found business email compromise (BEC) scams are the most financially harmful scam affecting Australian businesses, with combined losses of over $132 million in 2019.

From 3 August 2020, the relevant date of employment will move from 1 March to 1 July 2020, increasing employee eligibility for the existing scheme and the extension. For the next stage of JobKeeper – from September until March 2021 – there will be a two-tiered payment: 

For the December quarter, payments will be $1,200 per fortnight per employee, or $750 for workers who were employed for less than 20 hours a week. For the March quarter, payments will be $1,000 per fortnight per employee, or $650 for workers who were employed for less than 20 hours a week.

To find out more visit /General/JobKeeper-Payment/

Business email compromise scams trick someone into paying invoices to scammers’ bank accounts, instead of the legitimate account. In 2019, BEC scams targeted the building sector, with $367,984 in losses. Tradespeople make lucrative targets for impersonation, as they often send multiple invoices for large amounts of money, which helps confuse the individuals paying for the services. Many scammers see small businesses as a target for scams, as they often have fewer resources to devote to security than large businesses. The ACCC and Scamwatch received many reports of BEC scams last year from individuals who were renovating their houses. In some cases, the scammer had intercepted emails from the tradesperson attaching an invoice before it reached the client; in others, the scammer had hacked the client’s email

account and set up rules to divert emails containing words such as ‘invoice’, ‘bank account details’ or ‘payment due’. The scammer then removed the tradie’s payment details from the real invoice and inserted their own, before sending to the individual for payment. Five simple steps to avoid scams 1. Inform and educate your staff members about scams (such as by sharing this article). 2. Have strong processes in place for verifying and paying accounts, and make sure all staff know about them. 3. Ensure your systems have up-todate anti-virus software. 4. Consider what business information you post on social media and networking sites, as scammers use publicly available information to target businesses. 5. Back up your data regularly and store your backups offsite and offline. To report a scam, or for more information, visit


Of course, making money before COVID-19 was no picnic. Rampant undercutting has been rife in the electrical sector for years – if not decades – and clients are demanding more while spending less. It’s enough to send you over the edge.

But does the proliferation of smart devices make a home smart?

No individual can change an industry (not that you shouldn’t try), but a better and easier way of improving your own situation is simply to evolve.

The abovementioned devices are just that – devices. They are less ‘dumb’ than other devices on the market, but that doesn’t necessarily make them smart. Selling them as such to your customers does a disservice to the notion of home automation and severely reduces your potential for earning money from the smart home sector.

This is where smart home technology comes in, and it could be the boost to your bottom line that you’ve been after.

Smart Homes – The What To a professional electrician, the answer to ‘what is a smart home?’ may seem obvious. However, like other things in life it is far more complicated than it initially seems. Many of you will have a ‘smart’ speaker/ assistant at home. According to market analyst Telsyte, there are 2.5 million of these devices in homes around Australia. Further, the average number of IoT (Internet of Things) devices such as smart plugs and smart light bulbs, sits at five per Australian home. By 2023, this is expected to increase to 37 devices per home.

Arguably not. And, as far as professional members of the electrotechnology industry are concerned, it shouldn’t.

Smart Homes – The Why If a pipe bursts in your home, who do you call? The answer, of course, is a plumber. Similarly, if you plan on building a new house you would contact a builder. But, who do you call if need a home automation system installed? For many end users, the answer to that question is the local electrician. Unfortunately, it isn’t that straightforward. But it could be, if you were willing to invest in the future of your business.

Rather, a smart home comprises a number of sub-systems that are controlled by one larger, all-encompassing control system – think Control4, Crestron, Savant or Elan, to name a few.

Home automation, versatile home lighting and complex residential network technology are being billed more frequently as DIY solutions for consumers, but a professional installation will overwhelmingly yield the best results.

To many electricians, the idea of programming a control system is daunting – or possibly of no interest at all – but a lot has changed in this market. You no longer need to a be a programmer to install comprehensive smart home systems.

Your time and resources (human and otherwise) are precious. To expand your business, you may not be able to rely on the type of work you once did. It may mean looking into low-voltage installations, which offer a wide array of new avenues.

And many of the sub-systems in question – HVAC, lighting control, security, energy management – are already familiar to electricians.

The electrician’s portion of smart home projects has not evolved much over the years. However, low-voltage integrators are finding more jobs every day, as a result of the following: 



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Customers find themselves at home more often and recognise the importance of reliable, high-performing enterprise-grade networks. As a result, home networks that can handle the demand for working, learning and entertaining in the home are sought after. These installations are more complex and bigger than before, and they could bring in more revenue as customers realise the importance of a high-function network.



That home cinema or media room that was once a ‘down the road’ aspiration for home owners has gained a new level of prominence. Integrators are finding customers more open to big upgrades for their home media experiences, putting those with the right skills in a position to win the business.

available for other price points. More applications for smart mirrors and glass (such as high-resolution, wall-mounted digital picture frames) are being marketed all the time. Are you ready to help with those installations?

New and retrofit integrated systems are more in demand than ever before.

Integrators of smart home technologies are often on the front line of exciting new technologies. They have access to solutions for even the most demanding of clients. Emerging trends that can be serviced by integrators include:

Leakages are considered one of the most expensive fixes and the number one insurance loss. Lots of new technology is now available, using advanced sensors, water-flow monitoring and shut off gear, to reduce water damage from pipes. Other technology in the category can even help customers with their eco-friendly aspirations.

Biophilia or Human-Centric Design

Ageing in Place Technology

Stated simply, this involves designing spaces with the interaction between people and their surroundings in mind. Today’s technology is able, as never before, to bridge the divide between us (and the propensity to spend most of our lives indoors) and the natural world. Though programmable and user-friendly blinds and window coverings are the first thought, low-voltage integrators have at their disposal a range of technology that can be responsive and operated with cleverly integrated touch screens. This technology is also reactive to lighting conditions. It can be set to achieve lighting results for any reason, including religious observance.

Cameras and advanced sensors can help to keep track of ageing family members and provide peace of mind. The technology seems simple, but to make it work seamlessly the customers may turn to you or seek an integrator. Options gaining in popularity or on the horizon include gate analysis and fall-detection technology.

Outdoor Lighting and Entertainment This involves much more than accent lighting and the occasional distributed garden speaker set-up. Technology that turns a patio, deck, grilling or chilling space into an entertainment zone with video screens, great sounding audio, easily controlled shading and highly customisable lighting has risen to great heights. Outdoor televisions, bio-adaptive LEDs, smart appliances designed for the outdoors: all are possible and plentiful in the market. Integrators are working with customers, electricians, designers, architects and builders to incorporate all of the above and more into new and existing situations. Smart Mirrors Mirrors with heads-up displays for bathrooms, bedrooms and workout rooms have become sought after for high-end installations in recent years. But as the variety has increased and the tech has been refined, it has become increasingly


Leak Detection

Wearable Tech Sleep monitoring and health monitoring wearables that are stand-alone or incorporated into other systems are on the rise. More than just Apple watches and Fitbit, these technologies will help guide the settings of home lighting and other automated functions by interfacing with the highly evolved IoT connectivity in smart homes. If your portion of this revenue pie is only the occasional recessed luminaire installation or other odds and ends, you could look toward some of these projects. The possibility of taking your business into the home technology integration arena may sound intriguing, but there’s also a human resources benefit. You and your employees will appreciate the investment in professional and personal growth that comes with new skills. Learning –especially when it involves the ever-changing aspects of technology, gear, and delivery methods

– can breathe new life into your routines. Eventually, this will enhance employee and customer loyalty.

Smart Homes – The How Charting a path to success in the smart home sector can be a daunting prospect. The only way to ensure success is through training from a reputable source. Every control system supplier runs local training for new integrators in Australia. Selecting the right control system for your company is an important decision, so ensure you do the research and complete the appropriate training. The worst thing you could do is go to a jobsite and ‘have a crack’. Think about it this way: how many times have you complained about another sparky (or builder, or comms guy) butchering a job that you’ve had to fix? Hundreds? Thousands? So don’t be a hypocrite – do the training. And no, you can’t just wing it. CEDIA, the global trade association for home technology integrators, has developed a comprehensive catalogue of brand-agnostic training that covers all levels of experience. From individual courses on home cinema installation, calibration and design to distributed audio and home networking, CEDIA has a number of training programs that will help position you, your business and colleagues as experts and thoughtleaders in smart home technology.

Paul Skelton Regional development consultant for CEDIA in Australia and New Zealand

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IS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CATALYST WE’VE SEEN IN DECADES? And, if so, what can contractors do right now to survive, recover, thrive, and be ready for the ‘new normal?’ The world we know is going through an unprecedented transformation as measures are being taken to let people stay, and if possible work from, home. This has resulted in a huge surge in internet traffic, as people and businesses have had to work, operate and collaborate virtually. Similarly, since the start of this pandemic, customers are looking for partners who can: deliver cutting-edge digital solutions that will allow them to improve building performance; ensure business continuity by acting fast, even remotely, and; ideally prevent, instead of having to react to, issues on site, while optimising cost.

New skills are required The demand to control and monitor remotely requires new skills, to integrate cloud applications, Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices. This brings an opportunity for electrical contractors to step up and engineer a solution that provides to their customers the needed information anytime, anywhere at their fingertips through a mobile app or a web portal: whether it be alerts and alarms from critical assets, all the way to energy data. Furthermore, the lockdown and changing priorities have affected many contractors, who are now struggling to generate business and have clarity on future work pipeline. So, the question becomes, how can you leverage this “new normal” to learn new skills and transform your business by providing digital solutions, which allow your customers to convert data into meaningful insights that drive actions? Can you accompany your customers on a connected journey where you, the contractor, become their trusted adviser?



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Take maintenance for example; thanks to new digital tools, contractors can enable automatic task reminders, provide guidance for an efficient resource allocation, keep historical maintenance logbook and easily generate meaningful inspection & activity reports. Another example is the use of QR codes on switchboards and other electrical gear, that allow contractors and their end users to access and share important technical documents, such as drawings and datasheets, by simply scanning the QR code through a secure mobile application. Routine maintenance and troubleshooting becomes easier to plan and execute, making the contractor’s operations more reliable, efficient, and cost-effective.

Expand your service offering The total cost of ownership is minimised when equipment maintenance is done at proper intervals, which for a typical installation means every 6 to 12 months, according to Australian Standards AS 2467-2008. The operational phase of an electrical asset is around 20 to 30 years. Therefore, some of the most significant cost reduction opportunities for the owners of the assets are found by opting for preventive maintenance, that will prolong equipment life, ensure uptime,

and optimise performance, as well as present an opportunity for contractors to generate repeat business, through offering digital services. Predictive maintenance is the way forward. IoT-connected sensors on a customer’s site can send data in real time to the cloud, thereby enabling preventive maintenance work that is timely, accurate, and far more efficient. New technology and digital tools, such as EcoStruxure Facility Expert, can help expand contractor’s services and provide customers with cutting-edge digital solutions. Facilities can be managed more effectively by connecting buildings and equipment, as well as teams, using cloud services via smartphone or tablet. And it doesn’t have to stop there. Contractors can even become their customers’ trusted advisor by furthering their services through analytics; whether that is helping their customers view their energy data from multiple sites on a simple platform and benchmark using NABERs rating, or: collating the critical alarms from their site at their fingertips. How will you rise to this challenge and connect your customers’ sites, to ensure remote access to meaningful data for your customers and a continuous revenue flow for yourself?

Sumiya Sultan Digital Services Deployment Leader at Schneider Electric




COMPLIANT FOR CABLING? Thinking about a move into data and communications as a way to diversify your contracting business? Here are a few critical questions to ask before you get started.

Registration and 360 hours for Open Registration. Holding an electrical licence, Security licence or enAbleTM NBN Card will suffice.

Am I registered to do the work?

Once I’ve completed the training, who do I register with?

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

There are a number of Cabling Registrars authorised by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in Australia, including ACRS, that can verify a cabler’s eligibility for registration. Do all my staff need to be registered? No. To ensure compliance with the ACMA guidelines, cablers must be either registered or, directly supervised at all times by a cabler who is registered for the type of work being done.

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

Peter Lamont Director, ACRS

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

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


CLIPSAL ICAT APP – THE ELECTRICIAN’S TOOLBOX, IN YOUR BACK POCKET We know that you’re always on-the-go and looking for mobilefriendly support to help you get the job done. The Clipsal iCat has always been a key tool for sparkies to access products and technical data, and it just got better! Introducing the new Clipsal iCat app, a game changer for electricians on the move. Features the full Clipsal product catalogue, with product images, technical data, wholesaler pricing and stock availability. You can also log in to view and redeem Club Clipsal Generator points. Download the Clipsal iCat from the App Store or Google Play.

EASY FISHING WITH MILWAUKEE POLYESTER FISH TAPE Milwaukee’s Polyester Fish Tapes feature a high flexibility, thick polyester tape for easy fishing!

BASE PRO – NEXT GENERATION LED DOWNLIGHTS 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%.

The triple strand design of the tape won’t kink after repeated use and delivers the user a more durable tape. The low friction case provides the user with a smooth payout and easy rewind. The fish tape also features a multi-position handle allowing you to comfortably use the fish tape in any jobsite scenario. The Polyester Fish Tape is part of Milwaukee’s new cable feeding range including Fish Sticks and Steel Fish Tapes.

Base Pro has a discrete design. It is completely sealed with an ingress protection of 44 and is available in three cut-out sizes: 100mm, 150mm and 200mm. To 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 remote DALI driver and is the perfect base for any new or existing office projects and retail applications.



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SAVE TIME WITH POWER LOGIC HDPM6000 METERS Saving time and cost is more important than ever. To help you minimise integration and operating expenses, consider PowerLogic HDPM6000 meters in your next installation. As a high-density multi-circuit power meter that is easily adaptable to panel board configurations, HDPM6000 meters help to reduce start up and integration time. With data logging capabilities and full ethernet communication, these meters enable accurate monitoring, analysis and cost allocation of energy use and an opportunity to identify energy waste. To ensure the reliable and efficient operations of electrical equipment, maintaining good power quality is essential. To enable you to analyse power quality data and ultimately improve systemwide performance and determine equipment malfunctions, the head unit of the HDPM6000 also provides voltage waveform capture.

RELY ON YOUR RELAY – SOLUTIONS FOR MORE PRODUCTIVITY FROM WEIDMÜLLER & APS INDUSTRIAL For more than 40 years, Weidmüller has specialised in the optimisation of cabinet infrastructures and their complete range of relay modules, solid-state relays and additional value-added services combine the highest standards with ultimate quality. Relay modules from Weidmüller are extremely durable, reliable and available in many different designs. No matter the requirement in your plant or application, Weidmüller has a tailor-made relay solution that promises increased productivity and safety: Timing Functions, Special Loads, Sensor Isolation, High Switching Frequencies, Signal Adaption, Functional Safety, Power.

Air Circuit Breaker Retrofitting Future proof your protection system with NHP retrofitting services


NHP POWER QUALITY SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE Regular check-ups of your Power Factor Correction system are vital to ensure it operates at its best. Every three months the unit should be cleaned and if the environment is dusty, dirty or corrosive, the filters may require more frequent cleaning or replacement. Capacitors will degrade over time, so it is also critical to check they are functioning properly. Every six months, each capacitor step should

be checked and logged to keep a history of how the capacitor steps are performing over time, which will help in diagnosing a problem before it becomes a hazard to your business. If you partner with NHP to service your PFC system, electrical contractors will receive a discount on replacement capacitors.

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WWW.NECA.ASN.AU NHP Electrical Engineering Products




1300 NHP NHP 0800 NHP NHP




R U OK? DAY IS A GOOD TIME TO REFLECT ON MENTAL HEALTH. Prior to the pandemic, mental health was already an issue for our industry, but now, as businesses are facing additional pressures on the back of social isolation, we need to be looking out for each other more than ever. Got a feeling that someone you know or care about isn’t behaving as they normally would? Trust that gut instinct and act on it. By starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate to open up.

If they say they’re not OK, what next? How USEFUL CONTACTS FOR SOMEONE do you continue the conversation to show IS NOT OK YourWHO guide to supporting R U OK?Day them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load? By knowing what to say, you can help someone feel supported and access appropriate help long before they’re in crisis, which can make a really positive difference to their life. There’s more to say after R U OK? Ask, then listen, encourage action and check in. Learn what to say after R U OK? at

Learn what to say at A conversation could change a life

Lifeline (24/7) 13 11 14

Beyond Blue (24/7) 1300 224 636

RESETTING YOUR BODY CLOCK SUNDAY 4 OCTOBER MARKS THE START OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME IF YOU LIVE IN NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, AND THE ACT. Although we gain an extra hour of daylight, we also lose an hour of sleep if we’re not prepared. Tradespeople in particular need to be aware that there is an increased chance of sleepiness while the body adjusts to the new timeframe. Starting work at 6am, when your body still thinks it’s 5am, is tough going, and can be dangerous working on the tools. What can you do to help your body adjust to daylight saving time? The Sleep Health Foundation recommends: 

Go to bed 15 -20 minutes earlier for 3 to 4 days before putting the clocks forward. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier on Saturday and Sunday mornings in preparation for the early start on Monday.



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Other strategies to help adjust to daylight saving time include: make the bedroom as bright as possible when you first wake up in the morning, go outside

in the sunlight in the early mornings, try to get between seven to nine hours sleep each night, and avoid coffee, tea or other caffeine drinks in the evening.



How are you Listen with travelling?

Ask R U OK?

an open mind

Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach.

Listen with Help them open up by asking an open mind questions like “How are you

Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like “You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?” If theyEncourage don’t want to talk, don’t criticise them.


Take what they say seriously

Ask: “What have you done in

that things seem tough for them.

Ask: “What’s something you can do for yourself right now? Something that’s enjoyable or relaxing?”

What do you thin st w Jutha is a first step k in would hel chpecyou through thiyo s?u’

Learn w A convers

Pop a reminder in your diary to

I’mand here to lisinterrupt Have you ten don’t or rush the the to manage similar call them in a couple of weeks. thought you Have bee npast What do you thi ifconversation. you want to to struggling, Have things feeling this antedreally situations?” If they’re wnk about wayspeaking Just improved or chan is a first step tha talk more. how e g se d for t or an follow up with them sooner. a doctor whi your to in le? k chec since we last spok  Don’tEncourage  Ask: “How Check in judge their experiences would you like me to wo uld g? hel in p you do re a health professional u’ yo  You could say: “I’ve been or reactions but acknowledge support you?” through thi action s? this? about

going?” or “What’s been happening?” 

You don I’m’there to listen seem your if self you Encourage lately – want to want to talk moraction e. talk about it?

Have you thought about speaking Have you yourndoctor or to bee feelinga this wayprofession Check al in health for a while? about this?

If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence.

thinking of you and wanted to know how you’ve been going since we last chatted.”

Ask if they’ve found a better way to manage the situation.  You could say: “When I was Encourage them to explain: Have you thought If they haven’t done anything, Wh “Howspeaking are you feeling about at do you going think through a difficult time, about don’t judge them. They might is a firs t ste p that?” or “How long have you I tried this... You might find it that to your doctor or just Ha ve th ing to s need someone to listen to d wo te uld helJu p you felt profession that way?” al useful st wan too.” a health improved or chthem for the moment. anged throu d see how 

about this? Check in

gh thiks? in an chec you’re doing?

Learn what to say at A conversation could change a l since we last spok e?

If they need expert help – Some conversations are too big for family and friends to take on alone. If someone’s been really low for more than 2 weeks – or is at risk – contact a professional as soon as you can.

Check in

Just wanted to e how check in and se g? in do re u’ yo

Learn what to say at A conversation could change a life

Have things improved or chan ged since we last spok e?


YOUR MOST IMPORTANT TOOL Learn what to say at A conversation could change a life

To mark Tradies National Health Month this year, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) wants tradies to ditch the old-school ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to their health and look after their most valuable asset – their health. Small niggles can turn into more serious chronic conditions if left unchecked. The APA is encouraging tradies to take stock of their health regularly and notice if they have any stiffness or pain in their body. Small changes in how you work can make all the difference. Electricians commonly have injuries related to repetitive shoulder, elbow and wrist movements from working in prolonged overhead and awkward positions, knee pain from squatting, climbing and kneeling and lower back pain from bending and moving awkwardly in small spaces.


69% said that being sore was just normal for the work they do

88% said they take good care of their tools compared to 61% who take good care of their bodies

32% said they don’t follow safe lifting guidelines

Simple tip: Warm up for five to 10 minutes before starting work each morning and where possible, pace your workload to avoid overuse and fatigue.

Tradies Health Survey June 2019 – a national survey of Australian tradies by Empirica Research for the Australian Physiotherapy Association

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NEW ARN-0214


NECA News September 2020  

NECA News is the official publication of the National Electrical and Communications Association and is Australia’s most credible resources f...

NECA News September 2020  

NECA News is the official publication of the National Electrical and Communications Association and is Australia’s most credible resources f...

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