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News service 14 – National Cabinet names 6 priorities (Skills & Energy); NSW Parliament Passes Design & Building Practitioners Bill 2019; NCVER Dec 2019 apprentice data released; Smart & Skilled Update 102; Safety, Electric Vehicles & more energy news

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News Service this week covers:

  1. NATIONAL CABINET ANNOUNCES SIX PRIORITY AREAS OF REFORM
  2. NSW PARLIAMENT PASSES DESIGN AND BUILDING PRACTITIONERS BILL 2019
  3. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE No. 102 – 15 June 2020
  4. NCVER RELEASES DECEMBER QUARTER DATA ON APPRENTICES AND TRAINEES 2019 – AUSTRALIA
  5. MINE SAFETY NEWS – FLASH FROM A 1000 VOLT CONVEYOR DRIVE MOTOR JUNCTION BOX
  6. ELECTRIC VEHICLES: DRIVING THROUGH THE BARRIERS
  7. $1 OF GAS GETS ME…
  8. HEATING ELECTRIFICATION: ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL?

1. NATIONAL CABINET ANNOUNCES SIX PRIORITY AREAS OF REFORM

The media release issued by the Prime Minister’s office reports that the National Cabinet met on 12 June 2020 to discuss a range of issues including:

  • Australia’s current COVID-19 response, easing restrictions in the coming months, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment and getting the economy moving again;
  • work closely and carefully to return international students on a small, phased scale through a series of controlled pilots;
  • update on the new Closing the Gap National Agreement, and set of targets, that will empower Indigenous Australians to transform their lives; and
  • further discussions regarding the architecture to fundamentally transform federal relations and achieve policy outcomes in areas of shared interest to create jobs and to improve the lives of all Australians.

In relation to the National Federation Reform the media release states:

“Following on from National Cabinet’s agreement to continue as the ongoing forum for first ministers, to form the National Federation Reform Council (NFRC) and to cease the Council of Australian Governments (COAG)” as of 12th June 2020. ….

“National Cabinet has announced six initial priority areas of reform, and the formation of six National Cabinet Reform Committees:

  1. Rural and Regional Australia
  2. Skills
  3. Energy
  4. Infrastructure and Transport
  5. Population and Migration
  6. Health

These committees will be driven by leaders of National Cabinet and tasked to progress a rapid jobs agenda.  Deregulation will be taken forward by the Council of Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) as a matter of priority. …

The CFFR has a central role in the new system, supporting the work of National Cabinet as it focuses on job creation. …

… National Cabinet has asked that CFFR commence a review of existing agreements with a view to consolidation and rationalisation. This includes identifying agreements that could be ceased in order to streamline responsibilities and to reduce duplication and overlap. CFFR will provide National Cabinet with an update on their progress and a plan for implementation by the end of August.”

It will be interesting to follow the work of the National Cabinet and its priority reform agenda, particularly as Skills and Energy form a central element of the list of priorities.

For more information and detail of the Prime Minister’s media release and more specifically the updated advice provided to the National Cabinet by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, on the measures underway, the latest data and medical advice in relation to COVID-19 go to: MEDIA STATEMENT PRIME MINISTER 12 JUN 2020


2. NSW PARLIAMENT PASSES DESIGN AND BUILDING PRACTITIONERS BILL 2019

The new Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 (NSW) introduced by the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, on 23 October 2019, was passed on the 3 June 2020 by the parliament and is awaiting assent.  TimeBase reports that the “Bill contains key reforms in order to improve the quality and compliance of design documentation and to strengthen accountability in the design, building, and construction sector.  Some of the reforms include:

  • New requirements of compliance declarations for regulated designs,
  • New obligations on registered building practitioners,
  • Establishing a duty of care owed by persons doing construction work to take reasonable care to avoid economic loss caused by defects arising from the work,
  • Establishing a registration scheme and register for design and building practitioners,
  • Introduction of new insurance requirements for registered practitioners.

The Bill also makes consequential amendments to a number of NSW Acts.

The Bill is part of the Government’s response to the national Building Confidence – Improving the Effectiveness of Compliance and Enforcement Systems for the Building and Construction Industry across Australia Report (“the Report”).

Registration of Practitioners and Compliance Declarations

The Bill proposes the introduction of a new registration system, in order to ensure that practitioners involved in the building and construction process are competent, qualified and suitably insured. Applications for registration are to be reviewed and determined by the Secretary of Customer Service. However, registration can be suspended or cancelled in order to ensure compliance with the proposed framework.

Duty of Care

The Bill also seeks to establish a statutory duty of care to clarify that a duty is owed to the end user in respect to liability for defective building work. …

This duty of care is to work alongside established principles under common law and the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW). This duty of care cannot be delegated to another person, nor can it be contracted out to ensure the rights of owners.

For more information and an update on the broad details of the new Bill visit: TimeBase NSW PARLIAMENT PASSES DESIGN AND BUILDING PRACTITIONERS BILL 2019


3. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE No. 102 – 15 June 2020

Please find attached Smart and Skilled Update No. 102, which covers the following:

  1. VET Student Outcomes Snapshot – Updated version for feedback
  • Your feedback is sought
  • If you receive a sample Snapshot
  • Questions?

For a copy of the latest 102 Update click here: S&S UPDATE 102


4. NCVER RELEASES DECEMBER QUARTER DATA ON APPRENTICES AND TRAINEES 2019 – AUSTRALIA

NCVER released its latest date on apprenticeships and traineeships across Australia. The data covers statistics on commencements, completions, cancellations and withdrawals and those currently in training.

Highlights related to apprentices and trainees ‘In-Training’ as at 31 December 2019 were:

  • 259,930 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 December 2019, a decrease of 1.6% from 31 December 2018.

Quarterly training activity:

  • In the December quarter 2019, compared with the December quarter 2018:
    • commencements decreased by 14.8%, to 28,570
    • completions increased by 1.0%, to 26,550
    • cancellations and withdrawals decreased by 3.8%, to 20,080

Training activity: 12-month ending series

  • In the 12 months ending 31 December 2019, compared with the 12 months ending 31 December 2018:
    • commencements decreased by 3.6%, to 151,015
    • completions increased by 0.1%, to 89,155
    • cancellations and withdrawals decreased by 1.6%, to 85,445

For more information visit the NCVER website and for the infographic detailing the above highlights go to URL at: NCVER DATA


5. MINE SAFETY NEWS – FLASH FROM A 1000 VOLT CONVEYOR DRIVE MOTOR JUNCTION BOX

Mines Safety News reports of an electrical dangerous incident IncNot0037506 in Underground coal and considered a principal mining hazard (fire or explosion). 

It reported that, “A mine worker saw a flash from a 1000 volt conveyor drive motor junction box.

The electrical protection system activated and shut down the conveyor. There were no injuries.”

This incident is being investigated and further information may be published at a later date. 

For the latest incidents, reported weekly visit: WEEKLY INCIDENT SUMMARY

The NSW Resources Regulator’s Mine Safety unit publishes a reportable incidents summary each week. The weekly summary shows the total number of reportable incidents in a seven day period and summarises incidents of note.


6. ELECTRIC VEHICLES: DRIVING THROUGH THE BARRIERS

Australian Energy Council and Energy Network Australia (ENA) reports on 11th June 2020, that “there is broad consensus that enabling efficient electric vehicle (EV) adoption can provide huge opportunities for improved network utilisation, decarbonisation of transport and integration of renewables.”  Enabling efficient electric vehicle (EV) adoption can provide huge opportunities for improved network utilisation, decarbonisation of transport and integration of renewables.

So, what’s stopping this?

What do we need to make it happen?”

The report covers the EV Integration research project, which aims to:

  • explore customer expectations and acceptance for EVs;
  • investigate the impacts of unmanaged EVs; and
  • investigate how efficient management of charging EVs may mitigate negative impacts.

The project will also explore the techno-economic benefits of EV integration into distribution networks. The University of Melbourne will lead this project in collaboration with Energy Queensland, Endeavour Energy, Jemena, AusNet Services, TasNetworks, Powerlink and CitiPower Powercor.

For more information go to: EV DRIVING THROUGH THE BARRIERS

For more, contact Dr Monaaf Al-Falahi, Energy Networks Australia


7. $1 OF GAS GETS ME…

The CEO of Energy Networks Australia, Mr Andrew Dillon said energy delivered by the gas networks produced 75 per cent less CO2 emissions compared with average National Electricity Market grid electricity.  ENA states that with “the start of winter and gas use increasing, Energy Networks Australia has today released a fact sheet outlining what customers get for $1 of gas.”  More than five million Australian homes and businesses are connected to natural gas.

Andre Dillon said, “Many Australians prefer gas for their cooking, whether it’s in the kitchen or on the BBQ, and to heat their homes and hot water.”

“$1 of gas can BBQ 160 sausages or 30 steaks.

“In your kitchen, $1 of gas will cook 25 pots of pasta or 15 stir fries.

“You can get two hours of ducted gas heating or thirty minutes of gas-heated warm water in the shower for about $1.”

Mr Dillon said gas was an important part of Australia’s energy mix.

“Our future energy system will require a combination of gas and electricity, with networks continuing to innovate to supply customers with sustainable energy sources.

“Networks are already trialling the blending of sustainable gases, such as hydrogen, into the distribution network, supplying customers with hydrogen-blended gas for their cooking and heating.”

For more information on the future of gas, click here.

For a web version of the media release, click here.


8. HEATING ELECTRIFICATION: ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL?

The Australian Energy Council has advised of a report commissioned by Environment Victoria, which has called for gas to be shut off in a move that would likely result in higher emissions and higher power bills.

Australian Energy Council and Energy Network Australia (ENA) hold the view that the “report ignores the whole-of-system costs and potential environmental impacts that would result from electrification of the heating load provided by gas network. It’s like proposing to move commuters from cars to trains but ignoring the impact on the number of trains needed and track capacity constraints.”

Of the report, the Australian Energy Council and ENA state that:

  1. This assessment is misguided.
  2. Shutting off gas in Victoria would result in higher emissions and higher power bills.
  3. The report simply ignores the whole-of-system impact of these measures on electricity generation and network costs.

It’s like proposing to move commuters from cars to trains but ignoring the impact on the number of trains needed and track capacity constraints.

For more information on review of the report, refer to the media release from Australian Energy Council and ENA at: VICTORIAN GAS MARKET – DEMAND SIDE MEASURES TO AVOID FORECAST SUPPLY SHORTFALL, 3 June 2020

For more, contact Dr Dennis Van Puyvelde, Energy Networks Australia