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News Service 18 – ASQA ESTABLISHES SLG – NO TRADE RTO REPRESENTED; SMART & SKILLED UPDATE-105; GROSVENOR-HVAC&R UPSKILLING STRATEGY; SAFETY LAWS FOR AIR CONDITIONERS; SOLAR-DER REGISTER; NATIONAL ENERGY FRAMEWORK FRAYING; TIDAL POWER?

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  1. ASQA ESTABLISHES STAKEHOLDER LIAISON GROUP (SLG) – NO TRADE TRAINING RTO REPRESENTED
  2. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE No. 105 – 13 July 2020
  3. GROSVENOR LAUNCHES NATURAL REFRIGERANT SERVICE
  4. NEW SAFETY LAWS FOR AIR CONDITIONERS
  5. INSTALLING SOLAR: DER REGISTER – WHAT EVERY CONTRACTOR NEEDS TO KNOW
  6. ARE WE ALL STILL IN AGREEMENT?
  7. PREDICTABLE AND RENEWABLE POWER: ENERGY’S UNICORN?

1. ASQA ESTABLISHES STAKEHOLDER LIAISON GROUP (SLG) – NO TRADE TRAINING RTO REPRESENTED

ASQA recently announced it had established an inaugural SLG to act as an advisory group.  ASQA states on its website, “This new advisory group will make a substantial contribution to the continued expansion of ASQA’s sector communication, education and engagement.”. 

Whilst the NSW UE ITAB welcomes the establishment of such a group, interestingly, none of the members, with perhaps the exception of TAFE who has a very broad learner and employer base, represent a main stream ‘Trade training’ occupational group.  When one considers a large part of federal and state government funding is committed to apprenticeship and traineeship training, one has to question how, not one single major public and/or private ‘Trade training’ RTO has been enlisted, as a member of the SLG, to represent this large group.

If, as ASQA states, “the SLG strongly reflects the diversity of ASQA’s regulated community”, how has representation from both a public and private ‘Trade training’ RTO specifically covering this group been missed?  The decision to omit this important group of the VET system from direct representation seems incredulous.  It begs the question, how did this happen?

Further, how was the final decision determined as to who became a member of the SLG?  The membership criteria espoused on the ASQA website is available at: TERMS OF REFERENCE.  It states, “The membership selection process will be undertaken by ASQA through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process open to all ASQA-regulated VET providers and to VET sector consultants.

The SLG will comprise:

  • the CEO of ASQA, who will serve as Chair
  • other ASQA senior executive/s and relevant personnel
  • subject matter experts as invited by ASQA
  • a mix of training providers that is broadly representative of the diversity of ASQA’s regulated community, including the following cohorts:
    • two TAFE RTOs delivering training to domestic students—this may include a dual-sector institution
    • one community college
    • one Enterprise RTO
    • one School that is an RTO
    • up to seven private RTOs—this may include a provider registered on CRICOS to deliver ELICOS training
  • one or more VET sector consultant selected for membership through the EOI process.

In selecting the mix of providers from across these cohorts, ASQA will take into account factors relating to the nature of training delivery, including scale, modes, locations, diversity of student populations, and provider performance.

In selecting the individuals to participate as members of the SLG, ASQA will make its selection based on those who:

  • hold leadership positions and have a high level of operational authority in their respective organisations,
  • are motivated to advance the interests of providers in their cohort,
  • are committed to developing the broader VET sector.”

What process was used to select the nominees:

So, how was the ‘Trade training’ sector missed, given 12 RTO representatives would form a large part of the membership?

The NSW UE ITAB is aware that nominations from the ‘Trade training’ sector, specifically Electrotechnology were made but somehow a decision was made to omit these applicants.  It would be interesting to learn how the selection process was undertaken and completed.

The NSW UE ITAB invites ASQA to make public the process it undertook to help it reach its decision.  Given the public interest aspect of this group, it is fair to request that the decision making process should be open and transparent to all.  Hopefully, ASQA will make available its decision making process for the public record.  In the meantime, this ITAB will explore with others a request to learn more about the decision making process, and call for it to be made public.

Objectives of the SLG:

For those interested in the objectives of the group, the following applies: “ The objective of the SLG is to provide a forum for engagement and collaboration though which its members can:

  • identify how ASQA can expand its educative role,
  • share information about key issues and risks facing providers,
  • consult on changes to ASQA’s Regulatory Strategy,
  • identify the guidance and materials that providers need to support their regulatory obligations and build capability for self-assurance,
  • contribute to the co-design of new regulatory tools,
  • consult on other matters of operational importance to the sector.

The SLG is advisory in nature and is not empowered to make binding decisions or determinations.

For more information regarding ASQA’s the SLG and its members visit the following link: SLG MEMBER PROFILES


2. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE No. 105 – 13 July 2020

Please find attached the latest Smart and Skilled Update 105.  The attachment covers the following information:

  1. Smart and Skilled Targeted Priorities Prevocational and Part Qualifications (TPPPQ) Program Infection Control Training Strategy – Expression of Interest (EOI):
    1. Fast tracking fee free delivery of infection control training
    1. Online Expression of Interest (EOI) now open
    1. Provider eligibility
    1. Details regarding the EOI
    1. Allocation of student places
    1. Offer notification
    1. Timeline
    1. Other helpful Information
    1. For assistance
  2. Smart and Skilled Targeted Priorities Prevocational and Part Qualifications (TPPPQ) Program for 2020-21
  3. Attachment A: Details regarding the EOI:
    1. Online form
    1. Completing the EOI
  4. Attachment B: Allocation of student places

For more information visit the Smart and Skills section of Training Services NSW website: SMART AND SKILLED


3. GROSVENOR LAUNCHES NATURAL REFRIGERANT SERVICE

HVAC&R News reports that, “the Grosvenor Engineering Group has introduced a dedicated natural refrigerant technology service for HVAC&R systems. Through the service, the company hopes to help the Australian commercial office market reduce its carbon footprint by providing a green alternative.”

The article states, that the Managing Director of Grosvenor, Nicholas Lianos, Affil.AIRAH said, “The energy savings to be derived by commercial property owners through upgrading larger HVAC systems to natural refrigerant technology is material, and strong ROI business cases can be made.”

“Presently we are working with a large shopping centre owner to upgrade a significant number of 70kW rooftop R22 package units that are at end of life. We are also working with two of Australia’s largest commercial property owners to utilise natural refrigerant technology chillers within the various office towers and other buildings that they own.”

An interesting part of the article is the commentary that, “Grosvenor employs more than 800 staff, 400 of whom are HVAC technicians. It plans to train them all in natural refrigerant technology within the next 12 months. More than 30 technicians were expected to have finished the specialist accreditation, which also includes the safe handling of R32 refrigerant, by the end of June.”

Grosvenor Director and National Engineering Manager Peter Souflias, M.AIRA, stated, “As both A2/A2L (R32) as well as hydrocarbon refrigerants are flammable, and were never taught throughout Australia in the national curriculum for refrigeration and air conditioning, licensed technicians are not aware of the hazards or requirements when using or installing systems containing A2/A2L (R32) or hydrocarbon refrigerants,”

Superior Training Centre (STC) is now providing nationally recognised courses in handling A2/A2L flammable refrigerants and hydrocarbon refrigerants to Grosvenor’s staff.

This is especially good news that a large technical services company in the HVAC&R space has embarked on a program to upskill its staff recognising the market is quickly moving towards more energy efficient and environmentally friendly products, and it doesn’t want be found short on skilled workers to help its business.

To read the article in full visit the following link:  GROSVENOR LAUNCHES NATURAL REFRIGERANT SERVICE


4. NEW SAFETY LAWS FOR AIR CONDITIONERS

Climate Control News (CCN) reports that from July 1, 2020, “The NSW government has made all air conditioners using flammable refrigerants “declared articles”.  “This means that air conditioners using flammable refrigerants cannot be sold or traded in NSW without official certification by the state government.”

This is an important decision by the government and new practices must be implemented to meet the declaration. 

The article by Sandra Rossi, Editor at CCN reports on a spokesperson from NSW Fair Trading confirming that, “In 2018 they were introduced into the ‘declared list’ with a date of application of July 1, 2020, this delay was in in order to allow traders to seek certification. … Past this date it may be a breach of the Act to sell such an article without certification.”

Read the full CCN article at: NEW SAFETY LAWS FOR AIR CONDITIONERS

A previously circulated draft position paper by NSW SafeWork was officially released in early July to coincide with the introduction of the “declared articles” to encourage safe work practices and improved understanding of the dangers of flammable refrigerants.  A copy of the paper is attached.  Therein there is a list of further information links to an array of regulatory and industry sources. Very worthwhile.

A copy of the paper can be downloaded from: SAFEWORK NSW – POSITION PAPER


5. INSTALLING SOLAR: DER REGISTER – WHAT EVERY CONTRACTOR NEEDS TO KNOW

Neca NSW, in its website, News and Views section, is providing advice to its members of the new requirement to register all Distributed Energy Resources (DER) including small-scale solar PV, battery storage and other small generators on the AEMO DER Register.

It states, “The DER Register has been designed to work in with existing network operator DER installation registration processes to minimise any impact on contractors.”

There are five (5) critical steps to be followed regarding DER installations to complete the registration process, which are listed on the site.

Importantly though, is the advice that, “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.”

Visit the Neca website for more information on the register: NEWS AND VIEWS SECTION-DER REGISTER INFORMATION

For information on the DER Register also visit the AEMO DER Register Portal at: DER REGISTER PORTAL


6. ARE WE ALL STILL IN AGREEMENT – NATIONAL ENERGY FRAMEWORK FRAYING?

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) reports on the foundational Australian Energy Market Agreement, which committed states and territories to work together in formulating and enacting energy policy, is increasingly being tested.  The article states, “. Increasingly state-based initiatives such as ‘Vic-xit’, NSW Renewable Energy Zones and SA’s solar policies are testing, if not breaking, those commitments. Is a recommitment to the agreement required, or is fragmentation the new normal?”

The report summarises current developments in the following manner, “While state-based policies can usefully progress issues and remove some roadblocks, uncoordinated state interventions pose questions for the future of the AEMA.

AEMO’s recent Minimum operational demand thresholds in South Australia report, requested by the SA Government and published in June, details 31 recommendations attempting to manage the rapid influx of solar PV into the SA grid. SA-specific analysis for its unique solar PV circumstances seems sensible, but the process to this outcome has bypassed existing national standards and planning mechanisms and is another step away from the AEMA.

But does the AEMA still have authority and buy-in to support coordinated national policy?

The three market institutions were enacted to oversee national policy implementation, but when the policy is no longer national, the once clear roles and responsibilities of market institutions are put to the test.

The national framework is fraying around the edges while the AEMA needle and thread sit idle. Due to the nature of our interconnected system, state-based policies often have implications for other states and the nation more broadly.

Current events might indicate that snowballing state interventions are the new normal.”

These are interesting developments, and worthy of attention over the ensuing months and years ahead.  For more information visit: ARE WE ALL STILL IN AGREEMENT? or contact For more, contact Chris Gilbert, Energy Networks Australia.


7. PREDICTABLE AND RENEWABLE POWER: ENERGY’S UNICORN?

ENA also report on, “challenge with solar and wind power generation is predicting when they’re available.”  It states in the article, “They work well as supplemental energy sources but alone they cannot be relied on for baseload generation. Is there such a thing as predictable renewable energy?”

The article goes on to state, “Globally, the most common utility-scale renewable energy sources are wind and solar. The technologies are proven and improving, they are cost-effective to build, own and operate, and they produce low-cost electricity.  The problem, however, is their unpredictability – the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine.

This means such sources require the support of ‘firming’ generation from gas, hydro, batteries or coal to ensure reliability of power and security of supply.

Predictable renewable energy sources would deliver the ultimate win-win for a clean environment and reliable, cost-effective generation – but is there such a thing? Ocean energy could hold the answer.”

The report references a trial project funded by ARENA, to install a 200kw wave energy system off King Island’s coast in Tasmania aims to feed electricity into the island’s microgrid.

Tidal energy is winning some new supporters and the report is worthy of consideration as to current developments in this field. 

The report is available at the following link: PREDICTABLE AND RENEWABLE POWER – TIDAL?

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