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News Service 27: MAKE A SUBMISSION TO NSW PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION PAPER; UET & UEG Training Package updates; Technology PVs – efficiency & cost; electricity governance, transformation & reform; Safety incidents

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  1. BE SURE TO MAKE A SUBMISSION TO THE NSW PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION GREEN PAPER
  2. UET & UEG TRAINING PACKAGES – FEEDBACK/PARTICIPATION SOUGHT
  3. EMERGING PV TECHNOLOGIES PROMISING HIGHER EFFICIENCY AND LOWER COST
  4. REPORT CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN MARKET OPERATOR GOVERNANCE
  5. WA GOVERNMENT IS PUSHING FORWARD WITH ITS ENERGY TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY
  6. PUBLIC FORUMS ON TRANSMISSION ACCESS REFORM – STARTING THIS WEEK
  7. MANAGING HAZARDOUS MANUAL TASKS – SAFEWORK ONLINE WORKSHOP
  8. ELECTRIC SLIDING GATES – SAFEWORK VIDEO SAFETY ALERT
  9. DANGEROUS INCIDENT – CABLE FALLS TO GROUND IN UNDERGROUND METALS MINE
  10. DANGEROUS INCIDENT – ELECTRICIAN HIT BY RAIL ON TORSO IN UNDERGROUND METALS MINE

1. BE SURE TO MAKE A SUBMISSION TO THE NSW PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION GREEN PAPER

News Services 24 and 25 covered the important release and need for submission to the NSW Productivity Commission Green Paper, and the key recommendations related to VET.  Highlighted was the Commission’s statement of the recommendations to open up pathways into Trade Occupations, with the Commissioner declaring apprenticeships were “outdated, barriers were to high and the old model of training is a closed shop even to people who want to get into it and despite the fact some skilled jobs have had a shortage of workers for most of the last 30 years”.

The NSW UE ITAB in response to the commentary and Green Paper, in its 25th News Service stated, “Many occupational learning processes are not similar to university models where classroom learning is conducted all up front, and subsequently, successful individuals who get a testamur for attendance, are able to seek employment in a closely allied or in some cases a different  field of work.  That might work in that context but not another context such as VET where the learning and the requirements of the job outcome are purpose built.  There are countless examples of where such ideas, promoted by the Commission and the Commissioner, that have been tried and failed and employers left with employees having to be retrained.  The notion proposed by the Commission, of all up front training as a silver bullet solution is naïve and a poorly researched approach, and one that appears more about cost efficiencies than real learning that advantages the learner and the potential employer, as well as the economy.  Skill shortages are not always about barriers there are other factors at play, and the Commission could have done itself and the community a favour a done more serious research how VET works for industry.”

At recommendation 3.2, the Green Paper states the following:

“Introduce two new and more flexible pathways to trades qualifications:

  1. one for HSC-holders (two years or less), and
  2. one for mature-aged workers (18 months or less).

Additionally:

  • Incentivise registered training organisations to develop more flexible modes of course delivery, including after-hours learning and short intensive periods of full-time study.
  • Establish a Training and Skills Recognition Centre to implement the new training pathways, starting in the construction sector.
  • Regulate to allow employment of unqualified juniors (those below 21 years of age) in a recognised trade vocation outside an apprenticeship, provided they have completed, or are enrolled in the relevant trades qualification.
  • Endorse a marketing campaign to raise the profile and awareness of new trades pathways.

The proposed recommendations might have some plausibility in some vocations, but not so in well established Traditional Trades.  The proposed recommendations will do nought to improve numbers or their attractiveness to males or females in the longer term.  The central issue has been completely missed by the Commission.  However, such suggestions may develop their own momentum and get to become government policy, albeit based on a false premise.

To this end it is important for those who support and have a passion about Traditional Trade occupations and their very long history with developing COMPETENT tradespersons; ‘not trained persons’ with no job, that the false premise the Commission has espoused is challenged. 

Submissions are important.  A COPY OF THE GREEN PAPER IS ATTACHED.  If you support the continuation of traditional trade training on a historically well established model that needs reinforcement and support rather than disaggregation, then make a submission to the Commission

FEEDBACK LINK: GREEN PAPER FEEDBACK LINK

The due date to provide feedback is Friday, 18th of September 2020.

  • TIMELY NCVER REPORT

A useful paper for review given the above conversation is the NCVER Part 3 report it has released on traditional trade apprenticeships: experiences and outcomes.  It examines the experiences of the traditional trade apprentice through findings from the 2019 Apprentice and Trainee Experience and Destination Survey.

Report was released 9th September 2020: TRADITIONAL TRADE APPRENTICESHIPS: EXPERIENCES AND OUTCOMES

Report’s key messages:

  • Traditional trade apprentices report high levels of satisfaction with the off-the-job training they receive, irrespective of whether they complete their apprenticeship.
  • Those who do not complete a traditional trade apprenticeship predominantly cite employment-related reasons for leaving their apprenticeship, highlighting how critical the role of the employer is in supporting apprentice completion.
  • Completing a traditional trade apprenticeship results in good employment outcomes. In 2019, over 90% of traditional trade apprentices who completed their apprenticeships were employed, compared with about 75% of non-completers. Completers also fared better than non-completers in staying employed with the same employer as their apprenticeship and having a higher median annual income.

2. UET & UEG TRAINING PACKAGES – FEEDBACK/PARTICIPATION SOUGHT

  1. UET ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail Sector

AIS advises that in relation to the above Training Package, the TAC for the Industry Skills project has drafted Training Package materials including seven qualifications and 77 Units of Competency and is requesting stakeholder feedback.

Feedback is required by close of business Thursday, 8 October 2020.

Link to the Project includes RAIL only, TAC outcomes:  UET INDUSTRY SKILLS – UNITS OF COMPETENCY+QUALIFICATIONS+MORE

  1. UEG Gas Industry Training Package

Gas Training Package projects have commenced and Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) are being formed.

Nominations for these TACs are open to interested parties until close of business Tuesday, 22 September 2020.

TACs to cover:

To register interest in one or more of the TACs visit each of the hyperlinks highlighted above or visit the AIS website for more information: AIS PROJECTS PAGE AND GO TO UEG HEADED PROJECTS


3. EMERGING PV TECHNOLOGIES PROMISING HIGHER EFFICIENCY AND LOWER COST

Australian Power Technologies (APT) Transmission and Distribution Aug-Sep publication has just been released.  An interesting article in the latest publication relates to emerging PV technologies promising higher efficiency and lower cost.  The promotion for the article at page 53 of the publication states, “The cost of the photovoltaic (PV) panels is a critical factor in the roll-out of utility-scale solar power systems. The reduction in the price-per-watt of silicon solar panels, based on manufacturing and material costs, appears to have reached a plateau and any further reductions can only be achieved by increasing the efficiency of the solar module itself. An increase in efficiency of a few percentage points can make a huge difference in output and cost reduction.”

The article is written by Mike Rycroft, Now Media.  It discusses construction and efficiencies of different types of cells.  Well worth a read.

Hydrogen and electric vehicles

Other topics covered in the publication of interest include hydrogen vehicle refuelling deal, accelerating the update of smart charges for electric vehicles, with the latter article explaining the decision by Origin to install 150 smart charges to incentivise new and existing EV owners to participate in a trial.

Protection and control – Distribution Networks

Another interesting article relates to the assertion by Marin van der Linde, General Manager Marketing at NOJA Power that, “Cost effective and omnipresent, the overhead electricity Network is here to stay.”

For more information visit the link to the publication:  http://www.powertrans.com.au/  


4. REPORT CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN MARKET OPERATOR GOVERNANCE

In a joint media release of 10th September 2020, Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and the Australian Energy Council relate on a new report that calls for Improvements in Market Operator Governance.  The media release states, “A new energy industry report calls for improvements to the governance framework for the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to support investment efficiencies, manage growing customer costs and achieve national energy goals.

Releasing the report, by leading energy economic and policy advisory group, Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA), the Australian Energy Council and Energy Networks Australia said it pointed to the need to establish the best ongoing structure and governance for AEMO.

The AEC’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said: “Given the central role of the market operator in a rapidly transforming energy sector, it is vital the scope of its work and the framework under which it performs its functions remain fit-for-purpose.

“This is not intended as a review of AEMO’s current performance, but rather a careful consideration of the best governance processes to support high performance and accountability in a shifting energy landscape.”

“The report identifies three options to improve the governance structure of the market operator and increase transparency and engagement. Each would see an improvement compared with current arrangements.

The report also found:

  • While AEMO is formally accountable to its members there are questions about the extent to which they are well enough informed or able to address issues that might arise.
  • Limited evidence of AEMO demonstrating accountability to its members, or of members holding the operator to account through the formal governance channels.
  • While government oversight either directly or through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) may have replaced the formal governance processes, this is not ideal and may not be the most effective way of holding AEMO to account.
  • Formal arrangements to support accountability are weaker than those seen in other jurisdictions.”

For more information and a full version the media release, visit:  REPORT CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN MARKET OPERATOR GOVERNANCE

Media contacts:

Australian Energy Council – Carl Kitchen 0401 691 342, carl.kitchen@energycouncil.com.au

Energy Networks Australia – Michael Lewis, (03) 9103 0405, mlewis@energynetworks.com.au


5. WA GOVERNMENT IS PUSHING FORWARD WITH ITS ENERGY TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and the Australian Energy Council report in the Energy Insiders news service of Western Australia’s desire to push ahead with its energy transformation strategy.  It states, “As uptake of rooftop solar and batteries continues to grow, the Western Australian Government is pushing forward with its Energy Transformation Strategy. A recently released issues paper presents a case for changing roles and responsibilities to allow more solar and batteries to connect while keeping the system stable.”

It goes on to report, “The Energy Transformation Taskforce is responsible for delivering the Western Australian (WA) Government’s Energy Transformation Strategy.

The taskforce recently released an issues paper on the changes to energy market roles and responsibilities to support customers and the future electricity system as it works to accommodates increasing amounts of Distributed Energy Resources (DER).

The paper is related to the WA Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, one of three taskforce workstreams.”

For more information visit the article at:  THE STATE OF PLAY – DER

For more details, contact Ben Skinner, Australian Energy Council and Garth Crawford, Energy Networks Australia


6. PUBLIC FORUMS ON TRANSMISSION ACCESS REFORM – STARTING THIS WEEK

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) advises that will hold the first of two webinars on “17 September 2020 to share further detail on the proposed transmission access reform in the national electricity market. The second webinar will be held the following week.”

AEMC lists the key documents in relation to the public forums as follows: “The AEMC published three papers on 07 September 2020, alongside the ESB’s 2025 consultation paper:

  • A transmission access reform interim report that  highlights the need for reform and how it relates to the ESB’s 2025 market design work as well as a detailed update on the preferred design and decisions that have been taken in forming this design, as well as overview of the quantitative analysis that has been undertaken – on both the benefits and the costs.
  • The NERA Economic Consulting report on the Cost Benefit Analysis of Access Reform providing an in depth analysis of NERA’s bottom up modelling of the benefits of implementing the reform in the NEM.
  • The HARD Software report providing preliminary indications of the implementation costs of the reform.

The interim report provides updated specifications, reflecting stakeholder feedback to make sure the core features of locational marginal pricing and financial transmission rights are fit for purpose for the NEM, and can be implemented in a way that is as manageable and straightforward for participants as possible, while also delivering the greatest potential benefit to the NEM and consumers. The proposed design and implementation has been shaped by extensive engagement with stakeholders.

Submissions to the interim report are due on Monday 19 October.

Public forums

In addition to two public forums held in 2019, we have already held one public forum on the international experience of Locational Marginal Pricing (LMP) and Financial Transmission Rights (FTR) markets. This forum heard from participants about their experiences in other markets with LMP and FTR. While new for Australia, the changes that we’re suggesting have been successfully in place for decades in many parts of the world including New Zealand, North America and Singapore. Materials from this forum can be found below.

We are holding two further public forums:

  1. Results of quantitative modelling conducted by NERA Economic Consulting on the impact of the reforms in the NEM – 17 September 2020.
  2. A simplified model of the proposed reforms in action. This forum will help explain to stakeholders how the model will work and what its benefits are – 22 September 2020”.

For registration details and application visit the following link: RESULTS OF NERA MODELLING ON THE IMPACT OF ACCESS REFORM IN THE NEM – 17 SEPTEMBER 2020


7. MANAGING HAZARDOUS MANUAL TASKS – SAFEWORK ONLINE WORKSHOP

In response to COVID-19, NSW SafeWork has commenced providing a series of online workshops.  A most recent workshop has been released regarding managing hazardous manual tasks.  The promotion for the online workshop states, “Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common and significant of workplace injuries and diseases.

Participative Ergonomics for Manual Tasks (PErforM) is a simple manual task risk management program based on participative ergonomics, an internationally recommended approach for reducing MSDs.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, SafeWork NSW now delivers shorter PErforM workshops online. These workshops are designed for businesses to learn about the PErforM program and how to use the risk assessment tool and other resources.

These online workshops are very engaging, with a limit of 8 attendees per session. The workshops have been designed to ensure they are personalised for customers and support positive changes in behaviour.”

Participants who have participated in the online workshops have had the following to say:

  • “Denis Bellerose, a WHS Practitioner, said: “Most definitely one of these pivotal events in my WHS career! So thanks again! Great job!”
  • Paul Korchok, a Principal Consultant, said “Great session – I appreciate the effort and time taken to promote and explain the program and the individual attention you give to participants.”

For more information visit: SAFEWORK ONLINE WORKSHOP – MANAGING HAZARDOUS MANUAL TASKS or visit the direct link to the workshop platform: PErforM website


8. ELECTRIC SLIDING GATES – SAFEWORK VIDEO SAFETY ALERT

NSW SafeWork has issued an alert on electrical sliding gates following a fatality as recent as June 2020.  The alert states, “SafeWork NSW has investigated a number of incidents where workers have been crushed by electric sliding gates, the most recent a fatality in June 2020.”

“An electric sliding gates video safety alert has been produced to help highlight the risks associated with using such gates. If you have electric gates at your workplace, or anyone you know has similar gates at their workplace, we encourage you to view the video and share it within your industry.

This video safety alert, and others, can be viewed on the SafeWork NSW YouTube channel.

For the latest information on incidents, visit the SafeWork NSW Incident Information Release page at www.safework.nsw.gov.au.


9. DANGEROUS INCIDENT – CABLE FALLS TO GROUND IN UNDERGROUND METALS MINE

The NSW Resources Regulator reports of a dangerous incident in steel wire armoured cable.  In incident number 0038161 the NSW Resources Regulator summarise the incident: “A 120 millimetre2 steel wire armoured cable was run out and hung to a roof, suspended on steel hooks. Workers who were tasked with terminating the cable were pulling it to achieve enough slack when the cable suspension hooks failed, allowing the full length of the cable to fall to the ground.”

Regulator’s advice to industry on the matter was: “Identifying hazards and assessing risk is of paramount importance for the safety of workers. Detailed planning for all jobs should be completed prior to the start of a task. When work deviates from the original plan, a risk assessment must be completed, and the plan revised. It is foreseeable that pulling heavy cable that is hanging from hooks presents a level of risk that must be controlled.”

Visit the Regulator’s website for the latest reports (ISR20-36): WEEKLY INCIDENT SUMMARY or visit the Regulator’s website for related and important information: https://www.resourcesregulator.nsw.gov.au/


10. DANGEROUS INCIDENT – ELECTRICIAN HIT BY RAIL ON TORSO IN UNDERGROUND METALS MINE

In yet another dangerous incident report (IncNot0038123) the NSW Resources Regulator summarise the incident as follows: “Electricians working underground were installing a high tension cable from an integrated tool carrier basket. A rope connected from the end of the cable was tied to the mid rail of the basket. As the integrated tool carrier trammed to pull the cable, tension in the rope has overloaded the mid rail of the basket, causing it to fail. The rail hit an electrician on the torso.  “

Regulator’s advice to industry in relation this matter was: “If workers deviate from standard procedures for a task, the work must be managed through a change management process. If no procedures have been developed for the task, then the task should not be undertaken until an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out. The force applied when pulling material needs to be known so that fit-for-purpose equipment can be used.

Lifting or pulling equipment should only be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and for the intended purpose.”

Visit the Regulator’s website for the latest reports (ISR20-36): WEEKLY INCIDENT SUMMARY or visit the Regulator’s website for related and important information: https://www.resourcesregulator.nsw.gov.au/