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News Service 57 – NSW Productivity Commission White Paper, AMR amended excludes Occupations, Skills Reform Feedback, RAC Skill Sets funded, Stock of Qualifications NCVER, Built for Women Program, Electrical Safety Incidents, Research, Product Recall

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  1. NSW PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION PRESENTS WHITE PAPER TO GOVERNMENT
  2. GOVERNMENT AGREES TO EXCLUDE LIST OF OCCUPATIONS UNDER AUTOMATIC MUTUAL RECOGNITION
  3. WHAT STAKEHOLDERS HAVE SAID SO FAR ON SKILLS REFORM
  4. REFRIGERATION AND AIR CONDITIONING SKILL SETS FUNDED UNDER SKILLING FOR RECOVERY
  5. NCVER REPORT: THE STOCK OF QUALIFICATIONS IN AUSTRALIA
  6. BUILT FOR WOMEN PROGRAM (NSW JobTrainer Construction)
  7. ELECTRICAL SAFETY INCIDENTS – SHARING THE KNOWLEDGE
  8. THE FREEZING WINDS OF CHANGE
  9. JUNE EDITION OF NATIONAL SAFETY MAGAZINE OUT
  10. SILICON SOLAR RESEARCH
  11. LOOK UP AND LIVE PODCAST
  12. RECALL – UPDATE FROM PRODUCT SAFETY AUSTRALIA

1. NSW PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION PRESENTS WHITE PAPER TO GOVERNMENT

The NSW Productivity Commission has presented to Government the Productivity Commission White Paper 2021 – Rebooting the economy, with 60 opportunities to boost NSW’s productivity and living standards.  The website promotion states, the “White Paper outlines a new productivity reform agenda for New South Wales that could lift productivity growth and boost real wages without raising the tax burden. This will help to create a more resilient, sustainable, and prosperous NSW economy that will serve the community for decades to come.”

Readers might recall the NSW Productivity Commission released its first Discussion Paper, Kickstarting the Productivity Conversation, in October 2019.  It followed up with a Green Paper, Continuing the Productivity Conversation in August 2020.

The White Paper states that, in the months since the release of the Green Paper, “the NSW Government has adopted recommendations covering education, skills, zoning restrictions, and infrastructure contributions. Many of these are already being implemented.”

Mr Peter Achterstraat AM, the NSW Productivity Commissioner stated in his preface to the White Paper, “In response to COVID-19, the NSW Government has had to fund stimulus packages to keep the economy moving, and meet increased service demand, particularly in health. That has required heavy borrowings. Better productivity growth will ease the task of repaying that debt, reduce the need to raise taxes or reduce services, and leave a more manageable debt burden for future generations. As we embark on our jobs-focused economic recovery, we must consider new opportunities to embed productivity improvements in the way we do things. These include investing in our human capital by upskilling and retraining our workforce to fill these jobs, and making it easier to do business.

Consultation is central to the Commission’s work. …

This White Paper completes that vision by identifying 60 opportunities to reboot productivity growth in New South Wales, while also spurring action by other reform-ambitious Australian governments.”

Areas covered by the report include:

  • Productivity drives our prosperity;
  • Best-practice teaching to lift school results;
  • A modern VET system to deliver the skills we need – VET builds human capital, maintain momentum with an ‘earn or learn’ strategy, complement apprenticeships with new pathways to the trades, and ensure the VET system delivers quality training that targets the economy’s needs;
  • Forward-looking regulation supports competition and innovation;
  • Meet the challenge of reliable, well-priced water and energy;
  • A better mix of state and local taxes will encourage growth;
  • 2021planning for the housing we want and the jobs we need; and
  • Smarter infrastructure will support jobs and communities.

This is an important report which the Government has largely adopted.  Four key recommendations have been submitted in relation to “A modern VET system to deliver the skills we need.”  Access the Commission’s website and a copy of the White Paper report at: https://www.productivity.nsw.gov.au/ and GOVERNMENT THE PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION WHITE PAPER 2021 – REBOOTING THE ECONOMY


2. GOVERNMENT AGREES TO EXCLUDE LIST OF OCCUPATIONS UNDER AUTOMATIC MUTUAL RECOGNITION

News Service 50 covered the proposal that was before the NSW Parliament to amend its existing NSW Mutual Recognition Act 1992 legislation to gift increased powers to the Commonwealth to cause a law to automatically mutually recognise an occupational licensee/registrant who moves jurisdictions, unless exempted by the State Minister.  It might be recalled that the NSW Government’s Legislative Council’s Portfolio Committee No. 1 – Premier and Finance, embarked on an inquiry into a proposed amendment.  The NSW UE ITAB, Neca and the ETU made joint representation regarding electrical occupations to the Committee seeking exemption for them.

The Committee subsequently submitted its findings and recommendations to the NSW Parliament, which led to discussion and negotiations amongst Parliamentary members resulting in many of the recommendations being adopted by the Government.  Member of the Legislative Council and Opposition Whip in the Legislative Council, Mr Mark Buttigieg (MLC) led the conversation regarding the resultant amendment and occupations which were recommended for exclusion by the Minister.

The Minister is obligated to make the exclusions for the following occupations:

  • teaching work, or
  • electrical work, or
  • mining work, or
  • the work of a diesel mechanic, or
  • building, maintenance or construction work, including the following – engineering work, gasfitting work, including medical gasfitting work and medical gas technician work, mechanical services and medical gas work, air-conditioning work, the work of a refrigeration mechanic, plumbing work, tunnelling work, welding work, drilling work, the work of a fitter and turner, the work of a shotfirer, the work of a rigger or dogger, the work of a machine and heavy plant operator, fire protection work.

Note that the definition of building, maintenance or construction work is not limited to occupations listed within (e), it can also include other occupations that could be considered to fall under building, maintenance or construction work.

The Minister will be obliged in the first instance to make a temporary exclusion of the occupations listed above for a 12 month period.  The Minister will then be able to make a significant risk exclusion declaration for these occupations to continue their exclusion from the operation of the mutual recognition scheme for 5 years.

The Minister must make further significant risk exclusion declarations (for five years) for the occupation each time a previous significant risk exclusion declaration for the occupation ends for a reason other than revocation.

NSW UE ITAB welcomes the Government’s adoption of the amendments and the ultimate outcomes of the Parliamentary process that has led to the exclusions for high-risk occupations.  This was a prudent decision in protecting the NSW community and public.

For more information on the process and details of the decision visit the following Hansard link:  MUTUAL RECOGNITION (NEW SOUTH WALES) AMENDMENT BILL 2021 or alternatively www.markbuttigieg.com.au/mutual-recognition-about.


3. WHAT STAKEHOLDERS HAVE SAID SO FAR ON SKILLS REFORM

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has summarised the feedback it has received from stakeholders on its Engagement Hub.  It has thanked those who have provided input so far through the various consultations on Skills Reform.  It states, “This feedback will directly contribute to shaping the future of VET in Australia and help improve Australia’s VET system.”

The Engagement Hub has been established with a “WHAT WE’VE HEARD SECTION” to report on what DESE has heard and includes articles, fact sheets and other materials to highlight stakeholder feedback from our engagement activities.

What DESE has heard so far is outlined across three sections:

Achieving high quality
in the VET sector
Moving towards better
industry engagement in VET
Addressing the changing skills needs of employers & individuals: Qualifications Reform
The first phase of consultation took place between December 2020 and March 2021 through surveys, online workshops and webinars, and meetings. Consultation was informed by two issues papers – RTO Quality and Supporting the VET Workforce. 19th of June 2021To understand how industry and employers can better engage in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, we recently consulted stakeholders about what they need and expect from the national training system, and how a future system should work. 19th of May 2021As part of immediate skills reforms, Skills Ministers agreed to trial new evidence-led approaches to qualifications, with trials to be run by three Skills Organisation Pilots in Mining, Digital and Human Services. 19th of May 2021

For more information and link to the feedback visit:  https://www.skillsreform.gov.au/blog/


4. REFRIGERATION AND AIR CONDITIONING SKILL SETS FUNDED UNDER SKILLING FOR RECOVERY

Training Services NSW Training Market Design has added the following Skill Sets to the Priority Part Qualifications List approved under Skilling for Recovery program.  RTOs delivering RAC training and assessment should consider delivering the listed Skill Sets to existing workers in the industry.

UEESS00152RAC – Install and Commission Flammable Refrigerant Air Cond. and Refrigeration Systems Skill Set
UEESS00154RAC – Service and Repair Ammonia Refrigeration Systems Skill Set
UEESS00156RAC – Service and Repair Carbon Dioxide Refrigeration Systems Skill Set
UEESS00157RAC – Service and Repair Flammable Refrigerant Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems Skill Set

For a copy of the Skilling for Recovery – Priority Part Qualifications List that includes the funding allocation for each of the Skill Sets visit the following link: https://www.training.nsw.gov.au/smartandskilled/nsw_skills_list.html or download the latest version 4 list at: Priority Part-Qualifications – v4.0 – 18/06/2021 [Pdf].


5. NCVER REPORT: THE STOCK OF QUALIFICATIONS IN AUSTRALIA

NCVER has released a new report into the stock of qualifications in the Australian economy using data from the 2018—19 Qualifications and Work survey, compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  The research report authored by John Stanwick and Michelle Hall, and released on 17th June 2021, found:

  • “In 2018-19, out of an estimated population of 16.1 million working-age Australians, 10.2 million people reported holding 15.4 million qualifications, including 3.8 million people holding two or more qualifications.
  • VET qualifications outnumbered higher education qualifications by almost one million. Certificates III/IV were particularly prevalent.
  • Around three-quarters of the qualifications held by employed people were in the same field as, or were relevant to, the worker’s job. Among the 3.3 million people with two or more qualifications who were employed at the time of the survey, about a third held at least one qualification that was not at all relevant to their job; often the most relevant qualification to the worker’s job was either not their highest or their most recent qualification.
  • Different qualification profiles were evident in different occupational contexts. Some occupations have more diverse entry pathways than others, with regulation playing a role in some of these pathways.

The report includes case studies of six occupation groups to demonstrate how the distribution and relevance of qualifications varies by occupation. The main point of difference is that some occupation groups had diverse qualification profiles, which suggests multiple pathways to entry (for example, contract, program and project administrators), compared with others with tighter entry requirements (for example, metal fitters and machinists). This finding aligns with previous research showing that trade occupations tend to have a better match to qualifications than occupations with a more ‘generalist’ set of skills (for example, business/management; Wibrow 2014). …”

ACCESS OR DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE


6. BUILT FOR WOMEN PROGRAM (NSW JobTrainer Construction)

The NSW Department of Education has circulated the Built for Women program flyer to promote increased participation and interest of females in traditional trades.  A copy of the flyer is attached.  The flyer states, “Fee-free training for women entering trades. 

The NSW Government is supporting 3,000 free training places to assist women entering trades and help boost female representation in non-traditional trades such as construction, manufacturing, engineering, transport and logistics.

Women currently represent just 8.9% of all learners in trades.”

Who can apply?

  • women between 16 to 24 years old
  • female jobseekers (regardless of age)
  • women in receipt of Commonwealth benefits
  • women who are at risk of becoming unemployed and require retraining in order to secure ongoing employment.

How to access training?

Fee-free training is available until September 2021.  There are 370 part-qualifications available in non-traditional trades under JobTrainer.

NSW JobTrainer – Construction

An additional flyer is also included for the Construction industry.  Part qualifications are available for all areas of the construction industry, including infrastructure and construction maintenance, residential and commercial building, the construction supply chain including manufacturing and pre-fabrication, and demolition and asbestos removal.

Enrolments for fee-free training must take place by 30 September 2021.

To find out more, please call 13 28 11 or visit: www.education.nsw.gov.au/skills-nsw/built-for-women or www.education.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/jobtrainer/general-and-civil-construction

Please circulate the flyers to friends and colleagues and promote more women in the trades and jobs in construction.


7. ELECTRICAL SAFETY INCIDENTS – SHARING THE KNOWLEDGE

The NSW UE ITAB has again been fortunate this month to be provided with the latest electrical incident reports from BluScope Steel – APRIL 2021 and MAY 2021.  As stated previously the NSW UE ITAB has received permission from BlueScope Steel to share the information. Incident reports attached: APRIL 2021 and MAY 2021

The aim is to help RTOs and industry practitioners have available, real case electrical incidents that occur in workplaces that they can showcase in their programs or safety moments to highlight findings and how responses are actioned to occurring events.

The NSW UE ITAB again, sincerely thanks BlueScope Steel For their permission, and advises RTOs and industry practitioners to ensure they recognise attribution to BlueScope for sharing this information and treat the information for educational purposes only. 

As we receive the incident reports, we will continue to share them accordingly.  For this News Service we have two Blue Scope Steel reports covering APRIL 2021 and MAY 2021.  For more information and BlueScope contact details please refer to the undersigned for more information.  Again, a sincere thanks to BlueScope.


8. THE FREEZING WINDS OF CHANGE

EnergyInsider, a joint news service of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC), reports on the impact of meeting renewable energy targets on electricity prices.  It states in the article, “Customers in Canberra will really be feeling the chill this winter with electricity prices set to soar from July 1 thanks to the ACT government’s renewable energy target. With a renewed push to switch off gas for households to reach a net-zero emissions target in the territory, customers will be left with the cost of electrifying the grid. We take a look at why the switch from gas to electrification isn’t as easy as it seems.

READ MORE HERE

For more, contact Tamatha Smith, Energy Networks Australia


9. JUNE EDITION OF NATIONAL SAFETY MAGAZINE OUT

The NSCA Foundation has released its monthly magazine which covers the following stories and insights from industry leaders and experts. Readers can expect to delve into topics such as women in WHS, leadership features, COVID-19, workplace sexual misconduct, the use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace, and more.  The June 2021 edition of National Safety features:

  • Sexual assault/misconduct — Lessons from federal revelations by Patrick Walsh
  • Lucy Brogden — New mindset, leadership profile by Denise Cullen
  • Anthony Gibbs — What the heck do consultants do anyway? Leadership profile by Maria Zoras-Christo
  • Women in WHS — Shattering the glass ceiling by Rebecca Steiger from Amazon Australia
  • Coronavirus, part 5 — Barber v Goodstart Early Learning by Seamus Burke from Sparke Helmore Lawyers
  • On the rise — Workplace drug and alcohol use during COVID-19
  • From the academy — A survey of Australia’s COVID-19 research response by Dr Joseph Brennan

A preview of the magazine can be found on the NSCA website: PREVIEW THE LATEST NATIONAL SAFETY MAGAZINE


10. SILICON SOLAR RESEARCH

Sandra Rossi, Editor at Climate Control News (CCN) reports on an interesting aspect of solar research related to silicon.   The article in last week’s newsletter stated, “The potential of a class of materials called perovskites to enable solar cells to better absorb sunlight for energy production is widely known. However, this potential has yet to be fully realised, particularly under real-world operating conditions.

New research published last month in the Nature Energy, has revealed defects in a popular perovskite light absorber that impede solar cell performance.

The researchers found a change in the nature and density of these ‘intragrain planar defects’ correlated with a change in solar cell performance.

The discovery by an international team of researchers, led by Monash University and Wuhan University of Technology, could lead to improved solar cell technology and provide another step towards reducing the use of fossil fuels for energy.

The research opens new avenues for improving perovskite solar cell performance.”

READ MORE ABOUT THE RESEARCH HERE


11. LOOK UP AND LIVE PODCAST

An Alberta One-Call podcast, Prairie Podcast interviews Glen Cookie Cook, Principal Safety Specialist, Queensland.  In the episode Glen Cook joins Mike Sullivan from Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia and discusses power line safety: “I knew it was there – I just didn’t see it”.

The promotion for the podcast states, “Cookie” leads powerline safety throughout the State (Queensland), has won national awards for his behavioural changing concepts and programs, and has even written a few songs about them.

The Look up and Live mobile application he developed gets thousands of clicks and it’s saving lives.”

Visit the link to the podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/prairie-podcast-by-alberta-one-call/id1561540214?i=1000524755074


12. RECALL – UPDATE FROM PRODUCT SAFETY AUSTRALIA

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Product Safety Australia has issued a recall alert of Mort Bay Power Boards distributed by UCC Australia Pty Ltd. Recall alert attached.

PRODUCT RECALL SUMMARY

Product Safety Australia (PRA) No. 2021/19046
Date published:20 Jun 2021
Product descriptionMort Bay 4-Way 3m Individual Switch Power Board Model number: 14038 Item number: 4331026   Mort Bay 6-Way 5m Individual Switch Power Board Model number: 14021 Item number: 4331025
What are the defects?The black on/off switch cover may break and separate from the product, exposing live parts.
What are the hazards?Risk of electric shock or electrocution causing death.
What should consumers do?Consumers should immediately stop using the product and return it to their nearest Bunnings store for a full refund. To find the nearest Bunnings store, go to www.bunnings.com.au   For more information, consumers can contact their nearest Bunnings store or email recalls@bwes.com.au

For more information visit: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recall/ucc-australia-pty-ltd-mort-bay-power-boards