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News Service 72 – Future of TAFE, Director Compliance vacancy, Feds spend $6.4B on VET, SMEs for Gas Training Package, TAE Review, Apply for grant, IPART Report, Safety, look up & live, Industry news (EV and grid)

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1. JENNY DODD OUTLINES FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES FOR TAFE (PODCAST)

Claire Field (Claire Field & Associates Pty Ltd), in the latest “What Now? What Next?” podcast discusses with Jenny Dodd, the interim CEO of TAFE Directors Australia, future opportunities for TAFE. 

Jenny shares her insights on the opportunities (and challenges) facing the TAFE sector as the VET system goes through more reforms.

Listen to the podcase here: JENNY DODD OUTLINES FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES FOR TAFE

Details on the new Industry Cluster arrangements are available on the DESE website, as well as details of other VET reforms recently implemented or in progress.

For more information visit Claire’s website at: https://clairefield.com.au/


2. JOB VACANCY – DIRECTOR COMPLIANCE (NSW RESOURCES REGULATOR)

The NSW Resources Regulator is currently recruiting for the position of Director Compliance – leading the Mining Act Inspectorate team.  The announcement for the vacancy states, “The successful candidate will be a passionate and motivated individual with a desire to work at an executive level. They will have the ability to motivate and inspire a team of individuals to deliver industry leading environmental compliance and enforcement activities with a strong focus on proactive engagement with industry and stakeholders.

Reporting directly to the Executive Director of the NSW Resources Regulator, the Director Compliance provides world class compliance leadership, driving a coordinated regulatory compliance and enforcement function, and delivering an integrated risk-based compliance program for obligations under the Mining Act including mine rehabilitation.

The role requires a detailed understanding of regulatory compliance …”  www.resourcesregulator.nsw.gov.au

Applications close on 18 November 2021.
Visit the I work for NSW website for further information and to apply.


3. HOW TAXPAYERS’ $6.4B IS SPENT ON VET – SENATE ESTIMATES COMMITTEE

The Education and Employment Legislation Committee (EELC), Estimates, of the Commonwealth Senate met on Thursday, 28 October 2021.  The proof copy issued by the Senate details a series of conversations and discussions Senators undertook with a range of public officials. 

Senators present were Senators Abetz, Canavan, Kim Carr, Davey, Faruqi [by video link], O’Neill, Pratt and Small.  In a particular section of the Hansard report (page 102) focuses on Senator Deborah O’Neill, seeking clarification of the makeup of the $6.4B the Commonwealth spends on Vocational Education and Training (VET) from Deputy Secretary, Ms N. Williams. 

The Hansard transcript recounts, commencing page 102, the following:

Senator O’NEILL: Could you tell me if the government is now spending more money on wages and wage subsidies to employers of apprentices and trainees than it’s actually spending on vocational education and training? How much is being spent by the government on wage subsidies to employers of apprentices and trainees?

Ms Williams: The wage subsidies are part of the vocational education and training spend. The number I talked about a little earlier in my evidence was—

Senator O’NEILL: Was that $6.4 billion? Can you split that between those two dimensions: the wage subsidies that are going to the employers for apprentices and trainees, and the amount of that 6.4 that’s going to vocational education and training?

Ms Williams: The $6.4 billion is for the 2021-22 year. It’s an annual spend. We do have a range of apprenticeship incentives, as you would be aware; not simply the BAC incentive. In total, for the range of our apprenticeship incentive programs—the BAC, the newly established measure as well as our standard base incentives, which are available to apprentices and employers—we’re looking at in the vicinity of around about 2.7.

Senator O’NEILL: $2.7 billion?

Ms Williams: $2.7 billion, yes.

Senator O’NEILL: How much remains then? Of the $2.7 billion, is it a simple deduction from the $6.4 billion or are there more complication in there? I want to get to the vocational education and training.

Ms Williams: That is this financial year. It’s only an annual spend. That is the amount that is being spent on incentives or the range of incentives that we have available to support apprentices. As you said, there is a range of other Commonwealth owned programs as well as the transfers that we make to the states and territories in addition to that income support in contingent loans. All of that makes up the full $6.4 billion spend for the 2021-22 year.

Senator O’NEILL: If I’m not being clear, please help me make it clearer to you. I’m trying to get a sense of how much is going to the states—which you’ve indicated is going to TAFE—and how much is going to apprenticeships and trainees. Out of the $6.4 billion, you’ve accounted for $2.7 billion. Can I assume, then, that $3.7 billion has gone to education and training? Can I do those simple mathematics or not?

Ms Williams: I think I gave this evidence a little earlier. Around about $2 billion is transferred to the states in the 2021-22 year.

Senator O’NEILL: For TAFE?

Ms Williams: To the states and territories to disburse into their training system as they see fit, including into the tax system.

Senator O’NEILL: And 75 per cent of that money you said goes to public—

Ms Williams: On average, the states allocate around about 75 per cent of both Commonwealth and state funding into the public system, whether that is TAFEs or whether that’s public universities. As you would be aware, Senator, a number of universities are dual system universities—they deliver both TAFE and higher education. So, in 2021, $2 billion per annum approximately, under current arrangements, will go to the states and territories to disburse into the system that way. It’s important to note also, though, that, in terms of apprenticeships, the funding for the apprenticeship comes in terms of both the incentives provided to the employer and the support that’s often provided through the AASNs or the provider network in terms of mentoring and in-training support, as we’ve talked about previously. So there is a range of other programs that the Commonwealth provides not just for apprentices but also for Commonwealth own program delivery. The overall Commonwealth own program delivery is in the vicinity of $3.8 billion in 2021-22.

Senator O’NEILL: I’ll put your figures in the columns as I’m trying to understand it. If I’m talking to one of my neighbours, without all the complications about BAC systems—because people just want to know—is TAFE safe? Is it getting funded? How much is it getting funded? Is it sustainable because it’s transformed people’s lives? You told me that $2 billion of federal government money has gone to the states to support to the tune, on average, of 75 per cent of the funding to TAFEs and other public institutions. Is that correct?

Ms Williams: As I was saying, the total spend on VET, which includes both the Commonwealth and the states and territories spend—approximately 75 per cent goes into the public system.

Senator O’NEILL: Great. But $2 billion from the federal government has gone to that.

Ms Williams: So $2 billion from the federal government is transferred from the Commonwealth to the states and territories across a range of—

Senator O’NEILL: Excellent. And $2.7 billion has been transferred from the Commonwealth to the employers of apprentices and trainees.

Senator O’NEILL: But that doesn’t undo the raw fact that $2.7 billion has gone to the employers of apprentices and trainees and $2 billion, which is $0.7 billion less, has gone to vocational education and training. Then there is the gap between the $4.7 billion and the $6.4 billion, which are further transfers. Is that correct? Did you say $6.4 billion was spent?

Ms Williams: So $6.4 billion will be spent in 2021-22 in the entire VET system. I think it’s important to remember that training is a joint Commonwealth and state and territory responsibility. The Commonwealth transfers $2 billion to the states in addition to our own $3.8 billion that we would spend on the Commonwealth’s program, including the incentives program. But the states also contribute state funding to the training system. We have access to only 2019 data at this stage. The NCVR data on state expenditure will come out in December of this year.

In 2019 the states spent in the vicinity of $3.7 billion in the VET system …”

Hopefully, you will have gained a little more understanding how taxpayer money is expended in managing and administrating the VET system.  The 28 October 2021 Hansard transcript of the Education and Employment Legislation Committee (EELC) includes a wealth of other related and interesting information for VET enthusiast.  It is full of excellent exchanges between Senators and public officials.  It includes an exchange with the National Skills Commission (NSC), Commissioner Adam Boyton, as to the clarity and purpose of the NSC’s role.

LEARN MORE OF THE EXCHANGES THAT TOOK PLACE IN THE COMMITTEE’S DELIBERATIONS BY DOWNLOADING THE TRANSCRIPT HERE


4. SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS (SMEs) NEEDED FOR GAS TRAINING PACKAGE

Australian Industry Standards (AIS) advises that the Gas Supply Industry Skills project has commenced, and the Gas Industry Reference Committee is forming a Technical Advisory Committee. 

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are sought to help review and develop five qualifications and 69 Units of Competency in the Gas Supply Training Package.

The traditional pipeline technician or operation roles are now blending with gas processing or storage roles, which will need to be reflected in the qualifications. Traditional operation and supervisory roles also require added skills around the use of automation and digital technology. 

The project aims to update the relevant occupational skills standards to align with current industry practice, the integration of new technology and the introduction of hydrogen to existing gas networks.

VIEW GAS SUPPLY INDUSTRY SKILLS PROJECT PAGE

Please register your interest via the project page, by close of business Thursday, 18 November 2021.

For further details on the background and project deliverables, please visit the project page or contact the Industry Skills Specialist, Shaun Thomas: M: 0409 505 196 | E: shaun.thomas@aistnds.org.au


5. TAE TRAINING PACKAGE REVIEW

ASQA reports in its latest ASQA News,
3 November 2021, that PwC’s Skills for Australia is currently conducting a holistic review of the TAE Training Package.

The newsletter states, “The TAE Training Package was last updated in 2016.  In the five years since, the VET teaching, training and assessment landscape has significantly changed.”  The Newsletter links to PWC’s webpage, which outlines the Case for Change (CfC), consultation process underway and project details of the training product development.

“The IRC considers that the TAE Training Package is currently not fit for purpose and does not fully address the needs of the VET sector for the following reasons:

  • TAE units of competency do not deliver the variety, nor depth, of skills and knowledge that are relevant in a modern VET teaching, training and assessment environment;
  • The packaging rules of TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment do not provide adequate flexibility for learners pursuing the variety of VET teaching, training and assessment job roles that exist in the modern labour market;
  • The TAE Training Package does not make use of ‘stackable’ skill sets that allow for a ‘scaffolded’ approach to skill development and attainment of qualifications;
  • The TAE Training Package is not structured to support the range, and diversity of career pathways available to workers in the VET industry, meaning that existing qualifications (beyond TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment) are often underutilised; and
  • The structure and content of the TAE Training Package does not address the skills gaps of those working in other education sub-sectors such as VET for Secondary Students or enterprise training.”

For more information visit the link: TAE TRAINING PACKAGE REVIEW


6. SOCIAL SECTOR SUPPORT FUND’S OPEN APPLICATIONS GRANTS

Women NSW has forwarded an email form the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) announcing that it has opened the Social Sector Support Fund’s Open Applications grants.

What is this grant for?
This grant is to help charities and not-for-profits (NFPs) to remain viable and meet increased demand for their services during COVID-19 outbreaks and recovery.  It’s open to all registered charities and NFPs that deliver services in the social, health, disability and animal welfare sectors in NSW.

How can the payment be used?
The funds must be used for services your organisation would normally deliver to clients and communities in NSW.  Read the grant guidelines on our website.

Apply for the grant and confirm your eligibility 

You have until 11:59pm Sunday 28 November 2021 to apply.


7. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY COMES TOGETHER TO SUPPORT ACT CONSTRUCTION APPRENTICE MENTAL HEALTH

Editor, Sean Carroll, in the latest 3 November 2021 Electrical Connection in newsletter reports on how the CFMEU, Creative Safety Initiative (CSI) and Construction Charitable Works (CCW) have launched their mental health training and support program for ACT construction apprentices.

The article states, “The training sessions will provide valuable information to apprentices on their mental health and ways to help themselves and those around them.

This training was developed in recognition that construction industry workers are:

  • two times more likely to die by suicide than the community;
  • 21% of construction workers have had a mental health condition; and
  • apprentices are two and half times more likely to die by suicide than other young men their age.”

READ MORE HERE


8. COMPLIANCE WITH AS/NZS 3000:2018 AMENDMENT 2 COMMENCED 1 NOVEMBER 2021

Electrical regulators in Queensland and Victoria have recently issued advisories and notices to remind the electrical industry that AS/NZS 3000 became law as of Monday, November 1. 

The notices state, “AS/NZS 3000:2018 (incorporating Amendment 1 and Amendment 2) published 30 April 2021.  From 1 November 2021, all electrical installation work must comply with this edition (Amendment 2) of AS/NZS 3000.  Electrical installation work started before 1 November 2021 not completed and not compliant to this edition (Amendment 2) will, in Victoria require an exemption from ESV for the work to be completed in accordance with AS/NZS 3000:2018 +A1.”

Amendment 2 was produced in response to: (a) new technology, new equipment and improved installation techniques; (b) industry feedback regarding readability and compliance; (c) identification and clarification of normative (mandatory) requirements and informative guidance material throughout the document; and (d) experience gained in the application of the previous edition as expressed to Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand.

AS/NZS 3000:2018 incorporating Amendment 1 and 2 will supersede previous editions of AS/NZS 3000 from the date of publication and the new Standard would usually apply from that date.


9. SAFEWORK NSW – REFRESHED BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION WHS SECTOR PLAN

The Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson announced on the 4 November 2021, the release of the refreshed Building and Construction WHS Sector Plan to 2022. 

The refreshed Building and Construction WHS Sector Plan to 2022 provides an opportunity for SafeWork to:

  • review our progress since the release of the original sector plan in 2018
  • look at updated workers compensation data
  • acknowledge changes in industry since 2018
  • re-engage with industry about construction safety priorities
  • re-affirm SafeWork’s commitment to work with industry to drive down fatalities and serious injuries
  • re-invigorate industry to focus on the major harms and illnesses in building and construction.

Over the last few years, SafeWork NSW has worked with industry to deliver many projects and initiatives focussed on the highest risk harms.  Most recently, SafeWork NSW undertook a state-wide advertising campaign to raise awareness on working at heights risks. 

But with the workers compensation serious injury incidence rate rising, and unacceptable levels of non-compliance being observed on construction sites, it is clear there is more work to do.

The refreshed sector plan will assist SafeWork NSW in continuing to focus on the areas of most harm to 2022 and beyond.

SafeWork NSW’s focus in 2022 will be to:

  • Support workers at greatest risk
  • Focus on high-risk workplaces
  • Increase industry education and awareness
  • Ensure a strong licensing, training and assessment regime to underpin industry safety

For more information visit:  www.safework.nsw.gov.au


10. 194 IN 2020 – LATEST DATA RECORDS WORKER FATALITIES INCREASE

NSCA Foundation’s Safe-T-Bulletin eNewsletter of 4 November 2021 reports on Safe Work Australia’s latest national work health and safety statistics.  The report records work-related fatalities and workers compensation claims, which have unfortunately been on the increase.

The article states, “Each year, Safe Work Australia (SWA) produces national work health and safety (WHS) statistics, providing important evidence on the state of WHS in Australia.  Understanding the causes of injury and the industries most affected can help reduce work-related fatalities, injuries and disease, SWA stated on 24 October, when the latest report was released.

SWA’s latest figures provide an overview of national work-related fatality data for 2020 and workers compensation claims for 2019–20.  The report reveals that 194 people were fatally injured at work in 2020, this is an increase from 190 in 2019 (according to the latest source for worker fatalities in 2019). In terms of trends in worker fatalities, however, the latest report also reveals that the fatality rate (fatalities per 100,000 workers) of Australian workers has decreased by 50% from the peak in 2007. …

The figures also revealed that 96% of worker fatalities in 2020 were male. …”

READ MORE HERE


11. ”MORALLY OFFENSIVE” PLUMBERS PENALISED FOR UNLICENSED ELECTRICAL ADVICE

Sean Carroll, Editor at Electrical Connection reports in its latest 3 November 2021 newsletter of two plumbers who were fined for breaching WA’s electricity licensing regulations by assessing electrical installations without holding an electrical worker’s licence.”

The article states, “The plumbers assessed customers’ switchboards without an electrical licence and the magistrate noted offensive conduct, sales tactics and vulnerable victims.

At the time of the offences, the 34-year-old and the 26-year-old were employed by a large Perth plumbing, gas and electrical company.

Their defence lawyer, Trent Andrews, told the court his clients were following instructions from the business, which was “sending out all their plumbing workforce and getting electrical work” …”

READ MORE HERE


12. SAFETY CHATS – CHATTING POWERLINE SAFETY ON FARMS

Safety around powerlines.  Learn more about the hazards of working around powerlines.  Cookie chats with a few industry representatives in a video non the farm.  It is a very powerful video about the issues and actions that need to be considered.  Learn about rotamarkers and more.

Watch the video on Facebook at the following link:  https://fb.watch/8ZSbuUBq-I/

We usually don’t think much about the powerlines around us. But remember, contacting powerlines or other electrical infrastructure can have serious or even deadly consequences. Always ‘take care, stay line aware’. Plan ahead when working near powerlines and adopt safe work practices.

Look up and Live map

Explore the Look up and Live map , which give you:

  • an interactive map for locating powerlines
  • powerline safety guidelines, including powerline exclusion zones
  • options for planning or performing work e.g. powerline visual indicators
  • Information on de-energisation or relocation of powerlines
  • safety advice and high load forms
  • Dial Before You Dig enquiry.

You can also download the map as the Look up and Live app.

For more information visit: SAFETY ADVICE  and  POWERLINE MARKERS


13. NSW CUSTOMERS CAN SAVE BY SWITCHING ENERGY PLANS (IPART)

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has released its draft report finding that customers remaining on ‘standing’ offers are paying too much.

IPART’s newsletter of 4 November 2021 states, “A typical customer could save more than $300 a year for electricity and $350 for gas by moving from their retailers’ standing offer to a better plan.

Customers should compare offers on the government run EnergyMadeEasy website to get a better deal.”

A summary of the report states, Electricity prices have decreased:

“Since June 2020, retail electricity prices have fallen by around 5%.  The growth in household solar systems has driven down wholesale prices in the middle of the day, leading to lower average wholesale and retail prices over the past two years.

Gas prices offered to most small customers have decreased:

Most small customers in NSW (about 95%) are located in Jemena’s network and the median market price offered in this region decreased by 6% over 2020-21.”

IPART’s final report is due out later this month.  READ THE DRAFT REPORT HERE


14. ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND THE GRID – CAN WE JUST PLUG AND PLAY?

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC), in this week’s EnergyInsider, 4 November 2021, the impact of electric vehicles on the grid.

The article states, “The Commonwealth Government’s newly released Low Emission Technology Roadmap highlights support for smart electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to help manage grid impacts.  This is welcome news as EVs can be a double-edged sword for the electricity distribution network. We look at the results from a recent University of Melbourne report into EV impact, part of a project by Energy Networks Australia, the Centre for New Energy Technologies, and the Australian Power Institute.

Depending on how and when electric vehicles (EVs) draw charge from the grid, this innovative technology can be a double-edged sword for the electricity distribution network.

Modelling undertaken in the Open Energy Networks Project position paper indicated that significant adoption of EVs was likely in the 2030s, resulting in a range of consequences for distribution networks. The charging behaviour of EVs requires the development of appropriate management strategies, which raises questions about the potential impacts of unmanaged EVs on the grid, as well as what EV hosting capacity will look like.”

READ MORE HERE

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


15. 2021 ENERGY NETWORK INDUSTRY INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) announced that Queensland electricity distributors Ergon Energy Network and Energex (part of Energy Queensland) have been named the 2021 Energy Network Industry Innovation Award recipient.

The 5 November Media Release states, “The winning project is an Australian-first implementation of a digital system to generate a complete and consistent picture of the operational state of the grid. This supports the integration of distributed energy resources (DER) like rooftop solar PV so more customers can export solar, voltage impacts on the grid can be mitigated and power quality can be improved.”

For more information visit: INNOVATION AWARD WINNER ANNOUNCED


16. WHERE DO YOU PUT FIVE MILLION TONNES OF HYDROGEN?

EnergyInsider, a joint newsletter of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC), reports in its 4 November 2021 edition on the development of a domestic and export hydrogen market in Australia.

It is a key focus of the Commonwealth’s Low Emissions Technology Statement, released on 2 November at COP26.

The article states, “One of the challenges of decarbonising gas is how large volumes of alternatives like hydrogen can be stored to provide the same level of energy security. Does the solution lie underground? …

As we transition to hydrogen, it is important to understand how much storage capacity would be needed to provide the same level of energy security and whether geological storage can be used.”

READ MORE HERE

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