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News Service 85 – Skills Agreement & TAFE, BAC extended, Electro TP update, More power ASQA, TAFETalks VET-HE, NextGen 2022, Hunter, solve electrical problems, HVAC skill shortage, RAC Tech fined, Women’s week, Small Business month, Safety & Industry News

uensw  > Industry News, News headlines >  News Service 85 – Skills Agreement & TAFE, BAC extended, Electro TP update, More power ASQA, TAFETalks VET-HE, NextGen 2022, Hunter, solve electrical problems, HVAC skill shortage, RAC Tech fined, Women’s week, Small Business month, Safety & Industry News


The Centre for Public Education Research (CPER) held a TAFE Symposium forum on the Friday, 18 March 2022.

The symposium, organised by the Centre for Public Education Research (CPER), examined the impact of the 2012 Agreement on the TAFE system, and TAFE students and teachers in the context of the history of so called “market reforms” of TAFE.

It revisited the VET FEE Help debacle, reviewed the massive shift in government funds to private for-profit providers, and interrogated what this means for young people in Australia.

It also explored some of the crucial questions which still need to be addressed in order for Australia to rebuild its TAFE system.

2022 is the 10th anniversary of the signing of the 2012 National Agreement on Skills and Workforce Development which saw the explicit requirement for the states and territories to make VET funding contestable as a condition of access to Commonwealth funds.

Presentations were made by a series of speakers including Pat Forward, former AEU Federal TAFE Secretary.  Ms Forward discussed the impact of the 2012 National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development, 10 years on and the trend towards privatisation of TAFE in Australia.

Ms Forward stated in her presentation, “Ten years after the signing of the 2012 National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD), and the National Partnership Agreement for Skills Reform which first introduced contestability as a requirement for access to commonwealth funds for the TAFE system, it is clear that governments at all levels have learnt nothing from the damage done to the system by contestability and market reforms.

It is timely to remember what was in these agreements, where the policy came from, and what damage these policies have done, and continue to do, to the TAFE system. …

The agreements were supposed to deliver almost $9B to the VET sector over the following five years. …

The mechanism contained in the agreements which forced the introduction of contestability was a requirement to implement three key “structural reforms” in order to access a component of the funding. These “structural reforms” were:

  • The introduction of a national training entitlement for the first qualification up to a CIII, to be accessible at any RTO, public or private.
  • Increasing the availability of income contingent loans (ICLs).
  • Encouraging responsiveness in training arrangements by facilitating the operation of a more open and competitive market.

The first reform – entitlement funding – effectively removed funding from TAFE, and attached the funding to individuals, who could then expend the “vouchers” at a public or private provider of their choice. Private providers were incentivised to cherry-pick cheap and easy to deliver training. The second reform – making income contingent loans more easily available – was a mechanism to increase the uptake of a student loan system introduced with the support of both major political parties in the period of transition between the Howard and Rudd governments.  The introduction of these loans was a bipartisan project aimed at shifting the costs of vocational education from governments onto individuals. …

The third and final reform was an overarching condition to require competition for funding and for students perceived as a mechanism to break TAFE’s monopoly on vocation education. …

The impact of the 2012 National Agreements continues to be felt to this day. The proportion of funding allocated contestably was close to 50% in 2020, despite policies such as “free” TAFE places (in restricted areas of so-called skills shortage). This is because the mechanisms for allocating funding have changed so dramatically, even if, under some state governments, the funding currently favours TAFE. There is nothing in the current arrangements to give TAFE colleges any certainty over future resourcing, and indeed, in many states, funding continues to be cut.”

Ms Forward augmented her presentation with a series of slides that depicted the key issues she saw impacted on TAFE on the tenth anniversary of the introduction of contestable VET funding.

Australia - contestable funding increasing
NSW- contestable funding
Contestable funding Aust SA Vic
More contestability 2022 funding agreement



The NSW UE ITAB would like to apologise to the National Apprentice Employment Network (NAEN), CEO Dianne Dayhew, for use of the incorrect logo in the News Service 84.

The article covered the Minister’s call for shortening of apprenticeship terms at the NAEN 2022 Conference – Adaptation and Opportunity, held in Hobart 15-17 March 2022. 

The NSW UE ITAB unreservedly apologises for the error and has expressed as much to Ms Dayhew.


With an election looming and a federal budget to be handed down tonight, the Government has announced that it is ‘backing Australia’s future tradies, plumbers, tilers and chefs with a $365.3 million investment to support an extra 35,000 apprenticeships and traineeships, with the extension of the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) and Completing Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidies.

The Government’s media release, states, “Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the extension of the successful Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements and Completing Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidies would build on the record number of Australians currently in trades training.

“By backing 385,000 apprentices in their training we’re boosting the pipeline of workers Australia is going to need for a stronger economy and a stronger future,” the Prime Minister said.

“These programs deliver certainty for business so they can go and hire another apprentice chef, another apprentice hairdresser, another apprentice plumber. It is about getting Australians skilled and into jobs right now.

“Right now, there are more than 350,000 apprentices and trainees in-training and a record 220,000 of these are trade apprentices, and these investments are about making those numbers go even higher.”

As of 24 March 2022, over 73,000 businesses have been supported to put on an apprentice or trainee through Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements subsidy.

Any employer who takes on an apprentice or trainee up until 30 June 2022 can gain access to:

  • 50 per cent of the eligible Australian Apprentice’s wages in the first year, capped at a maximum payment value of $7,000 per quarter per Australian Apprentice,
  • 10 per cent of the eligible Australian Apprentice’s wages in the second year, capped at a maximum payment value of $1,500 per quarter per Australian Apprentice, and
  • 5 per cent of the eligible Australian Apprentice’s wages in the third year, capped at a maximum payment value of $750 per quarter per Australian Apprentice.”

BAC will deliver certainty for businesses to hire more apprentices and trainees to support skills and jobs.



Australian Industry Standards (AIS) reports that the Electrotechnology Training Package Release 3.1 has been updated in accordance with the Australian Industry Skills Committee’s (AISC) direction to update superseded imported first aid units (either as elective, core or perquisites) by the 31 March 2022.

UEE Release 3.1 includes minor updates to 36 qualifications and one Unit of Competency that include superseded first aid units from the Health Training Package.

Additional superseded imported elective units were also updated during this minor change.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has agreed to extend the transition period for superseded first aid units to 14 April 2022.

To support the delivery of the minor update to the Training Package, the Companion Volume Implementation Guide (CVIG) has been updated to assist assessors, trainers, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and enterprises. The CVIG contains a list of all materials updated in this minor change; mapping information which details the changes that have been made to the materials; regulation and licensing implications; and useful links to other information.

The CVIG and Mapping Document can be accessed on VETNet.

The endorsed Training Package materials are now available on


Australian Industry Standards (AIS) also advises that the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (E-IRC) has drafted Training Package materials for the Assess and Report on Smoke Control Features project and would like your feedback.

The unit Inspect, test and repair fire and smoke control features of mechanical services systems has been updated to address the skills and knowledge requirements for assessment and reporting on a building’s smoke control features.

Content covers fire dampers, smoke dampers, smoke and heat vents, and mechanical services air handlers. Assessment and reporting on this equipment is required under Essential Services Fire Measures legislation. The skills standards will support employers in complying with this regulation.


Please submit your feedback by close of business Thursday, 21 April 2022.

For more information on this project, please contact the Industry Skills Specialist, Paul Humphreys.  M: 0429 670 588 | E:


Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) new power

Campus Morning Mail reports in its 23 March 2022 edition that Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is pleased indeed that it will oversight training packages, from January 2023.  The article quotes that CEO Saxon Price, “We will leverage our deep understanding of Australia’s national training system and draw on our extensive regulatory skill set and capability to inform the training package assurance function.”

The article goes on, “The learned Claire Field was quick to notice the change, set out in a legislative instrument made last week.

The change is part of broader training reforms that include “Industry Clusters” replacing the Australian Industry and Skills Committee structure.

The new model is in-line with Joyce Review recommendations, which warned that the existing system for training package development, approval and amendment can “take several years.”

“This lengthy process means that training packages can be out of date before they even start to be taught,” Mr Joyce warned.

Shadow skills minister Richard Marles says that the proposed industry cluster model would continue under a Labor Government, although unions as well as industry and government would be included (CMM yesterday).”


A point to note, Training Packages (although poorly titled) are not training documents.  They are, as those long-termers in the VET system well know, the codification of what a person does in work to a standard of performance required in work, and includes of course, knowledge and skills that are transferable to new environments.  They reflect work organisation and not training inputs or processes. There is little reason to place ASQA at the centre of the new Skills Reform approval process. 

ASQA’s focus is on training processes and not on workforce development and work organisation that are reflected in competency standards (soon to be occupational standards).  Maybe the National Skills Commission (NSC) might have been a better place to house them, as their role has more in common and is central to Training Package development (or whatever new name they want to give them) than that of ASQA.  Whilst many may argue, well ASQA accredits courses, and that maybe so.  Courses are linked to training and have some relevance in terms of alignment to national occupational outcomes that are expressed national qualification competency standards.  Courses and competency (occupational) standards are very different creatures.  Courses are typically owned by the provider whereas national competency standards are owned by the Commonwealth or the public/community.  They may share some common aspects, but they are not the same and should be adjudicated and oversighted by different bodies. 

The proposal is a regressive one and will over time further distance industry away from VET as the evidence of a decline in employer support for VET currently shows.



TAFE Director Australia (TDA) advises in the most recent newsletter of 21 March 2021 of its upcoming TAFE Talks webinar to be held Wednesday, 6 April 2022.

The article states, “The new Industry Clusters will focus on both vocational education and training (VET), and higher education (HE) as they develop skills solutions for their workforces. We have been discussing combined VET and HE solutions for a long time. What will be different under these new industry cluster arrangements which come into effect in 2023?”

TDA CEO, Jenny Dodd invites interested stakeholders to join the webinar and listen to a panel of experts discuss how they think VET and HE integration might be different from 2023 onwards.

Guest speakers include:

  • Jodi Schmidt, CEO of the Human Services Skills Organisation (HSSO)
  • Paul Walsh, CEO at Australian Industry Standards (AIS)
  • Phil Clarke, General Manager, Industry Engagement from Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA)

To register for this event, PLEASE CLICK HERE


A reminder to readers that Nominations close Friday1 April 2022 for apprentices and technicians under the age of 25 from all over Australia, for the NextGen technicians award. 

Climate Control News (CCN) along with its sponsor the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) is again calling for apprentices and technicians under the age of 25 from all over Australia to participate in NextGen.  Nominations are made by peers or employers for the ‘Top 20 under 25’ programme.

If selected to be a part of the Top 20 these technicians are profiled in the June edition of CCN magazine.  Written by CCN’s expert editorial team, these profiles showcase individual excellence and are a celebration of our industry’s best and brightest. It is also an opportunity for our NextGen technicians to share their passion for their trade, to talk about how their career began and the challenges that make it such an interesting vocation.

Qualifying criteria: NextGen Top 20 under 25

  • Outstanding performance in the workplace
  • Achievements demonstrating skills excellence
  • Ability to be an ambassador for the RAC sector
  • Aged under 25 and employed in Australia

Nominations close Friday1 April 2022



Last Friday 25th March 2022 Training Services NSW (TSNSW) met with members from each NSW Industry Training Advisory Body (ITAB) as well as industry representatives and local providers at an industry lead round table information exchange.

It was an excellent opportunity to discuss the development of a skills strategy for the Hunter & Central Coast region and concluded the 2022 Hunter Future Proof Festival.

The discussion was led by Training Services NSW Regional Manager Liana Nadalin who provided an update on the Departments regional priorities around Hospitality & Tourism, Aged & Disability Care, Construction, Digital Skills, STEM, Equine Industry, Defence and Agriculture industries.

Other topics of discussion were the Departments focus on increasing support for Apprentices and Trainees as well as JobTrainer 2.0 which provides funding of low fee or fee free training to eligible students to create employment opportunities through Part-Qualifications, providing valuable entry level skills for jobseekers to increase their employability and provide much needed assistance to fill the skills shortages currently being felt across all industries in the region.

With many industry-leading professionals in one room the discussions were passionate and at times robust but shared a common sentiment that youth and schools play a key role in the development of a skills strategy that underpins future jobs growth in existing and emerging industries. Additionally, the value of our existing workers completing TAE training was highlighted as being a crucial element in the workforce development and on-the-job training of new staff.

Upon conclusion of the days discussions many actions were taken by key TSNSW staff and provided a scope for the development of strategies to support the region’s economic development and growth. It was agreed on by all that with further TSNSW and ITAB consultation and a collaborative approach would see innovative strategies pave the way to the success of the region through Skills and Education.

For more information and links visit the Future Proof Festival site or contact Liana Nadalin, Regional Manager, Training Services NSW at


The latest edition of the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association of Australia Ltd (AMCA Australia), 25 March 2022 includes an article reporting skill shortages across Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) in South Australia. 

The article states, “South Australian AMCA Executive Manager, Demi Brown, has been working closely with the Industry Engagement Student Pathways and Careers Director to secure support from government to enable the promotion of the HVAC industry and the careers available within it.”

“The workforce is aging and there are not enough younger people coming through the ranks to fill the void.

This is a concern to industry.  Currently there is minimal promotion of mechanical services in VET in school programs due to the lack of funding for schools to promote and get involved.  Career Expo’s barely mention any possible career in HVAC.  Plumbing and Electrical are the most promoted vocations to schools and it is time we changed this.

AMCA SA Executive Manager has met with Industry Engagement Student Pathways and Careers director to ascertain support from government to enable promotion of the HVAC industry and the careers available in it. …”

It is fair to assert that there is an Australia wide skill shortage of HVAC technicians.  More attention is needed to encourage students as well as existing workers to consider a HVAC career.  There are significant advantages to becoming a HVAC technician and in many cases may in the long term, prove a far superior career move than continuing schooling onto a tertiary education pathway, which more than 42% of students never complete.



What’s on in the final week of Small Business Month?  There are plenty of activities still happening in the final week of NSW Small Business Month. Jump onto the website and register for an activity today!

Check out some of the activities happening in the fifth and final week of NSW Small Business Month. These are only a handful – there are plenty more to choose from on our website.

Read all about NSW Small Business Month on our website.


NSW Women’s Week, incorporating International Women’s Day and features like the Women of the Year Awards and the inaugural NSW Women’s Health Expo have concluded for the year.  What a week it was!

The 11th annual Women of the Year Awards were an absolute highlight. … You can find out more about our award winners and finalists here.

Women in leadership positions and on the ground across NSW mine sites are making an important contribution to a successful NSW mining industry.

Learn more about career pathways at

1 in 2 women in NSW will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. While cancer can impact anyone, there are steps you can take to improve your outcomes. …

Stay on top of your health. The Cancer Institute NSW has information on how to reduce your cancer risk, how to find cancer early, how to get the right information during diagnosis and treatment, and more.


The Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) issued a media release on 23 March 2022 regarding a refrigeration mechanic who was fined for causing burn injuries. The media release states, “A refrigeration mechanic has been fined $33,000 for unsafe work practices at a food outlet shop, that caused significant burns to himself and the shop owner.

Mr Angus Roberts pleaded guilty in the South Australia Employment Tribunal (SAET) for failing to comply with his duty under section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA).

In September 2019, Mr Roberts was repairing the condensing unit of a refrigeration cabinet for a food outlet shop within a shopping centre. To complete the work, Mr Roberts was required to recharge the condensing unit with refrigerant gas.

Mr Roberts mistakenly used a flammable propane gas to charge the new condenser. On realising his mistake, attempts to remove the flammable caused it to ignite, creating an uncontrolled explosion and fire.

The fire caused second degree burns to Mr Roberts and extensive burns to the shop owner who was working close by.

SafeWork SA investigations found that Mr Roberts commonly decanted the hazardous chemicals required for his work into smaller, unmarked containers. The decanted chemicals were not properly labelled as required under WHS laws, which led to Mr Roberts selecting the incorrect cannister for the job.

Mr Roberts also failed to adequately identify the hazards and manage the risks associated with correcting his mistake. Mr Roberts also failed to implement control measures when working with the hazardous chemicals, including having no exclusion zone in place which could have prevented the shop owner from being harmed.

The SAET convicted Angus Roberts and imposed a fine of $33,000 ($50,000 before 40% discount for early guilty plea) for the s 32 offence and $2000 ($3,000 before discount) for a regulation 342 offence plus legal costs and the Victim of Crime Levy.

SafeWork SA Executive Director, Martyn Campbell said this case demonstrates that a carefree attitude to dangerous chemicals can cause significant harm. Decanting any chemical or substance into another container and not marking it adequately presents serious risks to any task and makes it extremely risky when selecting the correct substance.

‘Mr Roberts had 35 years’ experience as a refrigeration mechanic and electrician, yet he had a fundamental lack of understanding of what is required when handling dangerous substances and the damage that they can cause if they are not handled correctly,’ said Mr Campbell.”

For more information contact, Glenn Evans at ARCTICK on (03) 9843 1600 or

Visit the ARC website for more information:


WorkSafe Victoria report in its Issue 20 Newsletter of 24 March 2022 of a major incident related to an electrical fault that caused a fire at an LNG facility.

The article states, “A fire caused by an electrical fault which tripped the facility’s main power, could have led to ‘catastrophic failure’ on the vessel according to offshore regulator NOPSEMA.

The root cause of the fire, that saw personnel suffer heat exhaustion, work 30 hour shifts, go without toilets and running water and eventually be evacuated via ships and helicopters, isn’t yet known.

The Prelude remains offline until systems reliability can be established.”

News service Upstream reporter, Josh Lewis wrote, “Western Australia’s hard border due to the Covid-19 pandemic is causing delays to the restart of Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas project, which looks set to remain offline for much of the current quarter.

Prelude has been offline since an electrical fire in December last year resulted in a complete loss of power at the facility, with a subsequent report into the incident suggesting the FLNG vessel was at risk of ‘catastrophic failure’ as a result of the fire and subsequent power outages.

Australia’s offshore regulator the National Offshore Petroleum Safety & Environmental Management Authority (Nopsema) has ordered the vessel to remain offline until Shell can demonstrate the facility can safely recover essential power and associated essential services following a loss of power, and that the safety systems and essential support systems operate to maintain safety of personnel.”



WorkSafe Victoria also reports in its Issue 20 Newsletter of 24 March 2022 of WorkSafe Inspectors having found deficiencies in both documentation, and adherence to inspection schedules. 

The article states, “WorkSafe Inspectors review the control of Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas (EEHA) during inspections. Recent inspections have found deficiencies in both documentation, and adherence to inspection schedules.

The control of ignition sources within areas where flammable vapours, flammable gases, or combustible dusts are (or may be) present, is essential for plant safety. These areas are known as Hazardous Areas.

It’s important MHF’s control ignition sources in areas where flammable vapours, flammable gases, or combustible dusts are (or may be) present. These areas are known as Hazardous Areas.

Examples of uncontrolled sources of ignition:

  • Hot work (gas welding, cutting, brazing, or similar flame or spark-producing operations)
  • Mobile equipment
  • Unsuitable electrical equipment
  • Uncontrolled static electricity.

Having an uncontrolled source of ignition in a Hazardous Area can result in explosions, causing serious injury or loss of life.

The design, installation, and maintenance of electrical equipment suitable for use within Hazardous Areas, is one aspect of ignition control within Hazardous Areas.

AS/NZS 3000 references Australian Standards for the design, selection, installation and maintenance of Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas (EEHA).

A ‘live’ document known as a Verification Dossier is used to record the necessary information to safely manage Hazardous Areas.

Guidance on safely managing EEHA is available in WorkSafe Victoria’s guidance document below:


From the 22 March 2022 new labour hire obligations came into effect on employers who use labour hire.  The NSCA Foundation’s Safe-T-Bulletin eNewsletter of 24 March 2022, reports that WorkSafe Victoria is urging employers to review their health and safety obligations. 

The new laws are aimed at protecting some of Victoria’s most vulnerable workers.  The article states, “The Occupational Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021 has changed the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure labour hire workers have the same rights and protections as direct employees of an employer.

Typically, labour hire workers are employed by providers who then supply them to, or place them in, the workplace of an employer, known as the host.

Previously, hosts did not owe labour hire workers all the same occupational health and safety duties as direct employees, because labour hire workers were considered employees of the provider rather than the host.

The reforms address this by extending the definition of ‘employer’ and ‘employee’ in the OHS Act so labour hire workers are considered employees of both the provider and the host.

Among the benefits for labour hire workers is protection from host employer discrimination for raising health and safety concerns.”



This week’s NSW Mine Regulator Mine Safety News of 25 March 2022 includes an article covering the failure of a goaf well skid safety system in Queensland. 

The incident could have led to a significant disaster if not for the actions of the operator.  The article states, “On 10 March 2022, a severe weather event occurred in the regional areas of Moranbah. Records have identified that between 4pm and 8pm, 852 cloud to ground lightning strikes occurred in the region.

Lightning is believed to have struck one or more of three goaf gas blower skids, igniting the gas on one of them. The gas burned at the top of the evasee for an unknown period of time before being discovered by a seam gas operator who applied an emergency shutdown of the plant.

The three goaf gas blower skids were in close proximity to each other and were operating on a sealed goaf at the time of the incident.

The goaf gas blower skid was on free vent at the time of the incident, operating at approximately 156lt/sec.

The plant was running high purity of 100% methane and nil oxygen.

A mine evacuation was ordered and the plant scene was secured.

How did it happen?

A severe weather event occurred with multiple lightning strikes at the surface of an underground mine.

Goaf gas blower skids have earthing protection, Flame arrestor and detonation arrestors, by design, do not have lightning protection. …

It was identified that the goaf gas blower skid that was on fire at the evasee and the fusible plug close to the exit point of the evasee had burnt and should have activated. Two Stauff clamps on the steel fusible plug tube line melted, which was believed to be as a result of the lightning strike.” 

Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.


For a copy of the ‘Weekly incident summary – ISR22-11’, GO TO THE WEBSITE


Readers might recall an article in News Service 79 which reported how Infinispark became a Corporate Affiliate of TAFE Director Australia (TDA).  Infinispark has been working closely with TDA. 

The tale started when Husnen was an electrical trainer.  He states. “The constant challenge was around finding the right equipment to conduct practical training. It was not that TAFEs couldn’t provide it, but the fact that there are so many electrical components involved in every subject – trainers had the challenge of finding the right equipment and components when they needed them.  …

I have always had a passion for supporting our sector and the community. So, I thought that there’s obviously a need for some sort of solution. So, working nights and weekends we made a prototype, we put all the components together in one box, showed it to a TAFE and said ‘what do you think?’  And that’s when we got our first order.”

Importantly, in the Electrotechnology space, Infinispark has now progressed to providing high-quality, innovative Australian made and contextualised practical equipment and support resources for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and training providers involved in the delivery of the specific components of the Electrotechnology Training Package. 

Equipment mapped to the training package to help you maintain compliance and increase learner engagement

The company provides, are range of support resources related to general principles and practices of Electrotechnology training and skills development.  These include:

  • Technical articles or blog posts (here is today’s blog post: How to solve a resistor series parallel circuit)
  • Useful documents like formula sheets, checklists, infographics
  • Engaging things like technical quizzes, scenarios, case studies
  • Training Videos
  • Practical virtual demonstrations

The latest Technical Blog Post covers – How to solve a resistor series-parallel circuit with a practical demonstration

The Blog is a self-help learning tool for learners and teachers/trainers, which you can subscribe to, and can be accessed at the following link:  INFINISPARK BLOG

If you would like to learn more about their operation visit:


The latest edition of Industrial Electrix Magazine 2022 (Issue 1) includes an article of how advances in technology are initiating new innovations in the construction of smaller and more reliable switchgear. 

The article written by ABB states, “Switchgear has historically been built in much the same way that it has been for many decades.”  We have now entered the era of Digital Switchgear.

“Protection and measurement systems in switchgear have always relied on analog current and voltage signals from traditional instrument transformers{current transformers and potential transformers).

Traditional instrument transformers use a ferromagnetic circuit with secondary outputs that are proportional to the primary current and voltage being measured – 1 A or 5 A for current transformers and 1 1 0 VAC for voltage transformers.

Digital switchgear, on the other hand, uses low power output signals from current and voltage sensors which are inherently safer for personnel. These sensors are often referred to as non-conventional instrument transformers (NCITs) or low power passive current or voltage transformers as per IEC 61869. … With the availability of these new current and voltage sensors, it is possible to build switchgear in a better way: using fewer materials, while being more reliable, more energy efficient and safer for operators than ever before.  …

The control systems in switchgear have traditionally been based on using electromechanical devices, these electromechanical protective relays many times had high power requirements (burdens) that needed very Iarge high accuracy current transformers in order to function properly. Today‘s modern microprocessor based relays have multifunction, communication, and data logging capabilities (to name a few) all with very low energy burdens requiring only a small amount of energy.  This opens up brand new possibilities with respect to the current and voltage measurement devices that can be used.  …

The introduction of IEC 61850 in switchgear has provided a way for manufacturers to achieve the goal of interoperability. A massive reduction of cabling by going from many individual copper wires to

a few Cat5 type communication cables will mean reduced labor and installation costs for cables and associated equipment such as cable trenches and installation materials.

Also, accuracy and reliability improvements in low energy voltage and current sensors, and associated relays, provides utilities and engineering firms with a great incentive for future implementation of this technology.”



EnergyInsider, a joint newsletter of the Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC), in its 24 March 2022 publication takes a look at virtual power plants. 

The article states, “Virtual Power Plants have been identified as playing a key role in the future, particularly supported by the strong growth in rooftop solar.  VPP trials show aggregated DER can provide not just generation, but demand response, contingency frequency control and ancillary services (FCAS) and potentially network services.”  …

“Earlier this month Origin Energy revealed it was targeting growth in its Virtual Power Plant program of 2000MW – up from around 200MW – drawing on batteries, solar PV installations, demand response and electric vehicle chargers. Indeed right across the Australian Energy Council’s membership VPPs are being looked at was a way of managing DER in the grid and providing new products to customers.

It underlines that VPPs have been identified as playing a key role in the future energy mix in Australia with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) expecting an increasing role for distributed energy resources in its draft 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP).

This has been supported by the revolution in domestic solar PV with more than 3 million homes and business now with installed systems. There was an estimated 25GW of rooftop solar at the end of last year with the installation of 3GW in each of the past two years. Despite this the potential for aggregated distributed energy resources (DER) remains nascent.

VPP trials show that aggregated DER can provide not just generation, but demand response, contingency frequency control and ancillary services (FCAS) and potentially network services.  AEMO was positive about the results of its series of VPP trials  …”


For more, contact Australian Energy Council


Sean Carroll Editor at Electrical Connection reports in the 25 March 2022 edition of another record-breaking year for our energy storage capacity. 

The article states, “Australia’s battery boom continues according to a new report from solar and storage market analyst Sunwiz.”

“According to the 2022 Australian Battery Market Report, 2021 was the first year that more than 1GWh of battery capacity was installed, with another gigawatt-hour expected in 2022. This is enough storage to power almost 590,000 homes for an hour during a peak period in summer.

Most of that growth came from the installation of large-scale grid batteries, including the Victorian Big Battery and the Wandoan South Battery Energy Storage System in Queensland.

The storage duration of batteries is also growing, with four-hour batteries in the works, which will mean that power prices continue to come down. Another important trend has seen an increase in electricity retailers announcing new projects, like Alinta in Western Australia and AGL in Victoria, demonstrating the increasing profitability of batteries.

At a household level, more than 33,000 batteries were installed last year – about the same number as in 2020. …”



The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DIPE) 2022 has announced that it is calling for Expression of Interest (EoI) for the construction of the Waratah Super Battery, led by a virtual marker forum.

The Forum will be held on 31 March 2022.  The message to stakeholders’ states, “To ensure NSW continues to have reliable energy supply following the closure of the Eraring Power Station, the NSW Government will install a 700MW standby network battery, ‘the Waratah Super Battery’, dedicated to supporting the transmission grid.

The Waratah Super Battery will be the largest standby network battery in the Southern Hemisphere and together with other minor transmission upgrades, will allow Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong consumers to access more energy from existing electricity generation.

The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) will soon launch a competitive procurement process to identify suitable battery developers and appropriate site(s) for the development of the Waratah Super Battery. See indicative timeline below:

  • 31 March 2022 │Market Forum
  • 1 April 2022 │Deadline for Registrations to Receive the EOI
  • 4 April 2022 │EOI issued to Registered Parties
  • 2 May 2022 │EOI Submission Deadline
  • June 2022 – July 2022 │Invitation to Tender (ITT)
  • August – October 2022 │Tender Evaluation
  • November 2022 │Award & Contract

EnergyCo will be holding a virtual Market Forum on 31 March 2022 at 10am to provide interested parties with an overview of the project and the competitive battery developer procurement process.

To attend the virtual Market Forum, please register your details HERE.


EnergyCo has also finalised the draft declaration of the South-West REZ for public exhibition. The declaration is the first step in formalising the REZ under the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act 2020. It sets out the intended network capacity (size), geographical area (location) and infrastructure that will make up the REZ. This enables and sets the scope of key legislative functions under the Act, including access schemes and REZ network solutions.

The draft declaration is now on exhibition for four weeks until Friday 22 April and can be viewed here on our website.


Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC’s) 24 March AEMC Update newsletter reminds readers of Hydrogen review virtual information session that will be held 1 April 2022. 

The reminder states, “In conjunction with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and AEMO, we will hold a virtual information session to present draft recommendations for the Hydrogen & renewable gases review on 1 April 2022 from 1pm.

Email to register.



The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) advises that it has created a series of videos that explain the range of new legal requirements that will directly affect solar businesses whose work relates to claims for small-scale technology certificates, which come into effect on 1 April 2022.

The advisory states, “To assist installers and designers, agents, manufacturers and solar retailers to comply with their new obligations, we have created a number of videos to explain the changes. We have also created a video which provides a general overview of the changes.

There are also new forms and guides to assist businesses with the new requirements.

We also encourage all Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme businesses to sign up to the Renewable Energy Target category of our email subscription service to make sure you receive information about these and other important changes which will affect solar businesses during 2022 and 2023.

Inverter manufacturers and importers: Guidance for new inverter serial number ledger now available

Also taking effect from 1 April 2022, is a requirement that Australian manufacturers or importers of inverters eligible for STCs (and listed on the CEC’s approved inverter list) provide serial number data to the Clean Energy Regulator’s inverter serial number ledger.  This is a legal requirement under the under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001.

The ledger stores all inverter serial numbers supplied to the Australian market that are eligible for small-scale technology certificates (STCs).

The Clean Energy Regulator (the agency) has developed guidance material to assist Australian manufacturers or importers of approved inverters to register and upload their data to the inverter serial number ledger:

Australian manufacturers or importers of inverters should provide their serial number data to the ledger as soon as possible after their product enters Australia.