News Service 87 – National Skills Deal in jeopardy, free standards petition, Training Package News – Electro + Gen, Women in Trades, ASQA News, NSW Apprenticeship data, New pracbox, Electrical shock incidents, safety news, latest industry news

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1. DISCUSSIONS TURN SOUR ON $3.7B NATIONAL SKILLS DEAL

Ronald Mizen (Economics correspondent) and Julie Hare (Education editor), with the Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported in the 1 April 2022 newsfeed, that “Negotiations over a critical $3.7 billion national skills deal have turned sour, with state and territory ministers.”

The article states, “… state and territory ministers accusing federal Skills Minister Stuart Robert of failing to genuinely negotiate and address key concerns.

Skills ministers from six Labor states and territories wrote to Mr Robert on Thursday expressing “strong concern” and “dismay” over the government’s insistence on pushing a draft agreement that was rejected by all states and territories last year.

Obtained by The Australian Financial Review, the letter outlined core grievances, including the potential for reduced funding to public TAFEs and increased fees for some courses, as well as putting responsibility for setting prices and subsidies with the “unaccountable” National Skills Commission.

“States and territories requested the Commonwealth work constructively with us on the development of an alternative National Skills Agreement based on shared principles and priorities,” the letter said.

It went on to accuse Mr Robert of “consistently and repeatedly” failing to respond to fundamental issues raised since early 2021, which “calls into question the genuineness” of the government’s commitment to a deal.”

READ MORE HERE


2. ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRAINING PACKAGE UPDATE (1)

Australian Industry Standards (AIS) advises in its latest communique regarding the Electrotechnology Training Package that Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee’s, relevant Technical Advisory Committees have drafted Training Package materials for the Renewables, and Computer Systems and Engineering projects.

They are seeking would like your feedback.

Renewables – draft materials have been developed to enable Electrotechnology workers to develop skills for the installation and maintenance of renewable energy technologies. The materials include 14 new Units of Competency and updates to four qualifications and 25 units. Four qualifications and 22 units have been recommended for deletion. Nine of these units have had their content absorbed across other new and existing units. An update document on the project webpage details the project work to date and shows how the structure of content has been reorganised to better reflect current industry needs.

The Computer Systems and Engineering project scope included reviewing the Advanced Diploma of Computer Systems Engineering and 24 associated Units of Competency. The qualification was last updated in 2012, and computer systems and industry’s skilling needs have evolved significantly since then. A detailed desk-top review identified that content of the 24 UEE units is extensively covered in current qualifications and Units of competency from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Training Package which reflect contemporary industry practice. Subsequently, the UEE units have been replaced with the ICT equivalents across all qualifications in which they appear. It is proposed to also delete the two UEE Computer Systems Advanced Diploma Qualifications. More information and detailed mapping of content can be found on the project webpage.

To view the draft Qualifications, Units of Competency, Mapping Attachments and the UEE Information for Public Consultation Documents, please click below.

Stakeholders and practitioners are invited to submit feedback by close of business Monday, 23 May 2022.

For more information on these projects, please contact the Industry Skills Specialist, Paul Humphreys, on M: 0429 670 588 or E: paul.humphreys@aistnds.org.au


3. ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRAINING PACKAGE UPDATE (2)

Australian Industry Standards (AIS) has released the latest information on the approved update that will ensue of the Assessment Conditions Electrotechnology Training Package (UEE) electrician’s qualification. 

A suggested series of amendments have been proposed that selected stakeholders have been invited to provide feedback on by COB, 27 April 2022.  The process is not a revisit or a call for submissions but a response to the generally agreed pathway to addressing the workplace evidence issue in selected units of competency that were likely to cause some unintended consequences for learners, employers and RTOs.

Essentially, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) approved an Industry Proposal for a minor update included some conditions that DESE communicated to Australian Industry Standards (AIS).  Importantly, it was recognised by stakeholders, that undertaking anything outside of these conditions would require development and submission of a Case for Endorsement (CfE).  If a CfE was indeed to ensue, it would not see any changes made until sometime (probably late) in 2023 under the new Industry cluster arrangements.  

If stakeholders and practitioners reached agreement as approved by AISC, then the changes could be effected in May 2022 resulting in an earlier fix to the qualification.

The AISC approved process and conditions were:

  • The final proposed amendments are to be approved by the AISC Secretariat (DESE) prior to being published.
  • The only amendments that will be allowed in the documents are:
  • in the two paragraphs in the Assessment Conditions field: (1) the sentence about assessors needing a licence (proposed new content is in the documents); and (2), the sentence that refers to the workplace evidence requirement (proposed new content is in the documents and has been moved to the bottom of the field to make it stand out more).
  • in the Performance Evidence (PE) field we can put a symbol (we have used #) next to items that workplace evidence is required for. No changes to the PE text will be allowed.
  • The IRC and the selected stakeholder group are required to reach an agreed position to enable effective implementation of the qualifications in which the extra assessment conditions appear.
  • AIS will be required to report any significant dissenting views to DESE so they can consider these in approving the minor update.
  • Reporting of these views will be accompanied by the IRC’s response.

The consultation process will therefore take on relevant feedback from the selected stakeholders within the context outlined above.  For instance, identify realistically what workplace evidence apprentices cannot obtain (i.e. is a barrier to completion). 

It should be noted the Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (E-IRC) has undertaken some significant efforts in gaining approval from AISC and DESE for these changes, to be carried out as a ‘minor update’.  It is hoped that the matter will be resolved quickly and expedited as a matter of some urgency so that the impact on learners, employers and RTOs transitioning to the new qualification can be minimised. 

For more information on this issue, contact the Industry Skills Specialist, Paul Humphreys, on M: 0429 670 588 or E: paul.humphreys@aistnds.org.au


4. GENERATION TRAINING PACKAGE UPDATE

Australian Industry Standards (AIS) advises in its latest communique regarding the ESI Generation Training Package advises that Release 2.0 update has been endorsed by the Skills Ministers for implementation. 

The advice states, “The ESI Generation Industry Reference Committee, with support from its Technical Advisory Committees, has addressed priority skills needs of the industry and updated a total of 11 qualifications, four Skill Sets and 159 Units of Competency through the following projects:

Remote Area Essential Service – Visit the Remote Area Essential Service project page

Operations Personnel – Visit the Operations Personnel project page

Wind Power Generation – Visit the Wind Power Generation project page

The endorsed Training Package materials are now available on training.gov.au

Thank you to the subject matter experts on the Technical Advisory Committees and to all stakeholders who provided valuable feedback.

For more information on these projects, please contact the Industry Skills Specialist, Shaun Thomas onM: 0409 505 196 or E: shaun.thomas@aistnds.org.au


5. WOMEN IN TRADES – UTILITIES & ELECTROTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY CONSULTATIONS

The Department of Customer Service, Customer Delivery and Transformation’s NSW Behavioural Insights Unit (BIU) team has partnered with Training Services NSW to run the ‘Women in Trades’ project.

The team is seeking to increase the number of women apprentices and trainees in non-traditional trades.

They have identified behavioural solutions from Australian and international academic studies and other reports.  

The team is now travelling to nine sites across metro and regional NSW to explore local dynamics and how they can tailor solutions to the respective region.

The BIU team warmly invite stakeholders and practitioners to attend the nearest stakeholder consultation, as per the list below. 

The program:

  • What is it: Individuals can choose to participate in one or both activities, with lunch available to all
  • 3-hour workshop to discuss the employer and apprentice customer journey, and how to implement solutions for the region
  • 1-hour focus group on recruitment barriers and strategies to hire more women apprentices and trainees
  • How to register: Please see below for the link to your nearest local consultation
  • Who should attend: employers, professional bodies, Government agencies, and other stakeholders who are committed to hiring more women
  • Feel free to forward to other stakeholders, team members, partners and practitioners
RegionDateTimeLocationRegister
Southern & South Western SydneyWed, 27 Apr 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)Rydges Bankstown, 874 Hume Hwy, Bass Hill, NSW 2197https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-southern-south-western-sydney-tickets-315162759297
North Coast & Mid North CoastWed, 04 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)TBC, Coffs Harbourhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-nsw-north-coast-mid-north-coast-tickets-315162568727
Hunter & Central CoastWed, 04 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)Training Services, Level 1, 117 Bull Street, Newcastle West, NSW 2302https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-hunter-central-coast-tickets-315167814417
New EnglandWed, 04 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)NSW Department of Education, 155-157 Marius Street, Tamworth, NSW 2340https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-new-england-nsw-tickets-315168346007
Western Sydney and Blue MountainsWed, 11 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)Training Services NSW, 16/18 Wentworth Street, Parramatta, NSW 2150https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-western-sydney-blue-mountains-tickets-317381545747
Illawarra & South East NSWWed, 11 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)TBC, Wollongonghttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-illawarra-south-east-nsw-tickets-317383481537
RiverinaWed, 18 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)TBC, Wagga Waggahttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-riverina-region-tickets-317384243817
Western SydneyWed, 18 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)TBC, Orangehttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-western-nsw-tickets-317385327057
Central and Northern SydneyWed, 25 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)TBC, Chatswoodhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-central-northern-sydney-tickets-315039330117

For more information contact Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, A/ Project Manager, Behavioural Insights Unit (BIU) at Customer Delivery and Transformation, Department of Customer Service on T: 02 2 8226 0238 or E: Zuleyka.Zevallos@customerservice.nsw.gov.au


6. ASQA’S NEW ADVISERS

Campus Morning Mail reports in its 20 April 2022 edition that ASQA has announced members of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Advisory Council. 

The article states, “ASQA provides no background on members who are, chair: Peter Costantini (comms consultant). Members: * Valerie Braithwaite (ANU) * Renee Hindmarsh (SA Skills Commissioner) * Grant Klinkum (NZ Qualifications Authority) * Adrienne Nieuwenhuis (commissioner, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency) * Neil Quarmby (public sector management consultant) * Don Zoellner (Charles Darwin U, VET researcher).

ASQA will need some advising, with its authority extending to cover the training packages developed by the new Training Cluster organisations, (CMM March 24, 29).”

READ MORE HERE

ASQA website states, “The inaugural Advisory Council will support ASQA to continue its focus on best practice regulation of the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

ASQA CEO Saxon Rice said: “I’m delighted to welcome the inaugural Advisory Council members who have been appointed for their expertise in governance, regulation, industry engagement, and education and training.”  …

“The appointment of the Advisory Council will facilitate continuous improvement of ASQA’s governance practices and improve ASQA’s access to high-level ongoing expert advice, including in relation to ASQA’s strategic objectives and approach to regulation,” said Ms Rice.

“Our overarching goal is to move from input and compliance controls, to a focus on self-assurance and excellence in training outcomes.” …

“Ms Rice added: “The Advisory Council presents a valuable source of strategic advice to ASQA as a regulator and signals our commitment to learning from the expertise of others as we continue to build and maintain the confidence and trust of those we regulate and the broader community.”

Notably, the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Advisory Council (NVET-RAC), which is regulating the VET market and which employers and learners use extensively, has no industry stakeholders in its membership – either from an employer body or employee representative.  One assumes this is a new form of industry leadership of VET?

READ THE ASQA NVET-RAC DETAILS HERE


7. NSW APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINEESHIP DATA AS AT 1 MARCH 2022

Training Services NSW has kindly provided the latest data on Apprenticeship and Traineeship.  The tables below cover Apprenticeship and Traineeship approvals for Jan-Feb 2022 and comparisons with previous year. Copy of the data below is attached in a PDF.

Source: Public & Internal Tableau
* Period since the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy was introduced.

Please note: A&T Approvals continued to decrease from November 2021 due to the decline in the traineeship approval numbers. Overall A&T approvals have increased substantially since BAC was introduced.


8. INFINISPARK ANNOUNCES UPGRADE OF ELECTROMAG PRACBOX

Husnen Rupani, CEO and Learning and Technical Consultant at Infinispark advises that there has been an upgrade to the Electromag Pracbox for UEE30820. 

The announcement states, “The latest version of the Electromag pracbox – V3 that has three major changes from its predecessors. 

The major changes in the Electromag Pracbox V3 and their benefits

  1. Improved power supply controllers: Wouldn’t it be great for the learners to see how much power a control circuit draws as compared to a power circuit when using a relay? These controllers not only provide the ability to control the supply voltage but also show current and power measurements. They are capable of providing 0-25V 2.5 A max each, with very precise control, if required.
  2. Electromagnetic coils and cores: We have replaced the electromagnetic coils and core with the contactor coils and cores, which make it easier to demonstrate the change in electromagnetic strength based on the number of turns and current, and the difference between closed and open magnetic circuits. Demo 1 in this video explains this well.
  3. Smaller lamp size: In the previous versions, we used large lamps (A60, also shown in the photo below), which made our customers anxious because there was a chance that the learners could close the equipment lid without removing them, and break the lamps. We have now replaced them with smaller sized (G45) lamps, which removed that worry and can also stay in the pracbox when stored. This also removes the need for extra storage for lamps.

There are available 13 min demonstration videos that cover the following:

  • Explains the benefits of the Electromag Pracbox
  • Component identification and 3 practical demos
  • A testimonial, featuring Eliya Mackle, an Electrical Apprentice at the time.

VIEW THE DEMONSTRATION VIDEO HERE

For more information contact Husnen Rupani, CEO and Learning and Technical Consultant on 1300 15 22 99 or visit the website: www.infinispark.com.au


9. TWO ELECTRICAL INCIDENTS INVOLVING APPRENTICE AND ELECTRICITY NETWORKS CORPORATION

The Government of WA’s Building energy unit reports of two cases involving an electrical incident.  In the first case an Electrician was fined for poor supervision at a hazardous Nedlands house.  The second, Western Power was fined for electric shock error. 

Each case is briefly elaborated on with links provided to the full article.

9.1. Electrician was fined for poor supervision at a hazardous Nedlands house

In this case, “A Nedlands family was lucky to avoid serious injury after an electrical work error caused the metal pipes at their home to become energised, with one person receiving an electric shock from a shower tap.

The November 2019 incident led Building and Energy to prosecute Canning Vale electrician Samuel Thomas Alliston (EW161275) for not adequately supervising the electrical work, which was carried out by an apprentice under his supervision.

On 1 April 2022 at Perth Magistrates Court, Mr Alliston was fined $5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching WA’s electrical licensing regulations.” …

  • Apprentice failed to connect the main neutral conductor to a new switchboard
  • A resident received an electric shock from an energised shower tap

READ MORE HERE

9.2. Western Power fined for electric shock error

In this incident, “Western Power has been fined $30,000 following an error by one of its contractors, which led to a Kingsley man receiving an electric shock and nearby residents being exposed to electrical hazards.

At Perth Magistrates Court on 1 April 2022, Western Power pleaded guilty to failing to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that maintenance work on its network was carried out safely, as required by WA’s Electricity (Network Safety) Regulations 2015.

Under the regulations, Western Power (also known as the Electricity Networks Corporation) is responsible for prescribed work undertaken by its contractors on its network and must provide them with adequate instructions.”

  • ‘Live’ metal objects at four Kingsley homes after wrong cable disconnected
  • Inadequate instructions provided to workers and contractors
  • Guilty plea for failing to ensure that network maintenance was carried out safely

READ MORE HERE


10. LIGHTING THE SPARK IN THE NEXT GENERATION

Manufacturers’ Monthly featured a very interesting article in its 12 April 2022 edition, of an electrical company in Wollongong, investing in the next generation of Australian electricians. 

The article states, “Based in the seaside city of Wollongong, NSW, Arrow Electrical Services is investing in the next generation of Australian electricians. With a dynamic team consisting of 34 highly skilled and experienced employees, the business has situated itself as a leading specialist across the state.

“We are an AS3800 workshop, which means we are qualified to work on hazardous area equipment. We have invested a lot of time and money into that area of work, and it is something we want to keep expanding on top of our strong presence in the coal industry,” says Dane. 

One of Arrow’s primary goals is to invest in the future of the local industrial sector, by creating work opportunities for young people in the area. Offering continual trade education and apprenticeship opportunities is a large part of this, Dane explains.

“Some of our staff have been around for 25 to 30 years, and we want them to pass on their knowledge before they hang up the bat. We feel it is critical, moving forward, that we invest in our community’s future and preserve those skills in the younger generation. Our team is great in that way. Everyone has the time to teach and assist, in any way they can.” 

Arrow’s purpose-built workspaces are equipped with the necessary hardware to carry out premium servicing and manufacturing to quick turn arounds. They are an accredited level two service provider across multiple categories and levels. The workshop is licensed to Department of Primary Industries (DPI) standards, and the company is a member of both the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

“What we do is so versatile. There are so many areas of specialisation as an electrician, but where we invest – in rotating equipment and motors – and how we do it is quite unique. We may have upcoming projects to do with hydrogen, which we have not dealt with before. Having been around since the 80s, it has been a long journey, but it is only going to grow from here.”

READ MORE HERE


11. REGISTER NOW – BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION SAFETY SYMPOSIUM 2022 — ON 10 MAY

The April edition of SafeWork Wrap includes an article promoting the Building and Construction Safety Symposium. 

SafeWork NSW’s free Building and Construction Safety Symposium will be held on Tuesday, 10 May 2022 at CommBank Stadium, Parramatta.

This inaugural event will bring together industry representatives and SafeWork NSW to engage, consult and collaborate on longstanding health and safety issues impacting the building and construction industry.

Don’t miss your chance to:

  • engage with the SafeWork NSW executive and Construction Inspectors
  • consult and collaborate on tackling long-standing health and safety issues
  • learn more about SafeWork NSW’s collaborative approach with NSW Fair Trading and the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner
  • find out more about the new Scaffold Industry Safety Standard
  • expand your industry networks with like-minded and influential construction industry representatives.

Tickets are proving popular. 

READ MORE HERE OR REGISTER HERE


12.   JAPANESE ENCEPHALITIS – DUTIES UNDER THE MODEL WHS LAWS

Safe Work Australia has released guidance material on Japanese encephalitis for persons conducting a business or undertaking. 

The guidance advises that “Japanese encephalitis is caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). It is spread through mosquito bites and is more common in areas of increased mosquito activity.

Infection in humans is usually asymptomatic, but on rare occasions it can result in severe disease such as encephalitis (infection of the brain) and even death.

JEV spreads when a human is bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten a pig or a wild waterbird infected with the virus. Japanese encephalitis has been detected in parts of South-Eastern Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Victoria and South Australia (https://www.outbreak.gov.au/current-responses-to-outbreaks/japanese-encephalitis).

If you are a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) in an area where Japanese encephalitis is a concern, you must do everything that is reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk of workers and visitors contracting it. Where you are unable to eliminate the risk, you must do everything that is reasonably practicable to minimise it.”

READ MORE HERE


13. MASTER BUILDERS SUPPORTS PETITION FOR FREE AUSTRALIAN STANDARDS

In the latest Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) HVAC&R News of 22 April 2022, stakeholders and practitioners have been advised that the Master Builders Association has lent support to a petition for free Australian Standards. 

The article states, “A federal House of Representatives petition calling for free or affordable access to Australian Standards has received support from the Master Builders Association of Victoria.”

“The petition claims that although essential to many jobs, Australian Standards are becoming “increasingly expensive and the restrictions on accessibility are increasing”.

“The existing model is unsustainable and will potentially lead to incidents, inoperability and disruption to operational infrastructure,” the petition reads. “An example: A small electrical engineering company with 10 people that perform electrical design may need access to 100s of standards on a single project. The cost of these is greater then (sic) the profit margin on this project.”

The petition calls for the government to provide stronger oversight and/or mandates to the organisations controlling access to Australian Standards to make these readily available for free or at a reasonable cost to all people who require them to perform their duties.”

READ MORE HERE – INCLUDING THE PETITION


14. AUSTRALIAN SOFTWARE TRIAL TO INTEGRATE SMART BUS CHARGING WITH ENERGY GRID

Sean Carroll, Editor at Electrical Connection reports in the 22 April 2022 edition of the news service of a world-first project that aims to better integrate bus depots with the energy market and support a faster rollout of electric buses in NSW is being trialled in Western Sydney, creating local jobs. 

The article states, “The VEMO project, funded under Transport for NSW’s Zero Emissions Bus program, is the innovation of a cross-industry consortium including Australian bus operator Busways, Australian software and advisory company Evenergi and Western Sydney electricity distributor Endeavour Energy.

The consortium is trialling the software at Busways’ Penrith depot with an initial 12 electric buses from NSW bus manufacturer Custom Denning – the first to enter permanent service in NSW – to future proof the power supply to be capable of powering an entirely electric bus fleet.

The solution enables direct integration between Endeavour Energy’s distribution network and Busways’ depot to optimise electric bus charging in tune with grid use.

“We’re focused on supporting Transport for NSW’s 2030 goal of a Zero Emissions Bus fleet,” Busways chief operating officer Chris Wolf says.  …

The system uses sophisticated software tools and real-time energy monitoring to connect the depot to the wider distribution network, communicating directly with the energy provider’s assets.”

READ MORE HERE


15. AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST WIND AND SOLAR HYBRID PLANT BEGINS PRODUCTION

Giles Parkinson reports in last week’s (21 April 2022) Renew Economy new service, Australia’s largest wind and solar hybrid facility has begun production in South Australia, near the home of the state’s last coal generator. 

The article states, “Production has begun at what will be the country’s biggest wind and solar hybrid facility when it operates at full capacity.

The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park in South Australia is a combination of 217MW of wind and 110MW of solar, located not far from the location of the now closed coal fired generator in the same city.

As we reported last month, PAREP owner Iberdrola got the green light from the Australian Energy Market Operator to start production, and the first sign came on Wednesday, with an injection of up to 25MW from the wind component on Thursday.

The facility will gradually work its way through the various “hold points” that allow AEMO to assess the performance of the project before allowing it to move to the next stage. This process can take several months.”

READ MORE HERE


16. UNION SLAMS NSW GOVERNMENT FOR “LACK OF OVERSIGHT” ON RENEWABLE JOBS

Sophie Vorrath reports in last week’s (21 April 2022) Renew Economy new service of a claim that there has been a “lack of oversight” by the NSW government on renewable jobs by Australia’s Electrical Trades Union (ETU). 

The article states, “Electrical Trades Union has taken aim at the New South Wales government this week, with claims that its renewable energy transition is allowing foreign companies to “exploit” casuals workers and to pit “backpacker” workers against local job seekers.

In a media statement issued on Thursday, the ETU’s NSW and ACT Branch said that while the Perrottet government had promised renewable energy projects would provide jobs to replace those being lost as coal plants closed, this had not – so far – proven to be the case.

The ETU used the specific example of the state government-backed New England solar farm and big battery project, in Uralla, the construction of which is being led by the local arm of Spain-based Elecnor, Green Light contractors.

The ETU said that Elecnor was currently advertising for casual electrical trades assistants and electricians to work full-time hours on the first 400MW stage of the New England solar farm.

But ETU NSW & ACT Branch secretary Allen Hicks said that qualified local job-seekers in the region were competing with backpackers for the “causal positions” being offered on the project.

“These workers are expected to work 10 hour days, six days a week for around 18 months without receiving any full-time entitlements such as sick leave or annual leave,” Hicks said.

“Once this contract is up, those jobs will disappear from the New England region and the community will be left to pick up the pieces.

We’ve been warning this would happen since Minister Kean announced this transition plan. The NSW government needs to be held to account to ensure public funding of these projects is in the best interest of NSW residents, not foreign companies.”

READ MORE HERE


17. NO GOLD IN THEM THAR POWERLINES

The 21 April 2022 edition of EnergyInsider, a joint news publication of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC) and written by Andrew Dillion (CEO ENA), reports on the timely need for investment in the transmission and distribution network. 

The article states, “Timely investment in new grid infrastructure including transmission is essential if we are to deliver a renewable energy grid. This will enable the power generated in renewable energy zones to get to our cities and enable households to connect more solar, more batteries and more electric vehicles to the grid, giving them greater control of their energy.  …

Australia has a history steeped in gold. In the 1800s wealth flooded in from the goldfields across Australia. Kalgoorlie, Bathurst, Lefroy and Ballarat…every colony was trading in this rare and precious metal.  At one point the flow of gold meant Melbourne was the second richest city in the British Empire. …

It led to enormous economic growth across the continent, and the colonies set about displaying their prosperity. …

But the good times stopped almost as quickly as they came, and thus ended the spending. …

Fast forward a century or so and electricity is available in almost every home and business in Australia. The National Electricity Market (NEM) operates on one of the world’s longest interconnected electricity grids and is a complex, heavily regulated energy market.

A spate of power outages in the early 2000s in Queensland and NSW led to those state governments overreacting and ratcheting up reliability standards for their electricity networks. The “increase reliability at any cost” mentality lost sight of the big picture and led, inevitably, to eye-watering rises in power bills. Grid investment grew by 60 per cent between 2005 and 2012. Perhaps harking back to our colonial days, this came to be known as ‘gold plating’. …

We are now at another fork in the road in Australia’s energy journey. The science of climate change is, finally, accepted and the pathways to net zero are being paved. Billions of dollars are being funneled into innovation, infrastructure and new technology to prepare us for this clean energy future. …

There’s an old saying “you’ve got to spend money to make money” and that’s exactly where we’re at in terms of our energy grid right now. Looking at the bigger picture, this is far from gold plating – it’s wise investment designed to deliver the renewable energy transition at least cost to customers. We all want that.”

READ MORE HERE

For more, contact Andrew Dillon, Energy Networks Australia


18. REVIEW OF THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR METERING SERVICES

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has announced in its 14 April 2022 media release, “that work will recommence on its review of the regulatory framework for metering services.

The review was paused in November 2021 as part of an adjustment to the AEMC’s sequencing of work.

Following the recommencement, the AEMC will work with stakeholders to progress a package of measures to accelerate the roll out of smart meters, improving the efficiency of installations and enabling appropriate access to data from meters in the National Electricity Market.

Prior to the review pause, the Commission received over 60, well-considered submissions from stakeholders. The AEMC recognises the high level of stakeholder interest and enthusiasm in this review and remains committed to reforms to the regulatory framework for metering services. …

“Smart meters, providing greater access to real time data and facilitating innovation, will play a crucial part in Australia’s smarter networks of the future.” Ms Collyer, AEMC Chair said.”

READ MORE HERE