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News Service 93 – VET National Agreement, Update – Training Packages, Say yes to trades, NSW A&T Data to May 2022, New Ministers, Smart & Skilled, Online delivery, Electrical incidents, Safety and Industry News

uensw  > Industry News, News headlines >  News Service 93 – VET National Agreement, Update – Training Packages, Say yes to trades, NSW A&T Data to May 2022, New Ministers, Smart & Skilled, Online delivery, Electrical incidents, Safety and Industry News
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1. WILL A NEW GOVERNMENT UNDO KNOTTED PROBLEMS IN THE STALLED REFORM OF THE VET NATIONAL AGREEMENT AND THE AQF?

Craig Fowler provides an opinion piece in the 2 June 2022 edition of Campus Review as to whether the new government can undo knotted problems in the stalled reform of the VET National Agreement and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). 

He states, “Australia has a new national government. All participants in the higher education (HE) and research sectors and the vocational education and training (VET) sector will build fresh relations with the new government, including all state and territory (S&T) governments.

The new Australian Government (AG) has proffered a largely blank HE policy sheet in its election platform, other than an extra 20,000 new university places and an as yet unspecified University Accord to drive lasting reform.

The policy canvas for the VET sector is more explicit. It proposes 465,000 fee free TAFE places, including 45,000 new TAFE places, a $50m TAFE Technology Fund, $100m for New Energy Apprenticeships to train 10,000 apprentices in new energy jobs, ensuring at least 70 per cent of Commonwealth vocational education funding is for public TAFE, and, working closely with S&T Governments, industry and unions (to) allow workers to transfer and build on their accredited micro-credential training (the last item pertinent to this narrative).

Any new government has to deal with the incomplete or failed initiatives of the old. A legitimate option is to simply junk whatever went before, especially if it’s not relevant to policy commitments. But in this case two issues just won’t and should not go away.

The first issue is the long term failure to get jurisdictional sign off of a renewed National Agreement (NA) for Skills and Workforce Development between the AG and S&T Governments. This will need a new approach. The second is zero (public) progress on implementation of reforms proposed in the 2019 review of the AQF. Abandoning this thought leadership work and the report’s recommendations would be a major strategic mistake.

This article is an exhortation to all Governments to now collaboratively undo these ‘old-knots’ in the nation’s best interest. Find new constructive ways of working together, or risk ongoing competitive stagnation of Australian’s skilled workforce and labour productivity.

The ideal outcome should be an ‘all-jurisdictions’ agreed and revised AQF and a nationally operating tertiary funding framework and system that ensures funding and financing of both high quality full qualifications and shorter credentials. Inaction only stymies a better integrated tertiary education systemand opportunity for improved university/industry collaboration, all of which is argued as being vital to lifting skills-related national productivity.

Tellingly, the new Prime Minister has opened his term by saying at the outset “I want to have a cooperative relationship. I want to bring people together, including the states and territories….on how we work together”.

A new cooperatively negotiated VET NA is now likely and a reframed and modernised AQF a next possibility (needing cooperation across new AG Ministerial, portfolio and departmental arrangements).

READ MORE HERE


2. ESI TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION AND RAIL TRAINING PACKAGE -ENDORSEMENT

Australian Industry Standards (AIS) reports that the UET Transmission, Distribution and Rail Training Package Release 3.0 has been endorsed by the Skills Ministers for implementation.

The ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail Industry Reference Committee has updated three Units of Competency related to constructing transmission structures to address current work and safety practices.

The title of the Certificate II in Transmission Structure and Line Assembly has been changed to Certificate II in Transmission Line Construction to accurately reflect the occupational outcome. The qualification includes updated packaging rules and the removal of weighting points.

This revised qualification will assist large-scale Electricity Interconnector projects in developing a workforce skilled in the safe operation and installation of transmission structures incorporating Distributed Energy Resources.

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

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

VISIT THE TRANSMISSION STRUCTURES PROJECT PAGE

AIS and the Industry Reference Committee (IRC) have extended thanks to the subject matter experts on the Technical Advisory Committee and to all stakeholders who provided valuable feedback.

For more information contact the Industry Skills Manager, Erin Knudsen, on M: 0418 434 302 | E: erin.knudsen@aistnds.org.au


3. AMENDMENTS TO ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRAINING PACKAGE SUBMITTED

Australian Industry Standards (AIS) reports that the Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (E-IRC) has submitted the Case for Endorsement and draft Training Package materials to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee for their consideration.

This includes four updated Qualifications, two new Skill Sets, two updated Skill Sets, 19 new Units and 30 updated Units which address priority skills needs for the Electrotechnology Industry.

  1. Advanced Diploma of Engineering – Electrical: This project has updated the qualification and developed five new Units of Competency to better reflect the intent of the qualification and address higher-level theoretical concepts more appropriate for the vocational destinations of graduates. VIEW ADVANCED DIPLOMA OF ENGINEERING – ELECTRICAL PROJECT PAGE
  2. Assess and Report on Smoke Control Features: The project has updated one Unit of Competency and one Skill set to address the skills and knowledge requirements for assessment and reporting on a building’s smoke control features. VIEW ASSESS AND REPORT ON SMOKE CONTROL FEATURES PROJECT PAGE
  3. Electricity Meters: One Unit of Competency and one Skill Set have been updated to reflect current industry, legislative and safety requirements for the installation of advanced digital meters, and the replacement of older-style basic or accumulation meters. VIEW ELECTRICITY METERS PROJECT PAGE
  4. Hazardous Areas: This project has updated two qualifications, developed 11 new Units of Competency and updated 13 existing units to reflect AS/NZS4761.1:2018 Competencies for working with Electrical Equipment for Hazardous Areas (EEHA). VIEW HAZARDOUS AREAS PROJECT PAGE
  5. Rail Signalling: The project has developed three new Units of Competency and two new Skill Sets and updated one qualification and 15 existing units to address the disparity between the qualification outcomes and employers’ skill and knowledge needs. In addition, deletion of five existing Units of Competency is proposed. VIEW RAIL SIGNALLING PROJECT PAGE

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


4. SAY YES TO TRADES CAMPAIGN

The event that brings together training, employers and service providers to show students choosing trades is a great option will be held on Sunday, 26 June 2022 (World Refrigeration Day 2022) at Canterbury Leagues Club, 26 Bridge Rd, Belmore. 

The event provides a focus on Electricians, Air-conditioning and refrigeration technicians, and Metal fabrication fabricators.  The employers and careers event also, focuses on employment issues facing high school students and job seekers as well as the skills shortages business are experiencing, as well as spurring on businesses to actively employ young apprentices and invest in staff training.

Meet companies that are looking for apprentices and want to help train the next generation of tradies. Listen to the speakers on getting into a trade apprenticeship. Getting trade-qualified is the way to a secure future so bring your resume and a ‘can-do’ spirit!

The event will be held at the Canterbury Leagues Club June26, 2022, 11.00 am – 3.00 pm.

The partnership between STC and the Canterbury Bulldogs One Community Program for schools in the west and southwest Sydney, is to:

  • increase the employability of students
  • deliver hands on training in schools
  • expand the career options for students
  • make trades a first option in minds of more students
  • gather employers who want to invest in training their staff

The goals of the SAY YES TO THE TRADES FAIR:

  1. Trades and employer focussed event about industry careers
  2. Highlight the many pathways into and from trades
  3. Women and trades promotion
  4. Dialogue with employers and providers on the realities of trades careers
  5. Give real scope for understanding the many advantages of apprenticeships

Attendees under 18 MUST attend with a parent or guardian as per Club guidelines.

For more information or sponsorship opportunities about the partnership or proposed event program, contact Robert Parsonson, General Manager at STC on M: 040 7284 067 or E: robert@stc.nsw.edu.au  or visit the website: www.stc.nsw.edu.au

STC has a partnership with the Bulldogs NRL team community arm promoting VET trades courses.  Bulldogs are giving away double passes to the Rabbitohs Bulldogs game on Sunday July 17 to all participants of this event.

The event organisers are looking for exhibitors and speakers on the day regarding trades training and industry. Also, if you could reach out to employers looking for apprentices within your contacts to invite them along (they have space for 25 employers).  It would be appreciated if you can help promote the event to an array of contacts in the area related to Electrical, Air conditioning and Engineering Metal Fabrication.

Exhibitors will have a table/tablecloth 2 chairs – room for two banners behind the table and lunch will be provided for exhibitors.

Download the flyer and promo here: FLYER or PROMO

Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/say-yes-to-the-trades-tickets-353461150817


5. 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 as at 1 May 2022, and comparisons with previous year.

Copy of the data below can be downloaded here in a PDF.


6. KEY MINISTERS APPOINTED TO EDUCATION AND TRAINING

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) reports in its 6 June 2020 TDA Newsletter on the lates Ministerial appointments following the election of the Labor Party in Australia. 

The article states, “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has appointed ministers to the key portfolios covering education, skills and training.

Jason Clare who served as Labor spokesman during the election campaign has been appointed Minister for Education, replacing Tanya Plibersek who held the portfolio in Opposition and now moves to Environment and Water.

Senior Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor has been appointed Minister for Skills and Training.

The skills and training portfolio will be part of the new Department of Employment and Workplace Relations under Minister Tony Burke.

Richard Marles who held the Employment portfolio in Opposition becomes Defence Minister.

Both Mr Clare and Mr O’Connor are experienced former ministers in the Rudd and Gillard governments.

Mr Clare served as Minister for Defence Materiel, Minister for Home Affairs, and Minister for Justice. Mr O’Connor served in a range of portfolios including Housing, Immigration and Citizenship, Small Business, Employment, Human Services, Home Affairs, and Skills and Training.

Ed Husic is the new Minister for Industry and Science. West Australian Anne Aly has been appointed Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth. Senator Anthony Chisholm becomes Assistant Minister for Education and Assistant Minister for Regional Development.

See the full Albanese Ministry.

Yesterday, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton announced his shadow ministry.

Alan Tudge who stood down from the Cabinet last December returns as Shadow Education Minister.

Sussan Ley, who was last week elevated to Deputy Leader of the Opposition, has been named Shadow Minister for Industry, Skills and Training.

Senator Michaelia Cash is Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. The Shadow Minister for Regional Education is Andrew Gee.

See the full Shadow Ministry list.”

6.1. TWO NEW DEPARTMENTS TO OVERSEE EDUCATION AND SKILLS PORTFOLIOS

TDA also reported that as part of the new ministry arrangements, the existing Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has been reconstructed and assigned across new ministries.  The article states, “Two new departments to oversee education and skills portfolios

Many in the VET sector will now be dealing with two separate departments under the latest Machinery of Government changes which effectively split responsibility for education and skills.

Two new departments – Education, and Employment and Workplace Relations – will replace the current Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

The Department of Education will be responsible for areas including school education, youth affairs and transitions, higher education, international education, research grants, and early childhood education.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations will look after areas including employment policy, labour market programmes, skills and vocational education policy regulation and programmes, vocational education and training in schools, apprenticeships, training and skills assessment, and foundation skills for adults.

Former senior public servant and Professor of Public Policy at the ANU, Andrew Podger said the new arrangements are “a considerable improvement on the structures the Morrison Government used, but they could have been much better.”

“While there are not so many departments with multiple cabinet ministers nor so many cabinet ministers with responsibilities across portfolios as under Morrison, seven departments have multiple cabinet ministers and five cabinet ministers have responsibilities beyond their main portfolio,” he writes in Pearls and Irritations.

The new Administrative Arrangements Order takes effect on I July.

See the Albanese government’s Administrative Arrangements Order

See Andrew Podger’s article, The Administrative Arrangements Order of the Albanese Government – a curate’s egg


7. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE – NO. 167 – 169 JUNE 2022

Smart and Skilled Update No. 167 – 169 (download a copy here) – June 2022, covers the following:

  1. Updates to the Fee Administration Policy
  2. Smart and Skilled Policy for the Delivery of the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116) to be discontinued as of the 2022-23 Activity Period
  3. Financial Cap allocations for the 2022-23 Activity Period
    1. Financial Cap levels for 2022-23
    2. Skilling for Recovery Priority Full Qualifications (SFRPFQ) program
    3. Smart and Skilled Policy for Market Management for the 2022-23 Activity Period
  4. Approved Qualifications for the 2022-23 Activity Period
  5. Extension of Fee Free Apprenticeship Initiative
    1. Eligibility
    2. Processing enrolments
  6. NSW Skills List Updated – Version 13.0 (Effective 1 July 2022)
    1. Skills List Optimisation – removal of 46 qualifications with low training activity from the NSW Skills List
    2. CPI indexation added to qualification prices for 2022-2023 but student fees will not be affected
    3. Superseding qualifications for 2022-2023
    4. Price change to Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician (UEE30820)
    5. Changes to traineeship and apprenticeship fees for 12 qualifications
  7. Please refer to the updated Provider’s Guide to Smart and Skilled (Version 1.3) – Now available in STS Online
  8. AgSkilled 2.0 Program: Updated Course and Unit Of Competency listing, newly endorsed training providers and new webpage on nsw.gov.au
    1. Updated Courses and Units of Competency (UoCs) available for delivery and recommendations sought
    2. Recommendations sought for additional courses/UoCs
    3. Training providers endorsed to deliver AgSkilled 2.0 training – EOIs for training delivery sought
    4. New AgSkilled 2.0 webpage on nsw.gov.au
    5. Further information
  9. Exemption to Skilling for Recovery training deferrals for North Coast flood-affected students

For more information visit: FUNDING AND SUPPORT – SMART AND SKILLED

Or, for technical support in relation to this update, contact Training Market Customer Support at Training.Market@det.nsw.edu.au

For the Smart and Skilled – NSW Skills List visit:  NSW SKILLS LIST – SMART AND SKILLED


8. STRATEGIES FOR DELIVERING VET ONLINE – A GUIDE FOR EDUCATORS

NCVER has released a guide for educators that outlines strategies for delivering online Vocational Education and Training (VET).  NCVER News editon 532, 1 June 2022 states, “Online delivery is now common practice in VET, but how do we ensure quality, good practice and a great student experience?”

Here are some practical pointers from Insights for delivering VET online, a supplementary publication from our research The online delivery of VET during the COVID-19 pandemic: part 2:

  • Keep in mind there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model.  Many variables can affect the teaching context. As a result, it is good practice to adapt the balance and nature of training delivery to class size, the discipline or topic being taught, the infrastructure available to educators and students, student needs and expectations, and other factors.
  • Incorporate both instructional and participatory content, presented in either real-time and non-real time formats or as a combination. Instructional content tends to be transactional, with students receiving information and knowledge. In contrast, participatory content is designed for active student engagement. Consider drawing on the benefits of both types of content and using real time and non-real time delivery to support student engagement.
  • Never let technology drive the learning design. Design the ‘best’ way to learn the topic at hand first. Then adopt the simplest applications of available technological tools, in order to implement that ideal learning approach.

Download Insights for delivering VET onlineto learn more.


9. AMENDMENTS TO THE MODEL WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY (WHS) LAWS

Safe Work Australia has issued advice that amendments to the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws have been published on the Safe Work Australia website.  The amendments implement a number of recommendations from the 2018 Review of the model WHS laws. 

The amendments do not automatically apply in a jurisdiction. For the model WHS Act and model WHS Regulations to have effect in a jurisdiction they must be enacted in that jurisdiction.

The following has been published and available on the site:

The amendments include:

  • the model WHS Regulations to deal with psychosocial risks (recommendation 2)
  • work group provisions (recommendation 7b)
  • health and safety representative (HSR) training (recommendation 10)
  • remove the 24-hour notice period for entry permit holders (recommendation 15)
  • align the process for issuing service of notices to provide clarity and consistency (recommendation 16)
  • enable inspectors to require production of documents and answers to questions within 30 days of any inspector’s entry to a workplace (recommendation 17)
  • clarify that a WHS regulator’s power to obtain information relevant to investigations of potential breaches of the model WHS laws has extra-territorial application (recommendation 18)
  • clarify the circumstances in which WHS regulators can share information between jurisdictions (recommendation 19)
  • include gross negligence as a fault element in the Category 1 offence (recommendation 23a)
  • improve regulator accountability for investigation progress (recommendation 24)
  • prohibit insurance for WHS penalties (recommendation 26)
  • improve record keeping and operator training for amusement devices and passenger ropeways (recommendation 28)
  • compliance with Standards not mandatory unless specified (recommendation 31b)
  • give effect to recommendations that are minor or technical in nature.

Go to the Implementation of the WHS ministers’ agreed response to the Review of the Model WHS Laws web page for a more detailed overview of the amendments.

For information on WHS laws in your jurisdiction, please contact SafeWork NSW.


10. NATIONAL SAFETY AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE – NOMINATIONS CLOSE IN TWO WEEKS! ?

The NSCA Foundation has circulated a reminder to stakeholders that nominations for the 29th Annual National Safety Awards of Excellence will be closing in two weeks on Friday, 17th June 2022

The event enters its 29th year, and as such, the National Safety Awards of Excellence continues to be the pinnacle awards platform recognising and celebrating Australian work health and safety excellence. Scroll down to review all the award categories for 2022.

This year the NSCA is pleased to announce that the awards gala will be moving to a dinner event as part of APOSHO 36. This means that Australian businesses selected as finalists will be presented in front of work health and safety professionals from the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Further information about the awards’ categories and submission guidelines online or download the nomination guide here.

KEY DATES

  • Entries close – 17 June 2022
  • Judging and shortlisting – June to August 2022
  • Finalist and non-finalist notified – Late August/early September 2022
  • Winners announced – 24 November 2022 at the National Safety Awards Gala Dinner in Melbourne
  • Entries close – 17 June 2022
  • Judging and shortlisting – June to August 2022
  • Finalist and non-finalist notified – Late August/early September 2022
  • Winners announced – 24 November 2022 at the National Safety Awards Gala Dinner in Melbourne

AWARD CATEGORIES

Category 1: Best Continuous Improvement of a WHS Management System [Sponsored by: ecoPortal]

Category 2A: Best Solution of a WHS Risk (Small Business: 1 – 50 employees) [Sponsored by: Stowe Australia]

Category 2B: Best Solution of a WHS Risk (Medium Business: 50-200 employees) [Sponsored by: Stowe Australia]

Category 2C: Best Solution of a WHS Risk (Large Business: 200+ employees) [Sponsored by: Stowe Australia]

Category 3: Best WHS Training Program [Sponsored by: Fire & Safety Australia]

Category 4: Best Communication of a Safety Message [Sponsored by: Ansell]

Category 5: Ian Chisholm Award for Best Individual WHS Achievement

Category 6: Best Safety Leadership Program/Initiative [Sponsored by: Actrua]

Category 7A: Best Wellbeing Program [Sponsored by: Moving Mindz]

Category 7B: Best Mental Health Program [Sponsored by: Moving Mindz]

Category 8A: Best Return & Recovery at Work System (Small Business: 1 – 200 employees) [Sponsored by: GIO Workers Compensation]

Category 8B: Best Return & Recovery at Work System (Medium to large business: 200+ employees) [Sponsored by: GIO Workers Compensation]

Category 9: NSCA Foundation Member of the Year [Sponsored by: Pro-Visual Publishing]

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK ON THIS LINK


11. ELECTRICAL SAFETY INCIDENTS APR-MAY – SHARING THE KNOWLEDGE

The NSW UE ITAB again is fortunate this month to be provided with the latest electrical incident reports from BluScope Steel.  As stated previously the NSW UE ITAB has received permission from BlueScope Steel to share the information.

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

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

As we receive the incident reports, we will continue to share them accordingly.

For this News Service we have two Blue Scope Steel reports covering April 2022 and May 2022 (both can be downloaded here – APRIL or MAY).  For more information and BlueScope contact details please refer to the undersigned for more information.  Again, a sincere thanks to BlueScope.


12. ELECTRICAL SAFETY BREACHES ATTRACT MULTIPLE PENALTIES AND NEARLY KILL APPRENTICE

Neca Victoria reported in its 13 April 2022 News and Views webpage of a company that was prosecuted for multiple penalties and another that nearly killed an apprentice. 

The article states, “A company and its director have been fined a total of $126,000, after their electrical safety contraventions were referred to a WHS prosecutor. Another company was recently fined for similar breaches, after an apprentice was nearly killed.

In the first case, in Queensland, a company pleaded guilty to a total of 30 charges under the State Electrical Safety Act 2002.

The company’s charges involved the performance of unlicensed electrical contracting between January 2019 and May 2020, and attracted a $76,000 fine in the Cleveland Magistrates Court.

The company’s director was fined $50,000, after an $8,000 reduction for penalties already imposed by the Electrical Licensing Committee, for performing unlicensed electrical work between October 2019 and July 2021, and breaching his safety duties as a worker, under section 39 of the Act.

The charges followed an investigation by the Electrical Safety Office and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, triggered by August 2018 complaints about the quality of electrical work and his company’s licensing status.

Another case that was just finalised in Western Australia several weeks ago, was fined a total of $21,500 for failing to properly supervise the apprentice, and allowing him to perform wiring work when he didn’t hold the necessary electrician’s training licence. …

While talking on his phone, the supervisor directed the apprentice to the unit’s cabinet, and the apprentice started cutting the wires, causing him to suffer an electric shock, which lasted for at least 30 seconds because he was unable to let go of an electrified cable.”

READ MORE HERE


13. BUILDER ENTERS ENFORCEABLE UNDERTAKING TO IMPROVE CONSTRUCTION SAFETY

The National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) SAFE-T-BULLETIN of 2 June 2022 includes a report of a builder who has entered into an enforceable undertaking to improve construction safety. 

The article listed on the NSCA website as 23 May 2022 states, “Construction company John Holland Pty Ltd will deliver safety improvements worth more than $1.2 million that will benefit the construction industry nationally, through an enforceable undertaking accepted by Comcare. The commitment follows a 2018 incident on the Sydney Metro project, where a worker suffered leg injuries in a fall. Following a Comcare investigation, John Holland was charged in 2020 with breaching the federal Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions agreed to withdraw the prosecution after Comcare accepted the enforceable undertaking.

On 11 September 2018, a DJD Brick and Blocklaying Pty Ltd worker, who was subcontracted to the NorthWest Rapid Transit Consortium as part of the Sydney Metro Project, Castle Hill Metro Station, was carrying out works on the mezzanine level. The worker stepped on a penetration cover which gave way, resulting in a fall of over seven metres onto the concrete floor below. The worker sustained serious injuries, including a broken femur and a damaged patella of the left leg, as well as a laceration to the left elbow. Following the incident, the worker’s left knee required surgical reconstruction and his broken femur was repaired.

As the principal contractor for the project, it was alleged that John Holland failed to ensure the board covering the void was adequately fastened. The original charge was a Category 2 offence under the WHS Act, carrying a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

As part of the enforceable undertaking, John Holland has developed a program of work health and safety improvements and industry support. This includes a virtual reality app to identify hazards and risks in working at height, to be made freely available to the broader construction industry. The program also includes an improved site induction process using 360-degree cameras and virtual reality systems to strengthen understanding of site risks and hazards. The technology aims to provide the trainee with an immersive visual experience and improved engagement, familiarisation and understanding of the risks and hazards of the site.”

READ MORE HERE


14. REPORT CALLS ON COUNCILS TO COMMIT TO E-BUSES FROM 2025

The 30 May 2022 edition Government News discusses a new report recently launched by the Australia Institute.   The report puts forward he case for a nation-wide transition to zero-emissions buses by 2030, with local governments pledging to only buy electric buses from 2025.

Reporter Judy Skatssoon states, “The report, authored by head of the Climate and Energy program’s transport unit Audrey Quicke and research fellow Sienna Parrott, says there’s wide public support for electric buses, with three in four Australians supporting the electrification of bus fleets by the end of the decade.

The report notes that NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT  already have targets and strategies in place to speed the move to electric buses, while the NT, Tasmania, WA and South Australia are lagging.

“There is a role to play at every government level to successfully transition Australia’s bus fleets to zero emissions by 2030,” the report says.

“Transitioning Australia’s bus fleet to electric vehicles powered by 100 per cent renewable energy will bring a range of benefits. Beyond the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, electric buses are quiet and clean – leading to air quality, health, and well-being benefits.

“Additionally, a well-managed network can help curb urban sprawl and congestion, be integrated with cycling and walking infrastructure, and provide affordable transport options for Australians.” …

The report calls for the federal government to develop an electric bus manufacturing study, introduce fuel efficiency and vehicle emissions standards that extend to buses, and fund bus driver and mechanic retraining programs.

However it also notes the challenges in getting across the line with e-buses, including higher upfront costs – Diesel buses cost around $480,000 compared to between $550,000 and $900,000 for an electric bus.”

READ MORE HERE


15. ARE WE READY FOR THE EV REVOLUTION?

Energy Networks Update of 6 June 2022, a news service from Energy Networks Australia (ENA), raises the question of whether we are ready for the Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution. 

The article states, “with EV sales now equating to two per cent of new cars sold and many car manufacturers phasing out fuel combustion engine development and manufacturing, Australian networks must consider if the electricity grid is prepared for the increasing uptake of EVs.”

The article follows on from a “recent State of Electric Vehicles report by the Electric Vehicle Council indicated that electric vehicle (EV) sales in Australia have tripled in 2021. This increase represents a two per cent market share of all sales, compared with 0.78 per cent in 2020. The question is, are distribution networks ready for the EV uptake?”

In a previous article, titled Electric vehicles and the grid – can we just plug and play?, the ENA, “presented some of the potential impacts of EVs on distribution networks, which included asset congestion, voltage issues, conductors and transformers overload.”  This article, looks “at the results from the University of Melbourne’s EV Management and Time-of-Use Tariffs report which explores possible approaches to mitigate impacts from residential EV chargers on distribution networks. The report is part of the collaborative EV Integration project between Energy Networks Australia, University of Melbourne, the Centre for New Energy Technologies, and the Australian Power Institute.

This report investigates the effectiveness of EV management strategy and time of use (ToU). Selected rural and urban feeders (powerlines) for NSW, Tasmania and Victoria were considered in the study. It should be noted that the results presented apply to those feeders only, not the whole distribution network. …

There are a range of EV charging management strategies. This study utilised direct management of chargers, given it did not require models of low voltage (LV) feeders which are not readily available for most distribution network service providers (DNSPs). Sensors were installed on certain locations on the feeder to measure and monitor thermal and voltage changes. When the sensors detected changes outside optimal operating limits, a signal was sent to the EV chargers to connect or disconnect.”

READ MORE HERE


16. WESTERN SYDNEY LEADS ADVANCED MANUFACTURING REVOLUTION

The 31 May 2022 edition of Manufacturers’ Monthly Newsletter includes an article suggesting Western Sydney will be at the heart of Australia’s high-tech manufacturing capability, with the investment of $260 million in a national-first shared-use research facility. 

The facility will be built on the doorstep of the new Western Sydney International Airport.

The article states, “The full-scale Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF) will be the focal point of the new Bradfield City Centre, the 115ha urban and employment area next to the airport.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the AMRF will be at the leading edge of Australia’s advanced manufacturing revolution helping to strengthen our economy now and into the future.

“We are securing a brighter future of our families and our country, right here in Western Sydney,” Perrottet said.

“The NSW Government is building what matters to make Western Sydney an even better place to live, work, learn, play and raise a family.

“The AMRF will create new high-paying jobs of the future in Western Sydney by making Bradfield City Centre the national capital of advanced manufacturing bringing industry and universities together.”

Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the AMRF was planned to be operational in 2026.

“Western Sydney has one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing businesses in Australia. The AMRF will allow manufacturers from Western Sydney the support to transition to new ways of doing business, creating the high value components for the next generation of space, aerospace, defence and medical technologies,” Ayres added.

“It will mean more jobs and more investment in Western Sydney. But even more importantly, it puts Western Sydney at the centre of some of the biggest global industrial trends of this century.”

Treasurer Matt Kean said the facility will change the face of manufacturing in Australia on the doorstep of the new International Airport.

The Western Parkland City Authority will also be releasing the first of a $23 million package of tenders for advanced manufacturing equipment to be installed in the pilot of the AMRF due to open in 2023.

The first tender package, released this week by the Western Parkland City Authority, is for precision additive manufacturing equipment to be used in the aerospace, defence, automotive and medical industries.”

READ MORE HERE


17. THREE WAYS ALBANESE GOVERNMENT CAN EASE PRESSURE ON POWER BILLS

Tim Nelson and Joel Gilmore report in the 6 June 2022 edition of Renew Economy, that Australia is in the grips of an energy crisis. 

The article highlights the astonishing price of electricity in NSW during the period March to June, “with electricity generation prices roughly 115% above the previous highest average wholesale price ever recorded.”

It states, “The price for electricity in New South Wales for this quarter (March to June), for instance, is currently at a staggering A$300 per megawatt hour.

Future electricity prices are also increasing to previously unimaginable levels. The market is pricing electricity contracts for next financial year at $238 per megawatt hour – around 180% higher than what it traded at the beginning of this year.

The Labor government last week ruled out triggering an emergency mechanism to restrict gas exports, a mechanism many say would help ease household prices. In any case, we propose three additional ways it can start to ease the pressure on prices.

Wait, what’s going on?

The Australian Energy Regulator recently approved household electricity price rises of up to 20%. The regulator noted prices are increasing due to a jump in wholesale prices (which we predicted back in March).

Wholesale prices are the price of generating electricity and have historically represented around 35% of the final bill for households. There are three key drivers of wholesale prices:

  • the cost of building new generation: if capital costs and financing costs for new projects increase, then wholesale prices are also likely to increase
  • supply and demand: how much generation is available relative to demand
  • the cost of operating existing generation: if input costs, such as coal and gas prices, increase then electricity prices are also likely to increase.

Contrary to much of the existing commentary, it is a combination of the second and third drivers that has resulted in prices increasing to unprecedented levels.”

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