Media Release here
Attention Political and General Reporters
19 August 2020
ETU calls on State Government to reject watering down of Queensland’s electrical licensing and safety
National licensing deregulation proposal sparks concern
The Electrical Trades Union Qld NT Branch has joined with its National Office to seek an exemption for the electricity industry from the Federal Government’s proposed Automatic Mutual Recognition of licenses scheme, citing concerns the proposal will degrade and water down Queensland’ high standards.
The ETU has written to the Minister responsible for Electrical Safety Grace Grace and Treasurer Cameron Dick calling on them to publicly seek an exemption for the electricity industry from the rushed deregulation scheme. The call comes amid growing concerns the scheme will leave contractors, workers, and the Queensland community exposed to “backdoor” underqualified tradies undermining safety and trust in the occupation.
ETU State Secretary Peter Ong said the proposed changes were not needed and would mean Queensland, which has one of the best electrical safety systems in the country would lose its autonomy and be at the mercy of inferior licensing and safety regimes.
“Put simply there is no reason for this scheme, electrical regulators in all jurisdictions already have the ability to recognise interstate electrical licenses of equivalent types under existing mutual recognition schemes, however with safeguards in place to ensure applicants have the necessary attributes and competence to undertake the work safely and effectively under the relevant legislative requirements for that state or territory.” Mr. Ong said.
“However, under the proposal Automatic Mutual Recognition proposal and the ridiculously short timeframes, important safeguards will be undermined. We also have fears that as has been the case in some overseas jurisdictions, the Federal Government under its wish to deregulate will also “outsource” licensing requirements. This would have a disastrous impact on the trade, workers, and the community.”
“With all due respect to hairdressers, auctioneers, and teachers, the electrical industry is more complex and any reduction in safety, competence or compliance could cost lives. It is vitally important that electrical workers know and understand the ‘conduct’ rules that apply in each jurisdiction before they commence electrical work there, failure to do so could leave the companies exposed to fines, and even jail terms if they are not completely familiar with the particular provisions of the legislation,” he said.
“The ETU opposes any attempt to water down or degrade Queensland’s high standards of electrical safety and as such we call on the State Government to seek an exemption for the electricity industry from this current proposed license recognition scheme.”
For more information please call Peter Ong 0419 721 046, Andrew Irvine 0448 633 858