Registrations come under continuing attack

The Plumbing and Fire protection training packages are currently under review. The PPTEU is committed to protect the registrations and licensing of our trade. Below is a brief outline to inform members of the difficult and arduous work currently being undertaken by your Union to have a voice and defend the current attack on our trade.

Key points

The National Training Package review is currently underway that will affect the Plumbing and Sprinkler Fitting Trades into the future. Work has been progressing on this for about the last 9 months. The two packages that affect our Members and the overall industry are;

1. Plumbing and services

This training package is under the control of the Construction Industry Reference Committee. The Plumbing and Services review is tracking along satisfactorily. Forums have been held around the country. Surveys and feedback have been submitted. The TAG (Technical Advisory Group) is working well. This TAG is chaired by Ken Gardiner formally from MPMSAA.

2. Fire protection inspect and test

This training package is under the control of the Property Services Industry Reference Committee.
The PPTEU has a representative on The Fire Protection Inspect and Test TAG, which is Glenn Menzies. This TAG has not been functioning and the PPTEU has highlighted a number concerns and has fought hard to have these concerns addressed.

The TAG has 10 representatives from around the country. The TAG is chaired by Chris Wyborn from the FPAA (Fire Protection Association of Australia). The PPTEU, NFIA, and FIT are all running the same line, but are being out-voted on most issues by the rest of the group 7-3 (The other 7 members are either directly or indirectly related to the FPAA).
The issues of main concern centre around Annual Certification and Routine Service Requirements for water based fire protection systems.

The push from the FPAA has been to develop specific units in line with job roles specified in documents titled; “Required Sprinkler System Job Roles to suit Industry to meet AS 1851-2012”, and “Required Hydrant System Job Roles to suit Industry to meet AS 1851-2012”.

In other words; there is an attempt to break down or short course these qualifications, so that any person can perform a particular task, without a thorough knowledge of how the system they are testing actually works.

The FPAA want to control and deliver these short courses. They have put a lot of work, resources and money into developing these short course units, pre-empting the outcome of the review.

On the 14th of February 2018 the TAG met again. The push to get these units out for public comment; tick the boxes etc. was voted 7-3 in favour of releasing the Draft units for public commentRead our PPTEU, NFIA, FIT Statement for the FPIT TAG meeting 14/3/18.

The Draft units were released following this meeting. Forums were held in all Capital cities. PPTEU, NFIA, and FIT were all well represented. Members, contractors and instructors raised their concerns at these forums, and agreed with the Unions position.

Once the forums were completed, the opportunity to respond to a survey, re: the qualifications, commenced. The survey was approximately 40 pages long, very complicated and confusing. Again the PPTEU, NFIA, and FIT got our Members, contractors, instructors and apprentices to respond. Collectively and nationally we had 1800 responses.

The responses to the surveys were dismissed by the Project Manager from Artibus Innovation and the Chair of the TAG.

Artibus Innovation has been commissioned by the Australian Government to support the Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) for Construction, Plumbing and Services and Property Services in their work reviewing, renewing, and developing vocational education and training (VET) within their sectors.

Intense lobbying to AISC (Australian Industry Skills Council) Commissioners, the SSO (Skills Service Organisation) Artibus Innovation, and Construction Industry Reference Committee, has been ongoing since the start of this project.
The PPTEU believe due to the pressure put on by the PPTEU, NFIA, and FIT, Members, and contractors we may be starting to be herd, I also believe that we have highlighted the bias of the TAG, and the importance of an Independent Chair of the TAG.

The Terms of Reference for the TAG are currently being re-written, the composition of the TAG reviewed, and an Independent Chair appointed to sit down and go over where we are at, and to go over the issues we have concerns with.

There is still a lot of work to be done, and I am not convinced that everything is going to go our way, but at least I hope our participation and feedback will no-longer be devalued, ignored and disregarded as has been the case previously.

We will continue to fight for the delivery of Industry Required Qualifications rather than outcomes designed solely to meet an FPAA position.