ECA WA Advocacy Update

ECA WA continues to meet with the government, Western Power, Horizon Power and Building and Energy (formerly EnergySafety) on a regular basis.

We have been very active in the State Government’s Security of Payment Reform Group. This group has met four times and discussed many issues of concern to contractors such as contract and payment terms, adjudications and retention payments.

One of the major concerns has been the security of retention monies. In our submission to the Reform Group, we have strongly supported the use of Construction Trusts as the fairest and most legally robust means of ensuring that retentions are protected.

Our view is that a legislated Construction Trust is the best option for members because:

  • Head contractors are prohibited by law from accessing retention funds for their operational cash flow.
  • The Trust would ideally be held and administered by the government, meaning that head contractors can’t access the retention funds.
  • Retention funds that are held in the Construction Trust are quarantined from administration/insolvency proceedings so that should the head contractor go broke, the retention funds will be protected and remain available to be returned in full to sub-contractors.

Eligibility to hold an Electrical Contractors Licence has also been a key topic and we recently had discussions with Building and Energy on proposed changes to the requirements. The main changes ECA WA has recommended include:

  • A two year post-apprenticeship eligibility requirement be introduced prior to an electrical worker being eligible to gain an Electrical Contractors Licence.
  • The current Electrical Contractors Course being upgraded to become an accredited Certificate IV course.
  • A mandate that all electrical contractors are required to implement a basic safety management plan in their business.

ECA WA is pleased to have positive relationships with a number of government ministers, which allows us to give industry a strong voice. We recently hosted a visit with the Hon. Sue Ellery MLC, the Minister for Education and Training, and Ms Emily Hamilton MLA, the Member for Joondalup, at CET’s Joondalup campus. Topics for discussion included future government funding for apprentice training and security of payment.

ECA WA Technical’s bi-monthly meeting with the Western Power Inspectorate is continuing to resolve issues that affect many members. These valuable meetings have clarified a range of matters such as mechanical protection of consumer mains in stud walls, mechanical protection of consumer mains in double brick walls without a cavity and how a contractor should deal with an Inspector’s Order for defects on existing property work which were not part of the contractor’s scope of works.

Finally, as I mentioned in the previous edition, we have been pursuing discussions with the State Government regarding Synergy’s entry into the retail solar market and what we believe to be its unfair competition against contractors in the solar sector. The issue will need to be determined by the Hon. Ben Wyatt MLA who, as well as being the State Treasurer, is also the Minister for Energy. Given Mr Wyatt’s workload, we expect resolution to take some time but members can be assured that we will continue to actively pursue the issue.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the above issues, please contact Aidan O'Grady, GM Member Services, on (08) 6241 6100 or