News & Views

22nd June 2016

Budget back in black but more to be done on training

22 Jun 2016

The CEO of the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), Mr Suresh Manickam has said that whilst NSW’s healthy budgetary position is a definite positive, more needs to be done on training.

“The fact that the NSW Budget is in the black, with a surplus of $3.7 billion forecast for 2016-17, is a positive for New South Wales,” said Mr Manickam.

“Similarly, the record $73.3 billion spend on critical infrastructure over the next four years will significantly benefit the state economy and the electrical contracting sector, given the underlying boost to construction.”

“The long-term lease of TransGrid, resulting in net proceeds of $6.6 billion and the partial long-term lease of both Ausgrid and Endeavour, expected in 2016-17, will further enhance NSW’s budgetary position by more than $20 billion and provide scope for future investment opportunities.

 “It is in this context that NECA believes the NSW Government should re-invest some of these proceeds back into the electricity supply industry in the form of providing opportunities for apprenticeships,” Mr Manickam said.

“Over the last decade Ausgrid, Endeavour, Essential and TransGrid have all ceased to provide training and apprenticeship opportunities. The Ausgrid Learning Centre located at Silverwater – possibly the most outstanding vocational training facility in Australia – is now barely used at all for vocational training.”

“Irrespective of the future ownership of the distribution network, there is an ongoing need to train and re-skill new and existing workers in the electricity supply industry. While electricity supply industry workers are not being trained by any of NSW’s three distributors, NECA is willing and able to train these workers and currently employs and trains apprentices within this field.”

“However, our ability to provide further quality training is currently constrained by limited access to appropriate training and network facilities. NECA calls on the NSW Government to provide funding for facilities for the training and re-training of workers in the electricity supply industry.”

“The alternative is worsening skills shortages in NSW which impacts the NSW Government’s infrastructure program. Additionally, such facilities could be designed to allow the testing of smart grid technologies, enabling NSW consumers to gain the full benefits flowing from the roll-out of smart meters which will occur shortly,” said Mr Manickam.

 

-ENDS-

 

Media enquiries and interviews

Barry Jackson – National Marketing and Communications

E barry.jackson@neca.asn.au

D 02 9962 6904

M 0457 767 328

 

Notes for editors

 

  1. NECA is the peak industry body representing the interests of electrical and communications contractors Australia-wide.
  2. NECA is run by electrical contractors, for electrical contractors.
  3. We have 5,000 contracting companies as members – and they in turn employ over 50,000 people Australia-wide.
  4. NECA employs almost 350 people across its seven chapters (Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia).
  5. The chapters provide NECA members with a range of services including: Industrial Relations, Health & Safety, Legal, Technical, Training, business-support services, product discounts and advocacy representation in Canberra with Government, Industry bodies and Training bodies.
  6. NECA wholly-owns its Legal firm, Group Training and the NECA Colleges (in WA) and EcoSmart Electricians – and has joint ventures with a superannuation company (NSW) and one of the national cabling registrars (ACRS).
  7. NECA also employ around 2,000 apprentice electricians and provides training to a further 2,000.
  8. For further information go to www.neca.asn.au.

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