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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1129 ..


MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (10.50): Mr Speaker, I present the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR SMYTH: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill is to amend the Electricity Act 1971 to provide for trainees and school students to perform electrical wiring work whilst undergoing an accredited training course. It will also exempt telecommunication workers who have undergone accredited training from the requirement to obtain an electricians licence.

The Commonwealth Minister for Schools and Vocational Education and Training, Dr Kemp, recently announced that the Commonwealth Government's initiative to provide more flexible and user choice training for young people has seen the introduction of specific electrical training courses in secondary colleges. Several colleges in the ACT are now providing electrical training for students wishing to pursue a career in the electrical industry. The training provides a credit towards an apprenticeship or traineeship once the student enters the work force. This provides a benefit to the employer in that the apprentice is semiskilled at the commencement of the apprenticeship training. This Bill provides legal status to these students and trainees to perform electrical wiring work whilst training. Currently such status is afforded only to apprentices. The Bill also removes the need for telecommunication workers to obtain an electricians licence if they complete an accredited training course.

The implementation of the Commonwealth Government's competition policy has seen the removal of the statutory immunity for telecommunication workers. This means that telecommunication workers now come under the licensing provisions of State and Territory electrical licensing legislation. This Bill will continue to provide the exemption and not require them to be licensed, subject to them completing an accredited training course that will ensure that the current high standards of training and safe working practices are maintained.

Mr Speaker, this Government is committed to supporting youth employment and youth training initiatives and providing for the continued implementation of competition policy. I am pleased to bring forward legislation for this purpose. This Bill deserves the support of all members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves ) adjourned.

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