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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 March 2008) . . Page.. 570 ..

National Electrical and Communications Association

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.10): Last week I had the pleasure of representing the ACT government at the opening of the new offices of the National Electrical and Communications Association, or NECA, in Fyshwick. NECA is the only national industry association that represents contractors responsible for the delivery of electrical, voice and data communication systems in Australia. According to their website, they have approximately 4,000 businesses members, which employ approximately 50,000 tradespeople. While NECA provides a multitude of services for its members and, through that, the community, it is their focus on training and development I wish to talk about today.

I was pleased to see the opening of the new offices in Fyshwick that represent a great commitment to the territory and regional business. To have such an influential organisation providing a solid base in the nation’s capital will only further assist in addressing the skills shortage that we are currently facing. NECA’s involvement with the federal government has been quite extensive in providing valuable information about the skills shortage. The association has issued publications like “A report on the skills shortage in electrotechnology” and a report entitled “Electrotechnology and data communications—licensing, the ageing workforce”, and it is these efforts shown by people involved directly in the industry that must be supported and encouraged.

With NECA expanding their organisation into the ACT, it can only yield positive outcomes for the community. I mentioned at the launch last week that the ACT government has implemented a number of policies in recent years focusing on creating opportunities for business growth and development. Just as important is the focus on providing development of trade training, something that the National Electrical and Communications Association has played a major role in. That major role has extended to its group apprenticeship businesses and its support for school-based training and also their links with CIT in Canberra. I do hope that this relationship will go even further. It is through this training that we hope to provide the right support for those wishing to enter the workforce in the trade environment.

The members of this Assembly are aware of my passion for environmental issues and, in particular, sustainable development. To achieve sustainable development, we require a focus on a diverse range of factors, including future training needs. NECA’s involvement in renewable energy issues as illustrated through their ecosmart electricians course and their support for energy-saving components in the building industry have gone a long way to achieving that goal. It is through these measures that we can assist in the transition to a fully sustainable development area.

The ACT government is taking an active approach to encouraging sustainable development through measures outlined in its climate change strategy, weathering the change. It is important that industry take the initiative to actively look at procedures and mechanisms within their own areas that they can improve with regard to sustainable development. That is exactly what NECA is setting out to achieve, and I commend them for that.

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