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Still room for improvement at Plumbers Board

Still room for improvement at Plumbers Board

The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board is certainly better than it used to be, but it still needs to work much more closely with industry, says the industry association.

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Society president, Dave Strong, was commenting on the inquiry by the Auditor-General into the performance of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board.

The Auditor-General’s report was released today. It was commissioned in September 2008 by the then Minister for Building and Construction.

The report reflects the ‘scale and complexity of the problems that have beset the Board’ and it makes 15 recommendations.

Mr Strong hoped the Auditor-General’s inquiry would prompt further much-needed changes within the Board.

“The regime in place when this report was commissioned was dysfunctional and it caused major problems,” Mr Strong said.

“This current Board, which was appointed two years ago, has certainly started to address many of the major issues about which we’ve had long-standing concerns, but they still need to work much more closely with industry to get things right.”

Mr Strong said the Board still has a tendency to work in isolation and this means its policy and decision-making does not always reflect industry issues and requirements.

“For example, the Board’s upskilling policies, which were introduced in April this year, are already under review and it’s important that industry be involved in setting the new guidelines. After all, this impacts on our businesses.

“It also impacts on the Board’s credibility because it is seen as not being able to set well constructed policy appropriately.

“There is also an ongoing mismatch between the Board’s registration competencies and the unit standards delivered by the industry training organisation.

“That causes very real problems for apprentices trying to get registered and it imposes a range of unnecessary costs on these people.

“It’s in areas like these that the Board still shows a lack of strategic capacity and a degree of arrogance, and it needs to appreciate that it has to work with and for – not against - the sector.”

Mr Strong noted, however, that the Board has improved its performance considerably in the last two years and he is confident it will continue to address the outstanding problems, working closely with industry, especially Master Plumbers.


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