Bruce Flegg
Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg

April 5, 2012

Master Electricians Australia has blasted “bureaucracy gone mad” after electricians were fined for performing work they were qualified and authorised to do.

The industry association says that in a number of recent cases, electricians have been fined $2000 by the Queensland Building Services Authority in relation to a technical breach after installing solar hot water systems.

Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm Richards said in all cases reported by members, the electrical work had been done by fully licensed electricians, while the plumbing component had been performed by a fully licensed plumber with the appropriate BSA license.

“However, because a single invoice for the work sent from the electrical contractor to the customer included the portion of work carried out by the plumber, the electrical contractor was deemed to be in breach of the Building Services Act,” he said.

“Some electricians have received multiple $2000 fines, simply for providing a single invoice to their customers. If the plumber had issued a separate invoice, no breach would have occurred.

“This is bureaucracy gone mad. This BSA action is a blatant case of red tape increasing the cost of undertaking business for no sensible outcome. None of the work was unsafe and no customers were dissatisfied with the results.

“Until recently, this was never an issue for the BSA or the Electrical Safety Office. Two licensed tradespeople working cooperatively were able to deliver a quality service to customers and issue a single invoice.”

Master Electricians Australia is seeking a meeting with Queensland’s new Minister for Housing and Public Works, Dr Bruce Flegg, and hopes to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Mr Richards said as the peak industry body representing the interests of electrical contractors, Master Electricians Australia wanted to work with the new Queensland Government to cut red tape and eliminate these examples of bureaucratic inefficiency.

“This kind of heavy-handedness simply disrupts business and drives up costs to householders,” Mr Richards said.

“It inconveniences customers and ties up government resources that should be directed to addressing genuine safety and regulatory issues.”

UPDATE April 17:

Minister for Housing and Public Works Bruce Flegg has asked the Building Services Authority to examine the licensing regulations that apply to the installation of solar hot water systems to clarify installation responsibilities for electricians and plumbers.

Dr Flegg said he expected the BSA to report back to him on this review of solar hot water licensing, including the imposition of fines on certain electricians.

The BSA will undertake the review immediately and report to the Minister in the near future.

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