Plumbing sector lobs on Parliament’s door
Plumbing advocacy at the Federal and State level is undertaken with the enormous efforts of relative few but is done to ensure that there is a voice that represents the interests of the industry.
The likes of the major builder groups don’t always represent the particular interests of the plumbing sector and many have full time representation in Canberra to continuously lobby their interests with Governement. The plumbing sector relies mostly on volunteers from industry groups such as employer associations, suppliers, resellers and other key stakeholders.
Thus, at both a State and Federal level, there are numerous issues around training, regulation, licensing, small business red-tape and many others, where the industry’s voice needs to be heard.
During the past three years, under the leadership of the Plumbing Product Industry Group (PPIG) – the industry’s supplier association – an annual ‘Plumbing meets Parliament’ event has been held at Parliament House, Canberra.
The industry is fortunate to have the services and influence of Stuart Henry, the executive director of PPIG, who puts this considerable event together. Stuart was the federal member for the Perth electorate of Hasluck (2004-2007) and knows his way around the house.
This year’s event was held on October 19 and 55 representatives from across the sector attended.
The morning session consisted of a range of Government Ministers detailing their stance on issues of importance to the industry, as well as a few behind the scenes views on matters that don’t reach the general press.
The morning was introduced by Steve Irons MP. Steve’s family owns a HVAC business and he is a strong advocate for small business and one of the few in Parliament who has completed an apprenticeship and understands what vocational training is about.
We then had a bevy of current senior ministers make presentations.
These included: Hon Craig Laundy MP (Industry, Innovation & Science), Hon Josh Frydenberg MP (Environment & Energy), Hon Michael McCormack MP (Small Business), Hon Michael Soukkar MP (Assistant Treasurer), Hon Barnaby Joyce MP (Deputy PM and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources).
The afternoon presentations then focussed on high level regulatory issues of importance to every plumber working onsite.
These included Standards Australia, JAS-ANZ, new WaterMark Scheme (SAI Global/IAPMO) and the WELS regulator.
The industry was the winner with this event and it demonstrates the importance of continuing to maintain dialogue between all representative groups across the sector, at all levels.