Unlicensed electrical work can be dangerous, void your insurance and potentially cause damage (including fire). All electrical work in Queensland must only be done by a licensed electrical contractor.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 14 July 2016 to two offences under s. 31 (1) of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013, having represented himself as a licensed electrical worker.
Magistrate Coates fined the defendant $1100.00 for one offence and imposed a two year court ordered Undertaking with a $1100.00 recognizance pursuant to 187E of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and ordered professional costs of $1500.00. No convictions were recorded.
The defendant lodged an application for an electrical safety license with the Queensland Electrical Safety Office offering documentation which made representations that he had performed licensed electrical work in New South Wales. The defendant had never been licensed.
In reaching a decision, the Magistrate noted the objects and intent of the Electrical Safety Act are to eliminate the human cost to individuals, families and the community of death, injury and destruction that can be caused by electricity. The consequences of having work performed by an unlicensed person can be catastrophic and have negative effects on consumer protection.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Coates took into account the defendant had not been previously prosecuted for any electrical safety breach, co-operated by way of an early plea of guilty (to substituted charges) and his personal financial circumstances were not good. The court accepted that defendant lived on a carer's pension looking after two dependents. It was also acknowledged he had completed an electrical apprenticeship in his birth country of Lebanon which required 'electrical training whilst working on the job'. However it was incumbent upon him to complete the forms as accurately and correctly as possible noting there are often highly trained people who come from other countries who cannot perform their role in Australia due to the necessary requirements.
The court recognized the balancing exercise between the personal antecedents of the defendant, the nature of the offences and the need for deterrence, both general and specific, and accepted prosecution submissions that imposition of separate penalties was appropriate.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When working in or applying to work in the licensed electrical industry in Queensland individuals must ensure that all documentary material including qualifications are accurate and valid. Providing false or misleading material to the registering authority is considered serious due to the ramifications of having unlicensed and unskilled persons working with electricity.
- Check electrical licence holders before hiring them
- Understanding electrical licensing in Queensland
- Electrical Safety Regulation 2013
- Electrical Safety Act 2002
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services
- Date of offence:
- Not applicable
- Brisbane Magistrates Court
- Suzette Coates
- s.31 Electrical Safety Regulation 2013
- Decision date:
- $1100 for first offence
Two year court ordered undertaking, $1100 recognisance for second offence
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: