Watch the Summit recording which saw electrical industry leaders focus on what it takes to be the best leader, diversity in the workplace and learnings for the future in the electrical industry.
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Good morning. Beautiful day. Good morning. Thank you for your quiet. We have a dialled in online audience as well this morning. So great to have you all here. Good morning. My name is Belinda Watton. I'm the Executive General Manager for Eureka and Energy Solutions Business Forms, part of the Energy Queensland Group. I'd like to welcome you all today, and I'd also like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we meet today and our elders past and present.
We have a jam packed morning for you this morning, but I'll start with a few housekeeping elements. Um, firstly, the toilets for those who are in the room are on your left, on my left.
How am I going? My mum would say, that's the other left, but they are back in that corner over here in case of an emergency.
Please follow Victoria Park staff who will ensure that we get to safety for our online viewers. If you have any technical issues, please make sure the sound is on your computer. Try refreshing your browser. If that doesn't work, contact us via the q and a chat box, which is on the right of your screen.
Um, and the old on and off is always handy if that fails. Uh, really proud to announce that this is the seventh Electrical Safety Summit.
Following on from a great event last year where we focused on global supply and emerging technologies in the industry, it is exciting to see everyone gathered in the room here today and the online audience. Today's summit, we'll focus on what it takes to be the best leader, diversity in the workplace and learnings for the future in the electrical industry. A number of acknowledgements I would like to make today, uh, Minister Grace Grace, Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations. Keith McKenzie, Commissioner for Electrical Safety Queensland. Peter McKay, Deputy Director General Office of Industrial Relations, Donna Healan, Executive Director, Electrical Safety Office, Electrical Safety Board and Committee members. Our guest speakers, Melinda Williams, Simon Black, Sean O'Connor, and Brian Richardson, and one of Energy Queensland's own directors, the Honourable Paul Lucas.
I'd like to start by introducing the Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations, the Honourable Grace Grace, to give the opening address for this year's Electricity Safety Summit. Thank you. Welcome, Grace.
Thank you very much, Belinda. And it's great to be here this morning, bright and early, having a nice early breakfast. And I think as Brian said to me, I didn't cook it and it tastes wonderful, so I hope you are enjoying it. Can I join others in acknowledging the traditional owners and paying my respects to elders past, present, and emerging, and to some of the dignitaries in the room, Keith McKenzie, our Electrical Safety Commissioner and former Commissioner, Greg Skyring there as well. Greg, welcome. Can I acknowledge, Donna Heelan, the Executive Director of the Electrical Safety Office, and many of your staff that are in the room here as well, who do a wonderful job in this space. It's not easy, but they do, a fantastic job and we're out there making it even easier and hopefully better.
Um, can I also acknowledge my, um, past parliamentary colleagues that are here in Chris Bolus and Paul Lucas from Energy Queensland? It's great to see you both and of course, um, can I acknowledge all of the, um, board members, all of the industry participants that do such a, an incredible job in this space. But to the conference speakers, um, and the forum panel members, Simon Black, Simon, I said to you, my husband Michael, was very happy that I was meeting you this morning, knew where you were born in Mount Isa, a good Mount Isa a boy. Um, he knows everything being an avid AFL fan, so it was great to meet you and welcome Simon. To Sean O'Connor, Deputy Chair of the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland's Consultative Committee for Work Related Fatalities and Serious Incidents. I'm Sean.
Thank you so much for all the work that that committee does. That was an Australia first committee that looks at how we relate, um, to families and friends of, um, those that have, um, a related fatality or a serious incident. And a lot of states followed our lead in that, and I know Sean does a great job there as deputy chair. Um, and Melinda Williams from, um, Ergon Energy. Looking forward to listening to Melinda and Brian Richardson, the Director of Electrical Equipment Safety and Licensing does a great job.
And every Christmas we have to warn people about making sure those wires are spick and span and, um, all of that. But good morning privilege to be here today, um, for the Electrical Safety Summit. And as you know, the Summit is part of our Electrical Safety Week, which is the perfect time to remember how important it is not to be complacent with electricity. And, um, look, this week is all about really ensuring that we host events and we raise and reset the education and information around, um, electrical safety to, uh, obviously industry leaders such as those in this room, electrical workers, contractors, apprentices, and the community.
I have a nephew at the moment who's an electrical, um, apprentice. We've got around 62,000, um, licensed electrical workers, 12,600 electrical contractors and more than seven and a half thousand apprentices here in Queensland. And we want every one of them to go to work and come home safely. And we know that often with electricity, there's not too many second chances.
Last year, unfortunately, we had 24 serious electrical incidents in Queensland, and tragically we lost six, um, fatally. And that's six families and friends that Sean's committee and others and the department, um, need to assist and obviously have to live with this, um, terrible burden all their life. But as a government, our responsibility obviously is to make sure that the laws are enforced and that we ensure that our workplaces are as safe as possible and that those who obviously are found not to be doing the right thing, that there are remedies in place where we can protect the community workers and um, obviously the workplace itself. And, um, you know, that is something that I know the department carries out.
We also need to be sure that the laws are keeping pace with changes in this sector. And we've seen so much in the renewable energy space. And I was just talking to Greg, who's heading up, you know, part of all of the skills and training and, um, what is happening in this area. And it moves so very quickly. Um, so we want to make sure that the technology that is emerging is also covered under the Electrical Safety Act. And we're out at the moment.
There's been an independent review, um, the electrical safety laws. We want to provide the highest of standards, um, for workers while recognizing that we need to also cover those new and emerging technologies. Um, look, thank you everyone. I think many of you in this room are providing feedback on the 83recommendations covering a range of issues, um, including solar battery storage systems. And as you know, our jobs and renewable energy plan is moving very much into that space.
Electric vehicles, um, how much have they changed? Um, what is the safety procedures around those hydrogen electricity generation and storage, extra low voltage definitions off-grid generations and licensing. There's many issues there. It is a large piece of legislation that the department has been working through and my office of course, and, um, we want to make sure that we get that right. So please, your feedback on that is very important. I hope to take a bill to the parliament very soon. Um, we want to meet our targets for our, um, renewable energy where we've got 70% by 2032, and 80% by 2035, and probably one of Australia's largest jobs and energy plan. Um, that is not only in Australia, but I think the world. I think we are going to have one of the biggest storage, um, batteries in the world. And, um, that is moving at a fast pace. We want to ensure that we bring the industry and the workers with us. It is a generational transition, and we want to hear, of course, from you in relation to that. 'cause we know we can't do it alone.
But I'm looking forward to hearing from you, Simon this morning. Um, tomorrow our apprentices will have an opportunity to engage with league star Jonathan Thurston about getting, you know, the right career choice and getting that information out on Thursday. I ask you to please encourage your workers to stream our webinar with industry updates and to hear from a survivor of arc flash. And finally, we'll finish electrical safety week with a community webinar that will include a panel of experts talking about the importance of the safe purchase use, storage, charging, and disposal of lithium iron batteries. So, it's never ending, but we have to start early too.
And I can't tell you how proud I was to join with the Wiggles. Um, and their song Electricity is incredible. I mean, that is a unique and unbelievable partnership that we've established. And, um, I was very proud to be called the Pink Wiggle. It was all done by accident. I might add, it's like, what am I wearing that day? You're put on a jacket and all of a sudden the colour is pink, and you're seen as the pink wiggles. But look, those people are incredible.
And can you believe that youngsters families, they've been streaming this and since December 22, which is only not even 12 months, it has been watched over 3 million times now. You know, the, the song is really catchy. I remember I heard it once and I was singing along to it, but that's where we need to start. But it's also educating families and um, it is a wonderful, um, partnership. So we need to start early, but obviously work through right through careers, um, with our young people, you know, with those in the workplace to ensure that we get that message out.
Look, the relationship of all of you in this room with government, with industry, with my department, with, um, with making sure that the electrical safety and the electrical industry is robust and keeping pace with modern technology is so important. And, um, you know, we've got, um, just so many kilometres now of, um, power lines enough, I believe I've got this great little stat here on, on my speech apparently, in addition to the 203,000 kilometres of power lines, which is enough to wrap the world around five times. Just in case you're wondering, um, we now have over nearly a million residential rooftop solar installations, and I know that many of them are on my schools. 'cause we went on a program of every school in Queensland having solar energy and, um, that really has been an incredible rollout and is saving us, um, a lot of funds on electrical costs and they've really been very successful. And now I'm even thinking of those that we did a few years ago, might need even some additional ones. And it's like painting this, um, Sydney Harbor Bridge or, or the Story Bridge. No sooner do you finish that, you have to start again. So we're even looking at how we can roll out more in that renewable space. Look, with a growing population, a huge growth in renewable energy.
We've got the games on our doorstep coming to our great state. We want them to be the greenest games in the history of the world. Um, we have never needed your services more. Our electricians, contractors, apprentices, all play a part in creating a robust electrical safety network, safe supply and use of electrical equipment and empower our communities to be electrically safe. Thank you very much for all you do. It's great to be here. Here in Electrical Safety Week, I'm looking forward to hearing the speakers and the, and, um, being part of the summit here this morning. Thanks for having me.
Thank you, minister. I'd now like to introduce Donna Heelan. Donna is the Executive Director of the Electrical Safety Office and oversees the strategic delivery of electrical safety across Queensland, which as you can imagine, is an incredible accountability. Uh, Donna today is going to provide an update from the electrical safety office. Thanks, Donna.
Thanks, Belinda. Um, following the Minister is always challenging, and I won't speak anywhere near as well, but please bear with me. Um, my name's Donna, uh, and I'm very proud to lead the electrical safety office, um, and working really hard to make sure that, uh, Queensland is safe, uh, for all of our community industry and workplaces.
Today is the seventh Electrical Safety Week summit. This event started thanks to the previous commissioner, Greg Skying, uh, in 2017 with only 40 attendees. If you look around today, um, the, we have 145 people in this room, and we had over 280 people registered to join us online. Greg's vision was to bring together leaders and industry captains from across Queensland to discuss electrical safety with a view to driving change, which is what such a humble start to where we are today. So well done, Greg.
Electrical Safety Week 2023 has events every day this week from industry apprentices and the community, and the ministers mentioned them, but I'm gonna give them another plug because if you haven't signed up, there is still time. Please join us tomorrow morning at Bracken Ridge TAFE.
You can see Jonathan Thurston. Um, and if you can't make it there for breaky, you can join us online so you can still register that event today. Um, on Thursday, we have the electrical industry webinar, which again, you can join us for if you are a contractor, an electrical worker, an apprentice, or working in the industry at all. And finally, an event that's only started in the last couple of years, um, is about electrical safety in the community, which is a really big focus for the electrical safety office moving forward.
And you'll realise why in a minute. This is really designed to get community engaged in what electricity is and what happens when you become complacent with it. I've said before, there is no one that I work with or anyone in this room that has been in a life where we haven't had electricity. It's something we are so used to.
We turn our phones on, our fridges, keep the beer cold, the air conditioning keeps our rooms hot, it runs our hospitals, it runs our schools, but there's no such thing as a safe shock. And when things go badly, they go badly very quickly. So we already have 230 people attending to attend the community event. Um, if you know anyone that would like to come along, please, it's a free webinar. Spend an hour of your time. I can absolutely guarantee you will learn something new.
In addition to the Queensland events, I'm really excited that our friends and colleagues in the Northern Territory are holding their inaugural electrical Safety week events this week.
So, through our Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council, we've been championing with the other states and territories to get them on board, and we anticipate that in 2024, this will be a national event with activities held all over Australia and likely New Zealand. Uh, and if I get my way, um, we've got a long way to go. I'd like to see it. Electrical Safety Month, similar to Safe Work Month in October, where we talk about electricity for a month of the year and really bring those issues to the forefront.
Electricity powers the lives of 5.3 million Queenslanders. It's everywhere we work, rest, and play. But as I said before, complacency around electricity or electrical equipment comes at a cost Minister Grace mentioned the tragic figures that we had last year with 24 serious electrical injuries. Six of those are fatal. None of these fatalities involve people in this room in the respect to being industry people, so industry and not the people that are injuring themselves.
Four of them were workers in other industries. One sadly was a child and the other was a homeowner doing unlicensed electrical work. These incidents were all avoidable other than the unlicensed electrical work, every one of them was from contact with underground or overhead power lines.
That's five people that came into contact with a line that they could see, or one that they could make some easy assumptions to actually try and avoid digging into them. I know each and every one of you will agree with me that that is six fatalities, too many of the 18 other serious electrical incidents. Sadly, we are represented.
We have eight electrical apprentices or electrical licence holders, which still leaves the other 10 being community members or other workers outside of this industry. The electrical Safety office as part of the Office of Industrial Relations, plays a critical role in ensuring that Queenslanders are electrically safe at home at work every day. During the last calendar year, we conducted over 4,700 site visits, 2,700 audits. We issued 413 infringement notices including almost $70,000 for unlicensed electrical work, and issued over 1800 compliance notices under the electrical safety legislation.
But wait, there's more. We did 70 electrical equipment examinations, 296 responsible supplier audits, received 87 check testing reports and made 68 referrals to the electrical licensing committee, which I'm sure Keith will mention this morning.
And that does not the work that we does not include the work we do to provide education and advice to the community. We've had over 460,000 visits to our newly formed electrical safety community website, which was purely developed for community, for people to come and learn about electrical safety and what they can do in their homes.
And we've had over 1.1 million views of the Don't DIY campaign. We've also delivered engagement activities to 370 organisations and four and a half thousand people. For those of you that like a good sticker and who doesn't, please take the ones on your, on your tables. They've been picked purely for the priority areas that we are looking at. It's about don't do your own electrical work, license electricians at work, and don't work on or around energized parts. If you need any more of those please reach out to me, happy to send you bundles of them and, uh, put them on your hard hats, pop them on your toolbox, um, put them on the back of your ute. Let's get the messages out there.
We are going to continue our commitment to ensuring that we use all the available tools in our toolkit to ensure people are protected from those seeking to do unscrupulous unlicensed electrical work. Our proactive campaign is focused on the online platforms, which have made our lives very easy to get someone to come and mow the lawn, trim the trees, paint a wall, but also for people to tout to do electrical work when they're not licensed to do so.
Our very small team has looked at over 5,000 profiles in the last 12 months, removing any that do not comply with Queensland's robust licensing regime and following up with infringement notices, financial penalties, or prosecutions where appropriate.
We are continuing to work to support Queensland's renewable Energy commitment. We are working very closely with all our other government agencies and industry to deliver safe pv solar, large scale solar, wind farms, hydrogen and battery energy storage systems. In addition to the priorities I've mentioned, we we're going to have a very strong focus on construction and agricultural sectors, which have seen a number of the serious electrical industry injuries in the past 12 months. The hazards of overhead and underground lines, and working on or around energized parts and the safe supply of electrical equipment.
You'll hear from the very courageous Sean O'Connor, Deputy Chair of the Consultative Committee for Work-related Fatalities and serious in incidents about the tragic outcomes when electrical equipment does not meet Australian standards. You'll see Kerry's story, which is a film that was launched only a month ago and has already been viewed by community and industry almost 100,000 times.
The overwhelming feedback from people is that Sean is very brave to tell his story and they genuinely believe that it will make a difference. I encourage you to share this film with your workplace, your friends and your family. It may just save someone's life.
I also encourage you to follow us on Facebook, register for our eSafe electrical publication, and we now have an eSafe apprentice edition, which is tailored just for them. So please, if you know an apprentice or have an apprentice in your workplace, please encourage them to register for important information and safety updates.
I said at the outset, I'm extremely proud and I genuinely am to lead the electrical safety office. We do amazing work every day, and we couldn't do it without the support with many of you in this room.
So I look forward to continuing to work with you into the future. Thank you for the OIR team that have made today a reality. It's as always a seamlessly run event. So well done. And thank you for those in the room for joining us for early morning breakfast and for those on the webinar as the leaders and influences of this very important industry, the work each and every one of you do to champion safety makes a difference to the lives of Queenslanders. Thank you.
Thank you Donna. And, uh, thank you and the team for the incredible work that you do in keeping Queenslanders safe. As you say, uh, there is no such thing as a safe shock. So again, thank you, um, on the topic of diversity. And so, um, so many other things in the workplace.
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce Melinda Williams, who is an electrical fitter mechanic from Ergon Energy. Um, I've worked with Melinda for quite some time, so it is quite the delight to have her here today. Uh, Melinda has a diverse work background with experience in childcare. Before joining the electrical industry, after working in administrative roles for nine years with Ergon, Melinda started her electrical fitter mechanic in 2019 at the age how Indiscreet of 40, um, and is now a qualified trades person with the Ergon Substations Group.
While she doesn't see herself as a role model for females in the industry during her apprenticeship, she loved the fact that, uh, for so many she became one by getting in and doing her job and getting things done safely. So Melinda, absolutely welcome.
Thank You, Belinda. Um, so as of August this year, I am a licensed electrical fitter mechanic. I'm not a licensed public speaker, so just bear with me. Um, now one of the main questions I get asked when I tell people that, um, they ask me have I always wanted to be an electrician? And I said, well, there's a long and a short answer to that. I never really thought that's what I wanted to be. Um, but I took a chance on myself and, um, started the apprenticeship at 40, as Belinda mentioned. So here I am at 44 fully qualified electrician.
It has taken me this long to realise that I wanted to, what I wanted to be when I grow up. Um, I think I'm still growing up actually. So a little bit about me. Um, my schooling, uh, my dad was a builder and I wanted to work outside with my dad. I wanted to be outside, um, with my dad, but there was, um, not many opportunities at school for me, um, to do, uh, back in the old days to do like the, the boys' subject like metalwork or woodwork. So, um, I got the opportunity in 1995 when I was in grade 11 to do, um, graphics. So that was, I was one of two girls in my whole class.
So there wasn't opportunities to, for me to follow a trade, there wasn't an opportunity for me to take on a school pace apprenticeship back then. Um, so after school, I, um, I did TAFE. I followed through, um, a photography, uh, diploma, and I did a bit of arty stuff and, and I had my baby. So I went into real, um, retail and I raised my little babies while I was working in retail. Um, uh,
I started studying the Bachelor of education because I wanted to be with my children, work with my children, and that's, that worked well. But my partner at the time, he started studying also. So it became really difficult, um, both of us working at uni and, you know, financial issues. So, um, I saw a job come up in the mail room at Ergon in Toowoomba. So I, I took that, took that chance and I started, and the, here I am, start of my electrical career 13 years ago. Um, I had a lot of little different roles in Ergon the last 13 years.
So I got to experience a little, little aspects throughout Ergon, which is great, but, um, but the opportunity for me to apply for apprenticeship came up, which was great. Um, and at the time I was applying I was going through a pretty rough separation, so I needed to make some big changes in my life. I applied and somehow I found the confidence to start over, even though I had no experience and no idea what I was getting myself into at the time. My manager, he encouraged me and he continues to do so to this day.
He said, these skills you learn now throughout this apprenticeship you will have for the rest of your life and this trade will take you places. So here I am, four years on and with new skills I never thought I'd have at 44. And man, I have some new skills and so many new tools, the things I can do now, the old Melinda is unrecognisable this journey.
It has been, um, an interesting one. It's a, um, big rollercoaster. I've had many breakdowns and many times I wanted to give up. There were so many days I felt like I didn't belong. Constant imposter syndrome, which is still a big feeling I have every day, especially today. Um, as you can imagine being a female in this male dominated industry, I have faced some barriers, some very personal, and I always thought it was just me, but it's not.
So while doing this apprenticeship, life still went on so many outside personal struggles that gave me, that made me second guess what am I doing doing here every day? I have a huge lack of self-confidence and I've questioned myself every day, but I wanted to finish this and I needed to finish this so I could, I could see the opportunities ahead and I got up every day and proved to myself I wanted this. I put so much pressure on myself not to fail. I remember a time in block training where I was breaking on the inside. I didn't want to miss out on training and get left behind. So I pushed through just to prove to myself I was tough and I could do this. I had just buried my children's dad that week previously, but I was so determined to not failing. I didn't allow myself to stop just for a minute to fall apart. I don't recommend that actually. So it wasn't a great experience, but I did,
I continued going. Um, I came into this apprenticeship thinking I had to be a man, right? That's who I was working with every day. So I thought I had to think like a man and work like a man, and that's how I thought I'd fit. That proved exhausting. Um, so apart from me being my own barrier, this has been another barrier for me and I think many others. I had comments coming from people I work with and people outside of the industry, like men are just stronger. The common one is, I, um, you common, one I always got was, you only got this job because you're a female and you are, you are ticking off the quota box. Um, and I hope you don't mind peeing in the paddock.
So these are some of the quotes I got on a daily basis. And I had someone come from the community come up to me one day and said, oh, it's so good to see you get out of the office today. Like, I had tools in my hand and I was about to climb a ladder, but that's okay. I was outta the office for the day. Um, so, but yes, you know, men and women are different and we all have our own strengths and we all have our own weaknesses. I have found ways around the physical barriers. Like there are so many mechanical devices that we have in our workplace to help us lift the healthy stuff, to help us through that.
And it's looking after everybody's safety, not just me, not just a woman. And let's face it, there is the toilet issues, but you know, that's solely not women's problems. I'm pretty sure we all need clean toilets and we all need toilets. So, um and I guess the community just need to see more women in the field so it becomes more normal. So I'm not asked if I'm coming outta the office every day. Um, men and women are different, but we should embrace this diversity.
We work differently and we think differently. Isn't this why we want diversity in the workplace? I was very lucky to be able to do my apprenticeship, um, through EQL for the fact that our classrooms have small numbers and we get to learn and grow with the same cohort throughout the whole apprenticeship. The support was incredible, especially being mature aged. It took a while for my brain to warm up to school again, like 20 years since I was at school. So I had to switch that math brain back on.
Um, I had several female apprentices in my cohort and they were, and there was a lot of female, um, trades qualified tradeswomen around me. So during my apprenticeship, which meant at times though in different crews and often different towns, we could share our stories and learn from each other.
There was a lot of different things we weren't prepared for that men just don't experience. I have found a great support system of women that experiencing the same or have come for out the other side and is qualified and that helps a great deal. In the last couple of months, I have been fortunate to attend some industry women conferences. I got to connect with so many different women in the industry. I learn so many things and my eyes were open to what some women have been through and what some women put up with at work.
I am lucky enough to have other women I work with, um, in Energy Queensland, but I do know the industry outside of EQL can be very isolating for other women that may be the only women on site. It's really hard to picture yourself in a career when you don't see other women around you achieving. So finding network systems through social media and other industry events with women that are doing the same trade helps in so many ways to keep you motivated. And in the fight, the number of women are coming, coming into this trade is rising. And I think in Queensland we're at 2%. We are encouraging women to get into this industry, but we're not supporting them and we're not protecting them while they're here.
It is not just about giving them the opportunity, it's about making them feel supported when they have that opportunity So keeping women in these roles, they have, have been once they have completed the apprenticeship. Seems to be one of the hardest part due to the many factors, you know, such as pregnancy and the employment opportunities and flexibility in our working hours.
But there has been a visible shift this far and there is so far to go in embracing the adversity women are bringing to this industry. But my job is still so gendered and the culture is still not great. I'm having conversations every week to women in this industry struggling and feeling exhausted with trying to fit in doing a job that they genuinely love. I received a phone call the other day actually, um, by another female in the industry telling me she was abused and spoken to like no one should be spoken to at work and was told she was pulling out the female card. Now this tradie is strong and she can stand up for herself, but this incident isn't my story to share, so I'm not going to talk on that.
But what did make me upset was there were witnesses, there were other people around that didn't step up and didn't support her. We need to be advocates and we need to find our advocates in this industry. We shouldn't have to stand up for ourselves while we're working. Um, so after attending the very first EQL women in Con trade conference a little while ago in the ETL Women's conference where I found so much support and strength in being around people that are doing the same and fighting the same battle and learning from each other, I came away feeling inspired.
Why the women that are making the changes. I still get bombarded with comments all the time, like being asked, well, when's the men's conference? And instead of being asked, what did you learn and what did you do? And how can we support the future women coming into this work in this industry?
So how can we change this culture? Well, I believe by showing up and working hard, supporting each other and embracing the diversity that we all bring to this industry, and finding our advocates in the men and the women we work with. I do work with some amazing male tradies and they have taught me so much in this industry and have supported me throughout my apprenticeship. And I have been, and they've been so patient in teaching me right from the beginning because I knew nothing. I didn't know what I was getting into.
So there's been a lot of patient people in my life. Um, there was a question asked at the E T L Women's um conference, and I find this relevant in moving forward in the industry as a female tradesperson, what do you wish men could know about being in the, being a woman in this industry?
A couple of the responses were women feel like they're already starting a couple steps behind. Um, and it is isolating and it's, and people want, they, we want the men to know that it can be isolating being sometimes the only female on site. Um, and their bystander effect, as I mentioned before, it is isolating and it is real.
We need to start stepping up and we need to start speaking out and calling out bad behaviour. So I was asked here to speak today here on diversity in the electrical industry because obviously I am female and I bring the diversity. I can't seem to blend in even if I tried. Hopefully I gave you all a little insight, but this topic is huge and it involves so much more. And today I only covered some of my personal barriers and experiences. Even though I have, um, had barriers, I have had so many wins and there has been so many really great tradespeople, both men and women that have taught me so much and supported me endlessly throughout my apprenticeship and continue to support me as a new trades person.
This is a really great industry to work in. There are so many opportunities for growth and I have been lucky to have the support of EQL and the ETU along the way. As I said at the beginning when I was at school deciding on my path for my future, there was very limited to no opportunities for me to follow in a, into a trade. How times have changed. And there are so many opportunities now, which is great to see. I have had opportunities to speak at high schools and the amount of young girls that come up afterwards and say, I didn't think this was for me. I didn't think I could do something. But hearing from you, I know I can do this. If I can do this, anybody can do this. I have a daughter and I have so many nieces and young women in my life and I want to be a role model to them. I want them to have all the opportunities that come their way and I want them to see me doing and me achieving in this industry so they can see themselves doing what they can they choose to do. We can't be what we can't see, so let's embrace the diversity we all bring to the table. Thank you for letting me share my story.
Well done, Melinda. Thank you. Um, work should never feel like it's a battle for anyone. And, um Melinda's um, sharing of her story reminds us how we can all help and how we can all contribute to ensuring that people who are courageous and who are determined, who are committed to go after their dreams can achieve them like the trailblazers before Melinda, you are absolutely a trailblazer. The courage that you have to get up here to continue to push yourself out of your comfort zone to achieve those goals and to be that role model for the next generation coming through, um, is an absolute credit to you. So again, thank you Melinda.
For those viewers online, I do have to remind you that we will have a Q and A session at, uh, the end of today's, um, presentation. So if you do have any questions that you think of as you go through, um, listening to the presenters, there is a chat box on the right hand of your screen, so please pop those questions in the team are collating those and hopefully we'll be able to use those to kick off the Q and A later. Um, otherwise you might have to leave it to my discretion and we never know where wewould go with that. So please, please send those through.
Um, so the next, uh, look, the the next introduction, um, many of you may probably recognize our speakers. So Simon Black and Chris Bombus, um, AFL legend Simon Black played over 300 games with the Brisbane Lions and achieved many accolades during his career. He's one of the game's most celebrated players a three time AFL Premiership player, three time all Australian team and a vice and co-captain for the Brisbane Lions.
After retiring from AFL, Simon founded the Simon Black Australian Rules Academy aimed at providing pathways for students to pursue university and fitness qualifications while training and playing AFL. He's also completed Australian Survivor, so if that wasn't enough, my goodness, um where he demonstrated his leadership and physical abilities.
Chris Bombus, uh, also affectionately known as Bomber, is a communications and media specialist and a former sports reporter for 2 years with the nine network in Brisbane. I would like to welcome you both to the stage and look very forward to hearing about the leadership journey. Thank you.
Uh, good morning everyone. Uh, it's lovely to be here. Um, and it's my pleasure. Absolute pleasure to, uh, to speak to, uh, an AFL legend and, uh, one of the truly nice guys, uh, in sport. Uh, I've known Blackie for a long, long time, um, and, uh he is a true gentleman. Um, in the intro, uh, we didn't mention that he a three time premiership winner. Uh and you should have had a fourth except for Port Adelaide but we won't mention that. Uh, Brownlow Medallist, uh, in 2022 a Norm Smith Medallist in two, uh, 2002, uh, Norm Smith Medallist in 2003, 322 games for the Lions 171 goals that career span from 98 to 2013.
Uh, Simon, as an elite sports person you know what it takes to be the best and lead the best. You had an elite group. You assembled what was a three time, a three-peat premiership team. How do you think this can be applied to the electrical industry or to the workplace in general?
Uh, thanks Bob. Good morning everyone. Just quickly and, uh, I just, I'd like to acknowledge Melinda as well. I thought she's fantastic. Yeah, so speaking after you is gonna be a challenge, Melinda. So well done. That was awesome. Um, yeah, look, I guess there's, there's a lot of, lot of synergies, um, between sport and, and, and business and, and, and the workforce because we're all human beings and we all work in groups and we all function together and largely in teams. So, uh, look, I was fortunate to be at the, the Lions for 19 years bomber, and in that time I was part of some really successful phases and, and probably some teams that there's a lot of, uh, room for improvement. But, um, the, the great leaders that I've been fortunate to work with, um, there's several aspects to 'em. Mm-hmm. I guess, uh, providing great clarity with, with their messaging. Um, the great leaders have great clarity, don't they?
My old coach, Lee Matthews, his whole coaching philosophy was very simple, was around know your role, accept your role and performing role. And within that, if you provide real clarity around what your expectations are as a leader and uh, on a daily basis or, you know, from week to week, um, it's, it's incredibly important and powerful. You gotta lead by example. Um, the great, the bloke players and great captains that I've played with, they, they, they're hardworking and got a great work ethic work ethic. Um, they're great relationship builders. Um, they're really, they're really connected united teams that I've been a part of, have relationships that are, I guess term more than just football club relationships mm-hmm. That they get to know each other on a deeper level and, and do things together, um, outside and away from away from the gaba, um, for instance for us. So, um, there, there are really couple of real key parts.
I think leaders lead by example. They, they provide great clarity, um, in terms of what's acceptable, what's, um, unacceptable standard. Well, I mean, goodness me, for, for young 18, 19 year olds, so, you know, working hard's one thing, but, and, and, and, and what's behavioural expected of you, but also what's not acceptable is, is almost equally, um, as valuable as well, um, you know, for us guys going out when they're injured, drinking alcohol, not ideal for their bodies and things as an example.
So it providing real clarity and, and, and building that rapport, um, is about it. I mean, once heard the saying when I was doing a coaching course around people don't care what you know, and to that they know that you care and the ability able to, to form relationships and build that re rapport, that when you've gotta in times give a bit of a clip, give a bit of feedback, um, you've built that trust and that respect there with them goes a long way.
I think Melinda spoke about it, um, just before, um, speaking out and as a leader, is it important for you as the leader or that leadership group, uh to a speak out when you see something wrong, but also to hear from the younger guys within a team within an organisation, it can be applied to a work situation and accept what they're prepared to say, like that line of you talk about line of communication and, and, and again, speaking out, calling out bad behaviour, calling out what's not appropriate, that sort of stuff.
Absolutely. I mean, I, I think we're only, you know, a bit of a cliche strong as your, your weakest link if you like. Yep. You need more than just, you know, the, the great teams in a sporting sense the, the player leadership group is, is equally important in my opinion as, as the coaching staff. Um, it's a player's game. Um, you know, and I guess if you're related to the, to the workforce, you know, it's, you need lots of people to, to drive the, to drive the boat or drive the ship if you, if, if you like. And the ability to be able to, you know, the standard you walk past is the standard you set,
I guess is what you're alluding to. Bomber, and the ability to be able to feel that you can talk to someone if something isn't up to scratch or something's dangerous or something's, um, not pushing us forward in a team sense. Um, and again, I guess that is around creating an environment that people feel comfortable to, to talk in. And, um, I used to really dislike, um, people that would belittle other people. Um, you know, we've all got our gifts and we all bring our own capabilities and strengths and and weaknesses to the table, and not everyone's perfect.
So I think as the great leaders have a great ability to encourage and harness everyone, you know, expressing how they're feeling, how, how am I going on this journey together? We're doing, you know, we're turn up to this workplace every day together. Um, some days are tough, we don't, we don't all jump outta bed, um, you know, jumping outta skin to get to work or to train every day. Um, so how can we, um, assist each other with our, with our barriers each day? And, um, um, the great leaders or the great people I've been lucky to be involved with, um, have a real sort of caring, nurturing, um, ma manner about them. And they get to know their, their, their people. And, um, when you get to know someone, um, I guess on a bit of a deeper level, you understand them and you're more, you have more inclination to have empathy towards them as well, um, which goes a hell of a long way. So, um, yeah.
Throughout your career then onto Survivor, you experienced highs and lows, extremes quite often, particularly in sport. Um, can you relate that into a, say a workplace sense and, and you know, what it would mean and how you push through those things and how you deal with it? Uh, 'cause that's important, building some kind of resilience, uh, and to, to be able to deal with those extremes. I mean, you ride the highs, but when the lows come, you've gotta be able to deal and manage those.
Yeah, you do, I guess in a sporty sense, um, you know, you of part of teams that are really non-competitive, you, you're getting beaten badly on the weekends and it's really disheartening. Um, and I guess in, in, in some ways, if a can, um, you know use the analogy I guess of a, of, of a workplace when you, you come together or, um, or you working through, uh, situations and there's some challenges along the way and, um, the ability to be able to again, form strong relationships and, and understand each other and, um, you know, set, set the foundation of what's expected of you. And, um, but the ability, the, the connection between once the, the expectations have been set and the ability to be able to form strong relationships, then the ability to have those conversations and those challenging, meaningful conversations are easy to, easy to be had. So, um, you know, that, that's critically important.
Um, you know, I remember in 2003 we, we, uh, we were actually back to back premiers at that time, so we really strong football side. Um, but we weren't sort of spending as much time together away from the football club as we previously had. And it was a really big part the Brisbane lions plane list, about 80% of it is from interstate 'cause we're a non-traditional a f l town, and I don't blow you too much, but so, so we, we really spent a lot of time together away from the club. Um, and, and we, we stopped doing that a little bit. And it's amazing that the, the crossover effect from on game day, how we started to perform a little bit more poorly and that lack of care and, um, well, not, it was lack of care, but lack of probably Paul and connection amongst the playing group in big games and big moments. Um, when you're tight, you don't wanna let each other down and there's a real brotherhood that gets formed and that, and that was really through these, like I said, a away from the away from the Gabba, um, experiences we had together, whether we go fishing together or we go surfing together or we, um, I remember one preseason, we had a really different, um, you know, you do all sorts of different things over preseason.
This thing was called the Three Hs. Um, and you got up in front of the playing group and you spoke about your life, highlight your life, biggest hardship and your life hero, um, your highlight, your hardship and your hero. And it was amazing how that little exercise over the course of a pre-season of 40, 50 guys and the coaching staff shared that that was a real valuable thing to connect us as a playing group, got to know each other on a deeper level, um, and, and, and really know us. And it started to help with that, I guess, brotherhood that we, we really had throughout that period. So, um,
I think the other aspect to it as well is acknowledging the small wins along the way, um, in terms of building real resilience is young, young players coming to a side, um, and they're having a, a tough go at it, you know, they, it's, it's emotional ups and downs and you have injuries and form slumps and so forth, but if you acknowledge the ability that you actually improved and you've got get out of your comfort zone, as Belinda mentioned earlier, I mean that's, that's huge. Um, actually acknowledge that and, and gives nourishment for the person to want to keep striving forward as well.
As a leader, how did you motivate, encourage, support the younger guys? Uh, you know, we spoke about the three-peat, uh, one, two, and three, and then oh four you were, uh, you know, you got beaten in the grand final and then after that there were a number of lean years for the Lions. How, how then, and you were a leader and eventually the captain, how did you help them through that period where the club wasn't as successful as that initial period?
Yeah, it was, it was challenging. Bummer. Yeah, it really was. Um, you know, I got used to playing in grand finals for a few years and then we're down the bottom of the ladder. It's a bit frustrating, but, um, that's life. I didn't, you know, quite realise just how fortunate I was. Um, I think it was a lot of it was around, I just mentioned the last question around acknowledging, you know, small wins along the way. Um, that, that journey, the Brisbane lines, the current team have gone on the last I guess five or six years from a really non-competitive side to a, a really, really good side. They are now, can they be a great side and, and win the premiership? I guess that's their challenge, isn't it? But, um, you, you, you've gotta, you've gotta acknowledge the small wins along the way. You've gotta acknowledge, um, um, performance measures I guess in the workforce. Um, and, um, you've got to have a sense of humor. Mm-hmm. Um, you've gotta have humility. Um, humility is extraordinary, um, thing in a, in a group and you've gotta be able to be able to put your hand up, I feel when, um, you haven't been, you know, done as you probably could've done or done your best or, but just acknowledging each other, um, we're, we're on this journey together, supporting each other. Um, understanding I said earlier, barriers around what, what makes your role hard, um, and for that person to understand the impact that they're having on the group as well. I think that's really massive. Um, understanding my role within the group and everyone within the group, understanding the impact that they're having on the group, and if they're not pulling their weight, how does that affect everybody else?
Um, that that's critically important. Um, but yeah, in terms of resilience, I just feel the, the ability to be able to, you know, just give a bit of nourishment. I, guess we're I feel fortunate in that I played the game a bit on the old school coaching style, which was a bit rah rah as you remember, bomber to more of, I guess a bit of a softer gen general, um, way of coaching. And, and society I guess, has become more that way. And, and with that you learn that the ability, again about, about forming those relationships, but the constant feedback, um, that, that people need these days. And often it's gotta be really positive feedback. Um, and, uh, I guess I learned through my coaching time, the old, if I have to give some feedback, the, the old sandwich feedback about, you know, starting with a bit of something positive they're doing, I guess in the middle, being able to give 'em the r f I aspect to, to the real key parts of the message. And then, and then I guess leave the conversation with a positive as well to, you know, to not damage their ship.
You've spoken, touched on it, resilience. How did you build your own resilience? Uh, and you had to certainly prove that on survivor and just tough it all out. That was both physical and mentally tough. Um, and then resilience within your team?
Um, probably from failing really. Yeah. Um, yeah, from failing. I, used to really get down myself a lot and, um, I used to get really nervous before a game and I would get really nervous these days. Even speaking today, I'll get, I'll get really nervous, just my personality. Um, but, uh, it's, it's important I think to learn from your mistakes and, and learn in, in a sporting sense moment. If we can talk about, obviously my background, the ability to be able to, you know, if I got beaten by opponent or whatever it was, um, you know, what was it that I didn't do well enough? How can I improve, um, in what area and, and just focus on one or two things. Mm-hmm. Um, you know,
I was lucky to spend some time with the great New Zealand rugby Union team, the All Blacks a couple of times, and, and they, they talk about the critical few things that they do well when they play well, which makes up 80% of their, of their game they talk about. And, uh, and I,
I started using that in, in my, um, football, um, that, what, what are the really critical two or three things that I do well that I play well? And, um, I won't bore you with those, but that they were the things that I could, could con, could control. Um, and they're the things at halftime, if I wasn't playing particularly well or, you know, I wasn't getting a kick, um, I would visualize myself doing those two or three things and, and they were, yeah. Really important to my game.
I think you've touched on this previously, but being connected, being united, uh, is important for any team, be that a workplace team, a business, a sporting team.
How do you achieve this? How, how, you said you needed to be connected, but how do you get them connected? How do you get everyone on the same page? Clearly a sports team wants to win a premiership, that's your goal. How do we get 'em on the one page? We're all in this together.
Yeah. Well, there's a lot to it. Bomber isn't there? Yeah, there's a lot to it. Um, look, it, it takes time to, to, to be a championship chip winning team. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort. Um, look, I,I guess what I would say is we all want, we all want purpose and meaning in our lives. Um, and the best way for, in my opinion, of getting those through connection with other people. And how do you get connections for other people? It's by buying into investing of yourself, giving of yourself to, to formula relationships. I remember having some, you know every season you have six or eight, 10 new guys to the football club. And, I would, personally go out of my way to really get to know them and get their, get to know their family and, and, and what makes them tick. Um, what are their hobbies away from the football club? 'cause we'll spend plenty of time doing that together. Um, um, 'cause again you know, football's a a really tough emotional, physical and emotional game.
And, and things don't go your way a lot of the time. So the ability to be able to, um, be united again, I keep I guess coming back to being, being tight through relationship forming and building, but it's such a, such a big part of it. It really is, um, as a group for you to be able to fill, fulfill your capability of, of a group you've gotta have genuine care for each other. And, um the best way of having genuine care for each other is actually get to know each other. And like I said before, understand each other's roles and the value they bring. Um, acknowledge each other's roles. Um, you, you're gonna be frustrated with each other. I mean,
I played with numerous guys that used to frustrate the daylights outta me. And, um, um, Did one of them do handstands and kiss the ground? Yeah Yeah. He, he sure did. Yeah. Um, but, but, but for him, um, he's a great example because, um, I mean, Jason, for those that, um, remember or know the Brisbane Lion, he was, uh, a wonderful player. But he, he was a guy that used to, I guess, um, you know, there's, there's things within the side that are quite intimate, um, information wise. And, and Acker would go and talk, tell the media about it and all other sudden the whole world knew about it, what have you. But but we got to know Jason on a really good level that we understood that he never had a father. Uh, his mother died when he was very young. He had to essentially raise, uh, his younger brother. Um, and he had a lot of hardship in his life. Um, he come from a really challenging background, but he he brought a lot to our playing group.
And I mentioned that if you make the effort to get to know someone and how they, how they tick, um, you've got more understanding of them and, and more ability to have some empathy and care towards them particularly when things don't go well. Um, you can have those conversations, but if, if you stay as a silo and within a team, within a group, and you, you don't connect with everyone else around you, then it's really hard to have those conversations. Things become, they feel awkward, um, and you're never gonna maximize your capabilities as a group through Survivor, through the Lions.
Um, let's talk about leadership and direction Did you ever get a piece of advice or some tips off somebody? I, I would've thought someone like Lee Matthews would've been the perfect guy to get a tip from about leadership and setting an example, uh, particularly when you were in the, the leadership group. Um he would've been the sort of bloke that you would listen to when he spoke. Um,were there the people along your journey that offered you advice?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um, I mean, Lee's great saying was around, um, well, if, you know, if you accept your role if you submit yourself to the team, um, and we have team success, your own individual reputation gets enhanced on the back of it, and your own individual reputation will be enhanced on the back of team success. And not, not a true word's being said. Um, I, I was very fortunate to be part of a, a really successful leader at the club.
Um, you know, a lot of my successes, um, on the back of my team being darn good for a while, you know, like, it's, it's so true. And, um, and, and that's again, you know, that ability to sort of connect and have purpose and, and meaning in our life. It's because we, we all, we all bought in together and we all really supported each other. And, um, yeah, we were a pretty talented group. Um, but, you know, we had to work really hard. And, and, and success is hard work. You know, it's commitment every day and, you know, it doesn't come easy. And the ability to be able to, um, you know, get the absolute best outta yourself as a group, you've gotta have check-ins every day. And you've gotta have, you know, those challenging conversations at times. And you gotta be willing to support each other in those tough days. And, um, um, one thing that, you know, I guess we, in a game of football, things need to happen, you know, really quickly at times and, and what comes outta your mouth. Um,
I guess in some respects on, you know, on the work site in electrical industry you know, at times things need to happen really quickly as well. And, and the, the way you deliver that message at times might not be ideal. You know, you might berate them and, and, and you'll lose some, use some language that you, it's not ideal. And that would happen on the football field all the time. Um, and I guess we, we learnt the ability of those follow up conversations to not damage relationships were, were really important. Um, you know, and, and the ability to be able to, you know, take yourself back to that moment with that person and say, look, man, I might need to apologize to you. I was a bit off the mark, or, or, um, and this is why I, spoke the way I was. I'm sorry it wasn't ideal, but, you know, in that situation, this is what, what I need from you. And, uh, you know, I, I think they're really well connected sides and groups have those conversations with each other.
Talk us through how you would describe your leadership style. You're a nice bloke. Is there a tough side to Simon Black. When you were captain, did you have to pull people aside and read the riot act? I couldn't imagine you doing that, Simon. Seriously?
No, I had a bit of white line fever. Bummer. Seriously? Yeah. Don't push him too far. I say, yeah, I was a bit more that way. Um, yeah, pretty, very relaxed off the field, but, um, it's time to compete. Yeah, I was sort of, yeah, I was a bit, bit more hotheaded, but, and I guess, yeah, I, I probably said some things at times to teammates that wasn't ideal, and the ability to be able to, um, talk. On the field oh, yeah. Yep. Um, outta a frustration or whatever it might be. So yeah, the ability to have those, you know, follow up conversations and, um, look, the, the people that I enjoyed playing with the most are the ones that create a fun environment.
Mm-hmm. You know, I mentioned earlier, like, to be professional footballer, you, you're extremely privileged. There's nothing about that. But at the same time, it's, it's, it's not easy work. Um, and, and there's, there's a lot of pressures that come with it at times. So, um, I, I personally mentioned personally, I used to try to, I guess, take away our learnings from the game. So we play Saturday night, um, by Monday lunchtime, we've moved on to the, to the next week, to the next game.
Uh, we'd have our review meeting on a, on a Monday morning. Um, we'd go through, through that as a, you know, as a group coaching group and playing group. And you've gotta park it, whether you've been beaten by a hundred points in my mind by lunchtime Monday and, and start moving forward from there. Um, you, you can't hold onto that. It's not gonna help you anymore. From there. You've, you've done your review, you've thought about it all Sunday, and you've slept on it and so forth, or you haven't slept on it. Um, so yeah, Billy, be able to personally learn from that and then give that feedback to those that, that need it, and then move from there.
Just, just one thing around that I thought was fantastic with, you mentioned Lee Matthews earlier. Mm-hmm. Um, you know, he came to our football club at the end of 98, and we, uh, uh, came last. We won the wooden spoon, and he walked into the room and he said to the guys his first meeting, he said, guys, I've got a three year contract. He said, I'll be here in three years.
I'm not sure how many of you'll still be here. Um, I thought I was pretty cut through, but it's got a good point there. Um, and, and we, we were shambles of the football club. We really were. There was, there's all sorts of stuff going on. We, we'll, you know, there's, Lee was great players, play coaches, coach, administrators, administrator, stay in your lane, stay in your lane. And that was critically important. But he said, oh, I'm giving you guys a clean slate. There'd been no preconceived ideas from me here. Um, you know, I'll be, you'll be judged on what I see from here on going forward. And I thought that was a, just a really great strong leadership message from Lee at that moment. Um, and his first year at us with us, we had a really sudden spike up the ladder on the back of his simple messaging. You know, football's a pretty simple human beings, most of us. Um, and the ability to be able to deliver that simple messaging was one of Lee's great strengths.
And then talking about leadership and positive leadership, um, how important is it, again, you can relate that back to business and to workplaces to be a positive, supportive leader. You're gonna face tough times. Uh, it's not all a bit of roses. Uh, you're gonna have some, you know, brick bats along the way.How important is it to stay positive and to continue to be positive and supportive of your team as a leader?
Yeah. And it can be incredibly challenging, can't it? Yeah. And it can sit there and say, you know, it's just, be positive, be positive. But, you know, if you've got, um, you know, I guess there's many leaders in the room that have staff under them that, that, that may continually not do the role that they want from them. It's, it's incredibly frustrating. We had players that continually do that. Um, and, and I guess, um, you know, it's, it's, it's around laying the platform, the foundation of the expectations of what is required from the, from, from the outset, being really clear around that. Um, and, you know, there's gonna be people that don't live up to those standards. Um, but, you know, I I, I guess along the journey, if you can see it as a journey with them, um, you know, there's, I mean, there's, to be frank, there's only, I guess, so many opportunities you can give.
But again, if you can build that rapport, if you can build that, um, that understanding with them that what, what, what you need from them and the impact that they are having, um, within your organisation, um, is paramount. Um, and the ability able to help them.
I mentioned earlier, what, what are their barriers? Um, is it, is it purely just laziness? Well, in a sporting sense, well, let's get them outta their comfort zone more often so they, they find a new capacity to work through things. Aerobically or, um, anaerobically as an, example. You know, how can you, um, get to spend more time away from the football club with them to get to know them and their backgrounds? And they're, they're the things I think a lot of us can, can have struggles with, the ability to be able to, um, connect with, with people or spend the time, um, you know, getting to know someone and, and what really makes 'em tick. Um, they're here because they, they should wanna be there. Um, it's an opportunity to them to better their lives. Um, so the ability to be able to connect with 'em and unite with them, and they need to understand what's expected of them. It's, it's a process. To, I'm on the wing.
So we'll wrap it up with a couple of questions. Uh, last, uh, second, last question, 'cause I've got, I have to get one for the minister.
Well, is she still here? Yes. And for her husband about the current, uh, lion. So we'll finish on that one. Um, work-life balance, how important, uh, we've seen a number of, uh, elite athletes having to take time off for mental health issues, dealing with it, particularly in cricket at the moment. Um, how important is it, you know, in a workplace, in a sporting team to get away to, to, to get that work life balance? Right.
Look, it's, it's incredibly important. Um, you know, it's, I went and saw my friend Michael Voss, who's the coach of Carlton, um, just two weeks ago in Melbourne. And, um, you know, one of the big a f l clubs, crazy football, mad Melbourne. And I said to Voss, I said, how how are you going? He said, I'm good, thanks. He, uh, I said, are you getting any, any Michael Voss time? And he said, um, no, I'm not. Um, and, and I, I know a lot Voss, some of S's things he likes to do, but he, he's just so ingrained at the moment of that club, and, and look, it's the finals around the corner. So, you know, it's a, it's a challenging period, but he, he identifies with himself now that he knows that he, he needs to go and spend time with his wife, Donna, or, or there's always something that he can be doing.
When you're a head coach in an AFL club, I'm sure people that have their own businesses, there's always something that you can be doing. Um, so the ability to sort of, I guess within your week, within your calendar, plug that, in that to know, this is my time, this is my hobby, I'm gonna go and do, um, that's what he's he's still learning to do. Um, and talking to, you know, Chris Fagan at the Lions and other sporting coaches that they learn through it I, I guess over the journey, 'cause you just run, you run your battery dry don't you? And, and that's, um, really important for, for all of us. Um we're all only human beings. We're only got so much energy, so much we can give, um, learning.
Yeah, just around that. How, where do you get your energy from You know, did you get it from other people? Did you get it from hobbies? Do you get it from times by yourself? Um, so you understand Your self’s really important around that as well.
Last one, assistant coach at the Lions. Now, uh, we've got a big game at the, uh, gather against Port Adelaide, uh, Saturday night. Uh, how do you see it unfolding? Um, they beat us, I think round one you said previously, uh, by 50. Um, but we'd beaten them four times in a row previous to that, how, how do you see Saturday night? How important is the win Saturday night?
Look, it's very important. Uh, so, so we have I This for Michael Minister? Yes. Yeah. Grace, we, we, so we, what we did really well was we, we, we managed to finish second the ladder, um, like the Bronx, um, and get the two home finals. So, so that's really important. But Brisbane, um you know, we, we, the lines haven't travelled too well, bomber this, this the last couple of years interstate. So, um, if we win this weekend, we get a preliminary home final again, which is, which is enormous. And if you win that, you go into a grand final. So look, um, the, the lines are a really good side. It's been great to watch their journey. I mentioned earlier, only four or five years ago we're quite a uncompetitive side and, and we've become a, a really strong team.
But there's a, there is a big gap between a really good side and a great premiership winning team, isn't there? So, um, I, I'd love to see, you know, a bit more sort of, not nastiness, but it's the defensive part of the game. And I think Brisbane can still, the lions can improve that. Um, but we are such a potent offensive team, um, ball in hand. We're, we're very, very skillful. Um, we, we can win it. I've got no doubt we can win it. Um, I think probably Collingwood at their best, they're fit and healthy.
If I had to pick a side, they're probably, probably the team I would pick at the MCG. But the lines, uh, we're, we're in with the shot bomb, we're, and, um, and I'm, I'm quietly confident. We've got a lot of maturity, a lot of experience now, played some big games. We're in with a good chance. Thanks, Blackie. You can report that back to Michael. The good news, uh, ladies and gentlemen, Simon Black, uh, please give him a round of report. Thank you.
Thank you so much. I've gotta admit, Bomber. I love, uh, hearing a man ask another man a question about work-life balance. It's an important conversation that we all need to continue to be having. Um, and Simon, for a leader who represents the best of the best to hear you talk about humility, humour, connection, care, feedback, relationships, and accepting failure to enable you to drive performance, um, is absolutely exceptional. So again, thanks Bomber and Simon Black.
I'll stop. Thanks. And, um, and now it's my pleasure to introduce, uh, Sean O'Connor, um, who's the Deputy Chair of Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland's Consultative Committee for work-related Fatalities and Serious Incidents. As Donna mentioned earlier, in 2017, Sean's sister, Kerryn O'Connor, lost her life because the electrical device she was using hadn't been designed, manufactured, or tested to Australian safety standards. Sean now works to prevent others from experiencing the grief of losing a loved one in an, in, in an avoidable incident, Sean is the Deputy Chair of Workplace Health Safety Queensland's Consultative Committee for work-related Fatalities in serious incidents representing his parents, Jim and Robyn.
Sean joined the committee after experiencing the devastated, devastating impact that car that Kerryn's death had on his family. Sean also has an electrical trade and experience leading staff in heavy industrial transport and mining industries. This provides him with practical insight into the health and safety challenges that workers face going about and doing their jobs. Welcome, Sean.
Uh, good morning everybody. Um, yeah, it's, how can I, uh, summarise, um, me and the committee, uh, we've joined a club that you don't want to get an invite to and you don't want to be a part of. Um, 'cause we've lost somebody. Um, I guess with that, um, comes a little bit of insight, but we also get to bring the sad stories along. Uh, luckily I'm not gonna make you watch the whole eight minute sad story.
Um, we'll give you the, the short one today. But I guess, um, with all of the, you know, all of the loss and sadness and everything, um there's nothing that, that me or anybody else can actually do, uh, to, sorry, tall guys, freaking the sound guys out.
So, um, yeah, there's, there's nothing that, that me or anybody else can do to, to change the outcome for me. So I guess, um, it, it's this whole positive changes from tragedy. Um, you know, what are the, what are the things that we can do as individuals to help make a difference? And I guess, um, you know, it's, it's a little bit more than sad stories. It's, um, you know, changing minds and how, how you guys all and girls all look at things. But, um, whoever's got the thing,
Last thing we would ever have thought of losing any of our kids was through an electrical accident. Jim got a phone call and he woke me out and said, Kerryn's gone. She'd been electrocuting. And it was a pump. She must've been trying to, you know, dunk it to flush it out. It had a hidden electrical fault in it. She couldn't let go. It killed her. A process was put in place in Australia called the RCM or the Regulatory Compliance Mark. The Regulatory Compliance Mark is a sure sign that the product has been tested to be electrically safe. The other thing we'd really like to see is that every circuit is protected with a safety switch. It, it just would've been the difference between Kerryn and being with us and not being with.
So, uh, yeah, I guess, um, probably the hardest part about, um, a family's story. Uh, like for my father and I, um, dad's an electrician. Uh we grew up with electricity. Um, in a normal house if you have a faulty appliance, you might just put it aside. But in our house, we snapped the, the pins off the plug. So dad could have a look at it when he got home. And his whole thing was, it doesn't matter if you've broken the plug, nobody else can use it. And it, and it's, it won't be recommissioned until I say it's okay. So, um, when I was a kid, I wanted to be, uh, you know, we wanted to be a pilot. Um, turns out if your seated height's too high, you end up like goose from Top Gun and you can't eject.
So I wasn't a pilot and I was like, what do I do now? And, um, this would be a really good one. Um, Kerryn forged an application for the government apprenticeships on my behalf. 'cause I was sitting around doing nothing trying to work out what to do. So she just, what do you want to be? And I'm like, I don't know. And she ticked all the boxes and ended up, uh, doing a interview for my apprenticeship in front of 15 people. And I'm like, oh, these government apprenticeships are a big deal.
But because I'd ticked all the boxes and they did aptitude testing, I was, uh, lined up to be a plumber carpenter fitter, and Turner boilermaker. And in the end, um, there was a, there was a guy and he's like, you want to do electronics radio on satellite communications? And I'm like, why is that? And he goes, we fly in helicopters to the tops of mountains and fix things. And I'm like, I'm in. So anyway, I go home and I tell dad, and he's like, man, you're a pretend electrician. He goes, I'm like, it's a certificate three in Electrotechnology. He goes, you'll only get a restricted electrical ticket, pretend electrician. And I'm like, whatever. So, uh, I guess maybe trying to tell a story to, to distract myself.
But, um, yeah, it, it was pretty common in our house. Um, I guess the challenging part with, um, you know, why would a pretty blonde young lady have a submersible pump in her hand? Um, yeah, I used to, you know, buy and renovate and sell houses. Um, I had some acreage, um, had a submersible pump, taught her how to do that.
So if she wasn't there helping me renovate that house and get it ready to sell, and the pump got clogged, then years later when she's at this other place, she probably wouldn't have done it. So, um, but I mean, we're not here to ease my guilt. The whole point is, um, that there's lots of people out there. I mean, your industry, you know what electricity is, the majority of Queenslanders and Australians and people in the world, they don't know AC DC.
They don't care if it's ELV or ripple free or high voltage means nothing to them. Absolutely nothing. So how do all of you here do or convince everybody that what you do is important? You know, you do the, oh, I'm a licensed electrician. Okay. I guess from a positive change perspective, you know, what is your purpose? Why are we here?
Why are we talking about electrical safety? It's inherently electricity. It's not safe, but we've all grown up with it and we all need it in our lives. We've got this demon in our house, essentially. You've all been given the capability and the responsibility to harness that and turn it into the things that people need to live a good life. So if electricity was safe, we wouldn't be here and you wouldn't have licenses.
So, um, I guess what is your role? Is your role to, I've gotta go and do this job and I've gotta do job, you know, and I've got all these work method statements and I have to make sure I follow this wiring rule and I have to do this 'cause I'll get a fine. Or is your role to go out, be given responsibility to do a job safely, to do the job safely so you can go home and so everybody around you can go home and everybody that turns up to that work site that you had can go through it for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years and all be safe.
So what is your role? Do you follow the rules? 'cause you have to, or you know that those rules are written in blood and that you have to do the right thing every day to make sure we keep this thing under control. What are your values, I guess, um, a little bit back to that point. Oh yeah, customer. I've gotta put this thing in. You don't have a safety switch and the rules say, I have to do this and that. Or are you, oh, hey mate, a thing that's meant to be here to protect your life or anybody else's life who wants to plug something in there? You're missing that bit. And I really think that you should have, I've got one in the car I can get it done nice and easy. Um, or do you not book enough time between your jobs that you spot things and you're like, oh, I didn't actually touch that. It's not my technical responsibility. Off I go.
So the power point that Kerryn plugged the pump into didn't have a safety switch on it. It was a rental property, should have one or the other. Power points had one, this one didn't. Somebody chose to put the power point in and I mean, they got a, a pretty good loss of, you know, their electrical license and all that kind of stuff. And they fine. Um, what you probably don't hear about is that there were other electricians that went to that place, saw that power point, realised it didn't have a safety switch on it.
They technically didn't do anything wrong because it wasn't their installation. They didn't touch it. So what are your values? How many of you would go, not my problem, don't have time, bosses got me on the next job? Or, how many of you would stop and do something about it? Um, and I guess the last one, and this would be a good one, think about this with an open mind. Who do you serve? So, I mean, I got a wife, four kids, she's the boss. But, uh, as far as, uh, being an electrician goes, you know, you don't, do you work for yourself?
Do you work for somebody else? Do you work for an employer? Do you do it for your family? Do you do whatever or, they're probably all good questions, but as an electrician, as a licensed electrician, as a licensed contractor, all that stuff, you serve the community. Your job is to keep the community safe from electricity. They should be able to plug stuff into the wall and not die.
It's just a basic thing. So you've gone and done your trade. You've gone and done your courses qualifications, you're entitled to your trade certificate. Are you entitled to an electrical license with that? No. You are trusted with your electrical license. The, the community through the state trust you to give you that license. You don't deserve it. You're not entitled to it. It might be polarising, but it, it is a point of trust. So you've done all the right things. You have that license, you go out, you do the right thing with it. You've got values. You keep the community safe and everybody gets to go home.
So, uh, yeah, I guess it's meant to be positive change and I'm being all dark and kind of negative, but I hope you can see it the right way. Are you just complying and following the rules? 'cause I might get a fine, or are you doing it because it's the right thing? Are you walking past things that technically you can't get blamed or fined for, but you could make a difference to that family, to that installation, to those people. And I guess, yeah, the other thing is, do you consider having that electrical license as like a, you know, a right of yours or responsibility that is given to you by the community?
Thank you. Um, Sean, they're good call outs. Um, what are your values?
Who do you serve? And, um, we appreciate you sharing the pain and the stories of your sister's loss. Um, it allows, um, the community and many others to avoid, um, that same sense of loss. Uh, I do absolutely encourage you to look at the video on the ESO website and, um, and share it with those that, you know, there are some incredibly important messages, um, for us in that and watch it all the way to the end. And, uh, that discomfort you feel emotionally will drive you to do things differently.
Um, so please spend some time, um, better understanding some of those messages and what could be done differently to avoid future loss. Now,
Brian Richardson is the Director of Electrical Equipment Safety and Licensing from the Electrical Safety Office and is well placed to follow that, um share and, and remind us of what we can do differently. And, um,also gonna help me make up some time. So thank you Brian.
Okay, thank you everybody. Um, I was going to give you a PowerPoint presentation that would take about half an hour to do, but I've only got five minutes, so I won't do that. Um,I'm not sure if there is gonna be PowerPoint things come up, doesn't matter. Uh, we've got a, so a couple things I wanted to talk about was the Regulatory Compliance Mark that was in the video there. Um, and as, as Sean talked about, people don't know and what is your role? So for the Electrical Safety Office, part of our role is helping people who don't know. And for those that don't know, putting in a regime so that if you don't know, you've still got a level of safety in there. So the Regulatory Compliance Mark, a nice little symbol, a triangle with the tick inside the sea. Um, it's part of a scheme of the electric equipment safety system, which is a, um, slide. Yep. See the RCM on the screen there. Um, Electric Equipment Safety System. It's a national scheme. All the regulators throughout Australia bar one, but working on that. Um, apply this scheme.
It has a responsible supplier who is based in Australia, who has made a declaration that their equipment meets the electrical safety standards and laws. Um, so there's a person taking responsibility. They're also in Australia, so we can take action. Um, in relation to that. Um, we have a national website, so they register on the website so people can check if that organisation is
registered as well. Um, and again, it's there as a framework and background so that the community who don't have the weather all to go out and check and know to check for products, they can just look for that mark. If that mark's on the product. That means there's a supplier who understands their duties and have checked their product to make sure it's electrically safe.
Um, I wanted to talk about submersible pumps and, and the actions that we took. And, um, going on from what Simon Black said, we're not a silo. We work in teams and as a team we achieve things better. So with submersible pumps the whole Electrical Safety Office got involved in actions to ensure that we removed the problems that may have been there with the community in relation to submersible pumps. So obviously for the pump in question, um we were, we did check testing. We examined that pump, identified that it was noncompliant to safety standards, identified that the supplier hadn't done their due diligence and duty.
So we had the team investigate that and take prosecution actions. The director and the company were prosecuted in court. And the initial fines were well over a million dollars, um, when, when it was in the first instance of court. Um, and that obviously pricked a lot of people's attention as well, which was good.
But not only that, we did a whole range of other things as well. And it wasn't linear. We did bits and pieces here and there, but we had everyone involved. So that company also did a recall of their pumps, which was good. Um, we ordered a whole range of other online sellers and identified a number of pumps. We purchased them. We did the check testing, as Donna mentioned in her opening remarks, we get to buy equipment and blow it up. It's fantastic. Um, but we identified a number of those pumps were also non-compliant, had similar problems with the original pump.
So we contacted those suppliers and they all conducted a recall as well. Um, there was three other brands, Wack Wagner, Protege and Wilco that were brands as well as the Ks of deep diver pumps that were recalled. Um, a couple of those products were actually sold direct by China online processes. So there wasn't an Australian supplier available.
So the ESO essentially conducted a recall. We contacted eBay and PayPal, got address and contact details. We had people in the ES Oon the phones ringing people to tell 'em about the dangers of the pump. We had people writing letters. We sent SMSs. We tried everything. And eventually there was still a few people that didn't respond. So our field service inspectors went out and knocked on people's doors to make sure they understood about that potential risk.
We identified that a couple of the sellers were in Victoria, BitSight outside our reach. So we contacted the Victorian regulator. They went out and visited those suppliers, examined their pumps, identified a couple of extra models, so the recall grew a little bit more. Um, so out of that, um, the initial recall rates for these pumps was around about 40-45%, which is not good enough. But all the extra work that the ESO did, the whole team got that up to about 96% recall rate.
So we essentially got all of those pumps that we were aware of off the market. So that was impressive. Um, but along with that we also said, well, that double E double S system and the RCM market's a framework of process.
We have different levels that we apply to equipment based on the risk that we see. Submersible pumps had been at that low level of risk, which meant suppliers just had to prove it was safe. We got, went through the national process and had that reviewed. And nationally it was agreed they would be raised to the highest level that we have. So independent certification and independent testing so people can be assured that those products have been checked before they're actually put onto the market. And then that was all for that part of the work. But it doesn't stop there. We continue on. So a couple of years after this incident, we went back and check tested more submersible pumps.
We'd done a fair bit of publicity. We got stuff into rural magazines as well. 'cause that's where a lot of these pumps are. So again, in 2021, we did some more check testing, got another 10 models of pumps. It was pretty hard to find them there. I think a lot of people go, oh, I've gotta do all that stuff. I'm not gonna sell those pumps. But the ones that we did find, we had three failures and they were cord length. So it wasn't really a major safety issue.
We basically have made those pumps safer on the market. Um, I just wanna do a quick little plug about buying online as well. In this room, I'm dealing with a lot of knowledgeable and experienced people, but as I said, the community in general don't know. So, um, you can see obviously the little scooter on the left hand side there. That's our latest challenge. Lithium battery products and charging those products. Make sure you use the right charger. Make sure you tell people to use the right charger. Make sure when people buy a charger for your scooter, for your kids or your nephews and nieces that they are using the right charger.
We have identified overcharging. These devices does cause us a bit of a problem. Other fires, um, picture on the right hand side, that's if you're buying stuff off the internet and the guy says, well, sorry, the person says, oh, look, hasn't got the right plug on it. I'll give you a travel adapt to say you can plug it in. As I told the, the staff forum run away from that person. Do not buy it. It means the product does not comply with Australian safety standards. So that's a really easy dead giveaway one. Um, the other thing is international products may not actually meet Australian standards. They might not be the right voltage. So at Christmas a couple of years ago, and my brother's wife's cousins partner said, oh, I'm gonna buy a coffee machine from America. It's half the price of the ones here in Australia. And I almost caused an international incident, but then again, it was my brother's wife's cousin's partner. So not important to me. Um, but yeah, I kind of arced up and said that's I'm, I'm here to prevent people doing stupid things like that. You are stupid.
I've got, I've gotta work on my people skills. Um, anyway. And the other point about selling online or buying online, even if you're buying from a.com au website message, the company verify they are a responsible supplier. Even experienced people go, oh, I thought I was buying from someone in Campbellfield in New South Wales. It comes direct from China. So we had that with one of the products we were check testing. So even we get caught out. So check before you buy is what I would say. And I don't have any more time.
So our continued actions is everything that we've just done. We are continuing to do so as an ESO, we work together to help make the community safer. We need everybody in this room to help us work to do that. Tell everyone about the RCM. Make sure when they're buying online, they actually check the product is compliant first. Okay, thank you.
Thank you Brian. And, um, I think there's some great call outs and it's great to see the incredible work that you and the team do that often goes, um, unnoticed in the background to ensure that, um, we can continue to be safe.
We do have a panel Q and A,so I'm gonna ask the guest speakers to come up onto the stage once again. And, uh, for those of you who have submitted some questions online, thank you very much. And, uh, the, um, audience in the room will have an opportunity to ask questions as well.
That was a hint to say the panel people get up on the stage age you two. Yeah. Yeah, you're a guest speaker and thank you, Brian. Thank you, Donna. Okay. All right. We are sharing one microphone. No one else is sitting on another one. Um, and of course I can't find access to any of the questions, so I'm sure someone's gonna help me with those online questions, um, that have come through. Uh, so I'll get the, um, I'll kick off the batting, uh, with a few questions, um, to the team. So firstly,
I want to thank you all for your generosity of, uh, sharing, uh, your key messages today. It's not easy. And, um, you know, if I start, uh, with yourself, um, Simon, um, can you give us any insights into what not to do as a leader in terms of how you feel motivated by others?
Um, I, I think the ability, uh, spoke about positivity ear early, but the, the clear messaging's really important. Um, you know, I, I think I played on a coach at one stage who I guess was a little bit accused around mixed messaging and not the consistent messaging. And, and that can be, I guess, be to toxic in a workplace. So, um, yeah, being consistent with your messaging, um, as difficult as that can be at times um, would be my one thing. Yep.
Brilliant. Fantastic. Thank you. Um, Melinda, so from hairdressing to an electrical apprenticeship,
you've given us a little bit of your story, um, trade. Thank you. Very, very clearly graduated. Well done. Um, is there any, any insights to how you responded to people who told you couldn't do it?
Um, insights. Well, um, coming from childcare to, um, electrical industry, many people told me I couldn't do it, but I just got up. I've been there's so much has happened in my life that kept knocking me back down and I've just learned some sort of resilience or stupidity or something. So I just kept getting up and kept proving myself and everybody else wrong. I was the worst person to tell myself I couldn't do this. So it was myself talk. Um, I didn't really listen to everybody else, so it was me that was the worst advocate, but that was my insight.
Fantastic. Um, so absolutely being our own worst enemy. So just remember anyone in the audience, if you have any questions. I do have an incentive if you need one. So it needs to be a legitimate question. And it relates to AFL. This is an audience that wants to be incentivised, isn't it?
So just keep in mind that we do have a number of signed footballs that, um, you know, for those who are keen on participation in the audience. Oh, look, there's a question right up there that's impressive. What would you like to ask Just so I can get a footie for Benny here? Blackie, get a photo with that footie, please. Uh, questions for Brian.
Is there any reporting lines when we find, uh, an piece of equipment without that tick on it?
Uh, yeah, thank you. Good question. Um, complex answer there is on our website, um, a process for reporting, um, serious electrical incidents and dangerous electrical events. And the lack of a, the mark on the product is actually does fit within that criteria. Um, so you can do it online. It's at the moment not an easy process. So I'll use this opportunity to, um, lobby my executive director to help us get that make a little bit easier for everybody. But I'd ask you to persevere through the process and worst case scenario, if that's getting complicated on the website there's a phone number to call as well. So call and let us know about it so we can take some action.
That's a good system. I feel I moved it around. Uh, any other, we've got another question. Thank you. Yeah,
Hi. Um, thank you for your time today. Of course. Um just a question around influencing other people. So as an electrical worker and being in the industry, we walk past all sorts of stuff all the time. Um, touching on the, the, the points with the, the submersible pump, um, um, sorry, was it Sean? Yep.
Um, when we are trying to, what are the strategies that we can take on board?
So we've got the wiggles and all that sort of great stuff, but what are some real strategic advice you can give us around influencing others to take note of the things that we raise?
So where there's not a safety switch, where we see crack chassis, where we see all this rubbish, um, we've got a role, we've got a responsibility, and we can raise it and raise it and raise it. How do we get it to the next point where we can get someone to take it on board and go, you know what, we actually need to do something. You, we need to spend some money.
Yeah, that's, um, that's a very good question. And I guess, um, you know, I, um, I had a couple of minutes to influence the room in some way, and, uh I thought I could, I could talk about RCM, but we, I had a, someone very good following me afterwards. Um, but yeah, um, I did put the challenge out about, you know, what do you do if they're not, you know, if you've got a client and you've got a problem and they're not listening, I guess, um, there's the compliance bit and there's the, and there's the values bit, the doing the right thing. But now, I guess, um, uh, I use my, my granddad's a good example. He's, uh, he was selling his house where clearing it out, he's going to retirement village and, um, you know, his son-in-law's an electrician. My, you know, my dad's an electrician, he's, anything he wanted done, he could have had done, he had safety switches on the right bits and pieces, but, um, man, he had some dangerous old junk around the place. And, uh, when we were like, we just gotta throw this out, we can't sell it. It was challenging for him because it was, it was something that he'd, you know, it was worth something to him. Um, and I guess we ended up turning it on its head. We, we, we put it in the, there was an old saw, we put it in the bin, he pulled it back out, and then we're like, well, we've gotta find the value around this. And we're like, well, look, you know, you might be able to sell it to somebody for $20 at a garage sale, but, um, there's a, a really high chance that it, you know, might take their life.
It's not a case of it might not work and you've ripped 'em off. You might actually, you know, might do some serious damage. Um, so, um, yeah, I guess it all comes back to, to values. Um, if it's, if it's somebody's business, it's easy enough to sort of, you know, go throw on workplace stuff around and, you know, they've sort of gotta, um, comply, I guess, um, if it's their home or, um, or if it's an investment or something like that. Again, you've got the, those legislative bits, but it also comes back to that value. You know, like, do you, do you want to, you know, be told about this thing that you have a choice to do something about and not consciously do it? So, um, yeah, it's, it is a tough position. Um, and I think it's something as an industry, we've sort of gotta work.
Thank you. Thank you, Donna.
Great. Great question, Ian. Thank you. I just wanted to flag, and I know most of you in the room are aware of it, but we do have the safety advocates that'll come out to your workplace and speak for free. So people like Dan and Deb Kennedy that lost their son in the ceiling space at Bentley Park College in Cairns. Um, when you speak to people like that and they come to your workplace and they'll have a chat, whether it's to five people, 50 people, or 500 people, it does make a difference. And it also gives your staff that little bit extra level of empowerment to say,
I sat and had a coffee with this man yesterday, he buried his 19 year old son. I'm not sure that you can get any greater incentive than having a conversation with someone like that if you don't have kids of your own. You certainly know someone that is, that does, or you're a, you know, you've got a mom and a dad yourself. So that for me is that really strong message that you don't want it to happen to us. And I know Sean would much rather be out having breakfast with someone else, um, preferably his sister, um, than being here talking to us today.
So I think wherever possible leverage those. Um, and please share those messages as far and wide as you can. Thanks.
Thanks Donna. Um, look, Looking at the online feedback, it's absolutely fantastic. Um, Melinda, you're a legend. Great presentation. Um, will Brian's slides be available, just so you all know they will be. Uh, and a question to Simon from Regina, when you're upset, what mental tools do you use to calm down instantly and for the broader team?
Uh, it's with my kids. I have to leave the room, Belinda. Um, oh look, um you know, I, try to do, I guess I try not to flip out too much and, um, and, and, and, you know, get overly uh, aggressive. But, um, you know, I guess coming back to what can I control, uh, in that moment, um, is really important. Um, working through what I can control, what I can influence and what I can't control. Um, and you know, I'm sort of someone that needs to sort of go away and process something,
think about it a little bit more. So I take the time normally to try to think rational, rationally and um, and, and think big picture long term rather than sort of make impulsive decisions.
Um, it's as tough as that can be with when emotion gets involved, but that's, um, that's, yeah, how I try to approach things. Fantastic. Thank you. Uh, any other questions in the room? Pop your hand up. Thank you.
Thank you. And thank you for the opportunity to be here today. Uh, I'd rather offer a challenge rather than a question. I've been in the industry for over 50 years and I've had the opportunity of training young women at mining industries and I'd say the biggest challenge I see today is through the training organisations, particularly how TAFE has changed their way of addressing through competency. And I consider that small complacency in the sense that it drives the apprentice away from creating incentive in being the best at what they can be. But my challenge today is more about how I consider the future generation emerging merging into the electrical industry and how their mindset has to be changed or shifted to work in the understanding of how we are in such diverse industry and how we are changing in regards to working together as male and female in bonding and an industry that can be a pioneer in the way that we can drive forward. And I say that because we are merging into a level of a shift of consciousness, and that's about being a community. And I think this is our stronger point that we should be driving for. So I put it back to you, how do we as an authority, as an industry work towards going that way? Thank you.
Great challenge. Does anybody wanna pick that up? Thanks. Um, yeah, thanks for that. Good, good question. And I'll be a little bit controversial and Donna might say something different here, but how can we do that? By not treating anything as different by just saying, this is we are all we do do, doesn't matter whether you're black, white, male, female, Indian, Caucasian, whatever, we are all working together and you don't specialise point out the differences. You just continue working and everybody works together to achieve an outcome. That's, it's not as easy as that because we do need to put some things in place to help get to a point where we get there. But if we can model the behaviour that this is nothing special, this is nothing different, you are special, you are different, every individual is special, every individual is different, but this is what it is. We are, we do do that.
May not have said that perfectly. That was a tough question, Brian. The only thing I would like to add, um, as a female in a very, very dominated workplace, um, is that we, I think Dylan Alcott said you can't replicate what you can't see. Um, and for him in his wheelchair playing sport, he didn't see anyone on the TV playing sport. And for me, we have some really strong women on, um, the board and our committees and in my workplace and around, um, the tables here today, um, with our stakeholders and it's about getting them up to speak. It's about Melinda speaking today. We'll hear from Cassie tomorrow. Um, and it's about it not being different. It's about them getting up and saying I can do this and that. You've got young girls, 3, 5, 10, 15, 16. And I'll share a very quick story. Um, the person who shared it with me is not in the room, um, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind, I'll keep her nameless, where she went to an event in her trade clothes and one of the little kids said, did you borrow your daddy's clothes for today? Um, that's the mentality we need to unwind where it's just normal to see women in high vis. So, um, it's just about replicating what you can see and the more you can see, um, we'll certainly change that. And this industry needs thousands more workers in the next 10, 20 years. So, um, you know, there's an untapped workforce out there, you just need to grab it.
Fantastic. Thank you. And look conscious of time, I wanna make sure I get you all back to where you need to be. So appreciate all the feedback and the questions for the panel except for the last one we've got over here and over here. Who's doing time? Okay, time is not on my side please.
For Brian. Um, I've been teaching apprentices for probably 15 years and one of the things that keeps, well, I keep, I keep surveying them. And, and I can tell you by, by about the end of their third year, about half of them have received a shock. I always try to find out, um, and of those about 1% I'm guessing report it. Um, and that's 'cause they don't want to drag their boss into trouble. They certainly don't wanna get himself into trouble. Um, and I've, and I've um, I had a, a guy from the ESO out coming and talking to my classes a bit and I kept saying to him, I'd really like a system where an apprentice or a tradesman for that matter can, can go to a hospital and say I've had a shock. Can I just get treated and go home without dragging the whole thing through? Because as we know, um, you can still die sometime after a shock. Uh, and, and, and this is, this has been on my mind for this a number of years now I'd like to see a system where, I mean, we do it for, for people who overdose on drugs, I'd like to see it for electrical workers.
It's a great question, great challenge. And it's, and I agree, it's not unusual that I hear people who've been tradespeople for a long time share stories really, um, you know, easily about when they were shocked almost as though it's a rite of passage. I'm sure the commissioner will add value to this when he gets up in a minute to wrap things up as the chair of the electrical licensing committee. It's certainly not something that the regulator would support or endorse. Um, that next shot could be fatal. Um, and if there's no lessons learned, and I know it's, you know, it's often a challenge to work with us, um, or to meet the committee or to meet Keith. Um, but there is a reason behind that. Um, and we really want them learnings. Um, and if we don't have that conversation, we do still need to report.
If we don't have that conversation, the next one could be much, much worse So certainly not something I hear your, I hear your issue. Um, and we hear it all the time about contact with overhead lines. We don't wanna notify the regulator 'cause we'll get into trouble. Um, but ultimately, you know, the next one could be the time those Swiss cheese holes line up.
And, and I, sorry, I'll just add quickly that those sort of incidents, the incidents that industry can learn from each other from that peer learning. So if we don't know about it, people don't know that that's a potential risk for them as well. So the more reporting we get on those incidents, the better we can share that information. I appreciate there might be some regulatory impacts as well, but the critical thing is share it with our peers so we are all aware of it and we don't become complacent.
Great question. Great perspective. Thank you. Final question in the room.
Thank you. Sorry,
I won't be long. No, not at all. Um, so we're, our company's very, uh, residential based and uh, we do a lot of work in that area. Um, I've been contracting for 15 years now, and I think that the, the home handyman space is probably the worst I've ever seen it. Um, I know that wholesalers have gotten a lot better with, um, who can come in and buy things over the counter and that that standard has certainly lift depending on the wholesaler. Um the Big B Bunnings, um, they can walk straight in there and they can buy two meters of cable if they want to buy two meters. I understand light fittings and fans is, you know, something and people wanna supply things as much as they can these days, but is there something to be looked at within the Bunnings space, um, where people can go and pretty much buy nearly everything that they need for a residential installation?
That was a quick pass. You should, you could almost play a f l Brian, I'm sure. Um, it is something we've turned our minds to as part of the, um, independent review, um, that Dick Williams did. Uh, it is a tricky situation as you know, there's gotta be, um, signage to say it has to be installed by a licensed electrician. We see every day people trying to install their own stuff, um, which is challenging the answer. I don't know what it is, but if you come up with it, please let me know. The issue we have is, I don't know if you've built a new house or if you're changing your light fittings or changing your, your fans. Um, I'm pretty sure we don't want electricians trotting out with me shopping. 'cause I'll probably go to 15 shops and look at 20 things and go back to where I started on day one. Um, but how do we do that? And there is a real concern, particularly where you're buying 20 meters of cable and all the bits that go in it, um, that's different to, you know, a pendant light that you can get an electrician to come around. So it is a, a wicked problem. Um, it is really about education and telling people it's not just three wires. It's not just an easy thing. So it's really about that conversation piece.
And everyone talks about Bunnings. I'm gonna start calling it Mire 10 or Home Hardware or someone else, but it's always the Big B. Um, but if you've got ideas on, on what we can do in that space, it is up for review. It is a matter for the minister and the government. But please, um I'm all ears. I know Brian's all ears. The commissioner's all ears, um, as is the board and committee. So, uh, if you come up with a solution, that doesn't mean that your electrician has to do all your shopping for you. Um, it's certainly an option.
Perfect. Thank you. Thank you panel. Thank you for the questions. Yes. Okay, Keith McKenzie's gonna close us out. Um, the Electrical Safety Commissioner, Keith started his electrical career in 1986 after gaining his electrical fitter and mechanics license. He worked for several companies on domestic, commercial hospital, petrochemical and industrial projects. Keith has served on a range of board and boards and committees in the area of apprentice training, construction, training competencies, workplace health and safety, and Australian standards, and has been a member of the Electrical Safety Board and Electric Electrical Licensing Committee since 2011. Prior to his role as Commissioner Keith was the president of the Queensland and Northern Territory Electrical Trades Union branches. Welcome Keith. Thank you.
Morning everyone. How are we going? Good, good. The answer. Thank you. So a lot to, um, certainly thank the Minister for making the effort to, uh, to attend today's, um, safety summit. And it's not often, I guess a Minister of the Crown gets to use her portfolio each and every day being electricity, which is good. And also thanks to all the, um, presenters today for also making the time to come for the breakfast. I really appreciate it and especially you. Um, Melinda, you mentioned about you don't wanna be a role model for your kids, and you certainly are not only a role model for your kids, uh, but for women in the industry, but for all electrical workers in the industry.
Your speech today was awesome, and we continue to hopefully you, you go around talking about your, uh, your endeavours and what you did for the trade.
And you are awesome and you're a great electrician. Well done, Melinda. Um, I just wanna also acknowledge the members of the Electrical Safety Board here today and the committees here in the room and online. And, um, and Regina who ask that question, she's, uh, overseas and each and every day for our electrical education and, uh, and equipment committee. She dials in at 10:00 AM our time, which I think is about 2:30 AM her time. And Sophie online, Melinda, uh, Regina, thanks for dialling in and also thanks to the Electrical Safety Office administration team and also the Strategic Communications group of OIR who organised not only this event each and every year, but also the three events taking place over the next three days. So round of pause for the, uh, Strategic Communications group and the, uh, Electrical Safety Office staff. So, um, what is electrical safety? So I'm getting on the bandwagon here. So I went on the other night and looked under chatGPT to find out what they views of, uh, electrical safety is. So when you're typing that, what is electrical safety, it comes up with a fair bit of information. One about what is proper wiring, electrical equipment, earthing, electrical isolation, electrical panels and switchboards cords and extension cables, electrical awareness, p p e, electrical training, risk assessment, and emergency response. It also says electrical safety is critical in preventing accidents, injuries and fatalities relating to electricity, adhering to safety standards and best practices that can help ensure electrical systems and equipment function properly while minimizing the risk of electrical incidents.
It should also say that the electrical safety in Queensland's the envy of all other states and territories, and it's something that should be adhered to each and every year. But it hasn't said that yet. And we'll work hard to make sure that chat and GPT picks that up. Um, also wanna just, uh, when Sean mentioned about, you know, what, uh, what's our responsibility and, and what's our values? And, and each and every one of us are leaders in our industry Whether you a leader of a corporation, a G O C, uh, a small company looking after one or two people in the training industry, we've all got some leadership role today. And when leaving here, think about what you're gonna do or change to influence the people you work around each and every day. And also at home. You know can you actually change the lives of people? How we we do with electricity? Like everyone keeps talking about it and they're right. It's in our walls and it's at home and we do it with the work, but there's a big risk risk there. Going on to talk about briefly about, you know, when people buy six meters of cable at a, uh, a hardware store and a junction box and a PowerPoint and a C clip. Um, it's unlicensed electrical work. It's also, it's illegal.
It's illegal to do 65 in the 60 zone. People do that. You haven't got a plumbing licence, you're not allowed in install your own tapware and shower heads, don't give yourselves up. I'm pretty sure some people do that without a plumbing license. No disrespect to our friends in the plumbing industry, and we need, uh, water. But I don't see anyone who's down, uh, die because of a, a leaking tap. But electricity will kill, and especially if it's installed in a way where you can obviously have your house burned down or, uh, it'll cause you or someone else to get a, a fatal electric shock.
So today here there's roughly about 150 people in this room, about 200 online, um, for those online and, and can see obviously around this room. We've got leaders from the Electrical Trade Union, uh, master Electricians, National Electrical Contractors Association, the 30 electrical contractors, uh, in this room today representing organisations.
We've got state government departments, the safety office, uh, RTOs, OCs, electrical entities, councils, and a number of PCB employing, uh, electrical workers out there and working in their industry. So really, thanks very much for certainly attending today. And obviously thank to our, our previous commissioner, Greg Skyring for obviously getting this event up and running. Made it certainly a privilege of having you here today. Um, what's going on is electrical safety Board committee is just about finalising their five year plan and, uh, hopefully at the, uh, November board meeting, uh, they'll be, uh, finalized and presented, presented to the minister for her to endorse, um, the work of the three committees. Obviously licensing, education and equipment do a valuable job in providing advice to the board. And then advice to the minister, um, the electoral licensing committee. Um, other than providing advice on our, on our, on our sort of training and our license requirement also has a disciplinary function. And that function, uh, this year's done about 50 hearings of, uh, where workers who are presented to the, uh, the, the committee for, um, the workers performed or not performed is not electrically safe. And quite a few of those instances involve apprentices, apprentices receiving electric shocks. Um, apprentices don't attend our licensing meetings. They don't have a license. It's the workers, if apprentice receives electric shock, is the worker they're working with would generally be at fault or failing to do systems, failing to lock out or failing to train. Those apprentices on the odd occasion will see an apprentice. They'll go and just do something outta the ordinary. But once again, it's a safety culture that those apprentices need to be taught about before, take any form of work, have you isolated, have you locked it out and have you tested it? And then for the trades person to also ensure that that, uh, is being tested as well.
Um, there's also a parliamentary inquiry about the commence in Queensland in a copper and scrap metal theft. Um, there'll be a three month, uh, inquiry, uh, to be chaired by a, a member for Owonga and Shane King. And there's a lot of copper has been stolen. Now it's not like copper from plumbing taps. And there would be a bit, there are no doubt, and there's a bit of co um, scrap metal from c converters from cars. But people are stealing copper of cable systems already installed in the networks in the grid. And when they steal it, leaving it live, which exposed people in the Queensland community to potentially a shock or fatality, that's how much these thieves, one our copper, about 11 bucks a kilo I hear.
So they'll be all sold in Queensland in a state or overseas. So we've gotta actually stop that as a severe risk. And if you talk to some of the entities, millions and millions of dollars are being stolen and the re rectification of that work's happening, it's horrendous. And also they're stealing copper, uh, earthing grids that affects integrity of our earthing systems from substations.
So we, we sort of commend that inquiry and see the result, how they can fix that and try and curb its theft. Um, there's a lot of issues in the industry, re gowning, uh, um, arc flash. There will picture here next to it, some blokes getting a severe arc flash. That's when things go wrong. A lot of people find a licensing committee 'cause of work they're doing. Um, I'm not working on equipment, I'm not working on it. I'm working next to it. And that's when things go bad. You know, we talk about people like Kerry. Her first shock was the last we got Dale Kennedy, Jason Garrels, Tim Martin. Their first shock was their last shock. You know, we used to say, not me. I was a good electrician. Number one, I reckon you're not a real electrician. Should've had electric shock. Anyone heard that TAFE industry would, in fact, you're a great electrician if you never had one.
I've always asked how many electricians received a shock or pen. And hands are still going up and it's not acceptable. They haven't got a right not to report it. If they're doing electrical work. The Workplace Health and Safety Act, if you receive electrical, shocker, must be reported. But we've gotta change behaviours. We need to find out when people do receive a shock and notify the regulator. And the s a does an investigation, we found out when they come to the licensing committee, it's system's getting failed. The shortcuts happening. It's at the end of the day, there's a rush job. We need these experiences. And the licensing committee, when you meet us, we are friendly people, but what we do is we change behaviours in these, in these, in the, uh, the hearings where your worker changed behaviour, do some training or you're a contractor to attend us.
And doing an audit on your systems to change behaviours and understand what you need to do to do better. And in fact, the contractors attend the licensing hearings and get an audit done when they complete that. They're probably the contractors I want to use to come and do electrical work because they get it right. And very soon the audit that the electrical safety office, uh, sorry, that the licensing committee used, will make that public to all electrical contractors and actually start in their own audit and hopefully less and less will come to us. We've gotta change behaviours. And that's all about the safety culture.
Changing our culture in your businesses, in your organisations to make workers the industry and also the public electrically safe. The community's a big in the big issue out there. There's people buying stuff from these hardware stores. There's people using scissor lifts, going up in, in, uh, overhead lines. There's people digging AGAs dealing in power lines underground. We've gotta change the community in the electrical industry with workers and contractors. We can get the message out there because we've got systems in place, but it's the people out there in the community doing unlicensed work, um, or working around equipment. We've gotta change those behaviours, especially the work that Brian's team are doing in try and re-educating, you know, scooters. Scooters aren't electrical equipment, but it's the charger that charges it and where it's charged, not in the spare bedroom, outside, maybe in the garage.
And don't put a rapid charge on and leave it overnight as a trickle charge. Read the bloody instruction manual. You probably don't read the instruction manual when you read, when you buy a new microwave or a washing machine. But you, you surely should be doing it when you get a, a scooter or a bike. Make sure that charger is fit for purpose. That's where these incidents and accidents are happening. So there's a lot more work to do in the community space.
And just one last plug, I'd like just to talk briefly about the apprentices. So, um, we're not far off of, um, launching, uh, a guide for apprentices so that all apprentices, you start with an organisational through. Get the, the, uh, an idea of what's likely to be the apprentice. So if you've got a good employer to provide that information, happy days, you might take some of that knowledge on. Um, but if you haven't got nothing, this is something we can actually set the apprentices up for success, what's expected of them in the electoral industry. And we look forward to launching that. Um, very soon we'll be approved to have our own electoral safety board in Queensland. Electoral safety legislation, a regulator, and obviously the, uh, under Donna's guidance team of electrical safety office. We're so privileged, like I said, jokingly with the N V D O states. We do a good job. We bat above our weight as far as electricity goes. Um, electricity does kill. Thanks for joining us here today. Um, the last ones is the third plug. So tomorrow we've got our safety seminar that states at eight o'clock at, um, with JT. I understand that's being booked out. That's, um, but you can go online and watch JT and all the other guest speakers. Cassie's gonna be talking about that, the importance of apprentices and how we can change behaviours and attitudes. And if you're supervising an apprentice, jump on that webinar as well. Thursday, the industry webinar for those working in the industry, jump online for that one. That starts at 10 o'clock and Friday. The community webinar, we've been try and get to the community. So if you're a member of a community organisation or you know, people who are members of presidents or secretaries of a range of clubs, get them to jump online. 10 o'clock, it's all free. Thanks for coming.
Have a nice day. Thank you.
Fantastic. Thank you Keith. Powerful words, great reminders. I just wanna close by thanking everyone today for their participation. Those people who ask questions online, the team will absolutely respond. So thank you for, um, your cooperation and participation. Um, again, a lot of great events happening this week. Please prioritise those and thank you for prioritizing this morning. Take care, stay safe and thank you for the incredible work that you're doing. Thanks.