Reflecting on events in the past year, it is amazing how time has simultaneously passed so quickly and so slowly. In many ways, it has been back to the future, with this same column in 2020 reporting on the COVID pandemic impact on our industry. Who would have thought that 12-months later we could essentially write the same words? Of course, you would need to substitute 2021’s earthquake and floods for the 2020 bushfires. It has certainly been a tumultuous time.
The big difference though is the outlook. This time last year vaccinations were still unproven and not in use, we were locked down with a handful of new cases creating trepidation and uncertainty for business.
We now stand tried and tested by the pandemic but (in Victoria and NSW at least) largely open and free of restrictions as we learn to live with daily case numbers fluctuating in a society in which more than nine in 10 people are fully vaccinated.
In the past two years, despite the pain faced by many, the building and construction industry did not fail.
It proved its flexibility and resilience with a spirit of cooperation that produced world-leading guidelines and practices to keep workers and the community safe as critical infrastructure was delivered and vital services were provided to the community.
We take this opportunity to acknowledge and pay tribute to our members and our industry leaders for their contribution to this response.
It’s now onto new challenges for our industry and the resumption of some of the old battles too.
Master Plumbers’ 2021 Insurance Survey confirmed what we knew anecdotally about the issues with cost and availability of mandatory plumbing insurance.
The data clearly demonstrates the urgent need for the Victorian Government to instigate a complete review and modernisation of the Ministerial Order, which is now decades old.
In a déjà vu moment as we write this column, a Life Member sent us a chain of correspondence from 19 years ago warning the (then) Planning Minister of imminent and widespread standdowns in the plumbing industry due to maintenance plumbing companies not being able to obtain public liability insurance.
Master Plumbers advocacy on insurance and a range of other issues important to members will be a priority in 2022 as we head into Federal and State elections.
After another turbulent and uncertain year, we hope all members can have a well-deserved rest and celebration during the annual shutdown.
On behalf of the Master Plumbers Board and National Council, we wish members and their families a safe and enjoyable break and we look forward to a more stable 2022!
Scott Dowsett – President, Master Plumbers
Peter Daly – CEO, Master Plumbers