In this edition we focus on the future of our industry, from the transition to green-energy solutions to the critical role plumbers will continue to play in keeping our communities sustainable and safe.
The plumbing and gasfitting industry has grasped the exciting opportunity to lead a nation-wide push towards green hydrogen, which is in line with the commitment several Australian states and territories have made to produce net zero emissions by 2050. Hydrogen can be safely added to natural gas supplies at 10 per cent by volume without changes to pipelines, appliances or regulations. Over time, and with modifications to the existing gas networks and appliances, hydrogen has the potential to completely replace natural gas for domestic cooking, heating and hot water.
Plumbers and gasfitters are the natural trade occupation to carry out the installation and ongoing maintenance of hydrogen systems in Victoria. Hydrogen skills are an adjunct to those existing competency-based skill sets, rather than the creation of an entirely new skill set or trade. There will be extensive opportunities for gasfitters to play a critical role in the installation and maintenance of hydrogen alongside traditional gas, such as natural and LPG, which remain an essential component of the energy mix in the transition away from carbon-based fuels in the medium-term.
Not only does this have implications for training and upskilling our workforce, but it also shines a light on the importance of attracting more plumbers into the trade.
The Master Plumbers’ Board, along with our industry partners, PPTEU, PICAC and other stakeholders have already strategically invested large amounts of member funds, and are actively lobbying and campaigning to raise further funds in excess of $40M to ensure that we collectively have the capability to train the industry using world class technology, state of the art training facilities and curriculum to be at the forefront of this energy revolution.
Meanwhile, in coming months, more than 180,000 students will complete year 12. Some of these students will be undecided as to their future. And there are also many students who will decide to not continue onto year 12. Unfortunately, many don’t truly understand what a career in plumbing entails and where it can lead you, which is not helped by the ‘university-first approach’ in many school programs.
We need to create more awareness of the scope of work that plumbers do to protect the health and sanitation of our nation by building and maintaining Australia’s infrastructure. Green hydrogen is just one of the exciting aspects of what plumbing looks like today and tomorrow.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Australian Plumbing for a special Plumbing Careers feature and see what your industry association is doing with its partners to secure the future of plumbing into the next generation.
Scott Dowsett President, Master Plumbers
Peter Daly CEO, Master Plumbers