It was 1903. It featured all the latest plumbing technology. It was a “Model House”, and it has piqued Master Plumbers heritage curator Peter Jensen’s interest.
Master Plumbers has stood by members for 132 years. Whether through investment in infrastructure or technology, future-proofing the workforce through leading-edge training, access to the best information, expert advice, support or advocacy, and advertising campaigns, Master Plumber’s goal is to ensure that members stay ahead of the game and are positioned to take every advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead. See what Master Plumbers achieved in 2022/23.
Annual Report headlines
In the past financial year, membership grew to 1,060 businesses, collectively representing over 7,000 plumbing professionals across Victoria.
We boosted our technical offering by adding a third technical advisor and doubled our in-house communication and digital content creation capacity. Our in-house team of experts answered over
4,800 phone calls from members and our website received over 217,000 visitors. Hundreds of members took advantage of our specialist courses, forums and networking events.
We introduced new member benefits and services, including a business banking offer through NAB and an enhanced offering through Fleetcard.
Members also received free insurance health checks through Marsh Insurance and free access to Australian Standards as well as a host of discounts, collectively saving members over $1 million.
The team launched a regional pub night series, and visited six regional towns, to connect in-person with more members in the towns where they operate, bringing together members, local plumbers and key in-house and industry experts.
Our face-to-face events brought together over 1,000 industry professionals, and members loved the opportunity to connect through events including our Members’ Christmas Party, Master Plumbers Apprentice Awards, the Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards, and metropolitan Golf Day.
We expanded our communications team and delivered content in new ways, including regular video updates across our social channels, and ‘always on’ digital marketing, as well as valuable resources like Find-a-Plumber. We distributed more than 100,000 copies of ‘Australian Plumbing’ magazine throughout Australia featuring a refreshed design and enhanced print quality.
Enhanced technical offering
Master Plumbers expanded its team to three dedicated plumbing experts who collectively handled over 1,950 calls.
The expertise of our technical team is also sought by the dozens of government panels and advisory bodies on which Master Plumbers represents the plumbing industry.
Taking action on behalf of members
Master Plumbers has been at the forefront of advocacy on several issues, including ‘calling up’ AS 4575 in the Victorian plumbing regulations to set a minimum standard for gas appliance servicing. We successfully lobbied government to make the required changes, assisted government through the Regulatory Impact Statement process and
strongly advocated against this process becoming onerous for the attending gasfitter.
We have been intensively engaged in further discussion with Government on both the inadequacies of the Gas Servicing Records Portal and the reporting burden underpinning it.
The gas transition
In late July, the Victorian Government changed the trajectory of the gas transition roadmap by announcing a ban on all gas connections in new domestic builds from 1 January 2024. Master
Plumbers has heavily criticised both the decision and the way it was announced. We have worked closely with members to help articulate the impact through direct contact, a Special Members-Only feedback forums, and a live Gas Ban information hub.
The go-to for industry advice
When the new AS/NZS 5601.1 Gas Standard was introduced, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the introduction of Clause, 5.2.11 Provisions of fire emergency isolation for multilayer pipe and the use of Excess Flow Valves (EFV).
Our technical team amassed a solid understanding on the use, function and installation requirements of the valve which we were then able to share with members.
Master Plumbers became the go-to industry contact regarding information on EFV’s. We hosted a Gas Information Night at PICAC Narre Warren in conjunction with ESV and Keefer Bros/Maxitrol. The tailored presentations and guidance has now been shared with most of Australia’s gas regulators.
Keeping our people and business safe
Master Plumbers welcomed a second in-house OHS officer, and the team has provided over 1,200 businesses with tailored WHS advice and guidance on critical topics.
We also represented members on committees including the WorkSafe Foundations of Safety Committee and reference groups, the advisory committees of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), and WorkCover.
A changing Industrial Relations landscape
Our in-house industrial relations expertise kept members informed of employment law changes and armed with the right advice and resources to navigate the impacts on their businesses and teams.
Through regular EDMs, online factsheets and articles, direct phone calls, site visits and seminars, we continued to support members’ IR needs.
Training for our future
Master Plumbers delivered more than 150,000 hours of training in apprentice, post-trade and licence level programs - up from 110,000 in the previous year. New trainers joined our team to boost our capacity and support the more than 350 apprentices enrolled in Brunswick and Narre Warren alone.
Together with industry partners, we invested in a network of specialist plumbing training facilities across four state-of-the-art jointly owned PICAC campuses in Victoria and Queensland, delivering high-end training in key emerging sectors like hydrogen energy, water recycling and solar energy integration. Master Plumbers and PICAC led the national development of learner resources and assessments as part of the industry’s transition to the new plumbing qualifications for Certificate III and Certificate IV programs.
Our dedicated CPD portal and online course library ended the year with over 3,500 participants.
Master Plumbers Group Training
Today our Group Training Organisations, Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria (PAV) and Plumbing Apprentices Queensland (PAQ) employ over 170 apprentices per year. We provide plumbing businesses across Victoria and Queensland with high-quality, cost-effective apprentices.
Demand for PAQ services from Host Employers also remained strong.
Over 50% of participants in the PAQ’s funded Pre-Apprenticeship program went on to secure a plumbing or related apprenticeship.
Women in Plumbing
The two-year Women in Plumbing pilot program ended having achieved remarkable success with a surge in female applicants from 1 in 100 (2021) to 1 in 20 (June 2023). Master Plumbers and PAV have developed a comprehensive plan to attract, recruit and retain more women in the industry and to consider a range of future career paths within plumbing.
In the latter half of 2023, the Women in Solar program, a partnership between Solar Victoria and PAV will continue to build this great momentum.
Supporting our communities
Following severe storms and floods in October, Master Plumbers teamed up with the Victorian Government to connect Victorian flood victims with our members to help fast-track recovery over the next three years.
In February, the Members’ Golf Day created a memorable day and raised $10,000 for social enterprise PukaUp.
In March, the 2023 Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards brought together over 500 industry professionals to celebrate the achievements of our individuals and businesses, raising $50,000
for the Indigenous Plumbing and Sanitation Foundation.
The opportunities ahead
Master Plumbers has embarked on the largest program of process improvements and system integration in our history, investing in new HR functions and training platforms, compliance and operations frameworks and processes.
We will expand our online and in-house training offerings and CPD programs to support the emerging training and development needs of the industry and to position our industry and our Association to adopt mandatory CPD sometime over the next year.
We will introduce tailored benefits, services, and resources to support our members at every stage of their business journey. Members will have new opportunities to dial up additional services and resources and take advantage of more tailored membership offerings.
PAV and PAQ will continue to expand and support the development and diversity of our next generation of plumbers and all arms of the Association will work together to support the success of
our plumbing businesses.
In the 2023 Annual report, you will find a comprehensive overview of our performance, key initiatives, and accomplishments over the past year.
They are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our people, our leadership, our volunteers, and our members.
Read the full report at: plumber.com.au/2023annualreport