March 11 marks World Plumbing Day. As our industry gears up for another busy year, this date is a timely reminder of the vital role that plumbing plays on a global...
In a year that demanded resilience, Master Plumbers (Victoria) worked harder and smarter, and the results published in the 2021 Annual Report are testament to that. Below is an excerpt of the document.
Unprecedented. Challenging. Uncertain. The past year has been many things. But above all, it has been a test of resilience. A year where our industry and our Association not only met the standard but set the standard.
What you did not see in the daily case numbers or shutdown announcements was the result of an industry-wide offensive to keep construction safe and open. Never has the collective role of our Association, our businesses and our people been more critical in keeping the lights on, our sites safe and the economy moving forward. Through advocacy, development of leading COVID safe protocols and strict adherence on work sites, plumbing and construction remained largely open for business. Master Plumbers is proud of the role we have played for, and on behalf of, our members and we move forward together as an industry running stronger, smarter, and future ready.
Growth and membership
Master Plumbers recorded unprecedented growth in membership last year, reaching 1,000 members by 30 June 2021, collectively representing over 6,500 plumbing professionals across Victoria.
- New member portal: Making it easier for members to self-serve, access their benefits, engage with the Association and each other.
- New CPD library: A one-stop-shop for members to search for courses, login directly to their portal to record CPD activity and manage their accounts.
- Web-chat function: A new ‘chat bot’ on our website to enable members to engage with our experts via SMS.
- Digital marketing support: A series of webinars, resources, and advisory services to help members boost their online presence and stand out to customers and search engines alike.
- Next-gen leadership: A new campaign to encourage members to play a more active role in the Association.
- Mental health and wellbeing: A dedicated series of webinars, podcasts, and resources to support mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
- COVID Care packages: Including free, unlimited access to the Caroma online training platform, $50,000 in gift cards and EAP counselling packages.
- COVID-19 Portal and business toolkit: The latest COVID news and advice, tailored to the plumbing industry, a business toolkit with templates, SWMS, and webinars to help members stay COVID-safe and compliant.
- Safety system bundles: A complete framework of policies and procedures to help members keep sites compliant and their people safe.
Representing member interests
In partnership with key stakeholders, Master Plumbers formed a formidable alliance to represent members interests across a range of challenges facing our industry. In 2021, we represented our members on more than 100 steering committees and provided formal submissions to over 70 enquiries.
The COVID-19 pandemic
Master Plumbers continued its active leadership role in representing the industry to government and the government to industry and was successful in a combined effort to ensure that financial assistance packages provided by government included sole traders and small businesses.
Regulatory oversight of gas servicing
Master Plumbers advocacy was key to bringing the adoption of the Gas Servicing Standard (AS4575) in Victoria to its status of a Regulatory Impact phase and we continue to support a well-regulated gas sector for all Victorian consumers.
Looking to a green future with hydrogen
We have been active participants in several projects looking at both developing training and standards of work that would be required to facilitate the process of blending hydrogen into our existing gas infrastructure and how a 100 per cent hydrogen gas driven sector would roll out.
Master Plumbers has long advocated the need for better regulation of the complex plumbing sector and the good news is that we are finally seeing some progress in Victoria. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) set up a complex plumbing subcommittee of the Plumbing Advisory Council with representatives from industry, regulators, and government.
Automatic Mutual Recognition of Occupational Licensing
With the Victorian Parliament accepting the Federal Treasurer’s plans for AMR, Master Plumbers is working to protect consumers and industry standards.
Master Plumbers has recognised that there are several factors required to maintain the self-certification regime and have strongly represented what we see as shortcomings and needed improvements to Victorian regulators.
Master Plumbers heard members’ pain about the cost and availability of insurance and has advocated the need for reforms including review of the existing Ministerial Order.
Securing the future of our workforce
Master Plumbers fought hard to secure the future of our workforce, expand its service offering and instil a greater culture of compliance and safety throughout the business.
Our field officers and other PAV staff focused on maintaining morale across the cohort, increased oneto- one and team calls and check ins, and made additional resources and training available to nurture and encourage our predominantly young and vulnerable workforce. As a result, we were able to quickly re-start, having the talent secured for engagement back into trade.
Joint venture to rescue jobs
In parallel with the challenge in Victoria, Master Plumbers worked in joint venture with Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland (MPAQ) create Plumbing Apprentices Queensland (PAQ). PAQ continues to grow, servicing MPAQ members and the SE Queensland community with apprentices studying at the futuristic PICAC Beenleigh campus, jointly owned by Master Plumbers.
Expansion of WHS business
The Master Plumbers Work Health and Safety (WHS) offering continues its upward trajectory, with national interest in our market-leading products producing almost $100k in sales from our expansion into Queensland.
Instilling a culture of compliance and safety
Master Plumbers is extremely proud of its efforts to encourage and instil a greater culture around safe work practices, which has led to even fewer injuries reported by PAV Apprentices and a 40 per cent reduction in its workers compensation premium. Thank you to all of our 2021 members We appreciate your continued support
Victorian Big Build program
Master Plumbers PAV was proud to be announced as the preferred provider of plumbing apprentices for the $33 million Big Build Apprenticeships scheme that will provide 1,500 opportunities each year for four years to Victorian apprentices and trainees.
Training our industry
A combination of online and face-to-face classes delivered apprenticeship and post trade training, as well as information and awareness sessions on behalf of industry stakeholders.
The coming year will see the RTO deliver more training in the areas of Type A appliance servicing, Backflow, TMV and the Restricted Electrical License programs with the enhancement of training facilities across all campuses in Victoria. We also plan to take our popular training programs into Regional Victoria, making it more convenient for members to upskill than ever before.
A burgeoning digital ecosystem
Master Plumbers’ continued investment in systems and infrastructure has enabled greater information sharing at a time when our members and the wider public have needed it most.
The investment in our state-of-the- art website, paired with our newly integrated CRM membership system and growing social media audience, had the Association well-positioned to respond to each of the twists and turns in a unique but eerily familiar year. Podium, an online text-based platform, and corporate partner of the Association, enabled a channel-agnostic, streamlined messaging service that combined text, social messaging, and online reviews in one easy to manage online dashboard. With thousands of messages exchanged, Master Plumbers looks forward to the role of new technologies in keeping members better connected than ever.
Read the full report here: plumber.com.au/2021annualreport