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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3463

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (20:50): Having lived through the 1974 floods in south-east Queensland and then the 2011 floods, I can, from personal experience and observation, note the importance that the plumbing industry plays in the health of people in south-east Queensland, through the provision of safe water and sanitation, and the benefits of that to the health and safety of people in south-east Queensland—and the consequences to people when they are exposed to floodwater.

Previous speakers have talked about the role of the World Plumbing Council in developing countries, but I want to concentrate on that part of the motion that talks about promoting the importance of the plumbing industry in developed countries, particularly in my home state of Queensland. World Plumbing Day on 11 March 2011 was established in 2010 by the World Plumbing Council to help promote the role of the plumbing industry in public health and safety, particularly through the provision of clean drinking water and sanitation in both developed and developing countries.

People are vexed during times of flood. I can recall that on numerous occasions during the 2011 flood whole communities were without adequate water or the water was unsafe to drink, and it had to be trucked in in bottled form. I can recall that on numerous occasions I had to carry cartons of bottled water in Fernvale, Lowood and other places in my electorate of Blair where it was just so critical.

In my home state, plumbers are well represented by the Plumbers Union Qld. I want to pay tribute to the Plumbers' Union for its advocacy on behalf of workers and its cooperation in the role of vocational education and training. I want to thank the Plumbers' Union, particularly, for the nearly $33,000 that it contributed to the industry flood relief appeal, which helps people in south-east Queensland particularly. The State Secretary of the Plumbers Union, Bradley O'Carroll, tells me that local plumbers are generally too busy to stop and celebrate World Plumbing Day, although I believe they did hold some events over the state. I know that the union runs terrific courses in areas such as back flow prevention, back flow revalidation, basic rigging, Certificate IV in OH&S, Diploma of Project Management, domestic waste water management, elevated platform work, first aid and other areas. The union plays a big role in the promotion of safety—health and safety, particularly—for those people who work in the industry.

Brad is right; in Queensland, every day is plumbing day, and we saw that during the floods and elsewhere since. But, in Queensland, we live in a state where, sadly, we have a shortage of skilled plumbers. The union's role it is to ensure a secure and productive workforce for the future, and the union takes that particularly seriously. Skilled Queenslanders from all trades and professions are heading to the mines. In any country area we know that. The member for Capricornia would know that, and I know that. I want to commend the plumbers for the work they do. I want to commend them particularly for the work of Joint Industry Services Training, known as JIST, for its work in providing industry-specific training for the fire, mechanical and plumbing industries. This is done through a partnership arrangement between the Plumbers' Union; the National Fire Industry Association, Queensland; the Hydraulic Contractors Group; and the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association of Queensland.

JIST operates from an industry owned skills centre and construction centre in Salisbury in Brisbane. I have been there on numerous occasions. It trains both men and women in the area of plumbing. The skills centre infrastructure has been designed to make sure that industry input is realistic, with on-site simulation. Currently, the centre delivers training to over 150 Queensland apprentices in fire prevention, mechanical plumbing, sanitation plumbing and fire alarm technician trades. Presently, it provides interstate training for 30 Western Australian fire protection apprentices. More than just focusing on trade skills, all JIST apprentices attend the MATES in Construction Life Skills Tool Box. This is an accredited course encompassing suicide awareness and prevention, self-esteem, diet, budgeting, anger management and how to deal with a range of work and social issues. JIST also has a comprehensive host trade program to cater for the changing skills required by the industry. I want to congratulate Bradley O'Carroll and the CEO of JIST, Trevor Torrens, for his management and oversight of this excellent facility. The industry works cooperatively with the union, as it always should, in making sure that we have the best apprentices possible. I congratulate them for the work they do in my home state of Queensland.