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Another life lost to electrical fatality while politicians sit on their hands

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today renewed calls for the Queensland Government to urgently upgrade safety switch laws following the tragic death of a Townsville man.

Earlier today it was announced that yet another Queensland life had been lost after exposed wires on a hot water system led to the electrocution of a 25-year-old at a Townsville rental property.

MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said that despite repeated attempts by MEA to get the laws upgraded, Minister Grace Grace continues to drag her feet leaving vulnerable people at risk.

“Twice this year already MEA has written to the Minister, pleading with her to upgrade safety switch laws and prevent further lives from being lost,” Mr Richards said.

“The current laws do not mandate the use of safety switches on all circuits in older buildings. This in particular leaves renters exposed to electrical fatality as there is no legal onus on landlords to install the necessary number of safety switches in older homes.

“Unless safety switch laws are changed to bring the same level of protection into place for older buildings that are in place for new ones, young and vulnerable people will continue to be put at severe risk.

“Despite repeated attempts and numerous urgings from MEA, the Minister continues to drag her feet on this issue and we hold grave fears that more lives will be lost until she and the Government decides to take action.

“The Minister is able to re-write the laws regarding solar farms overnight at the behest of the ETU, but she is unable to implement laws that will literally save lives.

Mr Richards said that the current laws were woefully inadequate and that further lives would be lost if the Government failed to upgrade existing laws.

“For eight years, MEA has been advocating to successive state governments’ on the drastic need to mandate the use of safety switches on all capable domestic and commercial circuits.

“There have been two coronial inquests within the last five years that have both recommended that the Queensland Government pass laws requiring safety switches be installed on all circuits.

“In January this year sweeping new changes were made to the Australian Standards that saw the new AS/NZS3000 now require safety switches on all circuits. Since then MEA has twice written to Minister Grace pleading with her to bring older homes, such as the one in this fatality, into line with the new standard.

“The current laws in Queensland only require safety switches to be installed on all domestic electrical circuits. Unfortunately, this does not go far enough and we call on the State Government to extend the current laws to include all domestic and commercial circuits.

“In the meantime, MEA is not standing idly by before new laws are passed which is why we have launched our own Switchboard Safety campaign to help prevent further electrical tragedies.”

The MEA 10-point visual Switchboard Safety checklist can be found at the MEA website using the following link: https://www.masterelectricians.com.au/switchboard