Media Release 10 November 2020

WA Master Plumbers validated by Channel 7 discussion

The exposure on Perth’s Channel 7 Flashpoint current program of systemic problems in the WA building and construction industry has clearly validated what The Master Plumbers and Gasfitters Association of WA (MPGA) has been saying for years.

The Flashpoint episode, which aired on Monday 9 November, featured a panel discussion about the effects of the building boom in WA, which is being fuelled by COVID-19 stimulus finance. With hundreds of new houses under construction or going through local government approval processes and hundreds more to follow, WA has an extreme shortage of skilled tradespeople similar to that seen during the mining boom.

One of the key messages from the panel discussion is that the skills shortage will inevitably result in substandard work and construction defects that go unnoticed because of a virtually non-existent WA Government inspection and compliance regime. A panel member who owns a building company said he last saw a building inspector on one of his sites “At least twenty-five years ago.”

MPGA CEO Murray Thomas said this morning, “The lack of inspection and compliance across the entire building and construction sector creates serious risks for consumers. As the association that speaks for licensed plumbing contractors, we have been calling for years for the WA Government to employ an adequate number of plumbing inspectors and get serious about enforcing compliance with regulations.”

“Our members are all Master Plumbers and rightly proud of their trade. It is intolerable to them when Government inaction allows dodgy operators to get away with substandard and illegal work that unfairly taints the reputations of respectable contractors.” 

He added, “All governments across Australia must heed the recommendations of the Building Confidence report, which include a national licensing scheme and mandatory, nationally recognised continuing professional development in all building and construction trades.”