Media Release 31 August 2020

WA Master Plumbers welcome action on copper theft 

The Master Plumbers and Gasfitters Association of WA (MPGA) welcomes the announcement that the WA Government is acting against copper theft, which is a huge cost for plumbing contractors and others in the building and construction sector.

CEO Murray Thomas said, “We have been lobbying the Government on behalf of our members and are pleased they have responded.”

“The theft of copper plumbing materials and products from building sites and finished buildings costs our members hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.”

“In many cases, the stolen material finds its way to scrap metal dealers where it is sold for cash and helps to finance the illegal drug industry.”

Under new regulations, which will become effective on 1 December, there will be a 100-point identification check for anyone selling copper. Dealers will have to record all transaction details including the personal details of sellers and provide daily reports to police.

According to the Government, these changes are just the beginning while they investigate a broader reform of legislation.

Mr Thomas said, “We urge the Government to carry through with further changes as soon as possible.”

He added, “There is a ready market with scrap metal merchants who pay cash. We want the Government to follow other states and prohibit cash payments altogether. We also say the only people who should be allowed to sell plumbing products and materials to scrap metal merchants are licensed plumbing contractors.”

MPGA will continue to lobby the Government about this problem and follow their promised work on legislative reform.