It’s been a tumultuous year for the plumbing industry but you wouldn’t have known it at the Master Plumbers Association (MPA) ACT Plumbing Industry Excellence Gala Dinner and Awards, where a record 340 people turned up to celebrate the vital sector.
MPA ACT CEO Claire Howe said the record number of attendees was a testament to the sector’s energy.
“The record attendance speaks to a surprising vibrancy in the industry at the moment. There was a real buzz in the room as we came together to recognise what a fantastic industry this is,” she said.
“The association is so proud to be able to recognise excellence across the whole life cycle of our industry, from first-year apprentices to the multi-million-dollar project awards winners, Plumber of the Year and the Women in Plumbing awards.”
There were 19 categories, but 21 award recipients including two for Plumber of the Year and, for the first time, two recipients of the Women in Plumbing award.
“There was such a strong field of finalists in both award categories, the judging panel found it impossible to separate the top two,” Ms Howe said.
Anthony Butler of Blueline Plumbing & Gas, who was named Safety Champion, said the night was a terrific way to recognise the individuals and companies making a huge impact in the industry.
“It’s such an honour to be recognised in a room of your peers and industry professionals,” he said.
Mr Butler, who recently implemented the use of an app to track workplace health and safety (WHS) processes at Blueline, said he was particularly happy to take out an award associated with safer workplaces for employees.
“WHS should not be taken lightly – the results of poor WHS practices can be life-threatening. It’s an ongoing effort, something we constantly strive to improve on,” he said.
“I often tell our tradesman that their safety, health and wellbeing is far more important than any one job that they are completing – making sure we all return home to our families unscathed should be the top priority.”
Ms Howe commended the industry on its resilience in the face of a challenging year.
She said the announced gas phase-out and move to 100 per cent electrification, the knock-on effects of high insolvency rates in the building industry, new industrial relations laws and persistent skills shortages had placed pressure on the industry.
“We’re looking forward to federal and state government announcements of the skills agreement, and seeing how that rolls out in the ACT. We understand from Minister Steel that it will have a positive effect on the industry, as we continue to grapple with the supply chain and worker shortage issues that resulted from COVID,” she said.
“It hasn’t been a year of smooth sailing, and there are challenges ahead, but we’re always going to be a vital sector. At the end of the day, our industry is one of the few with a focus on protecting public health and safety in the community, and the MPA is very proud to represent and advocate for our professionals.
“The future is bright.”
The winners of the 2023 Master Plumbers Association ACT Plumbing Industry Excellence Awards were:
- Certificate III Stage 1: Lewis Stuckey, Plumbing It
- Certificate III Stage 2: Harley Bobbin, Andrew McReynolds Plumbing
- Certificate III Stage 3: Samuel Groenewegen, Vickers & Boyton Plumbing
- Colin Mills – Most Hard Working Student: Dylan Mousset, Capital Maintenance Solutions Pty Ltd
- Ernie Dearing – Most Outstanding Certificate III Student: Ben Hood, DFPG Pty Ltd
- Post Trade Business Principles: Brayden Philp, Custom Plumbing Services Pty Ltd
- Post Trade Gasfitting: Matthew Butz, Duncans Plumbing Service
- Post Trade Drainage: Max Holder, Cappello Commercial Hydraulics & Civil PTY LTD
- Post Trade Sanitary: Daniel Winikerei, Fluid Plumbing
- Post Trade Water: Lachlan Barrett, Independent Plumbing and Gasfitting PTY LTD
- Registrars – Overall: Daniel Winikerei, Fluid Plumbing
- Plumber of the year: Silvano (Mushy) Sartor, O’Neill & Brown Plumbing and Joshua Lewis, JML Plumbing & Gas Pty Ltd
- Safety Champion: Anthony Butler, Blueline Plumbing & Gas
- Woman in Plumbing: Rebecca Sweeting, Sellick Consultants and Stephanie Farmer, CIT
- Outstanding Employee: Adrian Butler, D Group
- Project – Commercial & Civil > $1m: Brett Backhouse, O’Neill & Brown Plumbing
- Project – Commercial & Civil < $1m: Nicholas Thurbon, Coopers Plumbing & Irrigation
- Innovative Maintenance Project: Chris Williams, The Nixon Plumber
- Icon Water Award: Jovan Batar, Cappello Commercial Hydraulics & Civil Pty Ltd