On 14 June 2021, a Gold Coast electrician was sentenced in the Southport Magistrates Court following a plea of guilty. The defendant was charged for unlicensed electrical contracting via Airtasker on three discrete occasions, contrary to section 56(1) of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (‘the Act’). The defendant was also charged with one offence pursuant to regulation 70 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 (‘the Regulation’) for performing work which was non-compliant with the Wiring Rules.
During 2019, the defendant advertised electrical services on Airtasker. The defendant responded to posts on Airtasker by providing quotes or offers to customers for the electrical work. He was engaged by customers thereafter and performed the electrical for which he was quoted. After performing the work, the defendant was paid through Airtasker. Although the defendant was a licensed electrician, he did not hold an electrical contractor licence authorising him to contract for electrical work.
On 16 April 2019, after the first installation came to the attention of the Electrical Safety Office (‘ESO’), the defendant was served with an improvement notice requiring him to not contract for the performance of electrical work until such time that he held a Queensland electrical contractor licence.
An ESO investigation revealed the defendant had continued to contract for electrical work on two occasions after receiving the notice. Between 12 April and 22 June 2019, the defendant conducted a business or undertaking that included the performance of electrical work at three different locations in the Gold Coast region. The electrical work included the installation of ceiling fans and/or light fittings at each property. The electrical work performed by the defendant was subsequently inspected by ESO Inspectors, who found that the installations at one property did not comply with the requirements of Australian Standard 3000:2018 – Electrical Installations (referred to as the ‘Wiring Rules’) in a number of respects.
The matter was heard ex parte, with the defendant entering a guilty plea in writing. In sentencing, Her Honour Magistrate White took into account the plea of guilty, which was entered by the defendant at the earliest possible time. Her Honour noted the defendant had no prior history of similar offending and accepted that he had ensured the inadequate electrical installation was remedied by a sufficiently licensed electrician.
Magistrate White accepted the defendant’s remorse, indicated by his early plea of guilty and his age at the time of the offending, being mid-20s. Her Honour accepted the defendant had undertaken some courses relating to electrical safety since the commission of the offending, but ultimately accepted that he still did not hold the appropriate licence to contract for electrical work.
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Charges 1 to 3: section 56(1) Electrical Safety Act 2002; Charge 4: section 70 Electrical Safety Regulation 2013