WA Attorney-General sparks question: What’s the price of a life?

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16 April 2015

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today lashed out at comments from WA Consumer Protection Minister Michael Mischin that the installation of safety switches on older homes would be too expensive for homeowners, and too costly for regulators to monitor.

MEA is supporting Greg Zapelli in his campaign to mandate homeowners install RCDs on all circuits within a suitable timeframe, following the tragic electrocution death of his 18-year-old son Jayden while working on electrical wiring at a home in East Bunbury more than two years ago.

MEA WA State Manager, Tony Mancini, has labelled the comments ill-informed and disappointing.

“This young man’s death is by no means an isolated incident – there are 15 electrical deaths nationally every year which could be prevented by the installation of RCDs, however Mr Mischin’s dismissal of our initiative as being too expensive is incomprehensible,” Mr Mancini said.

Mr Zapelli’s initiative comes on the back of MEA supporting Kevin Fuller, whose son Matthew was one of four young men who died while working on the former Federal Government’s flawed Home Insulation Program (HIP).

“Master Electricians Australia has campaigned for more than five years to get all states and territories to take action to mandate safety switches, which can be installed for a little as $500.

“These life-saving devices could have prevented the deaths of Matthew Fuller, Reuben Barnes and Mitchell Sweeney during the botched Home Insulation Program, and then Jayden Zapelli just a short time later.

“It certainly makes you wonder how many people must die before decision-makers like Mr Mischin think it would actually be worth the investment,” he said.

MEA was instrumental in drafting a raft of recommendations on electrical safety and the use of RCDs as outlined in its Switch Thinking report following the HIP deaths. These recommendations were then adopted in full, as part of the 2014 Royal Commission’s final report, handed down in September.

MEA believes that all domestic final sub-circuits should be RCD-protected, however since the release of the report not a single state or territory has taken action, leaving more than a third of homes still without these life-saving devices.

Tony Mancini is available for interviews.
Contact SAS Media & Communications on 07 3171 2960 or 0447755893.