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New water laws, which look to transform the provision of water, sewerage, irrigation and drainage services in Western Australia, came into effect on Tuesday, 19 November 2013.
While the new legislation, the Water Services Act 2012 and the Water Services Regulations 2013 (the Water Laws), specifically relates to water services providers, there are a number of amendments for those working in the plumbing industry to be aware of.
Most notably, the legislation relating to the Plumbers Licensing Board, plumbers licensing and plumbing standards will now be contained in its own legislation. This has been achieved by maintaining the existing Parts 5A and 6 of the Water Services Licensing Act 1995 (WSL Act) in its own legislation and renaming it the Plumbers Licensing Act 1995. The Water Services (Plumbers Licensing and Plumbing Standards) Regulations 2000 (the Plumbing Act) has been renamed the Plumbers Licensing and Plumbing Standards Regulations 2000 (the Plumbing Regulations).
Some amendments have also been made to the definitions contained in the Plumbing Act and Plumbing Regulations to ensure that they continue to align with the new Water Laws. For instance, the definition of ‘exempt work’ refers to water services providers rather than the holder of an operating licence to reflect the terminology used in the Water Laws.
As one of the aims of the new Water Laws is to simplify the legislation applying to provision of water services, a number of existing pieces of legislation have been repealed, with relevant clauses moved into the Water Laws. For instance, matters formally dealt with under the Metropolitan Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage By-Laws 1981 are now contained in the Water Services Regulations 2013.
Work is currently being undertaken to ensure all Plumbers Licensing Board and Building Commission material appropriately reflects the amendments.