ETU and CEPU leadership update

ETU and CEPU members around Australia have elected a strong united team of leaders to fight for members and protect the trade. Read on to find out what their focuses will be in the coming years.

ETU National Secretary

Michael Wright

I’m honoured to be elected as the new National Secretary and Trevor Gauld as Assistant National Secretary of our great union. Our predecessors Allen Hicks, Peter Tighe and Assistant Secretary David Mier, have all left a lasting legacy during their time in office. We will build on their achievements and strengthening of the mighty ETU.

Our Union stands at a moment of great historical importance. Over the coming years, trillions of dollars will be spent upgrading our electrical systems and our homes. In this transition ETU members will be critical. It’s my job, and the job of all of us,  to fight for the rights and the future of electrical workers through this transition every single day. But nothing we do is possible without you, our members, especially our shop stewards and delegates.

We’ve stood tall for 121 years because of the strength of our rank and file. With your help, we’ll build an even brighter future than ever.

ETU Western Australia State Secretary

Peter Carter

Being elected unopposed for another 4 years is an honour and a solid vote of confidence for all our officials and gives the branch a great platform as we transition into a more decarbonised, renewable energy era. As long as we can maintain licensed training agendas and employ sufficient apprentices it will be an unprecedented boon for our trades. However, this won’t happen in a vacuum so rest assured that the ETU will be present at every industry, training and State and Federal Government meeting, as well as site and workshop level, to ensure our members’ welfare is represented.

We’ve come a long way in the last four years, and we’ll continue to grow and expand on our strength in this next four. We’re focusing on increasing the amount of organisers on the ground to serve the members, so we can fight for better wages and conditions for all. 

A few major commitments are keeping up the pressure on the state government to introduce a proper procurement policy which puts workers’ wages and conditions ahead of corporate profits,  pushing for an industry-wide enterprise agreement in the electrical contracting space to ensure all electrical trades are paid commensurate to their training and skills, which are common across the trade, so wages should be too,  gearing up for a big EBA campaign in the power industry to protect and increase our wages and conditions and seek better job security and focusing on educating  apprentices on the benefits of joining the union for a stronger future.

ETU Victoria State Secretary

Troy Gray

As I enter my 24th year as an Elected Union official of the Victorian Branch, I have had the great privilege to be re-elected as State Secretary for another four years. With the Vic Branch at record membership levels and on the cusp of the biggest infrastructure boom this industry has ever seen, the branch is well-placed to seize the opportunities that come with the electrification of Australia. I would like to thank all the officials, staff and particularly the membership who have endorsed the team I will proudly lead for another term.

For all Victorian ETU members, the future is most definitely very bright.

ETU NSW State Secretary

Allen Hicks

It’s an honour and a privilege to be elected to lead the ETU NSW for the next four years. Our focus for the next term is driving more people to take up an electrical apprenticeship in NSW and ensuring employers are creating enough job opportunities for apprentices. We urgently need to train up the next generation of highly skilled tradespeople to meet the work that is coming down the pipeline. When additional overseas workers come to help Australia meet its huge goals completing major infrastructure and renewable projects, we must ensure they are union through and through, upholding high standards and protecting our trade qualifications and the workers from exploitation.

We’re looking forward to huge projects like upgrading transmission networks in NSW and ACT, locking in pathways for coal-fired power station workers to transition to good jobs in renewables and making sure the NSW government comes good on promises made in our sector such as launching a stand-alone electrical regulator and building a renewable energy training centre. We’re steadily building our membership in construction and manufacturing and commencing bargaining for some big agreements in the power industry. I look forward to working with newly elected NSW Affirmative Action Officer Raven Maris who comes with lots of great ideas about how to better engage our members and persuade more young people to take up an electrical trade.

CEPU South Australia State Secretary

John Adley

I look forward to another term leading the CEPU SA Branch, standing proudly with our members to deliver better wages and conditions across the state. Over the next few years, we will be working to strengthen our membership and bargaining power to progress pattern agreements in the plumbing industry. We will be building on recent industrial wins in the electricity supply industry to bargaining new and better agreements.

We will make the most of the accelerating boom in renewable energy projects like the Hydrogen Hub in Whyalla, the Southern Winds offshore wind farm in the Southeast and the transmission projects that connect them. Working together we will ensure the transition to net zero delivers great jobs for our members well into the future.

CEPU Tasmania State Secretary

Michael Anderson

It continues to be, and always will be, an honour to lead the CEPU Tassie branch. We are always most effective when our Union works from the shop floor up, meeting in the middle with all our collective knowledge from around Australia with the technology and legal changes to set our members up for success.

With our network of members in the workplace, delegates, officials and staff, governance structures and our wealth of knowledge through the national office and comrades in other branches, we can do anything.

The next four years will likely see the most change and disruption to traditional work than we may have seen in our history. However, now that we have a solid base and continuity of knowledge in our Union in Tassie and are bringing up more workplace leaders than ever, we’re best placed to focus on the welfare of members, their families and future generations which we need to bring into our industries regardless of gender, age or nationality. If you’re Union through and through, you’re welcome in our industries and we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure jobs are safe, dignified and well paid.

Developing industry training and skills, strengthening licensing, increasing member benefits and conditions without compromising day-to-day support of members is what will mark this term. The sky is the limit for the mighty ETU in this country, and the CEPU members in Tassie will be crucial in that journey.

ETU Queensland and Northern Territory State Secretary

Peter Ong

Comrades I want to thank our membership for entrusting their leadership and organisers with the running of our great Union ETU QLD/NT for another term. For me personally after 23 years as an official for our Union there is still no greater privilege than representing workers, delivering the wages and conditions they deserve so that they can deliver a good standard of living for their families and making sure they go home safe at the end of the day.

Over the next four years we are going to see major changes to our work fronts as we transition into a renewable future. It will bring opportunities and challenges, and as a branch, and more broadly as a National Union, we need to position ourselves to take these challenges head on and make the most of the opportunities.

The next four years will see challenges with skill shortages and contractors wanting to bring in guest workers, challenges with the training of 1000 apprentices in the next 4 years, training facilities and trainers. On latest estimates we are currently short around 5000 power workers in Queensland alone to deliver the infrastructure required for the energy plan let alone the massive health build of 5 new hospitals and the Olympics thrown into the mix.

But of course, this also presents some great opportunities to deliver some of the best outcomes in wages and conditions that our industry has seen, get a greater percentage of women into the electrical industry and maximise real trade outcomes for first nations people instead of token gestures. Our branch is at the forefront of delivering a just transition to workers impacted by the transition to renewables after establishing the first energy workers transition charter and we are working hard to make sure that this delivers real outcomes and not just a piece of paper.

Can I finish by again thanking our membership for the trust they have put in us, and can I thank my team the organisers, industrial team and office staff. The next 10 years are going to be some of the most exciting and challenging our industry has seen for a long time and our union is well placed to deliver the best outcomes for our members and their families.



This article was publised on 31 July 2023.