What you need to know about wiring a light switch in Australia

Technically, the process of wiring a light switch in Australia is quite simple; however, if it is not carried out in the most careful manner, it can be extremely hazardous. In Australia, a qualified electrician is required at all times to be present during the wiring of a light switch.

Electric lights were a revolutionary invention back in the day, but we no longer appreciate their impact as much as we once did. We were able to stay up past 8 o'clock for the first time ever without resorting to burning wood, oil, or wax. When a space in our home requires additional illumination, we typically just install a new light switch.

But how exactly does one go about wiring a light switch? And do you know if there are any particular guidelines for how to wire a light switch in Australia? To answer your question in a nutshell: yes, there are rules, and they are fairly stringent.

I was wondering if I could write on a light switch in Australia.

If you are not a qualified electrician with a valid license, you are not permitted to wire a light switch. Work on electrical systems that is performed without a license is illegal in every state. This is due to the fact that working on household electricity is extremely hazardous and poses a risk of death if it is not carried out correctly.

It is best to hire a licensed electrician if you need a new light switch or dimmer, or if you want to have new lighting installed. Even if you have a complete understanding of how everything operates, the smallest error could result in a severe electric shock or raise the possibility of an electrical fire. Do-it-yourself electrical work can also result in the cancellation of your homeowner's insurance in the event that it causes an accident.

Regardless of your level of expertise, there are some jobs that require the expertise of a professional electrician at all times. This includes any and all instances in which:

  • There is smoke or sparking coming from the switch or the light.

  • A switch or outlet can be the source of any type of electric shock.

  • Even after you replaced the bulb, your lights still have a flickering problem.

  • You are required to either install, remove, relocate, or reposition a switch.

  • Your switch is either located outside or in the restroom.

If you are in need of some assistance, we have some suggestions for hiring an electrician.

What is the going rate for the installation of a new light switch?

The good news is that rewiring or installing a light switch does not require a significant financial investment. It is possible that the total cost of rewiring a house will exceed a few thousand dollars, but paying a licensed electrician to install a light switch should only set you back about two hundred dollars.

Keep in mind that the price of the job is subject to increase based on a variety of factors that are associated with the work. If you have a significant amount of wiring that needs to be installed, the task will take more time and demand more supplies. The materials for wiring a dimmer switch are more expensive, so the labor to do so will also be more expensive.

Having said that, spending a few hundred dollars is a small price to pay in order to guarantee that your home is secure, that your insurance policy is in force, and that you are not putting yourself in danger.

Regulatory requirements for installing your own light switch

Without a valid license, an individual is not allowed to perform certain types of electrical work due to the stringent regulations that govern this area. Even though these laws are different from state to state, the fundamental parameters continue to be the same. In most cases, engaging in activities that involve touching wires constitutes performing electrical work, which requires a valid license.

According to NSW Fair Trading, obtaining an electrical license is necessary before beginning any kind of wiring work. Installing, repairing, modifying, removing, or adding to an existing electrical installation are all examples of the kind of work that fall under the umbrella term "electrical wiring work," as is the supervision of such work. It is a crime in the state of New South Wales (NSW) to perform electrical work without holding the appropriate license or certificate, and the maximum fine for an individual who commits this offense is $22,000.

According to Worksafe Queensland, any type of do-it-yourself electrical work, such as wiring or re-wiring a switch, is considered unlicensed electrical work, which is illegal and carries fines of up to $40,000 for individuals. This warning applies to any type of electrical work. In addition, any electrical work that places a person in danger of death, serious injury, or illness is subject to a maximum penalty of 0,000 for the individual ($3,000,000 for the corporation) or five years in prison, whichever comes first.

According to the website of the South Australian government, it is against the law to perform your own electrical work. This applies to any wiring done from the point of supply, through the switchboard, and to any fixed electrical appliance. This includes wiring for lighting switches. Anyone who engages in such labor is required to have the appropriate trade license for the state of South Africa, as well as training, and to provide you with a certificate of compliance. A fine of $5,500 was issued to an unlicensed electrician who was working in SA during the month of December 2018.

According to Energysafe Victoria, it is against the law to perform any kind of electrical work on your own, including changing the light switches in your home. For individuals, the fines for performing electrical work without a license can reach up to $5,000.

The Occupational Licensing Act 2005 and the Service and Installation rules both require that all electrical work be carried out by a licensed electrician in Tasmania. This is the case regardless of the nature of the work.

According to NT Worksafe's recommendations, the only person qualified to perform installation and repairs on electrical installations such as power points, ceiling fans, and lights is an electrician who possesses a valid license. In addition, the Electrical Workers and Contractors Act mandates that all electrical work carried out in the Northern Territory must be carried out by individuals who are in possession of the appropriate licenses.

The state of Washington has issued a warning that it is against the law for unlicensed individuals to perform electrical work, which includes making alterations to fixed wiring. They advise getting the assistance of a trained professional and making certain that your electrical contractor issues you a certificate of electrical safety within a month.

The procedure for replacing a light switch plate

You are in luck if the only thing you want to do is replace the dirty old light switch plates that are currently on your switches. Anyone is permitted to replace the plates that are affixed to their switches so long as no other wiring is altered in the process.  

The vast majority of light switch plates can be removed quickly and easily using only a hand held screwdriver. Even so, you should make sure that the power is turned off at the fuse box first, just in case there are any wires that have come loose.

Changing your downlights from halogen to LED is another straightforward project that you can typically take on by yourself. It shouldn't take you more than a few minutes to learn how to replace LED downlights because the process is straightforward, and all you need is a quick trip to the hardware store.

The internal workings of a light switch

We can walk you through the process of how a light switch is wired in Australia rather than simply giving you instructions on how to wire a light switch. This is really only for your educational purposes; as was previously mentioned, you do not want to be responsible for performing this work on your own.

Before wiring a light switch for the first time or installing one in a new location, an electrician will always follow a couple of safety protocols. To begin, they will go to the fuse box in the basement and turn off the power to the house. In addition to this, they will ensure that the ends of any cable that appears to be frayed or broken are re-terminated.

See the diagram below for a very basic illustration of how a lighting switch operates. The power is supplied by the switchboard and enters the building through the active cable, which is the red cable. The first step is to connect this to the loop pole of the actual light fitting. The loop pole, which is also colored red in the diagram, is connected to the common pole of the light switch by a second active wire.  


A neutral cable extends from the light switch to either of the two poles that are not marked on the fitting. This cable connects pole 1. Returning to the fuse box is the second pole on the fitting that is not marked. These two poles are linked together inside the fitting, and the current uses the neutral path to make its way back to the grid. The earth wire, which is green and runs from the fuse box to the earth pole on the fitting, is the final connection.

When the switch is in the off position, a connection is made between the common and two poles. When the switch is in the on position, a connection is made between the common and one pole. When you connect to 1, the circuit is completed, and the light will turn on. When you connect to 2, the circuit will be broken, and the light will not turn on.

When a second light switch is needed, for instance on the opposite side of a room, you would simply connect the 1, 2, and common poles of the existing light switch to the 1, 2, and common poles of the new switch. This would be done whenever a second light switch was required. This allows either switch to turn the light on or off without affecting the other. In addition, you will be able to learn how to solder wires to one another here.  

In the event that none of this makes any sense to you, you can perform a search in the Hipages database to locate a sparky in your area.

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