Automatic Mutual Recognition of licensing
In early 2021 the Morrison Federal Government passed legislation that allows workers who are registered or licensed for an occupation in one state or territory to be considered automatically registered or licensed to work in a different jurisdiction with no additional checks. It creates a race to the bottom for licensing requirements and safety standards nationally, which is problematic for high-risk occupations like the electrical trades.
Unlike other occupations that would benefit from the scheme, for electrical workers the significant differences between licenses and registrations from state to state would leave electrical workers exposed to falling foul of another state’s rules that they might be unfamiliar with. It could also lead to workers performing unsafe or illegal work simply because they were unaware of the different legislative requirements of another state. Industry experts have warned that there could be potential fatalities in our communities if the federal government’s model is adopted as it would create a race to the bottom for electrical licensing standards.
Automatic Mutual Recognition can only occur safely and effectively if we have nationally consistent electrical safety legislation. Ours is a dangerous industry, and it’s so important that we protect the health and safety of our members, their families and the Australian community. When we need workers to cross the borders, especially in cases of natural disasters and emergencies, we need to be confident that we’re not selling out safety and creating other dangers in the process.
Note: this does not affect existing east coast mutual recognition arrangements between QLD, NSW and VIC which is particularly important for those electricians who live and/or work across border towns in those states.