Legislation Updates

Cross-border licensing scheme open for comment

The federal government has taken the next step towards automatic mutual recognition of occupational licences across states and territories by releasing draft legislation for public comment.

Automatic mutual recognition (AMR) will allow a person who is licenced or registered for an occupation in one jurisdiction to perform the same activities in another, without having to apply for another licence or paying additional registration fees.

According to the government’s consultation website, AMR will make it easier and less expensive to operate across jurisdictions, while maintaining high standards of consumer protection and worker and public health and safety.

PwC has estimated that AMR could lead to an additional $2.4 billion in economic activity over 10 years as a result of savings to workers and businesses, productivity improvements and extra surge capacity in response to natural disasters. Over 160,000 workers would benefit, including 44,000 people who will work interstate that would not otherwise have done so. This includes trades such as HVAC&R technicians, electricians and plumbers, as well as teachers, real estate agents and security workers.

The scheme is set to begin on July 1, 2021.

The draft legislation introduces a number of core elements including:

  • No application or renewal fee will be required to work in another state under automatic deemed registration (ADR – with certain conditions)
  • The laws of each state/territory will apply to any work done within that jurisdiction, even if the worker is registered elsewhere
  • States can exempt registrations from the scheme if they believe there will be a significant risk to consumer protection, or the health or safety of workers or the public
  • The legislation is intended to only apply to those states and territories that have an occupational licence in place.
  • Other recognition schemes will not be affected.

Local regulators are proposed to play a key role. According to the AMR consultation document, information sharing between states and territories will be expanded to allow them to confirm a person’s eligibility for automatic recognition and their authority to carry out an activity.

The closing date for submissions on the AMR scheme and draft legislation is Friday, February 12. To read more, and to make a submission, click here.

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