Legislation Updates

Next step for national licensing system

The Australian government has introduced the Mutual Recognition Amendment Bill 2021 to the House of Representatives.

If it passes through parliament, it will see a new system for automatic mutual recognition (AMR) of occupational registration beginning on July 1, 2021.

The legislation will allow workers with occupational licences who are registered for an occupation in their home state to carry on activities in a second state without having to pay for a second licence. The activities are carried on in the second state under automatic deemed registration.

AMR will cover trades such as HVAC&R technicians, electricians and plumbers, as well as a raft of other licensed occupations such as teachers and property agents. 

The Bill presented to parliament incorporates feedback from the consultation held earlier this year. HVAC&R industry bodies such as AIRAH and the AMCA provided input, as well as individuals and organisations from many other industries.

The new scheme will be built into the existing Mutual Recognition Act 1992, which already controls the recognition and registration of workers across borders. The goal of AMR is to make this system more efficient.

It is estimated that AMR could lead to additional economic activity of around $2.4 billion over 10 years as a result of savings to workers and businesses, productivity improvements and extra surge capacity in response to natural disasters. More than 168,000 workers would benefit, including 44,000 people who will work interstate who would not otherwise have done so.

All states and territories, with the exception of the ACT, have signed up for the scheme.

States have the option to exempt a registration from being subject to AMR for a renewable period of up to five years because of a significant risk to consumer protection, the environment, animal welfare, or the health or safety of workers or the public.

States may also exempt a registration in their state for a temporary period of six months after commencement of the Bill, with an option to extend for a further period to June 30, 2022 if needed.

To read the Bill, click here.

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