The Professional Engineers Act 2023 has been passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
This brings the ACT into line with other states that are rolling out professional registration regimes, or that already have them in place, including Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.
In Queensland, practising engineers have been required to be registered since 2002. In NSW engineers need to be registered only for particular types of building (see NSW Fair Trading). Victoria has almost completed a staged rollout, with the final and fifth area of engineering – mechanical engineering – to become mandatory on December 1, 2023, and amendments are being made to Western Australia’s Building Services (Registration) Regulations 2011 to introduce professional registration there too.
Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction Rebecca Vassarotti MLA says the Professional Engineers Act 2023 will give Canberrans greater confidence when engaging with engineers.
“The Professional Engineers Act 2023 establishes a mandatory registration scheme for professional engineers with monitoring and enforcement powers, which will maintain confidence in the services provided by professional engineers and uphold standards of practice across the industry,” Vassarotti says.
“This is essential to support public confidence in building quality and protect the integrity of the engineering profession.”
The minister says the scheme will give the public and businesses confidence that the engineers they engage have the necessary qualifications and experience to provide professional engineering services.
It will apply initially to five areas of engineering: civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and fire safety.
The ACT government is now finalising the details for implementation and commencement of the scheme. Next steps include the appointment of a professional engineer registrar, registration application processes, a code of practice, and continuing professional development requirements.
Vassarotti say the ACT government is working to have the scheme operational later this year, with further information released soon to help industry and the community support its successful commencement.
“The ACT government looks forward to continuing to work in a collaborative manner with key stakeholders on implementation of the scheme,” she says.
The introduction of the engineer registration scheme is an ACT government commitment in the 10th Parliamentary and Governing Agreement. The scheme responds to recommendations in the Building Confidence Report for a nationally consistent approach to the registration of certain categories of building practitioners, including engineers.
Newly appointed AIRAH CEO Trish Hyde has welcomed the passing of the Professional Engineers Act 2023.
“Better regulation of the building and construction industry is vital for restoring confidence in the sector,” she says. “Through professional registration regimes, like the system being introduced in the ACT, our community can be assured that the engineers they work with are qualified, experienced, and engage in continuing professional development.
“As in other jurisdictions, AIRAH is advocating for the government to accept alternative pathways to registration, acknowledging that some of our leading practitioners obtained their qualifications before Washington Accord degrees were available. It is crucial that we retain the knowledge of these industry experts, and allow them to continue practising their profession. This is especially important in the context of the current skills shortage.”
AIRAH is supporting the implementation of professional engineering regimes across Australia through its AIRAH Professional Engineers Register (APER) scheme.
“The APER accredits professional engineers in the mechanical engineer HVAC&R building services discipline,” Trish says.
“It has been designed to meet the requirements in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, so that engineers in all those states will be able to obtain registration. We look forward to supporting the new scheme in the ACT.”
More information on the ACT’s Professional Engineers Registration Scheme is available on the ACT Planning website.