ARMA signals flaw in licence rules

The Australian Refrigeration Mechanics Association (ARMA) has highlighted an issue in the new QBCC licensing framework that allows the MEM30219 qualification to be accepted for air conditioning and refrigeration licences.

The qualification is listed in the Technical qualifications for licensing document, published by the Department of Housing and Public Works, for unlimited design, limited design and occupational licences in the air conditioning and refrigeration category.

ARMA, however, notes that the Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (MEM30219) lacks any core unit levels of RAC trade competencies, and has elective RAC competencies removed.

ARMA also points out that the package rules are designed for employment for fitters, welders and boilermakers, and are based on the assumption that competency is gained with on- and off-the-job learning.

Finally, ARMA says the mapping capabilities can’t be matched, and that the qualification is “fraught with insufficient points value to achieve required outcomes for a RAC occupational licence”.

“Our overwhelming concerns are the consumers’ safety, and our own tradespeople from the consequences if an unqualified tradesperson is allowed to work outside of their scope of work,” says ARMA CEO Kim Limburg.

“We expressed loudly these exact specific concerns in our strong submissions and attendance to the parliamentary committee hearing, to reiterate the lack of training required for a HVAC&R qualification and working with toxic and flammable refrigerants.” 

Limburg says that “governments must learn from the erosion of the HVAC&R qualifications where licence holders have minimal knowledge of natural versus synthetic refrigerants”. She points to the the Rochester incident where two tradespeople lost their lives as an example of what can happen when people work outside their scope of work.

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