Victoria’s Legislative Assembly has passed the Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019. The legislation, modelled closely on the existing Queensland Professional Engineers Act, is intended to fulfill the government’s 2014 goal to introduce a mandatory, statutory registration scheme, and work with other jurisdictions to develop a nationally consistent registration scheme for engineers.
“The government remains determined to deliver on its commitment, particularly in light of the recent structural problems with the Opal Tower in Sydney which highlights the problems that can occur with poor engineering,” said Tim Pallas, who presented the bill to parliament.
Pallas noted the large infrastructure projects currently under way, including the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel, the West Gate tunnel and the level crossing removal project. But he also noted the need for suitably qualified and experienced engineers to develop and oversee the projects.
The bill covers five types of engineer: civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and fire-safety. A separate endorsement will apply for professional engineers who are “engaged in the building industry”.
Engineers Australia General Manager – Victoria, Alesha Printz, welcomed the news.
“At present, consumers have no real way of knowing whether they are dealing with an engineer who is currently qualified and competent, or if an engineer maintains standards through ongoing professional development and if they are bound by a code of conduct,” she said in a statement.
“Doctors, architects and lawyers have to register to practice, but engineers do not, meaning that any person can ‘hang out their shingle’ and call themselves an engineer, even if they are not.”
The bill must still be passed by the Legislative Council, before it comes into operation. It is likely to be considered in late May.