There have been some misconceptions and assumptions made in relation to this topic in the last 12 months. As such I wanted to write this blog to clear up the issue and hopefully put our stakeholders at ease.
Back in 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to introduce a national licensing system with the principal goal of reforming existing regulatory requirements and process’s.
Legislation was introduced to form a National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA), whereby they could maintain and administer a public register of all trade licensees. This system has been created as an important tool for clients and builders when selecting licensed tradesman to undertake work.
National Licensing reform is also expected to improve occupational health and safety conditions, boost labour availability and labour mobility given that a licensed tradesman will be able to move from state to state. In implementing this system, NOLA is consulting with industry to seek advice and feedback relating to industry standards, practices and expectations.
Consultation with industry is ongoing in relation to the impact of trade licence reform, legislation framework and regulation. IAC’s or Interim Advisory Committees have been formed for the first round of national licences which are expected to be introduced by 2013. These include:
• Electrical Occupations
• Plumbing and Gas Fitting
• Property Occupations
• Refrigeration & Air Conditioning.
These groups have since come together to develop elements of the licensing policy which included licence categories and types, scope of work, skilled and non skilled eligibility criteria and licensing characteristics including exemptions and restrictions.
Further to this, other building related trade licensing (including bricklaying) discussions have been suspended until such time that the above trade areas have been implemented. Discussions and consultation is not expected to resume until at least May 2014.
It must be said however that even if the current COAG agenda was implemented in its entirety, WA would be under no obligation to licence trades not currently covered! In the mean time however, ABBTF in WA will continue to promote the value of trade qualifications. This is why ABBTF provides a $400 tool voucher for any bricklayer in WA who obtains his trade qualification through recognition of prior learning (RPL) or trade skill recognition (TSR) through a quality training provider.
Some builders are now encouraging their trades to gain their qualifications through this system, especially those who have been working in the industry for some time and currently or previously have hosted or employed apprentices. This makes sense given that builders need to build the best product that they can and demonstrate in the process that they are using quality trades.
WA Manager, ABBTF