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18 August 2020
Tradespeople such as carpenters, joiners, bricklayers and others are set to gain easier admission to interstate employment opportunities under a landmark agreement which will see those who carry a licence in one state automatically able to work in other states.
In his latest announcement, Commonwealth Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the Commonwealth, States and Territories have decided that the Council of Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) will create a framework for occupational licences to be routinely recognised across jurisdictions.
This will mean tradespeople and others who hold occupational licences in one state or territory will be automatically able to work in other jurisdictions under that licence.
In a statement, Frydenberg said the present regime for mutual recognition of credentials across jurisdictions is complex, costly and cumbersome.
All up, there are over 800 separate licences in manual trades alone, with around 20 per cent of workers in the economy required to be licensed.
“Automatic recognition will help to address impediments to labour mobility across jurisdictions by allowing a person who is licensed or registered in one jurisdiction to be already considered registered in another in an equivalent occupation,” Frydenberg said.
“A uniform scheme will make it easier and less expensive for businesses, professionals and workers to move or operate within jurisdictions and across Australia, thereby creating jobs, increasing output, competition and innovation, and resulting in lower prices for consumers and businesses.
Housing Industry Association Chief Executive Industry Policy Kristin Brookfield welcomed the move.
A single automated joint recognition scheme would save time and expenses for tradespeople who work in more than one jurisdiction, promote better mobility of tradespeople and help to overcome hurdles to tradespeople working interstate in regions impacted by disaster, she said. (At the moment, trades need special exemptions and approvals to work interstate in disaster affected areas).
“The Federal Treasurer’s announcement today (Monday) that he and the State and Territory Treasurers have agreed to a process to recognise licensed trades qualifications across state borders is a welcome imitative that has the potential to benefit both tradespeople and home owners,” Brookfield said.
“Currently tradespeople in any given state need to apply for a license to work in another state or seek recognition under existing mutual recognition arrangements. This involves time, money and often confusion, and in some cases additional qualifications are needed.
“It means that a tradesperson moving interstate for any reason, family, career advancement or to assist in times of natural disasters, has to navigate state specific hurdles before they can do tomorrow what they do today in their home state.
“By agreeing to look at changing the requirements for mutual recognition, the Treasurers have made an important decision to cut red tape that can help the flow of workers now while COVID-19 is changing work opportunities and into the future as the economy begins to rebuild.
CFFR will report its development on devising the scheme in October.
Subject to passage of legislation in individual jurisdictions, the scheme is expected to commence on January 1.