Cutting the red tape
The Federal treasurer has announced that progress is underway for a more improved process for the mutual recognition of occupational and building licenses across different states. Sean Carroll writes.
Starting 1 January 2021, tradespeople who want to work interstate either temporarily or permanently can have their qualifications and licences more easily recognised if new changes pushed by the Federal treasurer in conjunction with the state and territory treasurers are to pass.
“While mutual recognition processes already exist they are still quite complex and time consuming. As the governments look to find ways to remove ‘red tape’ which is usually administrative processes, they have identified this as one way to make an improvement in the system,” Housing Industry Australia (HIA) chief executive industry policy Kristin Brookfield says.
One of the main benefits of the proposed changes is that tradies living in border states won’t have to hold two licenses and those wishing to relocate can do so in a faster time frame.
Some of the ‘red tape’ that Kristin talks about was seen during the Victorian bushfires and NSW floods. If tradies want to relocate temporarily to lend a hand to fellow states in times of emergency, this would be much easier under the proposed changes.
“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,” Kristin explains.
“This involves time, money and often confusion, and in some cases additional qualifications are needed.”
There is little to no information about how these changes would work, but if there’s a more streamlined way to recognise interstate qualifications, it would help tradies looking to move Kristen says: “If the changes do offer automatic mutual recognition then short-term movement of tradespeople from one state to another would be more practical at times of trade shortages, whether that be due to work increasing due to higher demand or from natural disasters where many workers are required in a short space of time in one place.”
The news also comes in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, where businesses country-wide are facing challenges.
“Some people may be considering relocating to live and work in states where COVID-19 has had less of an impact,” Kristen outlines.
“Allowing these people to get into work quickly would be a useful and low-cost support measure governments can offer.”
At the very least, it’s another way to help tradespeople recover during the pandemic, giving them options for their profession.
On top of the ease of movement, an automatic recognition scheme would save the tradesperson on associated costs and paperwork. But the particulars of the decision will be announced and agreed upon by October as the federal, state and territory treasurers will work through the Council on Federal Financial Relations to find the best possible outcome.
Kristen concludes that the HIA is looking forward to further updates in October as the industry hopes to understand the finer details of the proposal.