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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 2435..

MR BARR (continuing):

framework in order to be eligible to become licensed anywhere in the country, it is only necessary that a tradesman or tradeswoman complete the requisite training modules delivered through the national training package.

National training packages are consistent across Australia and are developed and audited by the industry regulators—in the case of the ACT, the Registrar of Construction Occupations under the act. This system allows tradespeople from anywhere in the country to move across borders to wherever the demand for labour is greatest.

The ease with which the ACT has been able to adopt the COAG framework has not only resulted in greater engagement between the regulatory authority and training providers but also importantly meant that construction practitioners from interstate can quickly and easily become licensed in the ACT, resulting in a more flexible and more effective regulatory and compliance framework. All of these facts play a crucial role in ensuring the availability of a competent and highly skilled labour force in the midst of Canberra's construction boom.

In the two years since the commencement of the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act the number of licensees issued under the act has gone up by 10 per cent. This results in 10 per cent more plumbers, electricians, builders, gasfitters, drainers, plumbing plan and building certifiers who are eligible to provide construction services in the territory.

At the end of the review period, there were 7,642 licensed individuals or entities in the ACT. Compared to other jurisdictions, including notably New South Wales, relatively few occupations are required to be licensed in the ACT. There is therefore a significant number of tradespeople providing services in the construction sector who are not required to be licensed. These include carpenters, painters, tilers, fence builders, plasterers and renderers. Only the following occupations are required to be licensed under the act: asbestos assessor, asbestos removalist, builder, building surveyor, drainer, electrician, gasfitter, plumber and plumbing plan certifier.

Mr Speaker, you will have noticed that first among the occupations I just mentioned are the occupations of asbestos assessor and asbestos removalist. The ACT is the first and, to date, the only jurisdiction in the country to require the licensing of asbestos assessors. These new occupations were created as a result of the recommendations arising from this government's asbestos task force which was established in 2005 and which reported last year.

The ACT is a national leader in this area, having not only created the occupations but also developed the national training package for asbestos removal work. This training package can now be delivered anywhere in the country and will allow other states and territories to adopt licensing requirements for asbestos assessors and removalists, ensuring the safer handling of this very dangerous product which continues to be of concern in the community.

The Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act has brought about a consistent approach to licensing and regulation across all of these occupations. Prior to the adoption of the act, each occupation was administered under a separate regulatory

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