Page 4120 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 December 2022

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Professional Engineers Bill 2022

Ms Vassarotti, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (11.18): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Professional Engineers Bill 2022 to the Assembly. This bill establishes a registration scheme requiring certain professional engineers to be registered to provide professional engineering services in the ACT or for a project or purpose in the ACT. It imposes obligations on registered professional engineers, provides appropriate compliance and enforcement provisions, and establishes a public register.

This bill delivers on commitments in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement for the Tenth Assembly; recommendations in the national Building Confidence Report that there be a nationally consistent approach to the registration of certain categories of building practitioners, including engineers; recommendations made in the 2012 Getting Home Safely report; and aligns the ACT with regulatory arrangements in other jurisdictions.

Engineering services are purchased by governments, large and small businesses and individual consumers. In the absence of any statutory requirements for licensing or registration, consumers are limited in their ability to measure the competency of an engineer that they are seeking to engage.

There are potentially significant risks to the health, safety and economic wellbeing of individuals and the broader community resulting from the provision of engineering services where the individual providing the services does so without adequate qualifications, experiences and competencies. These impacts can manifest through poorly designed or “sick” buildings; the structural failure of whole or parts of buildings and other structures; the failure of hazardous services, such as gas, electricity or mechanical works; and financial costs, such as design and construction costs, litigation costs and rectification costs.

This bill attempts to mitigate these risks through the objectives of protecting the public by ensuring that professional engineering services are carried out by professional engineers or under the direction and oversight of a professional engineer; maintaining public confidence in the standard of services provided by professional engineers in the ACT; and upholding standards of practice for professional engineers in the ACT.

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