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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2295 ..



and Land Management released a discussion paper on the options for moving to a single licensing regime to cover architects, builders, electricians, plumbers, drainers and gas fitters.

Following that discussion paper, a national competition policy review of occupational licensing was undertaken in 2000. That review did not include consideration of the regulation of architects, as that profession was dealt with under a subsequent Productivity Commission report, but did include consideration of the building certifier and plumbing plan certifier occupations.

Mr Speaker, the previous government endorsed most of the recommendations of that review but did not proceed to implement the recommendations prior to the change of government in October 2001. This government has taken the opportunity to consider the relevance of the recommendations, given the time passed since the initial review was undertaken. We endorsed the implementation of reforms to the current licensing regime, as it is clear that there are substantial improvements that can be made which will benefit both licensees and consumers.

The architects profession has not been included in the coverage of this legislation as consultation with the profession has confirmed that there are particular issues which require consideration through a separate reform process. While I am disappointed that it is not possible to integrate the regulation of architects, I am confident that, just as with this reform process, the government will be able to work cooperatively with the architects profession to effect positive change consistent with the agreed national harmonisation principles.

Mr Speaker, in a jurisdiction the size of the ACT, with a unique structure of governance, we have the opportunity to be innovative when pursuing regulatory reform. Unlike some other jurisdictions, the regulation of the building trades is undertaken within the one organisation. This enable us to consider a single licensing system for the trades, which has enormous benefits, including administrative streamlining resulting in better customer service to our licensees.

The occupational licensing reform that this government proposes will affect builders, electricians, plumbers, drainers and gas fitters, building surveyors, otherwise known as certifiers, and plumbing plan certifiers.

The Construction Occupations (Licensing) Bill creates the framework for licensing matters common to all occupations. The new legislation will maintain the present levels of qualification as a condition of entry to the licensed occupations and will provide more effective forms of enforcement against licensees who do not work in accordance with the approved standards.

The bill establishes advisory panels to replace the statutory boards that have administrative responsibilities under current legislation. While the current arrangements provide for an electrical licensing board and a plumbers, drainers and gasfitters board, the other trades covered by this bill do not have licensing boards. The proposed arrangements will provide a consistent approach to the provision of advice on mandatory qualifications for licence applicants. There can be advisory boards established for each construction occupation, or a combination of occupations, such as

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