NSW begins work on streamlining licensing

NSW introduces Bill to reform occupational licensing, ending the need for dangerous goods operators to carry multiple licences

By Brad Gardner | October 21, 2010

NSW has moved to reform the state-based occupational licensing system, which will end the need for businesses to carry multiple licences when working interstate.

Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge yesterday introduced the Occupational Licensing (Adoption of National Law) Bill as part of an agreement to create a national system.

Businesses working across borders currently need to apply for multiple licences because states and territories have different policies, eligibility requirements, fees, categories and duration periods.

"For the first time, licensees will be able to move across Australia, going wherever the work is, under one consistent set of rules, without the burden of applying for multiple licences," Judge says.

"Effectively, this will reduce unnecessary red tape, provide a standard qualification requirement, require payment of only one licence fee and, most importantly, facilitate a much more mobile workforce."

The reforms will take effect for dangerous goods operators on July 1, 2013 because they are the second phase of a two-part process.

Occupations to be dealt with first are plumbing and gasfitting, air conditioning and refrigeration, electrical and property. The reforms will be introduced on July 1, 2012.

"This staged approach is necessary to provide adequate time for the development of licence policy for each occupational area and transitioning to the national system, including the establishment of the licensing authority," Judge says.

The national law will also allow governments to add more occupations to the list.

Similar to national heavy vehicle regulations currently being developed, the licensing reforms are a state agreement.

Victoria passed legislation in September to establish a national law governing the process. States and territories will be required to gradually introduce legislation to create a national system.The Queensland Government last month introduced a Bill similar to NSW.

The National Occupational Licensing Authority will be set up under the law to govern licensing standards and an advisory committee will be established for each licensed occupation.

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