Tradies including carpenters, joiners, bricklayers, builders, electricians and plumbers, as well as a raft of other licensed occupations such as teachers and property agents, could find it easier to do business across state and territory borders with a new agreement that will see Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) develop a framework for occupational licences to be automatically recognised across jurisdictions.
Under red-tape reduction reforms agreed to by Commonwealth, state and territory treasurers, automatic recognition will allow individuals who hold an occupational licence in one Australian jurisdiction to undertake equivalent work in another jurisdiction under that licence.
CFFR will prioritise implementation of a uniform scheme to support widespread occupational mobility via automatic recognition, with ambition to take effect from 1 January 2021, subject to the passage of legislation in individual jurisdictions.
The current mutual recognition regime for licensed occupations across Australia is complex, costly, and imposes an excessive regulatory burden on businesses that operate across jurisdictions. Currently, there are over 800 different licences in manual trades alone, with around 20 per cent of workers in the economy required to be licensed.
Automatic recognition will help to address impediments to labour mobility across jurisdictions by allowing a person who is licensed or registered in one jurisdiction to be already considered registered in another in an equivalent occupation.
A uniform scheme will make it easier and less expensive for businesses, professionals and workers to move or operate within jurisdictions and across Australia, thereby creating jobs, increasing output, competition and innovation, and resulting in lower prices for consumers and businesses.
It is vital to ensuring Australians, including displaced workers, can take up new job opportunities wherever they arise as the economy recovers and restrictions on movement are eased from COVID-19.
CFFR will report back to National Cabinet in October 2020 on the progress in delivering a uniform scheme for automatic recognition of licensed occupations to take effect on 1 January 2021.