Automatic Mutual Recognition of Occupational Registrations

Published: 19 February 2021

The AMCA welcomes measures by government to improve the mobility of workers and lower the cost of doing business; however, we caution against the blanket recognition of all licence holders.

The Commonwealth Government has introduced draft changes to occupational mutual recognition laws. The proposed changes are designed to improve the mobility of workers, reduce costs to business, and provide increased flexibility to both practitioners and employers.

In simple terms, the latest reforms would allow a person who holds an occupational licence in their home state to carry out the same activities in another state without having to formally apply for registration. 

Unlike previous attempts at national licensing reform, Automatic Mutual Recognition recognises a practitioners’ competency at the activity level, rather than the occupational level. 

In our submission to the Commonwealth Government, the AMCA expressed support for the intent of the reforms but cautioned against a blanket implementation for all licence types.

“The AMCA supports, in principle, the move towards a national framework that would allow individuals who hold an occupational licence in one jurisdiction to undertake equivalent work in another jurisdiction under that licence,” said AMCA Chief Executive Officer, Scott Williams.

“However, we encourage governments in all jurisdictions to distinguish between occupational licences and contractor licences when implementing and administering the scheme”.   

The basis for the distinction comes from the fact that contractor licence types perform a unique and critical role that goes beyond the occupational competencies to perform specific scopes of work.  

“The additional layers of responsibility, accountability, and safeguards borne by those seeking to contract for work are not only more complex but also more consequential in terms of the overall integrity of the regulatory system,” Mr Williams said. 

“As such, they are beyond the intent and scope of occupational licensing as so defined in the Act and necessitate the scrutiny afforded by the formal registration process as currently required”. 

In addition to our submission made to the Commonwealth Government, the AMCA is engaging with all state and territory governments as they consider the application of the changes within the jurisdiction.

Download the AMCA submission here.