The proposed national licence for people working in the electrical industry will make Australia’s houses and other buildings more unsafe.
This is the view of the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA).
The Federal Government has proposed a license system which has been overseen by the National Occupational and Licensing Authority (NOLA).
The idea behind the proposal is to establish a single regulatory framework for the whole of the nation and, thereby, to improve business efficiency and free up tradespeople to work across the nation. Currently, tradespeople are only licensed to work in their own states.
The NECA opposes the proposed system on the grounds that it lowers the basic standards and forces all electrical contractors into a one-size-fits-all model. As a result, NECA will seek to lobby the Federal Government to have it modified.
According to NECA CEO James Tinslay, his organisation has long sought a national licensing system for both electricians and electrical contractor licences, to replace the current long-standing state-based systems.
“We can drive anywhere in Australia with a state-based driver’s licence and there is a single national cabling licensing system. So we have long been questioning why there isn’t a national electrical licensing system,” Tinslay said in a statement.
However, NECA has been involved for over three years in the National Occupational Licensing Scheme advisory groups and has over that time provided advice at odds with the content of this final proposal.
According to the NECA, these are in some cases issues of detail but also there are high level issues that undermine longstanding industry performance and safety standards. The organisation claims the proposals will result in lower levels of safety and technical expertise available to households and the Australian community.
The NECA claims that, for electrical contractor licensing, the proposed removal of all existing additional competencies is a mistake. The organisation's position is that such additional skills add to employee safety and some level of assurance for consumers.