Under a new scheme, all engineers who work on major projects in Victoria will have to be registered. This mandatory registration will be required for all professional engineers working in some types of work. The Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019 was introduced to the Parliament last month, and it will require registration of all professional working in one of these five categories: fire safety engineering, structural engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.
The new bill will require that any individual that wants to work in one of the five mentioned categories will have to hold a professional registration. According to law, it will be an offence to provide services without registration. There will be some exemptions, like for those who are working to a prescriptive standard or are under direct supervision.
The idea is to have this scheme co-regulated by both the industry and the government. The state will administer the scheme, enforce compliance and provide the legislative backing. Victoria Building Authority, Business Licensing Authority and Consumer Affairs Victoria will all be involved to make this happen.
On the other hand, Engineers Australia as an industry association will have to assess qualification, development and experience of each individual.
Currently, Queensland is the only state that has a similar scheme for registering engineers. The Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales are all considering requiring mandatory registration.
The government of Victoria stated that they figured out that the scheme is necessary to address the situation where many trades need to be registered, but not engineers. Since work of engineers has a significant impact on essential infrastructure, like bridges, dams, buildings, roads, water and power systems; the government finds that the only way to ensure safety and quality is through registration. This is crucial for the government since they expect to invest $10.1 billion per year on projects in infrastructure in the next few years.
Alesha Printz, Engineers Australia Victorian President, welcomes the legislation. She believes that this will mean that all engineers working in Victoria will meet strict standards and have the necessary qualification.
Printz said that the registration would make the professionals work with safety and accountability in mind. She finds that anyone can call themselves an engineer in Victoria with no consequences, but the registration should stop this.
The scheme will begin roll-out in middle of 2020, and it will have many different stages. The process should end in three years.