The Current System

Small businesses and tradies that conduct work across state borders are legally required to possess up-to-date licenses from the state in which their work is completed. These licenses can vary across industries and can often be quite expensive. The current application fee for a trade or specialist contractor in NSW, for example, is $312 for only a one-year license. Failure to obtain a license in the state in which work is conducted is considered to be a crime.

The Issue

For small business and tradies living in border communities, it is often necessary to engage in work across state lines in order to remain sustainable. This can mean large expenses, paper work, and general red tape for workers, as every state has their own complicated system unto which they uphold standards and conduct licensing. For example, tradies operating in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry would require one license to work in NSW, one to work inside the Commonwealth, and then two to work in Queensland. It is not uncommon that these excessive measures restrict the business opportunities for many workers and their wanting customers.

The New Proposal

The NSW government has put forward a new cross-border proposal in which tradies and small businesses will no longer have to pay fees and complete as much red tape associated with multiple licenses to work across Queensland and Victorian borders. Instead, a new Automatic Mutual Recognition system will be put in place, in which plumbers, gasfitters, drainers and architects will be able to work in any of the states they wish, based off the license they hold from their state of origin. Similar actions have already been introduced for electricians and veterinarians, and have proved to be well received. To ensure standard of work is maintained and consumers are protected from substandard services, all license holders must continue to meet stringent regulatory conditions.

The Projected Benefits

This common sense proposal is set to bring incredible savings for small businesses and tradies operating in border communities and beyond. Not only will it save potentially thousands of dollars throughout years of service, it will also spare workplaces from the burdensome hours of red tape once necessary simply to do their job. With tradies more focused on their widened work opportunities and consumers on the greater range of professionals available, the move is certainly set to provide greater benefits throughout various parts of Australia.

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