Refreshed regulation cuts relocation red tape

An amendment to the Mutual Recognition Act has been passed by the Senate, allowing for the automatic registration of occupations across Australian state borders.

Where previous legislation sometimes required individuals to obtain a licence for each state they found work in, the Mutual Recognition Amendment Bill 2021 has cut the red tape.

A joint release from treasurer Josh Frydenberg and assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton said the amendment will streamline the process for tradespeople to relocate around Australia.

“Automatic mutual recognition of occupational licences will make it easier and faster for skilled workers to take up jobs across borders, including to assist with natural disaster recovery, and enable businesses to more seamlessly provide services across jurisdictions,” the release stated.

While the implementation of the scheme will cost around $11 million in the 2021-22 Federal Budget the investment should provide large gains, according to the release.

This reform is expected to directly benefit around 168,000 workers each year and add more than $2.4 billion to the economy over the next 10 years, by cutting red tape, while also improving services for consumers,” the release stated.

“It will support more jobs and ensure our economy continues to rebound faster and stronger on the back of real jobs growth.”

While the red tape has been reduced, state ministers will retain the power to exclude occupational licences on the basis of significant risk to customers, environment, animal welfare or the public.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable assured concerns about the lifespan of the FIFO worker.

“This means an electrician working on a mine in Moranbah can relocate to the Pilbara and begin working immediately, or a diesel mechanic can move from the Hunter Valley to a mine in Bendigo to go to the next level in their career or get experience in other commodities without having to get a new licence for the same work,” Constable said.

“Even if more mine workers are sourced locally, given the increased demand for Australian commodities it is unlikely that the need for a mobile mining workforce of fly-in, fly-out workers and specialised trades will go away any time soon.”

The federal government will now await the passing of the bill through state parliaments to allow the scheme to begin from July 1, 2021.

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