NEWS
12/05/2022
A CLOSER LOOK AT VICTORIA’S NEW LICENSING AND REGISTRATION PROCESS

A CLOSER LOOK AT VICTORIA’S NEW LICENSING AND REGISTRATION PROCESS

If you’ve been following the trade news, you’ll know there’s a lot of regulatory and legislative change happening in the Victorian building and construction industry right now. How does it affect tradies in the short term? Mainly in the area of tickets.

New changes to builders licence process

On 1 February, the Victoria Building Authority (VBA) announced a simpler system of registration and licensing for builders and plumbers. The new process is designed to reduce delays by making it easier for applicants to see if their qualifications meet the necessary standards, “and if not, what more is required to be provided before submitting an application”.

The new forms are now available on the VBA website.  Don’t worry if you’ve been working on an application using the old forms—those will still be accepted until 30 June this year.

What is the new licensing system?

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This new licensing system is part of a bigger shift in Victoria. In December last year, the Andrews government announced a series of reforms that give the VBA more power to regulate the construction industry. We are hopeful that streamlining registration and compliance systems will improve the process for consumers and trades people, and improve the quality of buildings across the state.

One of the hot-button issues has been the need to standardise license regulations across state borders. Earlier this year, 25 builders in Victoria were de-registered for providing false information about their qualifications. They had originally been registered by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, and were automatically approved in Victoria under the ‘Mutual Recognition Act’. They’ve now lost their tickets in both states.

Since then, Victoria has increased its scrutiny of these mutual recognition applications and has recently refused a number of Queensland applications.

Overall, though, the State Government wants to make qualifications more portable between states.  Given the existing loopholes that led to the VBA’s recent crackdown, this looks like it may lead to more changes to legislation.

What does this mean for interstate tradies?

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Apart from making life easier for tradies moving interstate, a simpler application process should boost the number of registrations in Victoria full stop. This is a focus for the state-based Master Builders Association, who recently petitioned the government to introduce mandatory registration for all trades: “In Victoria there are only 2,000 registered trades people compared to 40,000 in New South Wales and 46,000 in Queensland. This is alarming.”

In their petition, MBAV contends that compulsory registration would make it easier for builders and consumers to review a tradie’s history before hiring them: “This will mean fewer mistakes, better quality work, safer builds and a strong reputation for the entire industry.”

What do you think? Would it be better for the industry in Victoria if all tradies had to be registered through the VBA? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

 

This article has been revised and updated 12th May 2022.