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More Labor red tape set to strangle engineering

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Victoria’s engineers will be faced with higher costs, more red tape and massive legal uncertainty if Daniel Andrews’ attempt to control the profession passes the Parliament.

Labor’s Bill to introduce a state registration scheme for engineers passed Victoria’s Legislative Assembly last week with the support of the Greens.

Under the Engineers Registration Bill 2018, Victorian engineers providing professional engineering services in five broad categories will be required to register with the government. Failure to do so will constitute a crime.

Feedback from engineers and industry has made clear that this Bill will stifle innovation, increase costs on infrastructure projects and pose an unfair burden on Victorian engineers for no demonstrated benefit.

Under the Bill, “unprofessional conduct” is not limited to failing to meet the expectations of an engineer’s professional peers. Instead, failing to meet the expectations of the public can lead to an engineer being deregistered and losing their livelihood.

Labor has refused to release a cost-benefit analysis for this massive piece of new regulation. What is clear is that this Bill will require a further expansion to government bureaucracy at the expense of Victoria’s engineers and the people and businesses who use their services.

In particular, the effect of this Bill on engineering in rural and regional Victoria is feared to be highly damaging as professional engineers worried about providing a service outside a poorly defined category decide to limit their exposure and withdraw from the market.

With Labor and the Greens teaming up to push this Bill through, it is now up to the cross-benchers in the Legislative Council to determine if this attack on engineers and regional Victoria will be stopped.


Quotes attributable to Shadow Treasurer Michael O’Brien:

“Under Labor, Victoria has already suffered massive cost blow outs on infrastructure projects. This assault on the state’s engineers will only make things worse.

“Labor’s refusal to release the cost-benefit analysis of this massive new regulation shows that Daniel Andrews has a lot to hide.

“Over-regulation of engineers in Queensland has not proven to improve consumer outcomes, only increase costs. National regulation was rejected in 2012 because the case just didn’t stack up.

“Regional Victorian businesses and councils will be hit hardest, with infrastructure costs set to rise and jobs at risk.

“With Labor and the Greens combining to push this Bill through the Legislative Assembly, it is up to the cross-benchers in the Legislative Council to join with the Liberals and Nationals to protect Victorians from more Labor-Green red tape”.