The Northern Territory Government has announced that it is considering introducing mandatory engineer registration, following Queensland and Victoria’s lead.
The announcement poses both a risk to and opportunity for ALL professional engineers working in Australia.
Without consistent registration schemes across Australia, professional engineers who undertake works in multiple states will likely be faced with costly and time-consuming regulatory burdens.
On the other-hand, if the various state-based schemes are consistent, it will underpin community confidence in professional engineering and encourage greater mobility of professional engineers.
The Northern Territory initiative will encourage other states considering mandatory professional engineer registration to do so, and do so in a consistent manner, leading to a quasi-national registration scheme.
Professionals Australia has supported the implementation of a national registration scheme for many years.
We have done so on the basis that it would:
- Be efficient for engineers and the community;
- Protect the community from the impact of unprofessional engineering work;
- Promote the standing of engineers;
- Be flexible enough to meet the likely needs of governments and regulators;
- Be transparent and cost-effective in its operation.
- To gauge the level of support for engineer registration in the Northern Territory, the Government has released a survey for engineers to complete.
Professionals Australia is calling on all engineers from across Australia to complete this survey, and provide feedback that will ensure a nationally consistent approach to registration.
Please consider the responses in red when undertaking the survey.
Question one: Do you believe there is a need for registration to be implemented in the Northern Territory through government legislation?
- Yes – please indicate why
- No – please indicate why
Engineers play a critical role in a state’s infrastructure, from roads and bridges, to schools and hospitals and the effects of poor engineering can be catastrophic. To decrease the likelihood of engineering failure, the state must have a mechanism to ensure that only competent and qualified engineers are employed to work on both public and private infrastructure. Engineer registration can be that mechanism.
Question two: Should this legislation go ahead, would you register?
- Only if work requires it
Question Three: Would registration deter attracting qualified engineers to the Northern Territory?
- Yes – please explain why
- No – please explain why
The only way engineer registration will deter qualified engineers to the NT is if the registration scheme established has too many barriers. The biggest barriers to registration are cost, impractical application processes and the time it takes to register. Registration, when the scheme is fair, competitive, affordable and practical will only deter non-qualified, incompetent engineers from working in the NT.
Question four: If registration was to proceed, what would you consider a reasonable start date?
- 6 months
- 12 months
- 2 years
- 5 years
- 10 years
Question five: What would be an appropriate fee for the initial assessment and registration?
- $0 – $150
- $150 – $200
- $200 – $300
- $300 – $500
Question six: What do you think an appropriate fee for ongoing registration should be?
Question seven: If the legislation was introduced, who would it cover?
- Engineers only
- Technical associates/technologists
- Only certain types of engineers
- Other, please list
Question eight: Do you have any other feedback on this survey?
It is crucial when establishing a registration scheme that it is in the interests of all those involved, including the employer, the engineer, the profession and importantly, the community. Any scheme that is established must be fairly priced, have sensible application processes, and must have competition among assessment entities. The registration scheme and assessment entities must be independent, and must have a robust mechanism for enforcement, separate from the assessment entities. Furthermore, it is important that any registration scheme established in the NT is similar to other engineer registration schemes in Australia: Queensland and Victoria. In lieu of any national scheme, there needs to be consistency among that the states to ensure that engineers can move freely between states and continue to perform engineering services without having to undertake costly and time consuming registration processes.
Click here for the survey.