NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall says a new cross-border agreement proposal will put paid to tradies and small businesses having to pay for multiple licences to work across the NSW and Queensland border regions and lessen red tape in going about their jobs.
Mr Marshall said small businesses and tradies would save hundreds of dollars a year under a proposed NSW Government scheme allowing licence holders to work across state borders.
A deal struck with the two governments and associated agencies means a new Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR) program will apply to architects, plumbers, drainers and gasfitters.
“The AMR program will enable those operators to work in any state or territory across the country, and give consumers more choice,” Mr Marshall said.
“The issues many northern and north west businesses have with working across the border has been a long standing bugbear for many of the border communities across Northern Tablelands, so this move is another step in doing away with some of those hassles. It’s great news.”
“It’s a common-sense idea that delivers on the NSW Government’s commitment to cut red tape for small businesses, while creating the best outcomes for consumers.
“It will allow these tradies and professionals to get on with their jobs without the burden of needing a separate licence for each jurisdiction.
“The issue of multiple licences and the inconsistencies between government services, policies and laws has had an impact on business and it has been one of the priorities for the NSW Cross Border Commissioner and identified in the worklist for the Queensland-NSW Agreement for Cross-Border Collaboration.
“For example refrigeration and air-conditioning businesses operating across the Queensland border require four separate licences to operate – one in NSW, one in the Commonwealth and two in Queensland.”
Mr Marshall said the current application fee for a trade or specialist contractor in NSW was $312 for a one-year licence.
“But now, businesses could save thousands of dollars and hours of onerous paperwork each year, thanks to the AMR program,” Mr Marshall said.
“Tradies and professionals working across the northern parts will benefit in particular, where current licence requirements can limit opportunities for both small businesses and consumers.”
The occupations included in the proposed scheme are already regulated in each state, with unlicensed work also an offence in each jurisdiction.
Mr Marshall said Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean had indicated that if the AMR proposal was accepted, an inter-governmental working group would be created to get the program up and running as soon as practical.
“Licence holders will still have to meet strict regulatory conditions to ensure consumers remain protected from any potentially shoddy operators in the marketplace,” he said.
Automatic mutual recognition schemes are already in place for electricians in the eastern states, and for veterinarians in all states except Western Australia.