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NSW passes laws to reform building industry

A new National President and Board Chair of Engineers Australia has been selected, and will take up the position in 2020.

The New South Wales Parliament has passed new laws to reform the state’s building sector and introduce a registration scheme for professional engineers.

It will now become an offence for a person to falsely claim to be registered as an engineer. Engineers will now need to have the right qualifications and level of competency.

Registration laws will first apply to professional engineers in the civil, structural, electrical, mechanical and fire safety engineering sectors.

Engineers Australia Chief Executive Officer Bronwyn Evans said the passage of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill through the NSW Parliament is a history-making development in the regulation of professional engineers in Australia. She said such a development will significantly benefit the community and the engineering profession.

“It will lift professional standards for the 60,000 engineers who work in NSW and who are vital to the state’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” Evans said.

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“Australia’s three largest states now have laws which make it compulsory for engineers to be registered and there is no reason why the remaining five states and territories should not introduce similar laws as soon as possible.”

The organisation acknowledged the State Government, notably Better Regulation and Innovation Minister Kevin Anderson for pushing forward with the reforms. It also recognised Building Reform and Property Shadow Minister Yasmin Catley for her efforts.

“Among the other outcomes of the legislation are that it will become an offence for a person to use the title ‘registered professional engineer’ unless they are registered and have the right qualifications and level of competency,” Evans said.

“Compulsory registration of engineers will help to minimise the risk of more major incidents, such as Opal and Mascot Towers or bridge collapses that have been seen in Australia and around the world.”

Engineers Australia said its members showed overwhelming support for the reforms.

“Engineers Australia looks forward to continuing to work constructively with the Government and other key stakeholders as the regulations to the legislation are developed,” Evans said.

The laws follow a bill passed in Victorian Parliament last year which also requires engineers to be registered.

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