ACT considers trades licensing scheme to demolish dogey tradies

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

Support is building for the ACT to finally introduce trade licensing across the state.

The proposed regulations are a bid to stop Canberrans from falling victim to cowboy tradies, which have previously plagued the city and its surrounding areas.

Unlicensed tradespeople have been renowned for undercutting the territory’s skilled tradies and bringing the reputation of many hard-working trades into disrepute among residents.

Now, the territory government has announced an immediate study to consider its introduction later in the year.

Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union Secretary Zach Smith hailed the government’s action as a positive step for construction within the ACT.

“This step towards a licensing scheme is a big win in our push to stop shonks and dodgy operators from putting Canberra’s at risk,” he said.

“Most Canberrans would be shocked to learn you don’t need a licence to be a carpenter or bricklayer on a building site in the ACT.”

Proposal follows new developer licensing laws

The proposals came after the territory became the first region of Australia to introduce a developer licensing scheme late last year.

The developer legislation aims to stop decades of unethical behaviour surrounding property development in the ACT by ensuring those within the industry have to pass a fit and proper person test to be licensed – those who do the wrong thing will be fined or potentially banned.

While welcoming the study, Mr Smith says further action would be needed as soon as possible to demolish the dodgy construction practices from the territory.

“In an election year it’s critical all parties lock in a commitment to put a scheme in place as soon as possible.

“We need more than a study. The CFMEU will keep fighting for trade licensing to be a key part of our industry…” he said.

“Trade licensing will make it almost impossible for unqualified cowboys to undercut skilled tradespeople the community can trust.”

“A scheme like this will hold licence holders accountable in the event of defective work.”

The proposed trade licensing scheme will likely be modelled around those in neighbouring states where tradies must be fully qualified, with the study set to determine the priority of each trades.

In NSW, the automotive, building, construction, electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, and air-conditioning trades currently require licences.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.