The Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) urges Victorian Members of Parliament to reject the Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019 on the grounds that, if passed, it would force individual engineers to pay an exorbitant registration fee estimated at $6,000 per annum.
The Bill is likely to be debated in the Upper House later this month, despite, according to ARTSA, a lack of industry consultation, and no discussion of alternative models of engineering registration.
The Association said there also remains a risk that the Bill may be rushed through as a knee-jerk response to some high-profile systemic issues for which investigations are ongoing – including building cladding, high rise building quality and skilled immigration vocational quotas.
ARTSA is made up principally of engineers from manufacturing companies and engineering consultancies who work within Australia’s world leading and highly innovative heavy vehicle industry.
The estimated annual economic contribution of the engineering services and products industry represented by ARTSA is over five billion dollars.
“ARTSA supports initiatives that can be shown to increase productivity, safety, and engineering accountability, none of which will be furthered by this Bill,” said ARTSA Chair, Martin Toomey.
“On the contrary, it will increase risk to engineers and come at a colossal cost to be largely borne by individual engineers.
“The chief reasons for our objection to the Bill are that it is unnecessary, expensive, attributes a risk to innovation, duplicates existing laws and leaves engineers vulnerable to legal abuse by aggrieved groups.”
Toomey referred to an independent report (2012 ACIL Tasman report) which estimated the costs to each registered engineer in Victoria to be around $6,000 annually, totalling an estimated $60 million for the state each year.
He also asserted that, if passed, the Bill would entrench existing engineering lobby groups and effectively mandate Chartered level membership, adding that neither the Government nor Engineers Australia have consulted industry or individual engineers to seek advice, feedback, or consensus.
“Where feedback has been provided it has been wholly ignored,” said Toomey.
ARTSA has sent a letter to the Victorian Parliament urging Members of the Upper House not to support the Bill in its current form.