When walking around Sydney’s bustling Central Business District, it is difficult to miss signs of construction at every corner.
With the current pace of construction in Sydney, and in all major Australian cities for that matter, the role of engineers in protecting public safety has never been more important. Isn’t it therefore unbelievable that despite this critical and potentially life-protecting role, engineers do not currently require any formal education or registration in seven of Australia’s eight states and territories?
Unlike doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers and electricians, engineers are a minority of professionals who are not subject to licensing and formal qualification checks. This allows for anyone to call themselves an engineer and complete engineering work, which subsequently devalues the professional status of engineers and potentially puts the public’s safety at risk.
Currently only Queensland has a mandatory registration scheme in place for anyone who wishes to refer to themselves as an engineer. Melbourne is also in the process of implementing a similar system.
The LGEA supports these reforms and been lobbying on this issue for some time. A recent independent poll of NSW residents also uncovered that 92% of respondents support a registration scheme for engineers. Following these findings, the LGEA decided to carry out its own research and find out the opinion of those who know more about this issue than anyone else – engineers. The association went out to its members with a short survey asking them to vote on whether they support the reforms or not. The survey found that 86.73% of engineers support the implementation of a registration scheme.
A registration scheme therefore has the backing of the general public, the profession itself and the professional association – so why have these reforms not come into play? Before being passed, the issue needs to be brought to Parliament floor – this is a work in progress but the LGEA is hoping with the launch of The Association of Professional Engineers Australia’s national Engineering a Better Future campaign, the move towards a registration scheme for New South Wales and Australia as a whole will become a reality in the near future.