Late last week the Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019 was read for a second time in the Victorian Parliament.
At the moment in Victoria, only engineers engaged in the building industry need to be registered – the Bill has been introduced to extend the coverage to all industries in which engineers work. This stands in stark contrast to the policy of the current NSW Government which is to introduce a registration scheme only for engineers carrying out work under the Building Act (ie the system which Victoria is seeking to amend).
Initially the Victorian Professional Engineers Registration Scheme will regulate five areas of engineering – civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and fire-safety. These areas cover about 80% of engineers registered under the Queensland Professional Engineers Act 2002.
Registration in the specified areas will be rolled out progressively with regulations specifying when professional engineers in an area of engineering will require registration. Once rolled out, the scheme will prohibit any person from providing professional engineering services in that particular area of engineering unless they are either:
• Registered in the area; or
• Working under the direct supervision of a professional engineer registered in the area; or
• Working in accordance with a prescriptive standard such as an Australian Standard.
(Existing registrations under the Building Act will be recognised for purposes of registration under the proposed scheme).
The Bill also prohibits unregistered people from representing that they are a registered professional engineer or that they can provide professional engineering services.
Registration will be valid for a period of three years and may be renewed by application. It is expected that a condition for renewal is completion of continuous professional development of at least 150 hours over the previous three years.
Debate on the Bill has been adjourned for two weeks. The Bill will next be considered by the Parliament on 20 March.