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Council of the Australian Federation (CAF) Occupational Licensing Reform

On 13 December 2013 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to not continue with the National Occupational Licensing System previously managed by the National Occupational Licensing Authority, and to develop alternative licensing reforms to minimise impediments to labour mobility through CAF.

What type of reform is being considered?

CAF is committed to developing licensing reform which enhances flexibility and mobility for Australian workers, but does not impose a top-down, national system which would increase costs for businesses and individuals.

State and Territory Governments are considering a package of reforms which would enable 'external equivalence' for selected licence categories across jurisdictional boundaries. Under an external equivalence model, licence holders would be able to work in another state or territory without having to apply for a new licence or pay a licence fee.

For example, the Queensland Government currently deems selected external license categories as equivalent to electrical licenses in Queensland. Further information can be found here.

How is licensing reform being progressed?

The decision on whether to implement CAF occupational licensing reforms, including external equivalence, rests with individual State and Territory Governments. Reforms can be implemented on a unilateral, bilateral, multilateral or national basis. States and Territories will also have the flexibility to opt-in to reforms over time.

CAF is committed to close consultation with industry through state and territory regulators to test reform proposals and gauge support at the outset.

Which licences could be included in CAF reforms?

In the first instance, CAF has agreed to develop licensing reforms to enhance labour mobility for electrical and plumbing/gas fitting occupations. Other occupations with significant labour mobility issues will be identified and considered by CAF during 2014.

All enquiries should be directed to relevant state and territory licensing regulators.

National Occupational Licensing Authority

The National Occupational Licensing Authority was a national body corporate established by the Occupational Licensing National Law 2010 (National Law) in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The Authority commenced operations on 1 January 2012 when the National Occupational Licensing board was appointed in accordance with the National Law. The Authority’s principal activity was to create a national system of occupational licences to replace the system of different licences in each state and territory under an agreed COAG reform. This reform was known as the National Occupational Licensing System.

On 13 December 2013, COAG decided to no longer pursue occupational licensing initiatives through NOLA, in favour of developing alternative licensing reforms to minimise impediments to labour mobility through CAF. The Authority was disestablished on 11 May 2016 by the Occupational Licensing National Law Repeal Act 2016 (Vic). Similar repeal legislation was passed by each participating state and territory (repeal Acts).

The repeal Acts require that the final financial statements of the National Occupational Licensing Authority be prepared, audited and made publically available. A copy of the final audited financial statements of the National Occupational Licensing Authority can be found below.

NOLA Signed Financial Statements (2016)