NSW Votes: 2019

Political commitment to action

In 2019, the NSW Coalition committed to introducing registration for engineers in the building and construction industry.

In 2018, NSW Labor committed to introduce registration for engineers. In their words, ‘It beggars belief that anyone in New South Wales can call themselves an engineer.’

But words are one thing—we want details and action.

We want all parties to detail their vision for engineers’ registration before the March 23 election, and commit to introduce a Bill for registration of engineers within Parliament’s first year.

It’s time to act

Lacrosse Tower, Grenfell Tower, Opal Tower: these are names that everyone knows.

They stand for disasters that could have been averted.

They represent failures in regulation and enforcement.

All state governments were told by their own experts—more than a year ago—that engineers should be registered. The NSW Coalition and Labor have made the right noises, but until we see details and action it’ll be hard to believe the rhetoric.

Good for the community

Use of the title ‘engineer’ is largely unrestricted and has become a generic term. In the absence of regulation for engineering, anyone can claim to provide engineering services without the appropriate competencies, and with total disregard for standards.

Engineers Australia advocates for the introduction of a statutory registration scheme for engineers in all states and territories.

Good for engineering

When terms like ‘engineering’ are generic and lose their meaning, it’s little wonder that the next generation has declining interest in the science-based professions. Only 6% of Year 12 girls even study physics, and we have the lowest number of students choosing to study engineering at university since 2010. It’s time to protect the value of engineering.

Good for NSW

All sides in NSW politics will make election promises for new infrastructure. New work means building a bigger workforce—and quickly. A registration scheme will lower the risks associated with a stretched and rapidly expanding workforce: quality control, rectification of works, cost blow-outs and delays. Governments and companies cannot afford the associated loss of reputation; the community cannot afford to delay new infrastructure.

Engineer registration in NSW: The Engineers Australia vision

Legislation for registration of engineers should be modelled on the system that has been in Queensland since the 1930s.

In QLD, anyone who provides engineering services must be registered, unless if they are working under the supervision of a registered engineer. NSW should do the same.

Engineers Australia’s National Engineering Register (NER) is the largest tailor-made pathway to registration in Queensland, and can be extended for use in NSW and any state.

Keep it simple. Make it national.