Setting the record straight on the Professional Engineers Registration Bill

The Victorian Parliament is currently considering legislation which would introduce compulsory registration for engineers. Learn more about the proposed bill as Victoria General Manager Alesha Printz sets the record straight.
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The Victorian Parliament is currently considering legislation which would introduce compulsory registration for engineers.

The Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019 passed Victoria’s lower house in May and the state’s engineering profession now waits for Legislative Council members to return from their winter break in August to decide the outcome of the Bill.

If the Bill is passed, the introduction of a compulsory engineers’ register will help to ensure the future safety of Victorians while also highlighting the vital role engineers play by applying sorely needed checks and balances.

But as the Bill has been considered by Parliament, some facts continue to be overlooked or misinterpreted.

Recently, the Victorian Parliamentary Budget Office released figures stating registered engineers would have to pay more than $6,000 each year for CPD if the Bill was passed.

Victorian Division General Manager Alesha Printz says this figure was calculated by a government office without consultation with industry.

“We estimate the cost to be more like $500 per year for 50 hours of CPD,” she says. “And registration is expected to cost than less than $300 on an annual basis.”

Alesha says many engineers are already engaging in CPD – much of it for free.

“CPD can be achieved in a variety of ways, most of which are free, cheap and maybe already provided on-the-job.”

Ms Printz says the Bill could be debated soon after the break and now was the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. 

“There continues to be a lot of misinformation. Some believe the Bill will severely impact their work – and this is not the case at all,” she says.

Ms Printz says one of the most important aspects of the bill would be more stringent regulation about the use of the title “engineer”.

“At the moment, anyone can call themselves an engineer, no matter what qualifications they have – if any – and whether or not they maintain competence through regular CPD.

“That’s just not right and community safety and consumer protection is suffering as a result.

“If the Bill passes Parliament, only competent, qualified engineers will be able to call themselves a professional engineer.

“It’s important to stop faux engineers, who haven’t undertaken the required study from doing professional engineering work. It’s vital that there are laws in place which prevent this practice.”

Other states and territories are now paying the price for not introducing a compulsory engineering registration scheme sooner. 

In June, another residential apartment building in Sydney was identified with structural problems, highlighting the need for more regulatory oversight of qualified and trained engineers in NSW.

A recent report into Sydney’s Opal Tower also found that the damage could have been avoided if an engineers’ registration system was in place along with other key recommendations.

Engineers Australia continues to inform and engage members about the Professional Engineers Registration Bill through newsletters, create magazine, social media channels, presentations, emails and conversations. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this important piece of legislation.

Please feel free to contact us on [email protected] or 1300 653 113.