The passage of legislation through the Senate enabling automatic mutual recognition of state and territory based occupational licences and registration will boost the ability of Australia’s world-class mining workforce to work across regions without the red tape and cost of obtaining additional licences.
This reform will enhance productivity by automatically deeming tradespeople and other workers who hold an occupational licence in their home state or territory and who want to do the same work in another state or territory to have the necessary licence without additional fees.
This means an electrician working on a mine in Moranbah can relocate to the Pilbara and begin working immediately, or a diesel mechanic can move from the Hunter Valley to a mine in Bendigo to go to the next level in their career or get experience in other commodities without having to get a new licence for the same work.
Even if more mine workers are sourced locally, given the increased demand for Australian commodities it is unlikely that the need for a mobile mining workforce of fly in fly out workers and specialised trades will go away any time soon.
Under an intergovernmental agreement signed by all Australian governments in December 2020, the federal government will establish the scheme and the states and territories will implement it.
With a potential increase in GDP of $2.4 billion over 10 years from this productivity-enhancing reform, the states and territories should act now to lock in the benefits after the legislation was backed by the Senate.
The success of Australia’s resources sector depends on a highly skilled and mobile workforce which includes access to traditional and emerging trades across Australia.