‘A red tape buster’: Small business ombudsman backs the government’s streamlined licensing scheme for skilled trades workers

Bruce Billson

Source: AAP/Tracey Nearmy

The small business ombudsman is backing the federal government’s efforts to streamline licensing requirements for trades workers and their employers.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Bruce Billson said under new laws passed by the Senate, skilled workers will be able to take up jobs across states and territories without having to obtain a new licence for the same type of work in another jurisdiction.

“This is a red tape buster that will help small business tradespeople who want to meet the demand for their skills across Australia,” Billson said.

The Mutual Recognition Amendment Bill 2021 comes on the back of the government’s $134.6 million deregulation package announced as part of the May 11 budget.

The package included the creation of this $11 million mutual recognition scheme, which the government expects will benefit 124,000 people.

Billson said the licensing scheme offers small business employers the opportunity to secure skilled workers from interstate.

“It also means small business professionals such as architects and engineers can work more seamlessly across state borders,” he said.

ASBFEO has worked closely with the government’s deregulation taskforce to draft the scheme.

The scheme is excepted to start from July 1 this year, after further supporting legislation by the states and territories is passed.

“It is an excellent outcome for the small business tradespeople that will directly benefit from these changes,” Billson said.

Overall, the deregulation package is estimated to reduce compliance costs for businesses, individuals and not-for-profits, by $430 million annually.

The package also includes funding for regulatory technology, including $7.2 million to improve the Employment Contract Tool, and $10 million for the development of tools to help employers comply with modern awards.

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