News

Engineer’s Bill lacking industry insight

16 August 2019

Individual engineers in Victoria will be forced to pay exorbitant mandatory registration fees if a new proposed Bill is adopted by the Parliament of Victoria.

VACC, on behalf of its Commercial Vehicle Industry Association (Victoria) Division, is calling upon Members of Parliament to reject the Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019 when it is introduced for debate in the Upper House later this month. 

“VACC fully endorses safe workplaces and safety practices. The proposed Bill, however, does nothing to improve safety practices, reduce risk or improve consumer outcomes,” said VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. 

The Chamber believes the Bill is poor legislation for the following reasons:

  • Registration does not make the profession or industry safer
  • It will drive up costs for consumers and government
  • It will penalise women and others taking leave while in the profession
  • Registered engineers bear all the risk, as opposed to a business, meaning insurance will increase, consulting costs will go up and innovation will be stifled
  • The Bill will apply to past and present engineering work
  • Mandatory ‘codes of conduct’ are still secret
  • Non-engineers making ‘engineering’ decisions can be penalised
  • The Bill substantially increases red-tape
  • Engineers will be judged by the court of ‘public opinion’, not by informed peer review as is the case in other industries
  • There is an expected increase in vexatious claims, including for work completed decades ago
  • VASS engineers are already governed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, while VicRoads regularly audits and reviews the work of its signatories.

VACC contends that if the Victorian Government has completed an independent cost-benefit analysis relevant to the implementation of the Engineers Registration Bill (applicable to Victoria only and including the cost impacts of mandatory personal indemnity insurance), then that analysis should be made public and subjected to similar scrutiny by professional engineers and Victorian taxpayers before the Bill is debated in the Upper House, and not kept secret. 

“This is rushed legislation that has not received the required scrutiny for new law development. Drafted without proper industry consultation, there is absolutely no conclusive evidence to suggest the Bill will benefit the profession, consumers or the community,” said Mr Gwilym. 

The Bill will affect automotive and mechanical engineers, automotive repairers, dealerships, specialty vehicle builders or any other business that requires certification of compliance with Vehicle Standards Bulletin 6 and 14. 

For further information on VACC's position on the Bill, please find letter sent to Members of the Legislative Council from VACC CEO Geoff Gwilym.  

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