Federal Government aims to introduce automatic mutual recognition

The Federal Government has announced that tradespeople with a state government occupational licence could have their licence automatically recognised in all states and territories from 1 January 2021.

Automatic mutual recognition is intended to address impediments to labour mobility across jurisdictions by allowing individuals who hold an occupational licence in one Australian jurisdiction to undertake equivalent work in another jurisdiction under that licence.

“Automatic mutual recognition should make it easier and less expensive for businesses and tradespeople to operate across borders and we are communicating with the Government to provide more clarity around that,” said Glenn Evans, CEO of the Australian Refrigeration Council.

Mr Evans said that this proposal has its genesis in the national occupational licence scheme (NOLS) in 2014. “NOLS was not pursued in favour of Council of Australian Government (COAG) committing to mutual recognition between the states. The Productivity Commission subsequently undertook a report on mutual recognition in 2015 – which introduced the concept of automatic mutual recognition as a means to significantly improve multi-jurisdictional efficiencies.”

The framework for automatic mutual recognition is being developed by the Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) which comes under the new National Federation Reform Council which has replaced COAG. CFFR is aiming to report back to National Cabinet by October 2020 on its progress.

“The timing of this announcement sits well in support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” Mr Evans said. “It also aligns with actions we are taking to identify opportunities for advancing recognition of the refrigeration and air conditioning industry, and national competency-based licensing.”

For further information, please contact Alex Doran, General Manager, Communications and Business Development at the ARC on 03 9843 1601 or email