New licences boost safety for Queenslanders

By: Caroline Kingston | Dec 05,2019 16:49

Queensland hospitals, aged care homes and shopping centres will receive a boost to safety standards as the Palaszczuk Government updates Queensland’s mechanical services industry, which are set to take effect in the New Year.

Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government was continuing to provide confidence to Queensland’s built environment.

“These new licensing requirements will ensure people installing medical gas and commercial air-conditioning systems are appropriately qualified and regulated.

“This will save lives,” Mr de Brenni said. “There can be fatal consequences if mechanical services systems aren’t installed properly as we tragically saw in New South Wales.

“We know that in worst case scenarios, legionella bacteria can grow and spread through air-conditioning systems found in buildings such as aged care, hospitals and shopping centres.”

Mr de Brenni said the Government had sought input from industry to help draft the new regulations.

“We received 60 detailed responses during the consultation period earlier this year which helped ensure the new licence is fit for purpose,” Mr de Brenni said.

Gary O’Hollarhan, Secretary of the Plumbers Union said these reforms will strengthen the high standards of Queensland’s plumbing and drainage industry and recognise the specialist skills required for those who deliver mechanical service works.

“We’re pleased at this outcome for mechanical services workers, it’s good for the industry and great for Queenslanders.”

Graham MacKrill, Queensland Executive Director of the Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA) said that this outcome would uphold the high standards their members set in Queensland’s mechanical services industry.

“This announcement is a great boost to the industry that will reinforce the important work our members do in Queensland’s public buildings.

“We’ve worked closely with the Palaszcuk Government to make sure the great work our members do is not undermined by unqualified, unlicensed tradies who jeopardise public safety.”

Mr de Brenni said there are three specialist streams recognised under the new framework – medical gas, refrigeration and air-conditioning and plumbing.

“From 1 January 2019, all new entrants, contractors and nominee supervisors who carry out mechanical services work will be required to hold a mechanical services licence,” he said.

“This means apprentices finishing their apprenticeships will need to have a mechanical services licence.

“The laws recognise existing licensees who are already performing mechanical services work under their current Queensland Building and Construction Commission licences.”

A transition period will give existing site supervisors and workers time to undertake any training needed to meet the new requirements.

“During this grace period, these workers can continue to work on mechanical services systems provided they are employed by an appropriately licensed contractor, or a contractor to which an exemption from holding a licence or from prosecution exists under the QBCC Act,” the Minister said.

“By 1 January 2022, everyone performing mechanical services work will need to hold an appropriate licence and penalties will apply to anyone who fails to do so.”

The decision RIS is available at: www.business.qld.gov.au/mechanicalserviceslicences

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