Workers without refrigeration and air conditioning qualifications have been given permission by the Queensland government to undertake HVACR projects under the state’s new licensing regime.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) scheme in does not recognise the RAC trade and its qualifications even after completing a four-year apprenticeship with on the job training.

The Australian Refrigeration Mechanics Association (ARMA) has slammed the legislation and called for the MEM30219 qualification – Certificate III in Engineering (mechanical trade) to be abolished.

ARMA CEO, Kim Limburg, said under the current QBCC licensing framework any tradesperson, especially those without RAC qualifications, can work in HVACR.

“Even a forklift driver and a weaving/knitting mechanic can obtain the license,” she said.

“Basically, the government does not recognise the RAC trade.

“The MEM30219 qualification is totally unacceptable, it doesn’t even recognise the Federal Government’s Arctick licence as a RAC qualification.”

As it stands the Queensland license does not cover any core unit levels of RAC trade competencies, instead it favours fitters, welders and boilermakers.

“Our biggest concern is consumer safety fears for unqualified tradespeople working outside their scope of work without the necessary skill sets,” Limberg said.

“We have made representations to the government and expressed our concerns as loudly as possible, even attending a Parliamentary Committee hearing to no avail.

“Unskilled workers without HVACR qualifications will be working with toxic and flammable refrigerants it is a recipe for disaster.

“Once again our trade is being eroded as governments continue to accommodate electricians and plumbers allowing them to work in our industry,” Limberg said.

“This is why small business operators in our trade have been decimated over the years, we really are tired of being kicked in the guts and want to see MEM30219 abolished.”

The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, was unavailable for comment.

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