The NSW government has rejected important reforms to lift professional standards for engineers.
A wide range of industry stakeholders including Engineers Australia were given the opportunity to view the NSW government's proposed reforms for the state's building sector.
The national manager for public affairs at Engineers Australia, Jonathan Russell, said the organisation expected the government to implement the first recommendations in both the Shergold-Weir report and the Opal Tower report to introduce compulsory registration of engineers in NSW.
“The new rules, set to go to Parliament this year, do not meet these commitments and will not deliver the comprehensive registration scheme that the engineering profession and the general public had expected,” he said.
The NSW Government’s proposed plan only applies registration to an engineer who performs a ‘compliance declaration’ for a Class 2 apartment building.
In a statement, Engineers Australia said the government has a myopic view of the problem.
“The proposed reforms would suggest that residential apartments are the only problem. Unfortunately, recent history throws up plenty of high-profile examples where statutory controls of professional engineering practices would have prevented loss of life, injury and cost," the statement said.
"The process has been rushed, the plan does not address the deeper issues and will result in the current problems being passed on to other parts of the building industry.
"There is also the risk there will be limited benefits for community safety and consumer protection, despite the major problems at sites such as Mascot Towers and Opal Tower."
Engineers Australia is seeking similar laws to Queensland claiming that without a registration scheme public confidence will never be fully restored.
Victoria also adopted similar laws in late August which require the registration of engineers to practice.
"It is unacceptable that virtually anyone in NSW will still be able to call themselves an engineer even if they have no relevant education or experience, and no commitment to maintain competency," the statement said.
"This contrasts with other professionals like architects, doctors and lawyers, who all must be registered before legally providing services.”