Media Release

14 November 2018

A Daley State Labor Government will elevate the standing of engineering as a profession in New South Wales while also protecting the community by ensuring only qualified, competent engineers do engineering work.

Labor will legislate to introduce an Engineers Registration system, aligned with the existing Queensland system, and with legislation currently before the Victorian Parliament.

Engineering registration underpins competence across the sector and ensures those designing major projects are qualified to scope, design and roll out projects that are on time and on budget, as well as improving workplace health and safety on projects, and safety for members of the public in general.

Labor’s proposal for Engineering Registration is strongly supported across the engineering profession including by the Local Government Engineer’s Association and its parent body Professionals Australia, as well as by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, and Local Government NSW.

A Galaxy Poll in NSW found that most people assumed engineers were registered, and 93 percent of those surveyed supported registration for engineers.

There is no legal requirement in NSW for infrastructure to be maintained or checked by a registered engineer. Cost over-runs and delays on infrastructure projects have become a serious problem in New South Wales.

Research by Deloitte for the Australian Constructor’s Association estimated the average cost blow-out at 6.5% across all projects and was at 12.6% for projects over $1 billion.

Despite this, the NSW Liberals and Nationals have refused to act on engineering registration despite strong support across the profession, blandly dismissing all proposals as ‘red tape.’

Yet in NSW anyone can legally carry out work as an ‘engineer’ without any guarantee of qualifications, competency or maintenance of skills through ongoing professional development.

Quotes attributable to Hon. Adam Searle MLC, Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy:

‘We need a government in New South Wales that takes active steps to improve infrastructure design, development and delivery, but the Liberal-Nationals have proven incapable of doing so, leaving everything to developers.

‘Under the Liberal-Nationals, infrastructure delivery has become a joke with cost blow outs like those on the Sydney light rail and blunders like procurement of trains that don’t fit through our tunnels.

This Government has overseen disaster after disaster in infrastructure delivery, yet it has chosen to ignore the engineering profession’s urging that a Registration scheme be adopted to lift the standing of the profession.

‘We’ve spoken with people across New South Wales on this issue and they are stunned to learn that there is no effective way of knowing whether they are dealing with a qualified, competent engineer who maintains standards through ongoing professional development.’

Quotes attributable to Yasmin Catley MP, Shadow Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation: 

‘It beggars belief that anyone in New South Wales can call themselves an engineer. The engineering profession itself is sounding the warnings about who is checking our aging infrastructure like bridges and governments need to listen.

‘A NSW Labor Government will work to ensure maximum alignment with the Queensland and Victorian systems. The coregulatory model adopted in other states will be the starting place, providing a consistent policy environment for business and ensuring best practice.’

Quotes attributable to Hon. Peter Primrose MLC, Shadow Minister for Local Government:

‘With the ACT announcing it would follow Victoria and Queensland’s lead, if New South Wales does not introduce a Registration scheme it will leave us exposed as the only state or territory on the eastern sea-board where anyone can call themselves an engineer.

“This will open the state to enormous risk with those unqualified to work in surrounding states, coming to New South Wales to find work on our projects. It also causes problems for business who seek certainty and consistency in policy frameworks across jurisdictions.’