The Federal Government has opened the consultation period for the creation of a streamlined, nationally consistent licencing scheme for electrical workers, which it says will provide a $22 million annual benefit to the economy, growing to $120 million after 10 years.


Minister for Skills Senator Chris Evans said national licensing would mean electrical workers need only one licence to work anywhere in Australia.


"This reform would boost productivity and labour mobility, which is essential at a time when there is massive jobs growth in the north and west of the country," Senator Evans said.


"We need reform to make it easier for employers to relocate their skilled workers to areas of high demand and slash the amount of paperwork they need to complete to take on an apprentice.


"While more needs to be done, this marks an important step in removing 19th Century barriers and red tape restricting labour mobility.


The proposed national system will replace current arrangements administered separately by each state and territory and will ensure electrical workers can work anywhere in Australia.


Initially, electrical, property, plumbing and gas-fitting and refrigeration and air-conditioning occupations will be included in the reforms before work begins on harmonising licensing for building and building-related occupations.


"The consultation statement is about giving industry, businesses and licence-holders the chance to see where the reform is headed," Senator Evans said.


"This is about working with Australian businesses and licence holders to make sure we've got the best approach to increase productivity and labour mobility.


The Consultation Regulation Impact Statement is aimed at seeking views from licence holders, business and other stakeholders around the country. Information sessions on the proposed changes will be held in all capital cities.


Information about the proposed reforms is available from the National Occupational Licensing Authority's website at