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Occupational Licensing Amendment Bill No.12 of 2016 - Second Reading

Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, I will explain when I was saying to the member for Murchison that when you mention they spend their evenings reading magazines what I meant was they need to read the trade magazines for the CPD.

Ms Forrest - Yes.

Mrs Armitage - I also accept the bill before us is really a tidy up, or Government streamlining. There are certainly some very good aspects to them going to make it fairer, faster, simpler, cheaper to build something small, for example a carport or shed. Sometimes the approval and what it costs you to actually do it costs more than the shed itself, so I certainly accept that.

One area that I will delve into a little and, unlike the member for Murchison, I have had many conversations particularly with plumbers and some electricians regarding the CPD and they really just want some clarity. I will ask the questions now so the Leader can have them ready.

I have also had discussion with Dale Webster, the director, who has been very helpful and certainly been willing to provide information whenever it has been requested.

It is regarding the CPD and the training. I have had an email this morning from an electrical firm that gives an example. It says here is just one example of the cost to a small business in allowing an employee to attend a two-day training course. The cost of the training course - $1780; the employee's wages - $472; the loss of income - $1200. They are at training and even though they are still being paid they are not actually earning any money and whether that is something you can actually claim I do not really know The TBCITB reimbursement came to $360 so that was $3092 for the cost of one two-day training course. I am not sure how many points that would equate to. It also says the employee was responsible for the cost of travel and accommodation as this course was in Hobart. 'With regard to CPD points there seems to be no clear direction as to how this is supposed to be undertaken, recorded or proven. We feel, with our industry, we are learning and updating our skill on a day-to-day basis'. That was from an electrician.

I also have from some plumbers, two examples of courses that should be available -

Please find out-of-pocket expenses that my business will have to carry in regard to acquisition of CPD points. I have to pay for the courses, then provide receipts and proof of course participation before TBCITB will consider reimbursing, but not knowing how much will be reimbursed, how do I budget for that?

Example one - NDA, WH&S one-day course, cost - $385 times three, $1155. Wages - $520 times three, which is $1560. Lost income - $600 times three, $1800. A total of $4515.

Example two - My Skills, working at heights, a one-day course. The cost - $253 times three, three people in the firm, comes to $759. Wages - $520 times three, $1560. Lost income - $600 times three, $1800. A total of $4119.

It appears that one-day courses will provide you with around six points. Using the Department of Justice overview of continued professional development as a guide - with this in mind, it will cost my business around $8500 for training for myself and my two practitioners but with no clear indication of how much, if any, reimbursement from TBCITB, then the administrator has to deem the course to be legitimate.

My question, how do I fund these extra costs? Do I add a 1.5 per cent surcharge to every invoice for training? Do I up my hourly rate? Who pays? All this aside - another question - will Mr Webster and his department organise some workshops that Mr Webster will attend, being the signatory of the original letter that I and every other licensed practitioner received on 4 April 2016? At these workshops, will he explain clearly the reasons why we need CPD points and when and how to gain the said points?

This practitioner adds -

It is important that all licensed trades are given the opportunity to have the system explained, not just the plumbers, the gas fitters, electricians and builders.

Honourable Leader, I do ask the question regarding the CPD. I understand, we have had it in briefings and it was explained by Mr Webster - but it is important to have it on the record for these tradespeople that they understand exactly, if they read a trade magazine, whether that can count as a point or not. Also, with regard to the TBCITB, whether they can get some money back for training. I assume they receive money back from the training fund.

It is very difficult to budget for that if you do not know how much money you are going to receive back. While it is all very well to pay for the course, you still have to pay for your practitioners who are at that course, and you have to give them their wages. On the other hand, you are not earning any major payment. It is a loss-loss. You are losing a day's pay. You are still paying them and paying for the course, without actually knowing whether any or how much of that money you may be able to receive through the training fund.

I am sure that the majority of these practitioners keep up with all their continuing professional development. They are good practitioners. I accept that there probably would be some that may not, but I am sure the majority do.

It would be great if Mr Webster, or yourself, could advise clearly how they can get the points. Will there be workshops? How many workshops will there be? As the honourable member for Murchison said, could it be clearly articulated to these people when this is coming in, how it is coming in and what there will be to actually assist them? Can they register for a trade magazine and count it as one or two points or a point?

At the moment, there is a lot of fear out there. They are not sure how they get these 12 points per year, 36 points over the three-year period. You might clarify too, if they earn 20 points in the first year, it all goes towards a three-year period; and if they earn 20 in the first year, then they do not need to earn as many over the ensuing years.

Dr Goodwin - Correct.

Mrs Armitage - I will leave that with you Leader, and will be grateful if you could elaborate for those practitioners that have some concerns.

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