The Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (section 32) enables ministers from two or more states or territories to jointly declare that specified occupations are equivalent, and also declare any conditions necessary to achieve equivalence. States and territories worked together to agree on equivalent occupational licences and registrations across the country, so that joint declarations by ministers could be made.
Not all licensed occupations have been subject to a ministerial declaration. The mutual recognition of licences and registrations not included in the declarations will continue to be a matter for decision by the relevant licensing authority. It should be noted that not all occupations are licensed in all jurisdictions.
Ministerial declarations are published on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments and only have effect in the jurisdictions making these. A list of occupations for which ministerial declarations have been made can be found on the About page.
Currently there are no ministerial declarations for specified licensed occupations between Australia and New Zealand.
Advantages of ministerial declarations
Ministerial declarations provide certainty for workers considering moving between jurisdictions. Information on equivalent registrations is publicly available on this website and cross-linked with the websites of state and territory licensing authorities. People considering working in another state or territory can find the licence for which they are eligible, before they make a decision to move and regulators are legally obliged to issue the equivalent licence declared. Previously, applicants could not easily access this information until after they had applied for a licence in another state, and the licensing authority had assessed their application.
Licensing authorities also benefit from the arrangements. Previously, applications for mutual recognition were determined on a case-by-case basis. Now equivalent licences for many occupations are set out clearly. The tables of equivalent licences on which the licence search mechanism on this website is based have been developed in close consultation with all relevant licensing authorities. The website and the equivalency tables provide an easily accessible and definitive guide for regulators when assessing mutual recognition applications. The Mutual Recognition Act overrides any relevant state or territory legislation in respect of any inconsistency.
National employers with mobile workforces also benefit from the transparency provided by these arrangements and the greater ease with which licensing authorities are able to assess mutual recognition applications.