To licence or to not licence, that is the question the NSW government seems to have asked itself according to todays SMH. And at least for some professions the government seems to have concluded “why bother”.
Under the bill, expected to be debated in the upper house today, pre-purchase property inspectors, kit-home suppliers, lift mechanics and floor finishers and coverers will no longer be required to be licensed in NSW.
The Greens are upset.
“Licensing is an important mechanism to protect the public from dodgy operators,” the Greens MP John Kaye said. “It makes it easier to obtain redress for poor quality work. It is the first line of consumer protection.”
Perhaps. I operated in business for 10 years in an unlicensed profession (IT professional) and I’m far from convinced that licensing has much to offer either to consumers or to practitioners. I’m inclined to see licensing as mostly just an added cost of business which is ultimately paid for by consumers. If consumers want licensed operators there are in any case voluntary professional associations that do much the same thing in terms of certifying credentials and the like.
But maybe I’m just biased. What should be a much easier cost benefit analysis, in regards to licensing reform, is the taxi industry. Even if we kept licensing for taxis the cost of obtaining a government taxi license* should not cost more than constructing a new house. Perhaps the government and the Greens could take a look at that regulatory stuff up. There is no public policy defense for taxi licences being so expensive.
* $390,000 for NSW in Feb 2008 – http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/taxis/19458.asp