Skills and training are important aspects in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning industry, and they are also the fundamental part of any occupational licensing system. Operators and individuals need to be licensed to follow industry standards.
The ARCTick Scheme:
The ARCTick Scheme is the current national licensing scheme for fluorocarbon refrigerants administered by the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC). There are also state or territory based licensing systems only covering work performed in that state.
National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA):
In order to boost productivity and labour mobility across states and territories, allowing contractors to have a single licence that covers the entire country, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) introduced National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA) to support the development of national licensing scheme for Australian occupations. A national licensing scheme for refrigeration and air conditioning practitioners is being examined by COAG through NOLA.
However, there are debates on whether contractors handling any refrigerant or working on refrigeration and air conditioning equipment should be required to hold a national licence, an ARCtick only or mutual recognition. Some operators don’t support the reforms of national licence, and some practitioners advocate a single agreed proposal for occupational licensing for the HVAC&R industry. A Regulatory impact statement was published and individual industry stakeholders made individual submissions on individual preferences to NOLA. The result is not available yet. However, the relationship between the national occupational licensing system and the ARCtick licence should be a matter for future consideration by NOLA, the ARC and COAG.
N.B. NOLA and the National Occupational Licensing System (NOLS) were disestablished in early 2014.
Disestablishment of NOLA and NOLS:
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe stated in a letter to RACCA President, Kevin O’Shea that as a consequence of the disestablishment of NOLA that “the task of improving labour mobility across borders has been assumed by States and Territories. The NSW Government remains committed to working with other jurisdictions, through the Council for the Australian Federation, to implement a system that will allow licensees to operate across borders without having to apply for a second licence or pay an additional fee. This will be of particular benefit to licence holders who live and work in areas bordering Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.”
Stowe also stated that “one option under consideration is an enhancement to the existing mutual recognition arrangements, which would operate in a similar way to the current driver’s licence framework. Essentially, State-issued licences would permit the bearer to undertake an equivalent scope of work in another jurisdiction.”
Licence Recognition Website:
The Licence Recognition Website provides information about how an occupational licence or registration obtained in one state or territory can be recognised in another. Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics state licence equivalents can be found on this website, which can be found here.
RACCA Australia National Licensing Coverage: