The Advertiser has a report on Trade Licence Delays claiming that applicants are waiting up to 4 months to have their applications approved.
APPRENTICES are waiting four months for their licences to be approved, costing them $300 a week in wages and lost opportunities to work unsupervised.
The Opposition believes as many as 400 plumbing, gas-fitting and building apprentices could be affected by a backlog in processing licences. However the Government could not confirm the figure.
Morgan Crabb, 23, applied to make the transition from fourth-year apprentice to qualified plumber in October and still has not received his licence.
“It was meant to be a four-week wait and it’s been four months,” he said.
Mr Crabb said he had missed out on almost $5000 in extra wages while he waited.
“It’s pretty slack and it’s been very frustrating.”
Another plumbing apprentice told The Advertiser he applied for a contractor’s licence on December 1 last year and was only told his licence was approved on February 15 – after he called his local MP to complain.
It is also understood that some established tradespeople have experienced delays of more than three months in getting their licences renewed.
Opposition consumer affairs spokesman Mark Goldsworthy called on the Government to divert public servants to the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs to clear the backlog.
“We’re supposed to be encouraging people to take up trades … but this (delay) is an impediment to the state and these young people,” he said.
Plumbing Industry Association executive officer Andrew Clarke said it was “frustrating” that the process was “held up in bureaucracy”.
“It also creates a problem for employers who might not be able to employ more apprentices in the meantime,” he said.
Business Services Minister John Rau said that he was “very concerned by anecdotal evidence of poor service” and vowed to “make improvements in cutting red tape and reducing wait times”.
He said the department faced “high volumes” of new and renewed licence applications and cautioned the “consequences of licensing an unqualified person could be disastrous”.
Some improvements were already under way, including fast-tracking less complex applications and allowing online processing.
Mr Rau also said legislation could be amended to “remove unnecessary procedures without compromising public safety”.