I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Consumer Affairs a question on the subject of early licensing.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In March this year I asked a question of the minister in relation to early finishing for trade apprentices under the Plumbers, Gas Fitters and Electricians Act 1995. At the same time it had been brought to my attention by contractors and industry stakeholders that the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs had been authorising trade licences to apprentices after they had finished off the job training but before they had finished their on the job training. The minister stated:
In terms of the licensing in relation to the signing off of apprentices, I am not familiar with the details around our policy in that regard. I am happy to look into it and bring back that information to this chamber.
My office has again been contacted by industry representatives, who are still concerned about the early licensing as an ongoing practice, which they feel undermines the integrity of the industry as a whole. My questions are:
1.Does the minister have that information with her now that it is six months since the original question was asked?
2.If early licensing is occurring, what is the minister's response to industry stakeholders' view that the practice undermines the industry's integrity?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (15:06): To obtain a licence or registration, an applicant is obviously required to meet eligibility criteria that apply to their particular trade or profession. My understanding is that, in relation to the group of apprentices to whom the honourable member has referred, the appropriate standards and appropriate licensing are occurring. I have not received any detail to this date that I am aware of, and I am happy to take that question on notice and bring back a response.