Licensing & Regulation
Qualified electrical workers complete an apprenticeship or traineeship where they learn the trade on the job while under supervision, as well as studying at an approved training organisation. To work in certain electrical trades in Australia you must register and/or have a license from the relevant State or Territory electrical registration and licensing authority.
A separate license is required in each State and Territory in which you may wish to work. However, there are arrangements for the mutual recognition of interstate licenses which facilitate the issue of similar licenses in different States and Territories.
Licenses are also issued in various grades which define the work you can do. To obtain a license to perform the full range of electrical work without supervision, you must pass a test in the Australian electrical wiring rules.
Contact the electrical registration and licensing authority in the State or Territory in which you intend to work, to determine how you can obtain electrical registration and/or license. Here is a list of electrical registration and licensing bodies:
Queensland – Licensing is compulsory
Department of Industrial Relations
Business and Occupational Licensing
PO Box 820
Lutwyche Qld 4030
Telephone: 61 7 3247 4711 or 1300 650 662
Overseas applicants have to meet certain eligibility criteria prior to the issue of a Queensland electrical work licence.
Australian Capital Territory – Licensing is compulsory
Building, Electrical and Plumbing Control
ACT Planning and Land Authority
Dame Pattie Menzies House
16 Challis St
Dickson ACT 2602
Telephone: 61 2 6207 7775
Electricians may be issued one of three types of licenses:
- electrical contractors licence;
- unrestricted electricians licence; or
- restricted electricians licence
New South Wales – Licensing is compulsory for unsupervised trade work
Department of Fair Trading (DFT)
Home Building Licensing
Locked Bag A 5020
Sydney South NSW 1235
Fax: 61 2 9377 9325
You must have a contractor licence or employ the holder of a qualified supervisor certificate to contract, subcontract or advertise to do: electrical wiring work
Northern Territory – Licensing is compulsory
Electrical Workers and Contractors Board
Electrical Licensing Board
C/- NT Build office
33/12 Charlton Court
Woolner-Winnellie NT 0820
GPO Box 1680
Darwin NT 0801
Telephone: 61 8 8981 5435
Fax: 61 8 8923 9318
Electrical industry workers in the Northern Territory must be adequately trained to ensure that electrical installations are produced safely. Workers must obtain a licence and meet certain requirements before any electrical work is carried out.
South Australia – Licensing is required for electrical work
Office of Consumer and Business Affairs
Business & Occupational Services
Level 3, Chesser House, 91 – 97 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000
GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001
Telephone: 61 8 8204 9696
Any person (including a company) who carries on business or holds himself or herself out as a plumber, gas fitter or electrician, must be licensed as a contractor under the Plumbers, Gas Fitters and Electricians Act 1995. If a business operates as a partnership then each partner must hold their own licence.
Tasmania – Licensing is required for electrical work
Electricity Standards and Safety
PO Box 56
Rosny Park Tas. 7018
Telephone: 61 3 6233 7851
An electrician’s licence entitles the holder to perform electrical work, but not to enter into a contract to perform electrical work (as defined by the Electricity Industry Safety and Administration Act 1997). An electrician’s licence is valid for 3 years and may be renewed.
Victoria – Licensing is required for electrical work
Energy Safe Victoria
Level 3, 4 Riverside Quay
Southbank Vic. 3206
PO Box 262, Collins Street West
Melbourne Vic. 8007
Telephone: 1800 815 721
Fax: 61 3 9686 2197
An Electrician’s License entitles the holder to carry out all types of electrical installation work in Victoria without supervision. However, to contract, or offer to contract, to carry out electrical installation work, a licensed electrician must also be registered as an electrical contractor.
Western Australia – Licensing is required for electrical work
Electrical Licensing Board
20 Southport Street
West Leederville WA 6007
Telephone: 61 8 9422 5282
Fax: 61 8 9422 5244
In Western Australia, the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991 provide that electrical work may only be carried out by persons with the appropriate electrical worker’s licence (as issued by the Electrical Licensing Board) unless it is a type of work that is exempted by regulation.
Work Limitations for Employees while Training
Section 209 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2002 places limitations on work carried out by apprentices and trainees to protect them from electrical shock and injury. In the first six months of the training program, an apprenticeor trainee must not work:
- Near a live, high voltage exposed part
- Where there is a risk of coming into contact with a live, low voltage exposed part
Throughout training the apprentice or trainee must be supervised at all times by an appropriately licensed electrical worker.
The Employer's Role as a Supervisor of an Apprentice or Trainee
Employers are required to ensure apprentices are supervised at all times. The level of supervision should depend upon the work and the level of training as well as the competence of the trainee or apprentice.
Supervisors oversee the work of a trainee or apprentice to minimise or enitirely eliminate the risk of injury or property damage.
Supervision of electrical work and the way it is performed include:
- Statutory compliance, such as the work an apprentice is allowed to do
- Health and safety matters
- Technical compliance to (non-Queensland Government link)
- Implementation of a safe system of work
Supervisors must be properly qualified and experienced in the work they are overseeing and their licence must be current.
Overseas Qualifications - Skilled Migrants
All Australian states and territories have their own rules for certain occupations. You will need to obtain a specific license and registration for the state you are working in to practise your occupation. It is not always necessary to have your overseas qualifications recognised in order to obtain employment in Australia. Migrants are unable to work on tourist visas.
In many occupations you can apply directly for employment and the employer will decide whether to 'recognise' your overseas training and experience or not. However, a number of occupations require registration or licensing under state or federal government legislation. In other occupations, employers may prefer to employ people who are members of professional associations or unions or who have obtained an academic assessment that indicates the educational level of the overseas qualification.