Law change risks public good: architect

A LAW change which would mean architects did not have to be registered could harm the public interest, warns Royal Australian Institute of Architects’ WA president Harry Schubert.

It could also result in a decline in the standard of WA’s built environment if the current statutory registration required for practising architects is removed.

The warning followed a meeting between representatives of the WA chapter of the Institute and the Productivity Commission.

The Productivity Commission deputation was in Perth to consult with industry groups as part of a national review of State and Territory laws commissioned by Assistant Treasurer Rod Kemp.

Under the current WA Act, the use of the term architect prevents design practitioners from using the title if they have not achieved a certain level of training.

Mr Schubert said the profession in WA would not be opposed to the introduction of national legislation to replace the current myriad of State-based laws, provided it safeguarded current high professional standards.

“The legislation should be framed to ensure that, while protecting the public good, it conforms to the principles of the National Competition Policy Agreement by enabling qualified architects to compete on the basis of professional knowledge, skill and capability,” he said.

“For example, the current restriction on advertising by architects could be removed as has been done in other professions.”

Productivity Commission spokesman Vince Manion said the Commission would seek to establish whether restrictions under the current legislation provided benefits to the community that outweighed the additional costs of limited competition.

Mr Schubert said the current system of legislation showed a government commitment to maintaining high standards of

education, entry and practice into the architectural profession.

“Australian architects are recognised in the international market for their high level of skill and ability,” he said.

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