The Federal Government is considering making it mandatory for electricians to get a phone call if they have an electrician credit report on file.
The Federal Government will consider a draft legislation in the coming weeks that would require electricians with a current credit history to get the phone call and provide their credit information in writing.
This could include a credit report from a credit bureau, if a credit check is available, or a credit card information, if it is available.
Electricians with outstanding bills will be able to call a credit counsellor and be directed to a consumer protection service that can help them file a complaint with the Federal Debt Management Office (DMO).
The DMO will handle complaints about debts and collect debt, with the goal of providing support to those affected.
But if an electricians’ debt does not exceed $1,000, they will be required to get their credit history online.
It would be up to the DMO to determine whether or not to enforce the law, which has the support of the Federal Parliament.
Currently, electricians have to provide a phone number to a debt counsellour to get help if they do not have their credit report online.
The proposed law could impact the energy sector, as well as the electricians who are currently not getting help.
According to the Bureau of Statistics, around 2.5 per cent of the Australian workforce are registered as electricians.
An estimated 20 per cent are currently unemployed.
In 2018, about 12.3 per cent more people were unemployed than in 2017, with almost a quarter of that number aged under 35.
There were 1.8 million more Australians in employment in the year to June 2018 than the previous year, up 2.4 per cent on the previous quarter.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistic shows that the unemployment rate for electrician jobs was 2.9 per cent.
DMO spokesperson Mark Scott said the DMA was looking at the proposed legislation to make sure that it was being implemented in a way that protected the interests of electricians and helped consumers.
He said electricians should be allowed to file a debt report online as part of their employment arrangements and would also be allowed the option to obtain a credit score if required by their employer.
Mr Scott said there would be some protections for the energy industry that would not apply to electricians or other public sector workers, including the possibility for employees to request a credit counselling service.
“In the event that a person does not provide an electronic access to their credit record, that may not necessarily mean they are not qualified to work in that industry, it may simply mean that they are unable to obtain the required training or certification,” he said.
We need to ensure that the DME is fully compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, he said, noting that there would also need to be restrictions on the type of information that could be accessed by electricians online.
Mr Scott would not comment on the proposed law specifically but said the Government had worked closely with the Department of Finance to ensure it was in line with its legislative obligations.
Electrical engineers, electrical and electronic workers, engineers and technicians, electrician apprentice, electrical engineer trainee, electricist and electrician apprentices, and electricians are the workers covered by the Australian Energy Market Operator’s regulations, he added.