The ACT government is facing renewed pressure to finally implement a long-promised licensing scheme for engineers, amid warnings Canberra might soon become a safe haven for dodgy practitioners.
Professionals Australia is ratcheting up pressure on the Barr government after the NSW Parliament passed laws earlier this month to introduce a registration scheme in that state.
More than seven years have passed since the then ACT workplace safety minister Simon Corbell promised to introduce a licensing regime for engineers working in the nation's capital.
The policy was a key recommendation from a review into a series of serious building failures, including the Barton Highway bridge collapse in 2010.
Mr Corbell pledged that a model would be developed by June 2014 - but that deadline was never met.
Victoria has since introduced a registration schemes in its jurisdiction, focusing the attention of engineers' groups on the ACT government's failure to deliver on its promise.
Mandatory licensing of engineers has existed in Queensland for decades.
With NSW now moving to license practitioners working in its state, Professionals Australia fears that Canberra will become the "jurisdiction of last resort" for poor quality engineers looking for work on the east coast.
Professionals Australia ACT director Dale Beasley said the lack of a regulatory oversight would inevitably lead to more "poorly designed, poorly scoped and poorly managed" projects in the nation' capital.
It also heightened the risk of repeats of the serious building failures which occurred in the past, he said.
"At the moment, without a licencing scheme, the community are the ones who bear the costs," Mr Beasley said.
"The community are the ones who are missing out on the peace of mind of knowing that their projects are being scoped, designed and delivered safely, to budget, and on time, by qualified professionals."
Mr Beasley said the engineers he represented did not want to see the profession devalued by "shonky work".
The Sunday Canberra Times sought comment from Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay on whether the ACT government was still committed to a licensing regime for engineers.
An ACT government spokesman responded on his behalf, writing in an emailed statement that work to develop the scheme was progressing.
He said consultation with industry stakeholders, including Professionals Australia, Engineers Australia and Consult Australia, had been positive and a consultant had now been engaged to help develop an ACT-specific model.
The spokesman did not respond when asked if the model would be finalised before October's ACT election.
Mr Beasley was pleased the policy remained on the government's agenda.
But he feared it might already be too late for the ACT to avoid being left behind by other states.
"The ACT could have been a leader on this, but we missed the boat," he said.
"What we need to do now is make sure that action is taken urgently so we can catch up."
Mr Beasley said the ACT government had taken some positive steps in the field in the past 18 months, including the appointment of Adrian Piani as the territory's first permanent chief engineer.
The appointment fulfilled a promise Labor made ahead of the 2016 territory election.