In the recent decision of Victorian Building Authority v Andriotis [2019] HCA 22 (“Andriotis”) the basis of the mutual recognition system between building authorities was reaffirmed by the High Court.

The High Court has rejected the Victorian Building Authority’s attempts to impose its own level of assessment of “good character” that differs to the standards imposed by other states.

The respondent, Mr Andriotis, was registered in New South Wales as a waterproofer. He sought registration in Victoria. The Victoria Building Practitioners Board refused Mr Andriotis’ application because his New South Wales application, which stated false work experience, demonstrated dishonesty and rendered him to be not of “good character” as required by the Building Act 1993 (Vic).

Section 17(1) of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth) (‘the MRA’) provides that a person who is registered in one State for an occupation is entitled to be registered in the equivalent occupation in another State if the person lodged written notice with the local registration authority of the second State.

The main question of the appeal was whether it is open to a local registration authority under the MRA to refuse to register for an equivalent occupation in its own State, a person who is registered for an occupation in another State, on the basis that it has reached the conclusion that the person is ‘not of good character’.

Kiefel CJ, Bell and Keane JJ held that the mutual recognition principle above accepts that registration for an occupation in the initial State is sufficient for registration in the other State, without any further requirements of the laws of the second State being fulfilled.

Indeed, their Honours quoted the wording of the Second Reading Speech of the Bill that became the MRA, stating at [26] that

“[local] registration authorities will be required to accept the judgement of their interstate counterparts of a person’s… character of fitness to practise.”

Their Honours held that registration was subject to another State’s laws, it would be in direct opposition of the primary purpose of the MRA, namely, to promote the goal of freedom of movement of goods and service providers in a national market in Australia.

The appeal, which was dismissed with costs, provides that so long as a person is registered in one State for an occupation, that person is entitled to be registered in another State without any consideration of his/her ‘good character’. Upon giving notice to the second State and providing evidence of his/her home registration, a person should be granted registration in that second State and be immediately entitled to commence practice in an equivalent occupation in that second State.

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact a member of the Construction Law Team.


The material contained in this publication is meant to be informational only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Tisher Liner FC Law will not be held liable or responsible for any claim, which is made as a result of any person relying upon the information contained in this publication.

Related Articles

View All
Construction / Owners Corporations / Planning

Occupancy permits – the ticking clock in defective building work

Where multiple occupancy permits are issued in relation to a building permit, which permit is the operative permit for...
Read More
Commercial Contracts & Agreements / Construction / Construction

My builder has gone into liquidation. What do I do?

In recent times it seems like a week doesn’t go by without another building company becoming insolvent as...
Read More
Construction / Construction / Developments

TLFC Law’s Blog Highlights for 2019

Read on for our 2019 blog highlights The Sun Sets on Developer Rights PROPERTY LAW Following lengthy discussions in...
Read More
Construction / Construction

Security of Payments Act Lessons from 2019

On the global financial front, the trade-war between the US and China continue to brew whilst Great Britain continues...
Read More
Construction / Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

How the Lacrosse Tower fire prompted a shake-up of the Australian Building and Construction Industry

The State Government has committed to directly fund half of this $600 million package, and plans to introduce changes...
Read More
Construction / Construction

Quantum Meruit Claims in Construction Contracts

Generally a quantum meruit claim cannot be made if there is an existing contract on foot between the parties that...
Read More
Construction / Construction

Demystifying the Adjudication Process

It applies to any construction work and/or related goods and services carried out in Victoria The purpose is to offer a...
Read More
Construction / Construction

When it all Ends in Tears: The Importance of Domestic Building Contracts Part 2

Legal advice is crucial to mitigate risks faced during the building process However, not all risks can be fully avoided...
Read More
Construction / Property & Development / Construction

What Developers should look for in a Vendor Statement

The Vendor Statement in particular is often the starting point for a developer’s due diligence enquiries and it is...
Read More
Construction / Construction

Look before you Leap: The Importance of Domestic Building Contracts Part 1

The process can be a logistical nightmare requiring coordination of council permits, architects plans, engineering...
Read More
Construction / Construction

A Tale of Two Cities: Laws Diverge on SOPA Protections for Insolvent Claimants

These protections are contained in the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) and...
Read More