Mutual recognition arrangements improve the movement of labour and goods, both in the national market and between Australia and New Zealand. To achieve these effects, there are two agreements:
- the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)
- the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA)
The Mutual Recognition Agreement sets out the principles whereby Commonwealth legislation, the Mutual Recognition Act 1992, implements the domestic arrangement between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments of Australia.
The Mutual Recognition Act 1992 relates to how:
- goods that can be lawfully sold in one Australian jurisdiction are sold in other Australian jurisdictions without having to meet additional requirements
- people registered to practise an occupation in one Australian jurisdiction are entitled to practise an equivalent occupation in other Australian jurisdictions.
Detailed information about mutual recognition of licensed/registered occupations can be found on the Licence Recognition website.
A natural extension of the MRA, the TTMRA is a non-treaty agreement between Australian governments and the New Zealand Government under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.
The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 applies the mutual recognition principles relating to the sale of goods and the registration of occupations between Australia and New Zealand. These principles, with a few exceptions, state that:
- a good that may legally be sold in Australia may be sold in New Zealand, and a good that may be legally sold in New Zealand may be sold in Australia. This is regardless of differences in standards or other sale-related regulatory requirements between Australia and New Zealand
- a person registered to practise an occupation in Australia is entitled to practise an equivalent occupation in New Zealand, and vice versa, without the need for further testing or examination.
The Mutual Recognition Act 1992 and/or Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 can be viewed or downloaded from the Australian Government ComLaw website.
The Mutual Recognition Agreement and/or the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement can be downloaded from the Licence Recognition website.
A Users’ Guide to the Mutual Recognition Agreement and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement is available to assist people in Australia and New Zealand understand the arrangements. It also aims to give people a clearer understanding of what their rights and responsibilities are under each scheme.
A copy of the Users’ Guide can be downloaded from the Licence Recognition website
The Cross Jurisdictional Review Forum was established by the Council of Australian Governments to monitor the operation of the mutual recognition schemes, implement findings from the Australian Productivity Commission’s five-yearly reviews of the schemes and to maintain the currency of the ministerial declarations for licensed occupations. It includes representatives from the Australian, state and territory governments and the Government of New Zealand.
The forum includes representatives from the Australian, state and territory governments and the Government of New Zealand. Forum members act as the point of contact for mutual recognition matters within their jurisdiction.
On 25 September 2015, the Productivity Commission released its research report on the operation of the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) and Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA).
The report assesses the coverage, efficiency and effectiveness of the MRA and TTMRA. It also recommends ways to further improve inter-jurisdictional movement of goods and skilled workers, and reduce red tape. The Cross Jurisdictional Review Forum is to present to Australian Heads of Government and the New Zealand Prime Minister a Review Report responding to the report's findings.
For more information on the report, see the Productivity Commission report on Mutual Recognition Schemes.
Cris Castro (recognition of occupations)
Director, Workforce Trends, Skills Outcomes and Financing Branch
Ph: +61 2 6121 7171
Graeme Wolff (recognition of goods)
Manager, Trade Facilitation, Trade and International Branch
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
Ph: +61 2 6213 7357