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Debate on statutory control of the surveying profession in Queensland : 1907 to 1975

Cook, John (2009) Debate on statutory control of the surveying profession in Queensland : 1907 to 1975. [Working Paper] (Unpublished)

Abstract

This article was written in 1997. After a 2009 review the content was left mostly unchanged - apart from this re-written abstract, restructured headings and a table of contents. The article deals directly with professional registration of surveyors; but it also relates to government procurement of professional services. The issues include public service and professional ethics; setting of professional fees; quality assurance; official corruption; and professional recruitment, education and training. Debate on the Land Surveyors Act 1908 (Qld) and its amendments to 1916 occurred at a time when industrial unrest of the 1890s and common market principles of the new Commonwealth were fresh in peoples’ minds. Industrial issues led to a constitutional crisis in the Queensland’s then bicameral legislature and frustrated a first attempt to pass a Surveyors Bill in 1907. The Bill was re-introduced in 1908 after fresh elections and Kidston’s return as state premier. Co-ordinated immigration and land settlement polices of the colonies were discontinued when the Commonwealth gained power over immigration in 1901. Concerns shifted to protecting jobs from foreign competition. Debate on 1974 amendments to the Act reflected concerns about skill shortages and professional accreditation. However, in times of economic downturn, a so-called ‘chronic shortage of surveyors’ could rapidly degenerate into oversupply and unemployment. Theorists championed a naïve ‘capture theory’ where the professions captured governments to create legislative barriers to entry to the professions. Supposedly, this allowed rent-seeking and monopoly profits through lack of competition. However, historical evidence suggests that governments have been capable of capturing and exploiting surveyors. More enlightened institutional arrangements are needed if the community is to receive benefits commensurate with sizable co-investments of public and private resources in developing human capital.

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ID Code: 28103
Item Type: Working Paper
Keywords: professional registration, government procurement, professional services, professional ethics, public service ethics, professional fees, quality assurance, mutual recognition, official corruption, professional recruitment, professional education
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Labour Economics (140211)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Economic History (140203)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Economic Development and Growth (140202)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Labour Law (180118)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 John S. Cook
Copyright Statement: © 1997, 2009 John S Cook This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.
Deposited On: 20 Oct 2009 11:18
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2010 00:05

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