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About us

Our history

The first piece of professional standards legislation was passed in the early 1990s following a turbulent period in Australian business. The share market crash of 1987 had put many companies at risk of closure, including the insurers that traditionally underwrote risks in professional conduct.

The NSW Government was the first to recognise the need to protect consumers by raising professional standards and limiting professionals’ civil liability. This was aimed at ensuring consumers had a wide choice of suppliers and encouraging competition.

Soon after passing the Professional Standards Act 1994 (NSW), the NSW Government formed the Professional Standards Council of NSW. Over the next 10 years, professional standards legislation and Professional Standards Councils were launched in every Australian state and territory.

The Commonwealth Government subsequently passed legislation allowing occupational liability to be limited under the following Acts:

  • Trade Practices Act 1974 (now the Competition & Consumer Act 2010)
  • Corporations Act 2001
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001.

Today, a growing number of associations and their members have chosen to be recognised under a Professional Standards Scheme. We work in partnership with these associations to improve professional standards, increase consumer protection, and regulate and promote the positive role of professions in Australia.