Livestock transport group backs national licensing concept

ALRTA has supported competency-based licensing for heavy vehicle drivers saying it has the potential to help with the current skills shortage

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has supported a single national approach to heavy vehicle licencing, including a shift to competency-based training and assessment. 

In its weekly newsletter, the ALRTA articulated 26 recommendations in response to reform proposals contained in a consultation regulatory impact statement published by Austroads.
 
ALRTA National President Scott McDonald says that a uniform national heavy vehicle driver competency framework had potential to deliver safer drivers, sooner.

“It is well known that our industry is desperately short of skilled drivers,” says McDonald.
 
“The current age and time-based licencing system denies eager young people a viable pathway into a driving career. In the majority states and territories, a person is not eligible to drive our most productive freight vehicles until they are 24 years old.
 
“By that time, most have pursued other career opportunities or settled into lifestyle patterns incompatible with the road transport industry.

“ALRTA is strongly supportive of the proposal to offer alternative licence progression pathways.  By focusing on training relevancy, practical skills development, accumulation of real-world driving experience and more rigorous competency assessment, we can deliver better drivers faster compared with the current licencing system.”

McDonald says this would be a good outcome for road safety as well as business productivity and career development.

“We do however need to be careful not to overcook the new system. ALRTA is opposed to measures that would delay the point at which young people can commence learning, or that close off a career path because of a relatively minor driving offence,” McDonald says.

“Requiring all in-house driving supervisors to obtain a formal qualification, or introducing too many new licence classes, would similarly introduce unnecessary learning and progression barriers.

“A better system does not need to be more complicated.”

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