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The decision by Australia’s Transport Ministers to deliver an in-principle agreement on a national approach to training and licencing for heavy vehicle drivers is a welcome step forward to help address long-term driver shortages, GrainGrowers said today.

GrainGrowers acting General Manager Policy and Advocacy, Sean Cole said the Ministers decision to endorse the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework Decision Regulation Impact Statement was a positive move towards addressing industry concerns.

Mr Cole said an improved heavy vehicle licensing framework is critical for the Australian grain industry.

“Given the requirement for a large number of competent and qualified drivers to operate heavy vehicles during key production periods, such as harvest, improvements are essential to address current shortages.”

“The existing time-based licensing system is delaying and deterring potential future heavy vehicle drivers from pursuing careers in the agriculture industry and contributing to the broader shortage of drivers.”

Mr Cole said the approved reform package had considered GrainGrowers’ concerns over issues such as splitting the current multi-combination licence class into three and requiring drivers to have a period of post-licence supervised driving.

“Given a shortage of skilled drivers, many growers simply lack the skilled staff to supervise licensed drivers. They also do not have the time available, when farm businesses often only use their heavy vehicles for short production times such as harvest.”

Mr Cole said GrainGrowers will be watching the implementation of the proposed changes with interest.

“The next steps are vital in delivering a national heavy vehicle licensing framework and future licensing system that effectively balances safety and productivity.

“At the end of the day, we all want the same thing – a larger pool of trained and qualified drivers that are available to transport product safely and efficiently,” he said.

Media contact: Chris Rowley

P: 0415 140 253 | Email