National consistent approach to driver training welcomed by Federal Govt

The Australian Government has welcomed transport ministers’ in-principle agreement to an improved, nationally-consistent approach to the training and licence progression of heavy vehicle drivers.

Endorsed by Australian transport ministers through the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers Meeting (ITMM), the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework Decision Regulation Impact Statement (Decision RIS) proposes a series of reforms to improve road safety and productivity.

These changes will strengthen, it is claimed by the Government, heavy vehicle driver skills and knowledge through redesigned learning and assessment requirements specific to each licence class.

Minimum course lengths and behind-the-wheel time will also be made compulsory, while some training and assessment will be delivered online to lower costs and allow licence applicants more flexibility.

New experience-based licence-progression pathways will be introduced to help drivers progress to higher licence classes more quickly while supporting road safety outcomes.

The National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework was developed collaboratively by governments to establish minimum competency and assessment standards for heavy vehicle drivers across Australia.

While the Framework was intended to apply in all states and territories, it has only been implemented in four jurisdictions: New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

“With growing freight volumes and an evolving vehicle fleet, the Australian Government recognises the importance of ensuring heavy vehicle drivers are safe and equipped for the vehicle they drive,” said Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King.

“These reforms will increase the safety and job readiness of heavy vehicle drivers, in turn improving road safety for everyone on Australian roads.”

Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown also offered comment on the reforms.

“Research commissioned by Austroads has shown the potential to significantly improve the existing training and licensing methods for heavy vehicle drivers in Australia,” she said.

“Any death on our roads is one too many – so our government welcomes measures such as this, which promise to support the safety of the hard-working truckies and bus drivers who keep Australia moving.”

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