Competency key under new national licence plan

Proposed national heavy vehicle licence framework, tied to competency, could slash upgrade times

Competency key under new national licence plan
Competency key under new national licence plan
Brad Gardner | January 12, 2010

Regulators are proposing to abolish the current driver licensing system in favour of a nationally consistent framework based on competency standards.

In a policy proposal issued to industry stakeholders late last year, a new approach has been recommended to training and assessing heavy vehicle drivers.

Under the scheme, existing guidelines forcing drivers to wait for a specified period before advancing to higher vehicle classes will be replaced with a national skills set that must be met to obtain a licence.

Currently, someone with a C-class licence must wait a year before learning to drive a medium rigid truck, while a driver with a medium rigid licence must wait a year before learning to drive articulated vehicles.

If accepted, a national skills set will be developed for each vehicle class by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC) and integrated into the vocational education and training (VET) system.

"Competency will be assessed using the units of competency within the relevant skill sets to be inserted into the transport and logistics industry training package," the policy paper obtained by ATN reads.

"The assessment standard will be consistent across all approved assessment modes and across all jurisdictions."

The proposal to align licensing requirements with training standards rather than the time served by the driver was made by the Queensland Government as part of the move to national heavy vehicle laws.

Queensland was tasked as the jurisdiction responsible for looking at new national licensing, with other states responsible for different areas.

During their meeting on July 25, 2008 Australia’s transport ministers agreed new licensing reforms would be introduced in all jurisdictions in 2010 to deliver consistent minimum standards that must be met.

"It is intended that all heavy vehicle drivers will be subject to the same knowledge and skills requirements regardless of where in Australia they obtain their heavy vehicle driver licence," the policy proposal says.

"Competency assessment will be subject to a final competency assessment in which the applicant will be required to demonstrate competency to undertake a broad range of the elements of the driving task in combination."

According to the policy proposal, the final assessment will be conducted using a national mandatory instrument approved by the licensing authority.

The proposal will also govern the role of the registered training organisations.

If the new system is accepted, commercial training providers must be approved by the relevant licensing authority under a nationally consistent approach.

They will also be audited by the relevant jurisdiction’s training authority and licensing authority.

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