ALC summit: Operator licencing here gets British backing


UK Freight Transport Association deputy chief sees it as a competence issue

ALC summit: Operator licencing here gets British backing
James Hookham says the system supports safe and reliable operators

 

One of the most senior British freight players advises the Australian transport and logistics sector to embrace ‘operator licencing’ in view of its four decades of application in his country.

Speaking at the Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC’s) annual Supply Chain Safety & Compliance Summit, UK Freight Transport Association (FTA) deputy chief executive James Hookham underscored that operator licensing is an effective way to ensure industry participants are competent to perform required tasks and could be applied successfully in Australia. 

"The concept of operator licensing is well established in UK having been in existence for 40 years, and has proven itself to be an effective mechanism to maintain high levels of safety," Hookham says. 

"The scheme helps to ensure licence holders are professionally competent, or that they employ someone who is professionally competent, with the rationale that only safe and reliable operators of goods vehicles are permitted to be licensed.

"It is a scheme which has worked in the UK and I believe is worthy of further consideration to assess how it can be applied in Australia."

Hookham believes the positives outweigh certain negatives such as legal costs, distance from the industry and it lagging technological developments and that the system tackles the cause of non-compliance rather than just its symptoms.

Though not without critics in this country, the concept has staunch ALC support and the body has recommended it to government.

"ALC’s support for operating licensing is based on our concerns about the capacity of some road operators to operate a business in a safe and business-like manner," ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says.

 "These failings pose dangers to all road users – a point we will be reinforcing to all transport ministers, the National Transport Commission and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator."

Summit will focus today on future amendments to Chain of Responsibility laws, which will be to impose a duty of ‘due diligence’ on directors and others.  

It will require them to ensure that all reasonably practicable steps have been taken to ensure that CoR obligations have not been breached. 

A communique highlighting Summit actions and outcomes will be issued following the event. 

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