WA pledge to tackle truck driver training shortcomings

Saffioti and premier McGowan field industry and union concerns

WA pledge to tackle truck driver training shortcomings
Rita Saffioti with WRF chairman Craig Smith-Gander and, left, Carl Skinner from Penske Power Systems


Western Australia is on track for major changes in road transport industry training to help address the shortage of suitably employable drivers and logistics staff.

The Western Roads Federation (WRF) notes the move was highlighted in the WA transport and planning minister Rita Saffioti’s announcement at last week’s WA State Freight and Logistics Conference.

The annual state conference is jointly organised by Western Roads Federation WRF and the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the support of the WA Freight and Logistics Council.

At the conference, Saffioti announced that the state government was keen to pursue a dedicated course in truck driver training as soon as possible.

This follows recent meetings with premier Mark McGowan, Saffioti, education minister Sue Ellery, the Transport Workers Union and Western Roads Federation.

In making the announcement, she foreshadowed future announcements on the details to train up truck drivers and help attract more young people into the industry.

"We think that is a huge opportunity for government and industry to work together," Saffioti says.

WRF chairman Craig Smith-Gander welcomes the statement and committed WRF and its members to continuing to work collaboratively with the state government on developing an industry training solution.

The WRF and TWU have sought action on the issue before. Read about it here

Nationals MP Peter Rundle questioned Saffioti was in parliament after the conference about training standards, particularly as the state grain harvest is underway.

"Will the minister review the training system so that multiple individuals working for a single farming entity can all be accredited for the training fee that costs from $1,000 up to $1,500, rather than each having to pay that amount?" Rundle asked.  

Saffioti took the fee point on notice but spoke positively about the industry and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) approach to the government on the training and recruitment issues before and during the conference.

"We had a good discussion with a lot of members beforehand about some of the issues facing the industry," she says.

"[The fees] issue was not raised with me, but one issue that has been raised with me quite a lot is the issue of truck-driver training.

It has also been raised by the Transport Workers’ Union of Australia together with Western Roads Federation.

"I outlined this morning that there is a need in general for industry to embark upon more dedicated training for truck drivers and to try to ensure that more people choose this as a career.

"It is an ageing demographic.

"The Premier and I met with the Western Roads Federation and the TWU about six weeks ago, when they outlined their concerns about the level of training in that industry.

"Since then, the Minister for Education and Training has followed up with those organisations.

"We are looking at having a program to help people to train in that industry."


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