The Australian Trucking Association has welcomed the release of a consultation paper on a plan to introduce truck driving apprenticeships.
The paper was developed by the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee, which is the national committee responsible for ensuring that training qualifications are aligned with industry needs.
The paper explores the establishment of a formal apprenticeship for truck drivers.
“It’s no secret that operators around the country have difficulty recruiting truck drivers,” ATA Chair David Smith said.
“There is a shortage of new starters in the trucking industry, and it’s due to the image of the industry and the image of truck driving as a career.
“By improving the professionalism of the industry, strengthening driver training would make driving a more attractive career,” he said.
The consultation paper notes that the sourcing and retention of professional heavy vehicle operators plays a critical role in ensuring the safe, productive and environmentally sound movement of goods and services throughout Australia.
“The ATA has long called for stronger and more comprehensive truck driver licensing and training,” Mr Smith said.
“There is a significant skills shortage that must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” he said.
Mr Smith thanked Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz, for his commitment to industry training and this issue.
“Trucking is essential to our supporting our economy and our lifestyles, with trucks on our roads and highways all day, every day,” Mr Smith said.
“Scott Buchholz understands that improving driver training would not only benefit transport companies; it would also result in safer roads, safer people and safer communities,” he said.
The committee is now seeking feedback on the paper, with everyone in the industry encouraged to share their views. The ATA will work with its members to prepare a detailed response.