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

The plan was endorsed by Australian transport ministers through the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers Meeting (ITMM) proposes a series of reforms to improve road safety and productivity and goes under the name National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework Decision Regulation Impact Statement (Decision RIS)

The government says these changes will strengthen 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.

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Federal minister for infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government, Catherine King was that with growing freight volumes and an evolving vehicle fleet, the Australian Government recognised the importance of ensuring heavy vehicle drivers are safe and equipped for the vehicle they drive.

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

Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown said research commissioned by Austroads has shown the potential to significantly improve the existing training and licensing methods for heavy vehicle drivers in Australia.

“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,” Minister Brown added.