Failed WA drivers could be sharing the road

ALLEGATIONS are being made that about 300 truck drivers in Western Australia have been granted licences despite failing heavy vehicle driving tests. Western Australian Department of Transport and the Corruption and Crime Commission have uncovered the work of an outsourced business working under government control to assist in authorising heavy vehicle licensing, particularly for mining operations. WA Road Transport Association executive officer Cam Dumesny said the association believed this was “an isolated investigation limited to a small training provider on the margins of the industry”.

In response to WARTA, the Department of Transport said it had previously partnered with industry for the conduct of multi-combination heavy vehicle practical driving assessments since 2001, and in 2013 extended authorisations to registered training organisations to include heavy rigid and multiple-combination licence classes. A statement from DoT said: “The decision to extend the authorisations was based on customer accessibility to services and the use of appropriately qualified industry participants to deliver competency-based training and assessment in accordance with national vocational education and training requirements.” In January, DoT notified the Corruption and Crime Commission with concerns relating to one of its contracted service providers.

A co-operative investigation conducted by the CCC and DoT has uncovered irregularities in the conduct of one training provider which mean some individuals have been granted a licence despite not having met the requirements of accepted driving assessment procedures. Using information arising out of the investigation and subsequent auditing, DoT alleges that 326 people are unlikely to have passed a Practical Driving Assessment to the standard required. These 326 individuals have had or are in the process of having their licence suspended.

The DoT is still reviewing driver’s licence records associated with this matter and further licences may be suspended in the near future. Drivers who wish to regain their licence have been offered a free Practical Driving Assessment with DoT to demonstrate their knowledge of road traffic laws and safe driving techniques. The WA DoT says it has “robust” methods in place to identify shortcomings in registered training companies using industry analytics, a hotline to call in suspicious, unethical or corrupt behaviour from service providers and ongoing collaboration between agencies to enforce compliance.

Big Rigs has been told the 326 licence suspensions relate to the Medium Rigid and Heavy Rigid licence classes only. As this investigation is ongoing, no further comment can be made at this time. Cam Dumesny of the WARTA welcomes what he describes as the decisive action taken by the department and the offer to enable affected drivers a reasonable pathway to assess their competency.

“WARTA is confident of the integrity of the driver training providers and departmental processes,” he told Big Rigs.

The CCC is continuing with investigations into training service providers, these outsourced private enterprise agencies that have been extremely lucrative in recent years.

While the investigation continues, corrupt practices have not been reported from other states but we probably should not be surprised with what emerges in the future.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *