WA cops heat over privatised driver assessments trial


Trial allowing the private sector to conduct truck driving assessments runs into union opposition and threats of work stoppages

June 28, 2013

Western Australia’s push to test the worth of privatised truck driving assessments has sparked a backlash from public servants and ran into union opposition.

A six-month trial is currently underway in Bunbury where driving schools have become instructors and assessors for truck driving assessments. The State Government is planning to introduce truck assessments in other centres if the trial is successful.

Department of Transport driving assessors walked off the job this week to protest the Government’s actions, and the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association has demanded the trial be scrapped.

Claiming assessing standards will be compromised under a private sector approach, Branch Assistant Secretary Rikki Hendon says members have not ruled out rolling stoppages if the Government does not communicate how road safety and job security will be maintained.

"Our members believe that privatising these essential public services will compromise standards. It is not a good look for profit-driven companies to teach someone to drive but then fail them as it would reflect badly on their reputation," she says.

Hendon says government-employed assessors test to a standard that is the same right across Western Australia. She claims there will be no guarantee of the standard being maintained if it was privatised.

She has sought to use an alleged incident involving a former Linfox employee in Victoria last year to push the case against privatising assessments. Up to 650 truck drivers in Victoria were allegedly given heavy vehicle licenses in exchange for cash.

"The only way to ensure safe standards were met was for assessments to remain in the hands of independent department assessors," she says.


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