There is No Quick Fix to the Driver Shortage

the fatigue battleground

We have heard some positive words coming out of Canberra, recently, but there is no quick fix to the driver shortage in Australia. The problem is a deep and long lasting, the result of changes to the industry and to Australian society.

The Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee is said to be made up of industry leaders and experts, and acts as a conduit between the Transport and Logistics industry and the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) who are setting up and industry apprenticeship scheme.

We know the kind of chaos which can be caused if nothing is done about the issue. You just have to watch the news from the UK with the country grinding to a halt, as there were not enough drivers to deliver the fuel to the servos.

This set off a panic buying spree, this time not for toilet rolls, but for petrol and diesel. Queues grew and tempers flared, chaos ensued.

One of the solutions now being floated by the UK Government is to allow ‘cabotage’ in the UK for European Union truck operators. This is a distinctly drastic measure, as it will cause chaos among UK trucking operators, who are already under the cosh of the driver shortage.

The practical effect of allowing overseas operators the right to move freight from A to B within the UK is going to worsen the situation. Trucks from the poorer members of the EU, like Bulgaria and Romania, where drivers are poorly paid and poorly trained, will flood into the UK to get higher paid work.

This influx will slash freight rates and cripple the UK operators, who have to deal with higher costs. This is not a solution anyone is going to like. 

Here in Australia we have time to avoid these kinds of drastic and destructive measures, but we don’t have much time.

If there is some will in the powers-that-be to improve the driver situation, we need to grab it now, make our opinions and ideas known, and push the IRC to get it right first time around and get it up and running as soon as possible.

The consultation paper is downloadable from here.

Here are the people on the committee 

Chair: Mark McKenzie, ACAPMA.

Deputy Chair: Cathi Andrews, Payne Haulage


Committee members:

Mark Williams, BORAL

Greg Lipscombe, Linfox Logistics

Karen Bow, Australian Logistics Council

Julie Russell, Australian Trucking Association

Lindsay Eisemann, Origin Energy

Lynda Douglas, Department of Defence

Matt Threlkeld, BusNSW

Peter Anderson, Victoria Transport Association

Jack Boutros, Transport Workers Union of Australia

Justin Timmins, Maritime Union of Australia

Brett O’Connor, Transport of NSW

there is no quick fix to the driver shortage