Council win paves way for female garbage truck drivers
IPSWICH City Council is set to put the call out for female truck drivers after being granted an exemption under the Anti-Discrimination Act.
In what it refers to as an effort to improve gender diversity, the council previously advised it would seek the exemption in order to advertise for female applicants for waste truck driver roles.
There is only one female driver out of about 50 full-time waste truck drivers at the moment.
Council submitted to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to seek an exemption late last year.
The submission stated that there are often socio-economic barriers faced by women seeking to meet the heavy rigid (HR) licence prerequisite as there are significant costs involved in obtaining the licence including specialised lessons, the cost of the licence itself and the time involved for the lessons.
In a statement, the council said women were recognised as being under represented across the transport industry.
Further planning will now be undertaken to form a driver training program that will involve free training provided to trainees to achieve a HR licence.
Chief Executive Officer David Farmer said Ipswich’s population was growing quickly and council regularly needed to recruit new drivers.
“At the moment, half the potential workforce don’t have access to these opportunities,” Mr Farmer said.
“Our workforce should reflect the wider Ipswich community, and that creating pathways for more women to become drivers in the waste truck fleet will support this.
“Now that QIRC has granted the exemption we can get started on designing a program that will remove some of those barriers faced by women.
“Most importantly, the program will be open to any woman with a driver’s licence and an aptitude for the work. They will not be expected to already have truck driving experience.”
Mr Farmer said he hoped other councils and businesses would follow Ipswich’s lead.
In the council submission to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, it is stated that it has been demonstrated female drivers tend to have fewer driving related incidents and less serious Workplace Health and Sagety matters related to driving incidents.