Drive for change

Article image - Drive for change Ipswich City Councilís only female waste truck driver, Belinda Janson.

Ipswich City Council, Queensland, has been granted an exemption to advertise for females only to be recruited for a training program to obtain a Heavy Rigid licence needed to drive a waste truck.

The council wants to proactively encourage more female applicants in driver roles to encourage workplace diversity and become more representative of the Ipswich community.

Currently there is only one female driver out of the approximately 50 fulltime waste truck drivers.

Council submitted to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to seek an exemption under the Anti-Discrimination Act so it could advertise for a female-only training program for waste truck drivers.

Women are recognised as being under represented across the transport industry and these measures aim to reverse the inequality by assisting women to enter the 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, “Our workforce should reflect the wider Ipswich community, and 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.

“We hope this exemption will pave the way for other councils and companies to participate.”

In the council submission to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, it is stated that it has been demonstrated female drivers tend to have less driving related incidents and less serious WH&S matters related to driving incidents.

Similar initiatives previously taken by some large scale mining and construction companies have found great success with female driver programs that show female truck drivers could help create a more inclusive and safer culture.