Qld driver funding cut

Operators and industry caught off guard with cuts to driver training funding in Queensland

It will become twice as expensive for drivers to gain a Certificate III Driving Operations (Bus) from November 23.

The Queensland Government Department of Education and Training only announced the changes this week, which effectively reduce access of eligible trainees from $3010 to $1505.

Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) executive director David Tape is not impressed with the decision itself, or the lack of communication from the Queensland Government of its intention to cut funding for driver training until a week prior to the change.

"QBIC was not informed or made aware of this until November 17," he says.

"I represent QBIC and its members on the Transport and Logistics Workforce Advisory Committee (DTMR) and can advise that this group was also not aware of the changes until November 17.

"I have requested background and the reasoning behind the changes.

"QBIC does and will continue to represent its members on all aspects of our industry."

The Queensland Government Department of Education and Training confirmed the subsidy for bus driver training will be reduced, citing a change in Queensland Government priorities as the reason.

"Subsidies for selected qualifications in the Transport and Logistics and Construction industries, including the Certificate III Driving Operations (Bus), have been reduced under the revised 2015-16 Queensland Training Subsidies List, published on November 16," a Queensland Government Department of Education and Training spokesperson says.

"The Queensland Training Subsidies List is updated on a regular basis to reflect changing government investment priorities and the availability of new qualifications and skill sets."

It seems the cost of providing such a significant subsidy was also a factor in the decision.

"This change aims to better align the subsidy with the estimated costs of delivery, and follows a review of market performance and the release of revised national training packages."

The revised subsidies will apply to new students, who commence their training after November 23 this year.

The move will have a significant impact on the Queensland bus industry and the affordability of driver training almost immediately and in the years ahead and Sunshine Coast-based bus driver trainer and bus safety author John Duffy is concerned about the effect it will have.

"I have a number of companies who were going to utilise our training services in the new year, who will now be unable to commit to this, due to budgetary constraints," he says.

"Needless to say, the bus and training industry is disappointed that the state government is not supporting the safety and development of our drivers."

The Certificate III Driving Operations (Bus) benefits driver, operators and the community by providing a recognised trade qualification and increasing safety standards though education.

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