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WA's growing driver shortage

SEEKING DRIVERS: Fewer people are choosing the long distance lifestyle.
SEEKING DRIVERS: Fewer people are choosing the long distance lifestyle. Carly Morrissey

THE WA economy is picking up again.

But that is now compounding the issue of a growing shortage of good drivers' especially long haul.

Western Roads Federation member companies involved in long distance from general freight to heavy haulage, dangerous goods to mining exploration projects support are reporting difficulty in recruiting good drivers.

For example here is an extract from a job application one of our members actually received:

"I would like to apply for the Perth to Sydney truck driver's job you advertised.

"I recently obtained my MC licence and really like the idea of becoming a long distance truck driver.

"I can start in a month, the only thing is that I do need to be home by 5pm every day, so I won't be able to do overtime."

A key point is that long distance drivers are choosing a lifestyle, not a job.

Bit like farmers or even being in the Army, you are choosing a way of life not a nine to five job.

And that is part of the problem fewer people seem to want to choose the long distance lifestyle.

And it's a way of life that younger people seem to no longer want.

For example, one major Western Roads Federation member company reported that in WA the average age of its drivers is more than six years older than its drivers in the east.

Another said that the average age of their long haul drivers was nearly 60.

But the flipside is that WA also has a growing shortage of good metro-logistics drivers in different sectors as well, from couriers to removalists.

Even the waste industry members are reporting that their driver workforce is ageing.

So what do we do?

There is no simple easy answer, but we need one.

Therefore we have invited leaders from every sector of the WA transport industry to a summit to be chaired by Senator Glenn Sterle on June 15.

Leaders from dangerous goods, fuel, heavy haulage, general freight, regional operators, couriers, removalists, refrigerated, construction, waste and agriculture sectors and leading WA supply chain organisations will join with us and the union to work through a solution.

Key issues to be addressed: How do we attract people? How do we train them? How do we retain our drivers?

The outcomes of the summit will be discussed at a Transafe WA forum later in the month.

This is a WA industry problem, it needs a WA industry solution.

As always I am happy to hear your thoughts and ideas, please email me at cam.dumesny@western

roads.com.au.

Topics:  big rigs column western roads federation western roads federation column

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