Ipswich City Council has been given the green light from the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to start up a female-only truck driving training program that is aimed at reducing the current gender gap in the transport industry.
The industry has long been dominated by males, with women comprising only 26 per cent of its workforce. Ipswich City Council saw this as an opportunity for change and applied in June 2020 to the QIRC for an exemption under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, to advertise a female-only truck driving training program.
The QIRC granted the request less than two months ago, stating that doing otherwise would continue to disadvantage women who wished to become truck drivers. The Commission’s order applies for three years and relates only to a Heavy Rigid (HR) licence training program. Read the full exemption details here.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said Council needed diverse employment opportunities and wanted to attract the best people for the job.
"This includes recruiting and supporting all members of our community who are interested in working in traditionally male-dominated industries," Cr Harding said.
"Council's workforce should reflect the wider Ipswich community and creating pathways for more women to become drivers in our waste truck fleet will support this.”
Transport Women Australia chair, Jacquelene Brotherton, is pleased by the outcome.
"That is great news," Ms Brotherton said.
"We need to encourage more women into the industry and have been doing this through our Women Driving Transport Careers female-only driver training program.
"To have the Ipswich Council succeed in its equal opportunity exemption will pave the way for other companies to participate."
Ipswich City Council’s training program is targeted at women from disadvantaged communities, as socio-economic barriers and the significant costs involved have prevented many women from meeting the HR licence prerequisites, including specialised lessons, time required for the lessons and the cost of the licence itself.
Women are being encouraged to give it a go – because girls can do it too.