09 Garbos on the drugs
Caught while doing their rounds
GARBAGE truck drivers have been caught with drugs in their system during suburban runs but have kept their licences.
Drugs detected in workplace urine samples include cannabis, methamphetamine and tranquillisers.
The six drivers caught this year all worked for inner-city council Moreland, said senior sources for council rubbish contractor Citywide.
But the company is not required to tell police of the positive drug tests, allowing the drivers to avoid fines, loss of licence and/or job and a criminal conviction.
Citywide chief executive officer Chris Campbell said employees were stood down after initial positive tests and could not work until a drugfree sample was returned.
“As part of the return to work program, they are then subject to more frequent monitoring and testing,” he said.
“Further transgressions would result in termination of that person’s employment.
“Each situation is assessed and managed on a case-bycase basis.
“Citywide acts quickly and appropriately to ensure the safety of our workers and the community.”
Citywide would not comment on the exact number of drug-driving garbos, how many of the drivers had reoffended or how many had returned to work.
But one Citywide source said the firm was risking lives by allowing drug-prone drivers back to work.
“They are driving 25-tonne trucks when full on residential streets — where is the duty of care to ratepayers by allowing these guys back to work even though some have repeatedly tested positive to drugs?” the source said.
Mr Campbell denied there was a widespread drug problem among Citywide workers.
“Our results are broadly similar to those found in the general population,” he said.
Police said drugs had now overtaken alcohol as the leading factor in road deaths in Victoria.
Moreland City Council was unaware the garbage contactor employed drivers that had returned positive drugs tests while working.
But it is not the first time. In 2015, a Moreland garbo tested positive before his 5am shift. And the contractor called in to replace him was also sent home after he arrived with alcohol in his system.
Ratepayers Victoria vice president Frank Sullivan said police should be notified when the drivers were caught.
“Why should they be protected by an internal system?” he said. “It’s not acceptable.”