MC LICENCE SCANDAL IN QLD
Qld audit impacts dozens
SINCE he was 18 years old, Johnno Matthews has only ever wanted to drive trucks for a job.
For almost 40 years he’d carved out a blemish-free living behind the wheel, from carting cattle, assessing others in the mining sector and more recently driving road trains around his hometown of Moranbah, Queensland.
Then a letter came in the post from Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Without any warning, Mr Matthews was informed his multi-combination licence was revoked.
The reason given was that the registered training organisation that issued the MC licence, Brisbane-based Aegis Training Services, was deemed to be noncompliant after a TMR audit.
Mr Matthews, 57, responded to a Show Cause Notice with a detailed submission, which included evidence of support from his assessor Peter Lewis, of PK’s TruckWise.
But in a letter shown to Big Rigs dated November 5, TMR manager client service delivery Bernard O’Neill told Mr Matthews he was out of luck and his licence was downgraded to a class HC.
“We played by the rules and did everything that was expected of us and now they’re saying it’s not good enough,” a deflated Mr Matthews said.
“This is just outrageous.
“It cost me $1600 to get this licence and now I have to spend that again if I want to get it back?”
Luckily, in the short term Mr Matthews has landed a job back in the mines but his immediate future on bitumen is uncertain.
Mr Lewis said as many as 27 others who passed through PK’s TruckWise were caught in the same predicament as Mr Matthews since the TMR audit of Aegis in August last year – his own daughter, Nadine Fitzpatrick, was one of them.
He believed up to 400 drivers could be affected statewide.
“I can understand how they (the TMR) want to get it right but they’ve got to give us a chance to get it right,” Mr Lewis, whose status as an MC assessor from his Mackay base is in limbo since the audit, said.
“All I want to do is get this paperwork right and be able to go out there and give people licences. I went into this industry to make good drivers and I believe I have made good drivers.”
Former accreditation auditor Alan Brown, a 40-year veteran of the TMR who retired in 2009, told Big
❝This is a process I’ve never seen before. — Alan Brown
Rigs he believed the department had jumped the gun in its investigation by not waiting until the show-cause process was completed.
“This is a process I’ve never seen before,” Mr Brown said, adding that there didn’t seem to be any legal foundation for the abbreviated action.
“They’ve really gone out on a limb and what they’re doing could embarrass the Minister.”
The TMR said affected drivers had the opportunity to prove they were appropriately trained before action was taken against their licence.
“This can include successfully completing an appropriate approved training course and being issued with a new Statement of Attainment for licence class MC or submitting a declaration of their ability for a licence Class MC, most likely from an employer.”
CAREER CROSSROADS: Assessor Peter Lewis isn’t sure of his next move following a TMR audit of Aegis Training Services.
Johnno Matthews got the shock of his life to open a letter and find he’d lost his MC licence.