MC LI­CENCE SCAN­DAL IN QLD

Qld au­dit im­pacts dozens

Big Rigs - - FRONT PAGE - James Gra­ham James.Gra­[email protected]­grigs.com.au

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.”

JAMES GRA­HAM PHOTO:

CA­REER CROSS­ROADS: As­ses­sor Peter Lewis isn’t sure of his next move fol­low­ing a TMR au­dit of Aegis Train­ing Ser­vices.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Johnno Matthews got the shock of his life to open a let­ter and find he’d lost his MC li­cence.

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