2013 Australian Trucking Industry Guide – How to Get a Trucking Job in Australia


There are a lot of truck driving jobs in the Australian trucking industry. Even working as a dump truck driver in Australia can be very rewarding. It is a job that is not too physically demanding, but can pay up to 100,000 a year.

If the driver happens to be a foreigner and is interested in getting a truck driving  job in Australia, then the he may need to get a certain kind of license.

Driver’s licenses in Australia are administered at a state or territory level. As a result, regulations may vary. The driver normally needs to obtain a state license within 3 months of taking up residence in the state. Practical tests are required, unless the driver owns a New Zealand license, or hold a current overseas license and have previously held an Australian license. The current license is issued by an overseas country, including European Union nations, Canada, USA, and Japan, since their licensing system is similar to Australia’s.

If the driver has held his overseas license for several years, then he should be exempt from probationary restrictions once he passes his test.

There are five types of driver’s licenses in Australia: Light Rigid Class, Medium Rigid Class, Heavy Rigid Class, Heavy Combination Class, and Multi-Combination Class.

The MR medium rigid license is a type of license class that authorizes its holders to work on any type of rigid vehicle. This involves buses, trucks, and vehicles with a gross vehicle mass bigger than 4.5 tonnes, or less than eight tonnes. MR Vehicles usually consist of two axles that can be found at the front or at the back of the truck. They have a GVM of over eight tonnes.

What are the requirements in order to get an MR License? Firstly, drivers need to enroll in some of Australia’s best trucking schools. Through these schools, they will be able to learn the needed skills through practical and theory sessions. Those who want to undertake training in an MR driver training should hold a Class C or a light rigid class vehicle license. This is required since medium rigid licenses are meant mainly for upgrading purposes.

Before applying for an MR License, drivers need to understand two MR Licensing conditions. These conditions are Medium rigid condition-A, which permits one to drive an automatic gearbox, and Medium rigid condition-B, which lets the driver operate both an automatic and a manual gearbox. Drivers can select between the two, according to their preference.

Those who complete their training are required to sit for two tests. These are the theory test, and the practical driving assessment test. Theory tests involve questions about driving skills that the driver has learned. Practical driving assessments are about on-road driving under the supervision of a good instructor. Drivers should choose a driving school that consists of fully accredited instructors. Medium rigid license holders have a good chance of attaining occupational opportunities from one of the many leading companies all throughout Australia.

Drivers of trucks, trailers, and truck-trailer combinations in Australia with a GMV greater than 12 tonnes should rest for 30 minutes every five hours. They should also stop for 10 hours of sleep, for every 14 hours of work. This includes both driving and non-driving duties. After 72 hours of working, the driver must stay away from his vehicle for one whole day. They also need to complete a logbook that documents hours and kilometers that they spent while driving.

Heavy vehicle licenses are issued by the states, but are a national standard. The five types of driver’s license required by drivers of heavy vehicles are:

A Light Rigid (LR) license covers a rigid vehicle with a GVM, weighing not more than 8 tonnes, and a towed trailer weighing not more than 9 tonnes GTM (Gross Trailer Mass).

Medium Rigid (MR) license covers a rigid vehicle with two axles, a GVM of more than 8 tonnes, and a towed trailer weighing not more than 9 tonnes.

A Heavy Rigid (HR) license covers a rigid vehicle with 3 or more axles, a towed trailer weighing not more than 9 tonnes, and articulated buses.

A Heavy Combination license (HC) covers semi-trailers, or rigid vehicles towing a trailer with a GTM of more than 9 tonnes.

A Multi Combination (MC) license covers multi-combination vehicles such as road trains or b-double vehicles.

In New South Wales, the theory test is computer based. It can be taken at any RTA office. It is completely okay if the driver fails the theory test once, since he can always take it again. However, he needs to pay a fee of 30 AUD with every new attempt. The theory test can also be practiced online. If the driver fails this practical test, he can lose his driver privileges right away. The driver needs to obtain a NSW learner license until he passes the test. Until then, he is subject to learner restrictions. Even if he only passes the test after the second time he takes it, he is still not subject to probationary restrictions, as long as he has an overseas license for three years.

Under NSW regulations, drivers can keep their overseas license, even after receiving a full or learner license from NSW. The overseas license will be endorsed, so it is no longer valid in the state.

The driver needs proof of address in the state in order to get a NSW license. This can come in form of an official letter addressed to the driver. If he is staying with some friends and doesn’t have anything official, then one of them should sign a form to vouch for the driver, as long as he or she is holding an NSW license.

People who are temporarily using visas in NSW can keep using their overseas licenses for longer than three months. They can get a NSW license if they want to, but they still should undergo the testing process.

In Australia, the driver generally needs to carry his driver’s license—either Australian or overseas—with him at all times. This is different from the practice in the UK.


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