The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) says the proposed telehandler licensing reforms flagged by WorkSafe Victoria is a step in the right direction, but work still remains to ensure the mandatory training is accessible and affordable for Victorian farmers.
VFF Infrastructure and Transport Chair Ryan Milgate said after years of consultation and hard work between industry and WorkSafe Victoria, the mandatory training is more relevant, but questions still remain over its cost and accessibility for farmers.
“There’s no question the training is now more appropriate to help keep farmers safe, but we’d like to see it become more accessible and affordable for farmers.”
“We need to see the fine detail on the proposed reforms, because there still remains a lot of unanswered questions at the moment.”
“We are urging WorkSafe Victoria to move quickly to confirm the training providers and to ensure that the training can be delivered on farming properties across Victoria.”
“The move to introduce a three-day training requirement is only a marginal improvement on the expectation for operators to hold a slewing type crane license, which required four days training.”
“We know that financial and time costs are major a barrier in getting farming businesses to meet compliance requirements. We want to make sure these are kept within realistic limits,” Mr Milgate said.
Mr Milgate also raised further questions around the timeframe of when these new mandatory requirements will come into force.
“As of 1 July 2024 we’re told these new requirements will become mandatory. The fact that there’s no trainers or training currently available to farmers is an obvious issue. We’ll be talking to WorkSafe Victoria about this and flagging a common-sensed based approach to enforcement in its early days,” Mr Milgate said.
The VFF will work with WorkSafe Victoria to communicate the detail of the new licensing regime and to ensure that farmers are made aware of the training providers as early as possible to ensure the smooth introduction of the new licensing requirements.