What’s new in government
…pretty obvious. We have a new Australian government!
The BIC congratulates the Australian Labor Party for their election win. Albo has long been a friend of public transport and pledged $125 million to manufacture 130 electric buses in Perth if Labor won the federal election.
We spoke to the new Prime Minister in the lead up to the election highlighting the importance of federal government leadership in the transition to zero emission buses and coaches, addressing the shortage of bus and coach drivers by changing pension rules, the importance of public transport for moving
people and local manufacturing.
With a new government and lots of Greens and Teal independents on board we will be ramping up our advocacy efforts on behalf of bus and coach operators, manufacturers and associated service providers and the communities that benefit from or could benefit from easy access to bus and coach travel.
National Transport Commission – new guidelines for Assessing Fitness to Drive
The Transport Ministers have approved the new addition of the Assessing Fitness to Drive guideline, which has been produced by the NTC and Austroads which comes into effect on 22 June 2022.
The ultimate aim of the guideline is to create national consistency of medical
standards for driver licensing across Australia. To that end, the new guideline has been updated to account for advances in healthcare since the last edition of the standards (2016) – such as new research on implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), improved and earlier detection of dementia, and the ability to prescribe medicinal cannabis for various conditions. The guideline outlines the responsibilities of drivers, examining healthcare professionals and licensing authorities.
The guidelines however, will continue to be silent on any standards/guidance to assist Employers who are predominantly reliant on the Employee to self-report. The Employer will also continue to be reliant on the health professional and the licensing authority to be accurate and timely in the provision of assessments or accreditation. The NTC considers these to
be out of scope of the AFD. It remains to be seen how this will work with Automatic Mutual Recognition which will be adopted by all states/territories (except Qld) from 1 July.
The guideline will be made available on 22 June 2022. Here are some highlights from the NTC’s final report:
- The definition of congenital conditions has been expanded to include “disability and driving” – clarifies that the capacity to perform the driving task may be impacted by the presence of a disability, and describes the associated action required by health professionals to assess disabilities
- For drivers with an
ICD, the guidelines now specify a ‘non-driving period post-implantation’ (six months) and an annual review period.
- Recognition of the use of medical cannabis that can be managed similarly to other prescription medications that can impair driving
- Clarify appropriate communication between health professionals and driver licensing authorities in the event of a health professional becoming aware of unreliable information provided by the driver.
- Directs treating specialists to share their fitness-to-drive assessment outcomes with the patient’s general practitioner.
- Substance abuse – clarifies assessment requirements,
licensing requirements and periodic review. The changes will support driver licensing authorities to identify when ongoing review can be performed by a general practitioner.