Rod asked the government to step in and ensure an efficient and streamlined application process for driver accreditation by the CPPV is implemented in the interest of fairness.
This week, Rod asked the government to step in and ensure an efficient and streamlined application process for driver accreditation by the CPPV is implemente…
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (17:56): Surprisingly the matter I raise tonight is for the Minister for Public Transport. As I have mentioned many a time, this pandemic has a substantive, substantial and significant impact on the commercial passenger vehicle industry. Right now there is an enormous shortage of drivers to the point that some owner-drivers are working 90 to 100 hours per week. Not only is this unsustainable, it is dangerous. This shortage can only be explained by the existing drivers, on one hand, who have diverted out of necessity to Centrelink payments. These drivers do not plan to recommence until March next year when JobKeeper stops, and who can blame them? Taxi pay is so bad.
As for the new drivers who are desperate to make a buck, well, they end up going elsewhere due to the lengthy and deficient application process run by Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria. Currently CPVV takes three months to process a driver accreditation application. In addition, if an applicant has a medical condition such as diabetes, well, then they have to wait even longer for the CPVV medical board to meet once every three months. This means applicants can be waiting up to six months for their driver accreditation to be reviewed. This is simply ridiculous. To put this in perspective, a fishing licence takes seven days and a marine licence takes a day course and then approximately seven days for VicRoads to process. Even a working with children check or a police check takes well under a month. So how is it fair that a driver accreditation for a taxi and commercial passenger vehicle takes at least three months?
Further, I believe it is simply unfair, even verging on discriminatory, that an applicant with a medical condition does not have the right to be officially processed within the same time frame as someone without a medical condition. If this industry is ever going to bounce back, these significant issues need to be resolved. Therefore the action I am asking the minister to take is for the minister to step in and ensure a streamlined application process implemented by the CPVV to uphold industry standards and expectations, especially in the interests of fairness to those with a medical condition.
UPDATED – RESPONSE from Minister Carroll 16 Feb 2021
Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) is responsible for regulating the commercial passenger vehicle (CPV) industry in line with its public care objective. This public care objective includes ensuring that commercial passenger vehicle services are provided safely. In this context, the purpose of driver accreditation is to maximise public confidence in the safety of drivers and the CPV industry in Victoria. This purpose is quite different from that of a fishing or marine licence and the processes and timelines are therefore not comparable.
To ensure applicants for CPV driver accreditation are properly assessed, CPVV requires information on a driver’s medical fitness, criminal history and traffic history. While there are sometimes delays in obtaining this information for more complex cases, in the 2019-20 financial year CPVV processed over 80 per cent of
new and renewed driver applications within 14 days.
Processing delays are usually due to CPVV requiring further information from an applicant, or assessment by the Victorian Institute for Forensic Medicine (VIFM) board for more complex medical cases. This is necessary to ensure the applicant is fit to drive a commercial vehicle despite their condition and supports safety for the travelling public. Typically, fewer than five per cent of applicants require complex medical assessment.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, CPVV introduced a temporary medical self-assessment process to reduce the burden on Victoria’s health system. As part of this process new applicants were asked to complete a medical self-assessment. If the applicant identified a medical condition requiring assessment by a medical professional, such as diabetes, they were advised that their application could not proceed until further notice, because a medical report would be required. This has affected approximately 2 per cent of driver accreditation applicants.
With pressure on Victoria’s medical system now eased, driver accreditation applicants whose applications were put on hold are being contacted by CPVV and encouraged to obtain the required medical assessment and progress their application.
CPVV is committed to optimising the driver accreditation scheme for both customers and CPVV staff. It is currently implementing changes to further simplify the process, including allowing applicants to upload medical reports online. This will lead to faster driver accreditation assessments and ongoing improvements to CPVV’s application process.