Morrison abandons under 18 forklift proposal


Australia has gained international media coverage after Scott Morrison’s proposal to allow children to drive a forklift was rejected by all states and territories at a national cabinet meeting.

The Prime Minister reportedly took the idea to Thursday’s national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders, as part of a package of measures to tackle staff shortages caused by the Omicron wave disrupting supply chains.

“We agreed to proceed no further with the issue of 16-year-old forklift drivers,” the Prime Minister says.

“We had a good discussion about it today, and it is not something that we believe, collectively, that is something we should be pursuing at this time.”

To operate a forklift legally, Australians must be 18 or older and obtain a licence from their state or territory safety regulator.

The licensing requirements vary, but each is bound by the National Standard for Persons Performing High-Risk Work, which says licensees must be “at least 18 years of age.”

The proposal was met with widespread ridicule on social media. Tim Lyons, former assistant secretary of the Austrailan Council of Trade Unions wrote on twitter, “I worked in warehouses at Uni. Had a forklift licence. I organized in warehouses for more than a decade. Letting kids whizz around on forklifts is insane. They are not dodgem cars. The kids are very likely to kill or injure themselves or someone else.”

Shirley Jackson of Per Capita wrote, “As a former warehouse worker, I am truely baffled by Morrison’s forklift announcement. I’ve know adults who were dangerous behind the wheel of a forkie, let alone young people.”

Morrison has been accused by some experts as looking for an easy fix to the current supply chain woes after the back-track.

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