Temporary residents in Australia (such as working holiday makers or backpackers) are permitted to drive motor vehicles in Australia provided that they possess a valid overseas driver’s licence. The overseas licence must be current (ie. not suspended, cancelled or expired), and needs to be valid for the applicable class of vehicle that is being driven.
If the overseas licence held by the individual is not in English, an international driving permit or an approved English translation of the licence must also be carried with the employee at all times (along with their actual international drivers licence) when they are driving. Doing so will provide sufficient evidence to support that the individual held a valid driver's licence in their home country at such time that the international driving permit was issued.
However are there any additional health and safety obligations which need to be considered where an employee who is required to drive a vehicle for work purposes holds an international driver's licence rather than an Australian licence?
While the holding of an international licence does create an additional requirement for an employer to ensure that the employee holds a current overseas driver’s licence, there are no specific additional work health and safety obligations which would need to be considered. Rather, the obligation to ensure and maintain the health and safety of all employees, including the need to receive thorough instruction and supervision, would continue to apply to both local and international employees.
For example, where employees are required to drive a vehicle in the course of their employment, whether this be using a company provided vehicle or their own personal vehicle, as an employer you have a duty to provide and maintain, so far as is practicable, a safe driving environment including:
• Establishing safe systems of work
• Maintaining vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition
• Ensuring vehicles are registered and insured
• Providing information, training and supervision for employees enabling them to drive company vehicles in a safe manner.
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