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Australia’s PM Scott Morrison proposes under-18s to drive forklifts to ease supply chain crisis

A proposal by the prime minister, Scott Morrison, to allow children to drive forklifts appears to have caught the states by surprise, with the Queensland, Victorian and New South Wales governments saying they have no plans to lower the current age of 18.

Unions have also criticised the proposal, saying forklifts are dangerous machines that require skilled operation.

Speaking on Wednesday ahead of a meeting of national cabinet on Thursday, Morrison said he wanted to further reduce regulation in the transport and other sectors in order to ease a staffing crisis that has crippled supply chains and stripped supermarket shelves of staples including pork and some fresh vegetables.




“There are other changes that need to be made and they’re at a state level, and I’m continuing to pursue those with the states,” Morrison said.

“There are changes that we need to make around the age of forklift drivers, to get quite specific.”

Forklift drivers in Queensland, NSW and Victoria require a special “high risk work” licence, which involves doing a short course and sitting a test, and is only available to people who are 18 and over.



Morrison did not say what age minimum he wanted instead of 18 and a spokesperson for the prime minister did not provide an age when asked.