Scott Morrison Wants To Get Kids Driving Forklifts To Address The Worker Supply Shortage
Scott Morrison has reportedly come up with a solution to one part of Australia's worker supply shortage.
Because there are tens of thousands of people testing positive for the coronavirus every day and many more forced into isolation for being a close contact, many industries are facing dramatically low staff levels.
To remedy the situation, Australia's Prime Minister said we could lower the legal age for operating a forklift.
The Guardian report Mr Morrison has suggested people under the age of 18 could apply for a specialist licence to plug a gap in the staffing roster.
"There are changes that we need to make around the age of forklift drivers, to get quite specific," he reportedly said.
The Prime Minister added that that he's trying to work with the states and territories on how to best address the staffer shortage situation 'and I'm continuing to pursue those with the states'.
Another avenue they're looking at is 'working to reduce the regulatory requirements in the trucking sector and others', which sounds a hell of a lot safer than teenagers riding around on forklifts.
At the moment, you have to be 18 or older to apply for a forklift licence and you can only do that after you've completed the mandatory training needed to operate the heavy piece of machinery.
It's not unheard of having teenagers behind the wheel of a forklift, with the UK allowing people 16 and older to apply for a licence.
However, the Prime Minister's idea has already been slammed.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) assistant secretary Liam O'Brien said on Twitter: "Forklifts are dangerous. They, along with other high risk mobile plant [sic] account for 1 in 6 workplace deaths. This is madness!"
Labor MP for Ballarat Catherine King added: "According to Greg Hunt, giving out free RATs is a 'dangerous' idea. I'll tell you what's dangerous, kids driving forklifts."
The reaction to the idea has only been compounded by the death of someone operating a forklift earlier this week.
Darren Lamb, 44, was operating a forklift at a site in Dandenong South, Victoria when a shipping container fell on him and crushed him to death.
According to 7News, he leaves behind his wife of 22 years, Charlene, and their seven children, who range in age from one year old to 20.
It was a tragic event and it highlights how driving a forklift can be a really dangerous activity.