In a pool of 49 truck drivers at Ipswich City Council, Belinda Janson is currently the only female, but the council is looking to change that. A new employment program aims to bring more female recruits into the council’s truck driving roles.
Last year, the Ipswich City Council applied for an exemption under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (QLD) so it could target women to fill more of its truck driving positions. That exemption was granted, allowing the council to work towards hiring more women as waste services truck drivers and assist them in gaining their Heavy Rigid (HR) licences.
The move was welcomed by Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding. “Just like our industry colleagues, we want to attract the best people for the job. This includes recruiting and supporting all members of our community who are interested in working in traditionally male dominated industries,” she said.
“Council’s workforce should reflect the wider Ipswich community and creating pathways for more women to become drivers in our waste truck fleet will support this. Having more balanced driving crews makes good economic sense, enables employment growth and leads to productivity and social gains.”
A truckie for the past 15 or so years, Janson joined the council in November 2020. “I’ve been driving trucks as far back as I can remember. My grandfather was a truckie, so when I wasn’t at school, I was out with him in the truck whenever I got the chance. He had a courier business in a small town and would go into the city to pick everything up for the town. When I would see him driving away in the old Road Ranger, I knew it was something I wanted to do. I also helped out with the basic maintenance on his truck, so he taught me all of that too,” she said.
As a Resource Recovery driver, Janson now drives a side arm waste truck, collecting garbage and recycling from within the municipality. When she saw the role advertised, she said it was the work/life balance that really attracted her.
“Everybody here has been fantastic. They treat me no different to any other driver. We all help each other out, so it’s a real team effort,” she said.
Asked about her thoughts on the council’s efforts to attract more women into its truck driving roles, she said, “I think it’s fabulous. The more female drivers we can get out there in the industry, the better. If they can do it, I think they should give it a crack.”