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Taxi Industry police checks in Australia

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Taxis play a significant role in the Australian transportation network. Over the years, the demand for taxis has consistently risen due to their many benefits, from 24/7 customer support to convenient booking options, transparent fare estimation and lots more. The Australian taxi market was valued at $2.4 billion as of 2020 and expected to grow by 9.61% before 2026.

Hence, there's no better time to join the industry than now! However, you must meet specific requirements to become a taxi driver in Australia. First off, you need a valid driver's licence. Other conditions are typically subject to your state/territory of operation. But in the last decade, most regions now require police checks as part of the vetting process for taxi drivers.

Prior to applying for a check, applicants should check the requirements of their state or territory licensing body to see if a nationally coordinated criminal history check will be suitable for their needs.

This post explores all you need to know about police checks in the Australian taxi industry. Furthermore, you'll learn about other requirements to be a licensed taxi driver in different regions. Let's dive right into it! target="_blank"

Page Contents

What kind of police check is required for taxi drivers?

Regarding the taxi industry, the nationally coordinated criminal history check (NCCHC) is the recognised police check for the majority of the industry.

The NCCHC is a police check that checks an applicant's criminal history in Australia. The applicant will receive a certificate once the check is complete. The NCCHC certificate can either return Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO) or No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO).

How does the NCCHC process work?

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) conducts the NCCHC in Australia. They work with ACIC-accredited agencies like Australian National Character Check (ANCC) to make this checking process accessible to Australians.

To run an NCCHC, you must submit your details (like name, date of birth, address history, and more) and four approved identification documents. Submission can be made online.

You must also fill in the purpose of the check. As a taxi driver (or on-demand driver), you should enter "Driver Accreditation/Licensing" as the check's purpose.

Once you've submitted your details, your info is run through a centralised database that looks up criminal matches across Australia. This result shows up on your NCCHC certificate. When there's ambiguity concerning the matched records, the application is referred for manual review. The police agency then manually verifies if those criminal records belong to you before adding them on your NCCHC certificate.

How long does a Police check take?

70 percent of police checks are returned to applicants within 24 hours. Results are automatically emailed on the same day they are received. Approximately 30 percent of checks may be referred to one or more police agencies and can take longer than 10 business days to be returned, due to the manual nature of this process.

Taxi Driver Requirements in Australian States and Territories

Becoming a taxi driver in Australia is straightforward. Well, that's if you know what your state requires. To make our discussion as comprehensive as possible, we'll also explore Australia's requirements for on-demand transport. On-demand transport covers taxis, limousines, app-based booking service providers, party buses, hired buses, charter buses, and contracted buses.

It's a no-brainer that you'll require a valid driver's licence. Read on to determine your state's requirements to become an on-demand/taxi driver.

Western Australia

First, your standard driver's licence will not suffice if you want to be an on-demand/taxi driver in Western Australia. You'll need an F-licence charter extension for an on-demand service. Securing this licence requires you to undergo a background check and a complete medical assessment. The purpose is to ensure that you're physically fit and safe. Expect to spend 14 days completing the entire application. On the other hand, you'll need a T-licence extension if you wish to work for a traditional taxi firm.

Northern Territory

The commercial passenger vehicle (CPV) licence covers taxis, minibuses, private hire cars, rideshare, and special function vehicles driving in Northern territory. First off, you must be 18 to obtain a CPV licence. You must also gain an H endorsement to receive the CPV licence. Conditions for getting an H endorsement include speaking and writing proficiency in English, a full NT driving licence, and a permit to work in Australia. You must also have an NCCHC not older than three months.

So far, you can see that becoming a taxi driver in the Northern Territory is a bit complicated - and there are even more requirements. You'll also need certain medical clearances. You must also complete and pass a paid theory test at a local Motor Vehicle Register centre. This test will cover topics on the commercial passenger transport Act, hire car regulations, and commercial passenger regulations.

Furthermore, you must pass through an official training before getting your CPV ID card. While this training may seem laborious, it helps learn about the local area. But once you have everything sorted out, you can commence your career in the on-demand transport sector.

Queensland

You also need driver authorisation (DA) to become a booked hire/taxi driver. The purpose of driver accreditation is to maximise public confidence in drivers of public vehicles. Before getting a DA, you must prove your entitlement to work in Australia. This means you must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or possess a work visa. You must also have a valid driver's licence.

Under the suitability requirement, you must pass a medical fitness test. You will cover the cost of all the necessary tests to obtain a medical certificate. You will undergo a nationally coordinated criminal history check for passengers' safety and property. Note that you cannot provide your criminal history check because the department undertakes the one that usually contains a more comprehensive list of criminal history. Finally, you must have a driving record to hold a DA.

DA fees as stipulated in the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Regulation 2018 (Qld) as of July 2021 are summarised below:

  1. Police check fee of $46.50 for new DA applicants.
  2. Booked Hire/Taxi DA applicant additional fees:

New South Wales (NSW)

You must satisfy the Roads and Maritime Services guidelines to be an on-demand driver. These guidelines are moderately strict. First off, you must be at least 20 years old. You must have also held a valid driver's licence for at least 12 of the last 24 months. You must also be an Australian citizen or have the legal right to work in the country.

What's more, you must secure a private hire vehicle (PHV) licence. Supporting documents to obtain this licence include your standard driver's licence, medical assessment certificate, and an NCCHC. Expect annual checks to retain your PHV privilege if you secured your standard permit from another state. Note that the entire process can take up to three weeks.

On the other hand, you need to apply for a passenger transport licence code (PTLC) to provide passenger transport services in New South Wales. Passenger transport services include taxis, private hire, rideshare, or tour drive operations. You must meet medical standards for commercial vehicle drivers and submit medical and eyesight reports from an optometrist or ophthalmologist to be eligible for a PTLC. You'll also need proof of identity when applying for a PTLC.

Victoria

Victoria is arguably the most accessible place to become a taxi/on-demand driver because of the less stringent requirements. Consequently, the process is easier, quicker, and cheaper.

If you want to become an on-demand driver in Victoria, the foremost requirement is to have your standard driver's licence for a minimum of 12 months. It can even be a driver's licence from another state. The only condition is that you must have been driving for at least one year.

In addition, to be a taxi driver, bus driver, hire car driver, or driving instructor in Victoria, you must get accreditation from Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV). A valid interstate accreditation may be eligible to be mutually recognized by Victoria's CPVV.

While becoming a driver in Victoria is easy, you must always be mindful of the law. Getting banned from driving will undoubtedly affect your career. A severe criminal record (like sexual-related offence or aggressive behaviour) may jeopardize your job too.

South Australia

You must own a standard driver's licence for six months before you become eligible to apply for the necessary on-demand/taxi driver accreditation in South Australia. You must also prove your right to work via citizenship, residency or a working visa to obtain your DA.

Furthermore, you'll need to undergo a Working with Children Check and a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check. This check must be updated every three years. You'll also need a medical report and an eyesight report.

While some on-demand drivers don't require training, you must complete formal training to be a taxi driver in South Australia. What's more, having a solid command of the English language is essential for success. Your vehicle must also be in excellent working conditions before it is approved.

You can lodge your completed application with the following to get your DA as a taxi driver:

The overall fee is dependent on your circumstance.

Once you obtain your DA, ensure you adhere to the law. South Australia is strict in regards to some rules. For example, SA has zero-tolerance for blood alcohol levels while taking passengers. SA also has strong anti-discriminatory laws, so you cannot work based on discriminatory views.

Australian Capital Territory

You must meet the eligibility requirements stipulated in the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2000 to obtain an ACT public vehicle licence. These eligibility requirements include:

To be a taxi driver, you must also provide a language skills assessment certificate if you're not a citizen or from a recognised English-speaking country.

Note that you may not be issued a public vehicle driver's licence if the following apply to you within the last five years:

You must also have zero blood alcohol content (BAC) while operating a public vehicle in the Australian Capital Territory.

Requirements for Taxi driver's licence

As you can see, different states and territories have specific requirements before giving a driver's licence/accreditation. Here are the reasons for some of the more common conditions:

✔ Medical tests

Taxi drivers must be physically and mentally fit to drive. This measure is in place to ensure that drivers do not endanger the lives of passengers. Applicants with an unsuitable medical condition can be prevented from putting the lives of others at risk.

✔ NCCHC

Police checks provide a peek into the criminal history of an applicant. This helps weed out potential drivers that might pose a risk to others. For example, a person convicted of multiple instances of aggression-related offences will likely make a poor taxi driver.

✔ Working with Children Check or equivalent

Children are a recognised vulnerable group. Hence, public drivers mustn't have any history of sexual-related offences. These measures help prevent children from potential molestation/harassment, which can have a severe psychological impact on kids.

Conclusion

Do you want to join Australia's Taxi Industry as a driver? There's no better time to do that than now! This post has shown you what you need. We've also explored the police check process for the taxi industry. Now that you're equipped with the essential info, what are you still waiting for?

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