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Do you need a drivers licence to get a forklift licence in Australia?


As forklifts are used in many industries for lifting and moving, it is no surprise that many people who are seeking work in a particular industry may get a forklift licence to increase their chance of landing a job or to upskill in their current role - in particular, people who may not hold a current driver’s licence or only hold a learner’s permit. 


This leads to the question, “do I need a driver’s licence to get a forklift licence in Australia?” 


In short, the answer is quite simply “no”. 


Holding any form of driver’s licence is not a prerequisite for obtaining the LF (forklift) class on a high-risk work licence. However, there are some requirements that you must meet if you are seeking a forklift licence in New South Wales. 


In this article, we uncover the answer to “do I need a driver’s licence to get a forklift licence in Australia” and how certain rules impact forklift drivers from state to state.

Do I need a driver’s licence to get a forklift licence in New South Wales?


No, you do not need a driver’s licence to get a forklift licence in NSW. However, you do need to meet the following requirements:


  • You must be a New South Wales resident
  • Be able to read, write, and articulate in English
  • Have a USI (unique student identifier) number
  • Be able to supply 100 points of ID as per SafeWork NSW’s requirements


If you meet these requirements, you will be able to undertake training for a forklift licence. The training can be done by an RTO (registered training organisation) and assessment must be carried out by a SafeWork NSW accredited assessor.


All Class Training offers the best training in Newcastle and the Hunter Region. We specialise in training and certification for forklifts, C6 cranes, EWP and heights, dogging and rigging, and earth moving. If you require training in New South Wales, get in touch today

Do I need a driver’s licence to get a forklift licence in Victoria?

Forklifts are a serious hazard. In Victoria, 400 people are injured by forklifts and since 1985, more than 55 Victorian workers have lost their lives in incidents involving forklifts. All of these accidents were avoidable. 


However, you do not need a drivers licence to get a forklift licence in Victoria.


Before using a forklift, you must complete training through a registered training organisation (RTO) and pass the assessment. You will need to provide the RTO with photo identification when registering for the training.


If you are in training, you are permitted to operate a forklift without a licence until you are experienced enough to be assessed. You must be within sight and sound of a licensed operator at all times. 


After completing the assessment, you will need to lodge your licence application with your assessment results within 60 calendar days.

Do I need a drivers licence to get a forklift licence in South Australia? 

Forklifts are a practical materials handling solution, but every year they contribute to injuries and deaths in South Australian workplaces. With this in mind, you must be at least 18-years-old and hold a Licence to Perform High-Risk Work to drive a forklift in any setting.


Before applying for a Licence to Perform High-Risk Work, you must undertake training and assessment with a Registered Training Organisation like All Class Training. As part of the training, you will learn the essential safety skills required to drive a forklift, like:


  • How to conduct pre-operational checks before lifting a person in a work platform, including ensuring the work platform is securely attached to the forklift

  • Ensuring the vehicle is parked while workers are on the platform

  • Remaining at the forklift controls at all times, keeping hands and feet clear of controls

  • Ensuring all parts of the forklift are clear of overhead obstructions, especially power lines and electrical cables

  • Limiting the number of workers on the platform to the manufacturer’s instruction

  • Erecting barriers and signs in areas subject to passing traffic and ensure nobody stands or passes under the forklift tynes or platform (whether loaded or empty)


If you plan to use a forklift on a public road in South Australia, you must also carry a current drivers licence and ensure the forklift is registered.

Do I need a drivers licence to get a forklift licence in the Northern Territory? 

In short, no, a drivers licence is not required to operate a forklift in the Northern Territory, unless you are using the forklift on a road or in a public space. In this case, a forklift operator is required to hold a valid Class C licence.


In the workplace, however, a forklift is considered high-risk work (HRW) in the Northern Territory and you are required to have an appropriate licence issued by NT WorkSafe to perform high-risk work. 


This licence will ensure you have the skills and knowledge to safely operate a forklift and minimise health and safety risks in the workplace.


There are two NT WorkSafe licences available:

  • A forklift truck licence covers the operation of an industrial truck equipped with a pair of fork arms or other arms that can be raised 900mm or more above the ground but does not include a pedestrian-operated truck or a pallet truck.

  • An order-picking forklift truck covers the operation of a forklift truck where the operator’s controls are incorporated with the lifting media and elevate within the lifting media.


You can apply for licencing via the NT WorkSafe website, but you must provide relevant licence information upon application. 

Do I need a driver’s licence to get a forklift licence in the ACT?

Like most states and territories in Australia, a driver’s licence is not required to operate a forklift unless it is used on the road or in a public space. However, you must pass the Forklift National High-Risk Work Licence Assessment and hold a High-Risk Work Licence to operate a forklift in the Australian Capital Territory. 


You must complete training and assessment through a Registered Training Organisation in the ACT. Once the course has been successfully completed, the RTO will provide you with a certification of attainment and notice of assessment.


All candidates for a High-Risk Work Licence must be over the age of 18, have the ability to read and understand signage, speak clearly in English, and be able to explain, describe, and verify complex needs and issues. 


Writing is also a required skill in order to complete workplace forms and mathematical calculations.


Candidates must be a resident in the ACT unless they can satisfy the RTO that circumstances exist that justifies a residential waiver for issuing an HRW licence. 

Do I need a driver’s licence to get a forklift licence in Western Australia? 

In Western Australia, the National Licensing Standard requires forklift operators to hold a National Licence issued by WorkSafe.


The National Licensing Standard requires operators of the following types of forklifts to hold a National Licence:


  • Forklift truck. This covers the operation of a powered industrial truck equipped with a mast and an elevating load carriage to which is attached a pair of fork arms or other attachments. This forklift is generally referred to as a counterbalance forklift.

  • Order picking forklift truck. This covers the operation of a powered industrial truck of a type where the operator's control arrangement is incorporated with the load lifting and elevates with it.


You may also have to complete a short course to gain a Licence to Operate a Forklift Truck. To improve your chances of entering the occupation, you might also consider becoming qualified in warehousing operations - Certificate II and III in Warehousing Operations can be undertaken in TAFEs across Western Australia. 

Still wondering if you need a drivers licence to get a forklift licence in Australia


We are here to help. We are a Registered Training Organisation (RTO #70245) and is a preferred supplier of training and assessment services throughout NSW. We run regular courses at our new purpose-built training facility at Tomago for groups or individuals.


If your team needs forklift training, we can come to your site to deliver training and assessment services. 

For forklift training in NSW, contact All Class Training on (02) 4964 9406 today!