Those with Heavy Vehicle licences in Australia are in the fortunate position of being eminently employable.
A recent internet search (April 2023) revealed over 36,000 driver jobs available in Australia with half of these for truck drivers.
Horticulture employers, in particular, in every state are continually on the look out for people with LR, MR, HR, MC and HC licences.
But what are Heavy Vehicle licences and what do all the letters mean?
The good news is that Australia has a national driver licence classification system, which means the licence classes are the same across every state in the country.
In general, you’ll need more skill and experience to drive vehicles that are heavier and larger. They demand special requirements such as assessments, driving tests and minimum holding periods.
Firstly, lets clarify some terms that are commonly used in the industry:
GVM = Gross Vehicle Mass is simply the maximum permissible weight of a vehicle when fully loaded.
Prime Mover = an engine with enough power to haul bulky towed or trailered loads.
Articulated vehicle = a vehicle with a pivot joint that allows the vehicle to turn more sharply.
Rigid vehicle = any non-articulated vehicle, i.e. fixed wheel base with no pivot joints.
Semi-trailer = a trailer without a front axle
Pig Trailer, Dog Trailer, Jinker Trailer = various unpowered trailer types designed for connection to a tractor, truck or prime mover.
Converter Dolly = an unpowered trailer which can be attached to trucks, tractors and road trains. The dollies themselves don’t carry a load but are used to support a semi-trailer or similar haulage unit.
LIGHT RIGID (LR)
An LR licence will allow you to drive small buses or trucks.
With an LR licence you are able to drive vehicles:
- with a GVM of more than 4.5 tonnes but not more than 8 tonnes;
- which seat more than 12 adults (including the driver) and has a GVM of not more than 8 tonnes, or
that tow a single trailer that together have a total GVM of not more than 9 tonnes.
MEDIUM RIGID (MR)
An MR licence will allow you to drive medium rigid trucks or buses.
With an MR licence you are able to drive vehicles:
- with a GVM of more than 8 tonnes and which have no more than 2 axles, or
- that are towing a single trailer (other than a semi-trailer) and that have a GVM of not more than 9 tonnes
HEAVY RIGID (HR)
An HR licence will allow you to drive heavy rigid trucks or buses (including articulated buses).
With an HR licence you are able to drive vehicles:
- with a GVM of more than 8 tonnes and which have 3 or more axles;
- such as prime movers not towing a trailer; or
- that are towing a single trailer (other than a semi-trailer) that have a GVM not more than 9 tonnes
HEAVY COMBINATION (HC)
An HC licence allows you to drive heavy articulated vehicles.
With an HC licence you are able to drive:
- a prime mover to which is attached a single semi-trailer that has a GVM of more than 9 tonnes plus any unladen converter dolly, or
- a rigid motor vehicle attached to a trailer with a GVM of more than 9 tonnes plus any unladen converter dolly.
MULTI COMBINATION (MC)
An MC licence allows you to drive road trains and B-doubles. With an MC licence you are able to drive any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles.
If you hold a heavy vehicle licence and are looking for work in the horticulture industry, call the Harvest Trail Information Service (HTIS) on free call 1800 062 332 and operators can put you in touch with employers who would be very keen to speak with you.