As at mid-June 2023, a quick search on SEEK revealed over 30,000 forklift operator vacancies across Australia. There were vacancies in every state.

Along with truck drivers and other skilled positions, Australian industry is in desperate need of more forklift drivers and other machinery operators.

In horticulture at the moment there is intense competition for picking and packing jobs. Many hundreds of people are on waiting lists around the country hoping for vacancies to appear.

For a relatively small investment, obtaining a forklift driver licence might just be a sensible option that opens up thousands of job openings.

In order to operate forklifts in Australia, you need to possess a High-Risk Work Licence – Forklift truck operation licence (LF).

A current forklift licence is valid in any state or territory of Australia. As long as it is valid and not expired, a forklift license issued in any Australian State or territory is recognized nationally.

Step 1: Complete the required 2-day training with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

and pass the assessment.

You will need to provide the RTO with photo identification when registering for training.

Once you have passed the training assessment, you will receive an Assessment Number by email or a written Notice of Assessment.

Step 2: Complete a licence application form either on-line or in person through an Australia Post office.

Lodge your licence application with your assessment results within 60 calendar days. If you don’t, you will need to complete the assessment again, at your own cost.

State/TerritoryRegulatorRTO Course CostLicence application fee
ACTWorkSafe ACT$760-$940$106
NSWSafeWork NSW$400-$600$81
NTNT WorkSafe$430-$500$76
QLDWorkplace Health and Safety Queensland$350-$695$102.60
SASafeWork SA$430-$495$88
TASWorkSafe Tasmania$650-$840$74.80
VICWorkSafe Victoria$450-$550$68.80
WAWorkSafe WA$400-$480$78

The nationally accredited Unit of Competency you must complete to get a forklift licence in Australia is TLILIC0003 ‘Licence to operate a forklift truck’.

It will take you 2 full days to complete.

You are required to be 18 years old and have valid photo ID.

Trainees must also have adequate English language skills to safely complete tasks relating to forklifts.

Because operating forklifts is deemed to be high risk work, you will need to be able to read and correctly interpret safe work method statements, forklift specifications and data plates.

You will also need to complete risk assessments, logbook entries and calculate load weights and ensure safe working loads aren’t exceeded.

There are large numbers of RTOs in each state who offer this course so shop around for those with the best reputation and lower course costs. You may save yourself a few hundred dollars.

There will be some pre-reading to complete before you start the course.

The first day normally involves learning theory including how to calculate loads and how to interpret load plates to ensure safe operation and lifting at all times.

This plate contains critical information that informs forklift operators what safe working load limits apply to the specific forklift.

In addition, you will also learn how to safely operate a forklift and the safety checks required before operation. This will involve practical exercises such as navigating obstacles and lifting and moving loads.

The second day is devoted to assessment, both written testing and practical assessment. The trainer will observe you carry out safety checks, navigate obstacles and move loads with different sizes and weights. 

All High-Risk Work Licences, including forklift, are valid for 5 years.

If you already have a forklift driver licence and are looking for work, contact the Harvest Trail Information Service (HTIS) on 1800 062 332 and operators will be able to direct you to vacancies in harvest areas of interest to you.