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- Unreported Judgment
QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL
Todd v Department of Transport and Main Roads  QCAT 385
Anne Elizabeth Todd
Department of transport and Main Roads
General administrative review matters
5 December 2019
3 December 2019
The decision of the Department of Transport and Main Roads made 8 February 2019 is confirmed.
PROFESSIONS AND TRADES – LICENSING OR REGULATION OF OTHER PROFESSIONS, TRADES OR CALLINGS – OTHER PROFESSIONS, TRADES AND CALLINGS – whether accreditation as a driver trainer should have been refused – where significant criminal and traffic history – where dishonesty which affected suitability as a driver trainer
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld), s 19, s 20
Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld), s 21
Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Accreditation and Other Provisions) Regulation 2015 (Qld), s 5, s 8
A Roseler, Legal Officer of the Department of Transport and Main Roads
REASONS FOR DECISION
- The applicant, Ms Todd, seeks review of a decision made by the Department of Transport and Main Roads set out in a letter dated 8 February 2019. The decision is the result of an internal review of an earlier decision of the Department refusing to approve Ms Todd’s application for accreditation as a driver trainer made on 10 July 2018.
- The decision the subject of the review confirmed the earlier refusal of Ms Todd’s application for driver trainer accreditation.
- This review is intended to produce the correct and preferable decision. The review is conducted by way of a fresh hearing on the merits.
- By s 21 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Accreditation and Other Provisions) Act 1995 (Qld) (‘the Transport Operations Act’), the Chief Executive may appoint a person to be an accredited person to perform functions prescribed under a Regulation, such as a driver trainer, if the person has the necessary expertise to perform those functions.
- There is no suggestion that Ms Todd does not have the qualifications to perform the functions of a driver trainer. However, by Regulation 5 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Accreditation and Other Provisions) Regulation 2015 (Qld) (‘the Regulations’), the Chief Executive may refuse to consider an application. By Regulation 8, an application may be refused if the applicant has been convicted of a disqualifying offence, charged with a disqualifying offence and the charge has not been finally disposed of, or been convicted of a road transport offence within five years immediately before the application was made. Further, the application may be refused if the Chief Executive is satisfied public safety is likely to be endangered if the application is granted or the Chief Executive considers it necessary in the public interest.
- In reviewing the decision I must make a decision in accordance with the Transport Operations Act and the Regulations. I have all the functions of the decision-maker for the reviewable decision being reviewed.
Material before the Tribunal
- I have referred to the application filed by Ms Todd on 27 August 2018 and to her indexed bundle of documents filed 28 May 2019.
- I have also referred to the Department’s indexed bundle of documents filed 1 May 2019. That bundle includes the Department’s statement of reasons for the decision.
- At the hearing, the Department showed Ms Todd a print out of her traffic record from 2 December 2014 to 2 December 2019. That document was tendered as Exhibit 1 in the proceedings. Ms Todd was also shown a Queensland Police Service record, being a national police check results report, current as at 15 November 2019. That document was tendered as Exhibit 2 in the proceedings.
Reasons for the internal review decision
- Ms Todd’s driver trainer application was lodged on 1 August 2018. In the five years prior to the application Ms Todd had been convicted of offences including burglary, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing, unauthorised dealing with shop goods, possessing dangerous drugs and failing to take reasonable care and precautions in respect of a syringe or needle. These are convictions of qualifying offences under Regulation 8. Ms Todd’s traffic history prior to the application included offences such as failing to give way at a stop sign, speeding and driving whilst disqualified. These are offences to which the Chief Executive may have regard under Regulation 8.
- The Department considered these offences to be grounds for refusal of Ms Todd’s application. Other relevant matters were the giving of a false declaration upon making her application that she had not been convicted or charged with a criminal offence in the last ten years and sending an email purporting to have been written under the hand of a psychologist recommending her as suitable for the role of driver trainer. The email was written by Ms Todd.
Ms Todd’s evidence
- Ms Todd has an unhappy history of domestic violence. Her criminal convictions and traffic offences are part of the difficulties she experienced during that part of her life. She is seeking to improve her life and is making considerable progress. Ms Todd’s plan to operate a driving school is part of that ambition. I have read the references and letters of support provided by Ms Todd.
- Ms Todd acknowledged her history. She admitted to creating and sending the false email. Ms Todd became very distressed at this point during her evidence, stressing that her motivation was borne out of desperation and a desire to help herself, her children and grandchildren. I do not think Ms Todd’s motivation excuses her conduct.
- When shown the records of her recent criminal charges Ms Todd was able to give an explanation relating to the conduct of other persons. The criminal charges alleged to have been committed on 9 October 2019 and 1 November 2019 have not yet been dealt with. She was also able to give explanations in relation to her traffic history. In part her explanation is that her car was stolen and speeding offences occurred after the car was taken. I make no finding in relation to Ms Todd’s explanations.
- I note from the ‘Suitability assessment guide for Industry licence or accreditation’, used as a guideline to assist decision-makers in assessing the suitability of applicants for roles including as a driver trainer, trainers are expected to be responsible road users, to model the highest standards of driving behaviour as they provide instructions to learner drivers and to conduct themselves in a responsible and professional manner.
- Ms Todd has been convicted of many serious offences. Her traffic history is not good. That gives me serious concern as to her suitability for the role of driver trainer. However, most importantly I think that giving a false declaration when making the application for accreditation and falsifying an email to promote her application are actions which demonstrate that she is not suitable for accreditation as a driver trainer. I think that Ms Todd’s history demonstrates a lack of good judgment and, moreover, dishonesty. They are not characteristics one would desire in a driver trainer of inexperienced, often young people. I do not think Ms Todd can demonstrate that she is able to model the highest standards of driving behaviour nor conduct herself in a responsible and professional manner.
- The Department made submissions that if Ms Todd had been granted accreditation, the most recent charges would be cause to challenge her accreditation. I have not accorded any weight to the evidence of further alleged offences in the recent past, because they have not yet been dealt with by the Court. I am satisfied that the earlier history and dishonesty in making the application are sufficient reasons to justify refusal of accreditation as a driver trainer. The Department further submitted that given Ms Todd’s admitted dishonesty, there is a risk to the veracity of training records submitted by her students. I accept that is a realistic concern.
- I consider the internal review decision was correct. It is confirmed.
- Published Case Name:
Todd v Department of Transport and Main Roads
- Shortened Case Name:
Todd v Department of Transport and Main Roads
 QCAT 385
05 Dec 2019