Queensland Rail’s driver tests have been called into question. Picture: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily
Queensland Rail’s driver tests have been called into question. Picture: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

QR cheating scandal ‘disturbing’ – Premier

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has labelled a cheating scandal engulfing Queensland Rail as disturbing and called for the authority to lift its game.

Ms Palaszczuk said she believed anyone caught out doing the wrong thing should also face sanctions.

It follows revelations an Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation has exposed "significant limitations" in how QR is running its 18-monthly mandatory safety tests for qualified drivers.

The Courier-Mail revealed the ATSB's analysis of the driver "maintenance of competency test" results revealed a pattern of drivers giving identical or near-identical answers to the test marking guide.

"It should be noted that the ATSB is not stating that QR's Citytrain drivers are not competent; rather the application of the process for assessing competency has significant limitations," it found.

Former QR drivers had also told The Courier-Mail of being either verbally coached on how to answer test questions or even given a "cheat sheet" so that "you can't fail".

"I hope they lift their standards," Ms Palaszczuk said when asked about the cheating scandal.

"I understand Queensland Rail is working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to investigate those matters."

The LNP seized on the findings as further proof the Government was still failing to address the "rail fail" saga.

"Cheating on a safety test is literally putting lives at risk," Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said.

She called for the government to reassure commuters drivers were not cheating on the test.

"We also need the unions out of the way so we can employ the extra 130 train drivers that we actually need to fix Labor's rail fail."

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the matter was being reviewed by QR.

"Until that review is complete, I think it would be premature to comment about it," he said.

Mr Bailey moved to reassure commuters safety was the authority's "first priority".

"What we saw in the recent CANSTAR national survey is that Queensland Rail has been rated the safest rail system in the country," he said.