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White Card online - What changed?

There is a lot of confusion around online White Cards. This article will put the facts first and explain why there is mixed information on online White Cards. For the basics, see what is a White Card?

Quick summary: Online White Cards are only available to residents of Western Australia and Tasmania as of 2020. Residents of other states must complete the training face-to-face.

The first thing to understand is that White Cards are issued by the individual states, not the central Government (just like driver's licenses).

For example in New South Wales, the card is issued by SafeWork NSW. In Victoria, the card is issued by WorkSafe VIC and so on.

To be pedantic, there is no such thing as just a White Card. There is a Victorian White Card, a Queensland White Card, a Tasmanian White Card... You get the idea.

Having said that, they are nationally recognised no matter which White Card you get. For example, a Queensland White Card will allow you to work in WA and vice-versa. All White Cards are valid in all states and territories.

With this out of the way, let's address delivery criteria.

White Card delivery criteria

As there is no central authority and the cards are issued by the states, they are free to set their own delivery criteria, be it online or face-to-face. Further to that, the delivery criteria in QLD and WA changed in 2019. Here is a timeline showing the delivery criteria of each state and territory from 2010 to 2020.

White Card online - delivery criteria timeline for each state
White Card online - delivery criteria timeline for each state

Here is what WorkSafe Queensland has to say about the change:

Concerns about the effectiveness and quality of online training were raised by various stakeholders during the Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland in 2017. In addition, similar concerns have been long held by work health and safety regulators in other jurisdictions including New South Wales and Victoria.

You can read the full article on the WorkSafe Queensland website.

The changes were introduced as a response to these concerns in February 2019. WA followed suite shortly after by restricting the WA White Card course to WA residents.

Can you complete your White Card online in 2020?

As of 2020, only residents of TAS and WA can complete their White Card training online. Residents of all other states and territories must complete the training face-to-face (classroom).

QLD residents can apply for an exemption if living 100km or more from the nearest RTO delivering the course face-to-face.

White Card online - breakdown by states in 2020
White Card online - breakdown by states in 2020

Prior to 2019, QLD and WA allowed anyone to complete their White Card training online. Many residents from other states used to complete online QLD and WA White Card courses as a workaround to local state restrictions. With the loophole now closed, residents of NSW, VIC, SA, NT, ACT and QLD must complete the training face-to-face.

Online White Card training

The training itself is regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority, which is the regulator for the Vocational Education and Training in Australia. To obtain a White Card, you must complete the accredited unit of competency CPCCWHS1001 - prepare to work safely in the construction industry with a registered training organisation. The training package does not mention delivery criteria.

The training package did however introduce a change in December 2016 that makes online delivery impractical, as learners must now be observed in person or via audio visual media in real time during the assessment. The assessment also added a new demonstration component, in which learners must demonstrate the correct fitting and wearing of common construction personal protective equipment (PPE).

This demonstration component requires the following 4 pieces of PPE:

  • Hard hat
  • High visibility retro-reflective vest or shirt
  • Hearing protection (Ear plugs or muffs)
  • Eye protection
White Card online - the required construction PPE
White Card online - the required construction PPE

RTOs will be able provide the PPE for free during face-to-face training, as the training rooms are equipped with everything required to complete the training. When choosing to complete the training online, participants must own or buy the 4 pieces of PPE in order to complete the demonstration component.

Buying the required construction PPE from Bunnings Warehouse to complete your White Card online will set you back by just under $40.

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Jacob Shaw

Written by Jacob Shaw

Jacob Shaw is a qualified trainer and assessor delivering the OHS White Card course.

He is a compliance and regulation expert.