Plant Operator

A Plant Operator may operate one or more of the following Plant Items:

Backhoe, Bobcat, Bulldozer, Earthmover, Excavator, Front-end Loader, Grader, Hydraulic Rockbreaker, Road Roller, Scraper, Skid Steer Loaders, Forklift, Trench Digging Machine.

An Operator or Driver of a Mobile Plant uses any of the above to level, excavate, move and load earth, rock and other material. The work conditions for mobile plant operators can be hot, muddy, dusty and noisy, but most earthmoving machines are soundproofed and have air-conditioned cabs.


White Card Asbestos Cert. Drivers Licence High Risk Work 18 years +
Plant Operator yes yes no no yes
To be a Plant Operator you need to enjoy outdoor, practical work and be physically fit with good eye sight and hand-eye coordination. You also need to be able to follow precise instructions and work without supervision.
Typical Duties
  • prepare machines for operation, as well as select, change and operate special attachments such as winches, scrub clearers, rippers, pile drivers and rock-breaking hammers,
  • work from drawings and markers under the direction of supervisors and engineers,
  • back-fill trenches,
  • load and unload equipment from low loaders and move it around work sites,
  • break up paving, rock and similar material by operating hydraulic or pneumatic breakers,
  • excavate or scrape earth, rock or rubble to the correct level and alignment,
  • load trucks with excavated fill, and drive machines to and from work sites,
  • service equipment by cleaning, lubricating and re-fuelling, and make minor adjustments and repairs when necessary.
Plant Operators are usually trained on the job. Two (2) RTO’s in the ACT offer training to become a Plant Operator. All construction workers need a White Card and Asbestos Awareness Training to work on a construction site in the ACT.
RTO Hours + Costs White Card Asbestos
Licences + on-the-job-training 6 hours + < $500 4 hours + < $500

The cost of training may be reduced subject to ACT Training Fund Authority subsidy, please check with your RTO.

RTOs that deliver training to become a Plant Operator in the ACT:

Transport Industries Skills Centre Inc.

Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT)