How to Get Excavator Operator Licence in New South Wales?Excavator operators in New South Wales are required to have a license to operate. Though operators in some other territories across Australia are not required to have a licence, they still have to prove that they are competent enough to safely operate the equipment. If you will be working in this territory as an operator of this equipment, licence is required prior to working.

Licence is important as this serves as your proof that you’re competent to operate this machine. So if you’re applying for a job, having an excavator licence is essential.

Licence is also important if your present employer requires it. Site managers and supervisors are now ensuring that their workers do have this credential, without it, operators need to undergo training and pass the assessment.

So whatever your objective might be, it is now crucial to be trained and assessed. It only takes some days to complete the process. Now, if you’re wondering how to earn this credential, below is the steps you need to take:

  1. Choose the unit/s of competency you want to earn. The unit you need for the job will depend on the equipment, in this case an excavator, then you need to have the appropriate competency for that type of machine. The unit also depends on the type of work environment you will be working in. Please see below the competency units.

  2. Find a registered training organization (RTO) – you can easily find an RTO where you can take training at. Ask your colleague or friends where they took their training, they can easily refer you to one. Or with just a simple Google search, you can find and contact an RTO in your location.

  3. Once you’re enrolled in the program, you will take the classroom theory and the practical training. These are the two major components of the program. You will spend mostly your training time in the hands-on exercises as this is important because most of the operating skills are learned through this. It only takes several days to compete these two sessions.

  4. You cannot complete the program without getting assessed. Every student, before they can be given a wallet-size operator card and statement of attainment, must pass the assessment. This is just basically showing your skills in the safe and efficient operation of the excavator machine. The assessor will give you tasks to follow, if they are satisfied with your performance, you will be issued with those credentials.

  5. Congratulations, you are now fully trained! You can now use those credentials in an employment application or proof to show to your boss.



Competency Units You Can Earn as an Excavator Operator in NSW

Excavators in New South Wales can undertake training and certification in the following fields.
• RIIMPO320D – Conduct Civil Construction Excavator Operations
• Civil construction plant operations RII30815/ RII30813/ RII30809 Certificate III
• Civil construction plant operations BCC30603 Certificate III
• Civil construction (Plant) BCC30198 Certificate III
• Civil Construction (Plant) BCC30198 Certificate III
• RII40213- Certificate IV in Surface Coal Mining (Open Cut Examiner)
• RII30615- Certificate III in Small Mining Operations
• RII30113- Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations
• RII30613- Certificate III in Small Mining Operations
• RII30115- Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations

Either of these certificates can be used to apply for an excavator license. Fees and duration of training vary from one institution to another.

Alternatively, you can apply for an excavator license based on the following;

Required Qualifications

To become an excavator operator in New South Wales, you have to apply for certification or a license to be allowed to engage in excavation. If you are still stuck on where to get a credible training institution that offers government-approved excavation courses, you can simply visit the Australia career site at and search the courses based on name or code.

On the other hand, trainees under the internship are not qualified to apply for an excavator license. This is because only applicants who have completed a full cycle of training are allowed to apply for an excavation license.



Are You a Contractor and Involved in Excavating Work? Here are the Things You need to Know

Types of Licences You Can Apply For

The requirements to have a licence apply to those contractors involved in excavation work, and to those contractors of residential building handling materials valued at above $5,000.

However, there are many types of licences that a contractor in New South Wales can apply for. The type of licence is dependent on the type of service you intend to offer. As such, you can either apply for a supervisor or subcontractor excavator licence.

Contractor licence

This type of license allows an excavator to not only carry out operations as prescribed in the certificate but also advertise the type of work you do.

The license is issued to an individual, partnerships, or companies. However, you have to note that the duties you can discharge are restricted to the ones listed on your certificate.

Qualified Supervisor Certificate

A qualified supervisor certificate allows an applicant to do and supervise the work outlined on the certificate. Unlike the contractor certificate that allows you to outsource work to others, a qualified supervisor certificate is mainly issued to individuals and it doesn't allow you to subcontract.

Endorsed Contractor Licence

An endorsed Contractor License is issued to professionals that have extensive experience in the excavator industry. The certificate applies to individuals who apply for a contractor license. Applicants who qualify for the award of endorsed contractor License double up as supervisors and contractors.



Holders of Qualified supervisor certificate and endorsed contractor license

Under this context, you do not have to go through training to get a license to incase you meet the following criteria.

Scenario 1.

You are a prior holder of either a qualified supervisor certificate or endorsed contractor license in excavation. The licenses held under this case must not have any restrictions.
If you apply for either an endorsed contractor or qualified supervisor certificate, all you need is to submit a previous license instead of details about your excavator qualifications.

Scenario 2

If you have been a holder of either a qualified supervisor or endorsed contractor License for the last five years that was subject to conditions then you may be exempted from the qualification requirement. In this case, all terms of the previous license and scope of work are reviewed and assessed before you are issued with another license.



Bankruptcy History

Bankruptcy is a key consideration that Authorities in New South Wales consider when issuing new licenses. The criteria are meant to protect the interest of customers in the construction industry. In that case, your contractor license is likely to come with terms restricting the value of contracts you are approved to handle. Such conditions may include the following.
The contract shouldn’t exceed $10000 in value or;

  • The contract shouldn't exceed $10000, safe for those subcontracted to a licensed contractor.
  • Whether you intend to be a supervisor or contract an excavator to another person.

Cancellation of a license

Your licence can be suspended based on the following circumstances.

  • Engaging in illegal activities
  • Submitting false data during the application process
  • If by any means you are declared bankrupt

However, if an excavator company operates for over 30 days without an accredited supervisor, then the license may as well be revoked. Unfortunately, if the license is suspended for any reason, you may not get a refund from any fees paid during the application.

Additionally, an excavator license may automatically be revoked if you fail to abide by either administrative tribunal (NCAT) or NSW civil compelling you to issue a refund in a building claim.

Lost or misplaced licences

If you happen to misplace or damage your excavator license, you can easily order a replacement via the NSW governmental portal.

What do you do if your license is revoked?

• Cease promoting any business activities as stipulated on the excavator license
• You must submit the certificate at a service NSW center
• You have to cease engaging in any activities linked to the license



Get an Insurance Cover

The New South Wales government compels all licensed contractors to subscribe for an insurance cover. The home construction insurance policy applies to all residential construction projects valued at $20,000.

Under the home building compensation (HBC) plan, homeowners get protection to incase they fail to complete their project or make changes as requested. This also applies to all excavators who intend to engage in excavation within the scope of NSW.
To get more details about the insurance requirements, you can simply visit the site at Besides strict licensing, New South Wales has set up strict regulations meant to protect the construction industry from unscrupulous contractors.

Mandatory insurance being one of them, you can easily lose your license should complaints be raised against you.



Final Thoughts

Contrary to other territories and states in Australia where getting an excavator license is not mandatory, New South Wales has put in place stringent measures to boost credibility in the construction industry.

As such, you are not only supposed to be credible but observe a high level of professionalism to continue working as an excavator operator. Failure to comply with the set regulations will not only subject you to protracted legal battles but result in loss of licence.

Furthermore, you need to exercise utmost discipline in financial management since bankruptcy may lead to a cap on the value of projects you can handle. This may make it challenging for you to grow and expand operations. We hope these insights will not only help you get an excavator license but also succeed in Australia's growing construction industry.