A final column

Our journey has witnessed some difficult agendas that continue to confront your association, which in true fashion continues to stay on course delivering benefits to members and efficiency gains to the industry at large.

During this time as President, I’ve seen the Secretariat deliver the most comprehensive value proposition to NatRoad members comprising of industrial relations, legal advice, commercial benefits, small business advice, training and education, compliance and enforcement assistance and a range of strategic policy advice.

In recent years in particular, there has been substantial change to the industrial relations landscape arising from the commencement of the Fair Work 2009, modern transport industry awards and the imposition on the industry of a new regulator in the form of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

The transition from State based transport awards and the previous respondent versions of the long distance award to a system of national awards that apply to all operators has seen many challenges for all operators. As a Council our learning curve on the many changes in the industrial scene has required a level of attention and oversight on behalf of operators that has been at times challenging.

Significant among the challenges to be met was the transfer of knowledge to the industry of the operation and interpretation of the new awards from the previous unwieldy Awards where operators were required to administer employee entitlements from vastly differentiated State Awards. 

I’ve now been heavily involved in two Modern Award Review processes spanning four years that required significant thought and decision making capacity on the effects on the transport industry of Award variations proposed by industry and unions.

In addition, the establishment of the Road Safety Remuneration tribunal that arose from many years of campaigning by the TWU has generated industry concern over the imposition of additional levels of compliance that has to be considered and dealt with by industry associations at a government level. 

As an association, NatRoad has positioned itself as a strong, fearless and respected voice in the ATA, NTC and NHVR arenas. Outcomes from our annual NatRoad Conference can now be fed directly into the NTC and the NHVR Forward Work Program planning process ensuring our member’s voices are being heard.

NatRoad’s position has been to support heavy vehicle national reform by assisting the NHVR in its initial stages and lead industry in the need for ongoing support of the NHVR following the launch of Phase 2.

Your association has developed a highly effective and respected relationship with the NHVR and jurisdictional road agencies to enable resolution of member requests for help where, for instance, in the last 12 months over 1,000 member-related calls for help have been successfully dealt with.

NatRoad played a strong part in getting a reconsideration of the basis to the PayGo Heavy Vehicle Charges Determination that corrects the chronic overcharging of industry. Member interests are actively promoted at meetings of the: NTC’s CoR Task Force and Industry Advisory Group, and its Forward Work Program oriented Industry Advisory Group; the NHVR’s Industry Operations Group (now Industry Representative Forum); and the NSW, Queensland and South Australian Road Freight Industry Councils.

The association is also currently negotiating with Standards Australia to ensure more responsive development of an Australian Standard covering heavy recovery vehicle tow trucks.

We have successfully lobbied following advice from one of NatRoad’s partners, Thermo King, for the Flammable Hydrocarbons Refrigerant issue to be considered by the ATA’s Industry Technical Council resulting in warnings and associated media releases to industry.

Dealing with these more significant matters as well as the many day-to-day matters that arise in an industry association can only occur with the input of dedicated individuals including National Councillors, members and staff.

It has been a privilege to dedicate the past eight years to NatRoad. I would like to acknowledge and thank the previous NatRoad CEOs I have worked with and, in particular, the staff for their contribution to the continued success of the association. I also offer my deep gratitude to every member of the NatRoad Council that I have served with for their contributions, knowledge and wise counsel. Finally, I thank every member for their past and ongoing support of our great association.

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