A shining moment for the trucking industry’s finest

Without trucks, Australia stops. This was the resounding message at the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) annual Trucking Australia conference, held in Canberra in April. This conference was our most engaging and innovative yet, as we welcomed more than 500 delegates to take part in informative sessions, invaluable workshops, the ATA safety summit and networking events.

The calibre of speakers was second-to-none as we welcomed the Governor-General His Excellency Sir Peter Cosgrove and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, as well as dozens of industry experts delivering the content on the issues that matter most. The engagement and passion demonstrated by delegates in these sessions was a reminder of how important our industry’s viability is to, not only individuals and businesses at the coalface, but Australia as a whole.

Trucking holds the Australian economy together. Australia is home to the fifth largest freight task in the world, and it’s estimated that every one per cent increase in efficiency in transport and logistics boosts GDP $1 billion.

Without trucks, Australia stops. But more importantly, without hardworking individuals and businesses there are no trucks.

Some of the industry’s finest were recognised during the conference with the presentation of the 2018 National Trucking Industry Awards. Each has demonstrated exceptional dedication, going above and beyond to improve their workplace and contribute to the industry.

Managing Director of Frasers Livestock Transport, Ross Fraser OAM, was recognised for his outstanding contribution, having been involved in the industry for more than 50 years as a founding member of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association and Livestock Transporters Association of Queensland. Ross is former chair and director of the ATA, and continues to be a member of the ATA Council.

The Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award was presented to Belinda Polglase of All Purpose Transport. Belinda has worked in a range of roles including the organisation of ‘Project APT’, an initiative to skill the organisation’s entire workforce in a Certificate III or higher nationally recognised qualification.

Family-owned company Brown and Hurley was recognised for national training excellence, as they place training as one of their core values. The company has been delivering in-house technical training since 2008, before opening a purpose-built facility equipped with computer stations, certified trainers and training shop.

Grandfather of nine, Barry Fitzgerald of Boral Logistics, was named National Professional Driver of the Year, having kept an unblemished professional driving record for more than 45 years. Barry is dedicated to driver safety and education.

JJ Lawson Transport received the TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award. A TruckSafe member since 2002, JJ Lawson has highly trained staff, and also won an Import Export Industry Award for Best SME Freight Forwarder/Customs Broker in 2011 and 2012.

The final award presented on the evening – the Don Watson Memorial Award – was awarded to Frances Ross of R&A Ross Transport. Frances is committed to helping others and has taken part in the i98FM Illawarra Convoy since 2005, helping to raise $11.5 million for the local community. Frances was the first-ever woman to receive this award. It brought the house down.

While it is important to recognise not only these winners and the award finalists, I acknowledge the commitment of every single person around the country who has dedicated their time and skills to ensure the trucking industry has a future. Every operator, manufacturer, owner, manager, mechanic and administrator involved in transport has a role to play.

I look forward to welcoming our delegates to Perth next year for Trucking Australia 2019.

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