NatRoad mourns loss of transport elder statesman

Sam Sali, who recently passed, has been mourned by industry.

One of the National Road Transport Association’s founding fathers, Sam Sali, has passed away at the age of 86.

Sali died in hospital in Bendigo yesterday, surrounded by family and just eight days short of his 87th birthday.

Sali was a foundation member and director of the National Transport Federation, later to become NatRoad in 1994 after its merger with the Long Distance Road Transport Association.

He served as a director of NatRoad until 2001 and was recognised by it, and the broader industry, with national awards in the following year.

A driving force behind the restructuring of the Long Distance Drivers Award and the introduction of enterprise bargaining to the industry, Sali, according to NatRoad Chairman Paul Fellows, was a giant of road transport and a passionate champion for the industry.

“His passing is a significant loss to us all and our thoughts got to his family and extensive network of friends,” said Fellows.

Sam Sali.
Sam Sali. Image source: NatRoad.

The son of Albanian immigrants who moved to Shepparton in 1937, Sali completed a motor mechanic apprenticeship before forming trucking company S Sali & Sons in 1956 with late older brother Alan.

Sali spent many years driving trucks before moving to the management side of the business in the ‘70s before eventually becoming involved in industry advocacy.

Sam, Alan and another brother, Haset, are all inductees to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame at Alice Springs.

S Sali & Sons remains in business to this day and prides itself on never accepting clients who demand unreasonable delivery times.

Sali is a recipient of the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award for his contribution to his local community and was a life member of the Shepparton Albanian Society.

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