Over 350 attended the 20th Industry Awards Dinner this year where the Queensland Minister of Transport, Racel Nolan, spoke to the assembled trucking community about her belief that policy change at a government level can flow through to safer roads. She asserted the chain of responsibility had made a real, immediate and measurable difference. She also mentioned one of the contentious issues for trucking operations at the Port of Brisbane, the imposition of a fee hike for trucks using the port, by the stevedores.
“It seems that two duopoly providers are acting in an anti-competitive manner,” said Minister Nolan. “So that is being taken up through the relevant regulatory bodies. I have enormously high regard for the Queensland Trucking Association, they are a practical and professional body and it’s my pleasure to do business with them. There are sometimes hard and meaty problems we all have to deal with but my door will always be open to the QTA.”
The main business of the annual dinner is to recognise nominated employees and businesses that are outstanding in their field. Reinforcing the positive aspects of the trucking industry is a vital part of the function of organisations like the QTA.
This year’s award for the Professional Driver of the Year went to Jim Hall from SunState Transport Services. After 40 Years in the job, Jim believes he has covered over 6,000,000km while maintaining a near-perfect driving record. His employer describes him as a gentleman of the road and a true professional, giving exceptional service to the road freight industry. Winning this award means Jim is also automatically nominated for the 2011 Australian Trucking Association National Awards.
After starting work servicing vehicles and occasionally driving tippers, Jim worked for Mitchell Brothers Transport for 18 years in line haul covering the eastern states while pulling containers, general freight and bulk tippers. Later Jim was employed by Cavanagh Brothers where he spent his time driving pneumatic tankers, sideloaders and specialised tipper skels.
The Industry Excellence award for 2010 was awarded by the QTA to Graham Buchner, who has been the owner of Warwick Freighters and Ag-Services for 46 years. Graham was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service in the community of Warwick through road safety initiatives and local events back in 2005.
He has long been an advocate for road safety initiatives including Truck Awareness Week, the National Drive for Safety and this year organised a successful Truck Week in Warwick. He is also well known for encouraging politicians to take a drive in trucks to ensure the trucking message gets through to the right places.
This year’s QTA Industry Safety Award has been awarded to Craig Waltisbuhl from Russell Transport. After commencing work with Russell Transport as a local truck delivery driver, Craig’s commitment and safety focus led his employer to recognise his potential to lead and mentor his fellow workers.
After a number of professional development courses, Craig now holds the position as driver trainer addressing risk and safety issues. He initiated the development of an Eco-Drive program at Russell Transport with positive results, as well as getting media attention.
This year’s Young Achiever Award went to William Wheeler for his outstanding achievements in personal professional development and dedication to the professional standard in the industry. After being diagnosed with a learning disability at the age of eight, William has not allowed his disability to stop him achieving his goals.
After working as a storeman in cold storage, he was promoted to a management position by the age of 21, achieving a Certificate III in Transport and Logistics and Certificate IV in Transport and Leadership. He now works as a transport and logistics trainer for Strategix Training Group.
The QTA People Leadership Excellence Award was awarded this year to JJ Richards and Sons. The company has been recognised for the development of training initiatives for both new and existing employees including in-house training packages, access to recognition of prior learning, mentoring programs and graduate programs.
The culture of ‘growing their own’ and school-based work experience programs has led to many long-term employment prospects. The company also promotes diversity in age, gender and background, encouraging flexible work practices in addition to retirement options.
As is always the case on these nights, it is the positive aspects of the trucking industry which come to the fore. The event gave those in the trucking industry an opportunity to let their hair down but at the same time reinforce the positive aspects of the road transport industry and the continuing encouragement of all that is great about trucking.