Safety, professionalism and viability

This order put the fundamental viability of our industry under threat. Owner-drivers were losing their livelihoods and family businesses were folding under the pressure of this unfair, two-tier payment system.

Hundreds of owner-drivers travelled to Canberra and sent a clear message to the Australian Parliament that this wasn’t right. In all states and territories, drivers invested their own time and money to attend rallies, be part of convoys and approach their local members to fix this appalling situation. At the rallies at Parliament House, the Government and many independent senators stood side by side with owner-drivers.

Emotion ran high throughout the campaign and it’s still there as the industry begins to interpret the messages coming through from the major parties in the lead up to the Federal election.

The Australian Trucking Association and its work is based on the following three pillars – safety, professionalism and viability. Our involvement in supporting the abolition of the RSRT was based on our mandate to address issues that threatened the viability of both individual operators and the trucking industry more generally.

The abolition of the RSRT has highlighted just how much power the grassroots of the industry have when we come together on an issue. But it also showed that many smaller operators and owner-drivers do not belong to a support group to help them keep abreast of critical issues like the RSRT as they develop.

Being part of an industry association is an invaluable way for small operators to obtain a wide variety of support measures to help run their business. If you’re not sure who to join, visit the ATA website to view a list of trucking industry organisations: www.truck.net.au/public/members/associations.

At the time of writing, the ATA is examining options to address market power issues still facing owner-drivers such as extended terms of payment and lengthy unpaid waiting times.

The industry’s safety agenda continues to evolve, with the ATA also working closely with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR). The NHVR is currently gearing up for the rollout of new, stronger Chain of Responsibility laws, and a new system to recognise industry safety codes of practice.

The ATA’s own TruckSafe program is celebrating 20 years as a trucking industry safety accreditation scheme and looks forward to receiving national recognition under Heavy Vehicle National Law this year.

The goal of the heavy vehicle Chain of Responsibility laws is to ensure that major customers are held to account for the demands they impose on trucking businesses. All too often, however, investigations start and end with trucking businesses and their drivers because it is too difficult to pursue customers.

Reforms to the chain of responsibility laws, which governments agreed to last year, will allow law enforcement agencies to investigate the entire supply chain including consignors and consignees, both of whom have a significant impact on industry safety.

The Australian Trucking Association remains committed to safety, professionalism and viability.

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