I thought I would take the opportunity this month to give readers a better understanding of what the ATA is about, how we operate and what we do.
Too often I speak with people who have heard about the ATA, but don’t understand what we do. To put it simply, the Australian Trucking Association is the national voice of the trucking industry.
From our office, at the foot of Parliament House in Canberra, the ATA works with politicians and regulators to ensure the issues and concerns of the trucking industry are fully understood in Australia’s halls of power.
We are able to do this because of the support of our member organisations, which guide the direction of the ATA and determine what our focus will be in the coming years. While the ATA is the national voice, it is our members who determine what it is we say.
The ATA’s members include state and sector trucking associations, the Transport Workers’ Union and Australia’s largest transport companies. Through the ATA General Council, these organisations determine the ATA’s policy on important issues such as safety, the need for good roads and the importance of better industry training.
The ATA General Council also has representatives for small fleet owners and owner-drivers. This gives the ATA the chance to speak for the whole industry, from the largest operator to the smallest owner-driver.
The ATA is not an industrial relations organisation. We make no comment on industrial relations issues and do not deal with situations where employers and their employees have different interests.
While the ATA’s main focus is lobbying government on behalf of the trucking industry, we also do a lot more across Australia.
The ATA runs the industry’s leading business and safety management system, TruckSafe. Companies in TruckSafe have to meet tough standards and are audited regularly. TruckSafe operators are twice as safe as non-accredited operators.
TruckSafe also recently partnered with Tamari Software and Technology, to develop TruckSafe Manager, a computer program designed to allow operators to get rid of their old paper based records and make their companies more efficient, easier to run and most importantly, safer.
Meanwhile, the ATA events team conducts two major events each year: the Australian Trucking Convention, and together with the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA), the Technical and Maintenance Conference.
To help promote road safety, the importance of trucks to the national economy and the careers available in trucking, the ATA operates the Road Ahead, a state-of-the-art semitrailer filled with interactive displays aimed at educating school children.
Since its development 18 months ago, the Road Ahead has been visited by over 43,000 students at 131 schools. This year, the exhibition will tour every state and territory in Australia.
The most recent addition to the ATA stable is the TruckWeek event.
Truck Week brings the industry together to inform the community and politicians about the importance of trucking, the issues the industry will face in the coming years and how to drive safely around trucks.
TruckWeek is planned to be held every second year, creating a better understanding in the wider community of what we do as an industry.
The 2010 event was a major success, with many operators across Australia donating their time to speak with one voice on behalf of the industry.
However, events like TruckWeek can only go so far. We need make sure the messages of TruckWeek are followed up throughout the year.
That’s why I’m urging every trucking company to join one of our member organisations.
Being a member provides operators and drivers with a wide range of services, from industrial relations advice to training programs, legal advice to special discounts with some of Australia’s best suppliers to the industry.
Our member organisations provide vital member services, advice and industry updates and there’s a member organisation to suit everyone in the industry, whether you are an operator or employee.
Joining one of our member organisations will not only give you access to a wide range of information to help your business, you’ll also have the opportunity to have a say on the future of the industry, both locally and nationally, through the ATA.
To find the ATA member that’s right for your business, visit www.atatruck.net.au.
Since it was established 21 years ago, the Australian Trucking Association has worked hard to make our industry safer, better understood and more respected by the key decision makers.
Our commitment to the industry will continue as we work to make the industry safer, more professional and more viable.
Stuart St Clair