A long term campaigner for the trucking industry, working hard in the corridors of power to get a fair go for road transport in the development of regulations and new technologies has retired due to an extended illness. David Coonan has served trucking for many years as Policy Manager for the Australian Trucking Association, in fact, since 2006.
The former diesel mechanic worked his way up through fleet management for the ACT government to positions in both the ACT and Federal governments as a senior transport policy officer.
“David had an expert understanding of government process and regulation, and he was able to back it up with a detailed knowledge about how trucks and engines work,” said ATA CEO, Stuart St Clair. “For example, he could be heard in the office discussing with regulators the pin voltages on electronic brake connectors, before switching to a teleconference about truck charging.
“David’s major achievements at the ATA included his role in working through more than a thousand issues with the original draft of the Heavy Vehicle National Law. The law isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than it would have been if David hadn’t been involved. He was a strong advocate for the industry on heavy vehicle charging. After years of discussion, the ATA finally convinced transport ministers to review the existing charging system. As a result, the NTC concluded that the existing system would overcharge the truck and bus industries by $232 million in 2014-15.”
Coonan was also heavily involved in the campaign to get more high productivity vehicles on the road, working on the truck impact chart, developed with Bob Woodward, it is now a standard reference.
One of the main things the industry will miss is David’s passion. Many times he could be heard disapproving of comments being made on the dais at conferences, before standing up and giving chapter and verse on what was wrong with the speaker’s position. He was unwavering in his support for the trucking industry and aware of the problems rules and regulations make for the everyday working of a trucking operation.