Warren Clarke’s baptism of fire meant he was on a steep learning curve from the offset. After taking over at NatRoad the CEO, Warren, has now been in the post for some time and seems to have recovered from the shock, when he arrived at the same time as the RSRT crisis.
“That result was one of the most important moments of my entire working career,” said Warren in a message to NatRoad members.
“Due to the publicity and the way we stood up for our members, we were able to highlight to politicians that this issue of setting pay rates for all operators was going to put thousands of small businesses out of work. So I do feel I’ve definitely made a difference.”
This year, according to Warren, it’s back to business as usual. His strategic plan is looking at things like building membership value. The team at NatRoad is growing. Issues around the RSRT and industrial relations still take up a large proportion of the task.
“What we are finding is the RSRT, to a certain degree is not dead and buried,” says Warren. “We are participating heavily in the Modern Awards review. The Transport Workers Union is trying to bring a lot of those RSRT things back through those reviews.
While last year was a war, it’s a bit more structured this year, to make sure industry remains competitive. “This year we are doing things a little bit differently. We will be engaging a lot more heavily with members. We have built a stronger team around industrial relations. We now have two full time barristers, who work for us.
“We are still running a conference, but we’re aware a lot of small operators can’t get to them. We have started the series of Regional Forums. It’s about getting the regulator, the decision-makers close to the smaller side of industry.”
NatRoad has a series of projects which are aimed at getting the Association back to its basic roots, concentrating on a couple of major streams. A lot of the work is in prioritising which issues to pursue at specific points. “Nationally, our industry doesn’t talk that well together,” said Warren.
“It’s all segregated state by state, where we need a national focus on where the industry is going. Minister Darren Chester is quite good and his pathway is quite clear. He wants to make a mark on improving safety, which will help the image of the industry.”
NatRoad has several projects aimed at getting data to feed back to ministers and other decision makers directly. There is one large project in relation to the Modern Award changes and how they will effect industry. This information bank is being built up to hand over to the decision makers.
“We found out with the RSRT, there was a lot of misinformation about. Transport operators are time poor, their time is limited. Delivering our message is quite a challenge. This is why we have looked at a lot of different methods to get the word out. We will use traditional methods, but digital methods, we have to keep improving on. to get the instant impact. “You can put out a whole myriad of information, but unless it’s relevant, it’s difficult for people to take any notice.
The reach you can get from one Facebook post is enormous. If you want feedback, it’s very efficient. While these guys are getting a break on the road they will look at Facebook and get back to you.”