Watching the antics on TV dramas like Game of Thrones and Vikings should inspire the trucking industry in its next moves, politically. The bloody battle is won, for now. The opposition has retreated, but will refresh itself and prepare for a new assault, sometime in the future, but we don’t know when.
What would our brave swordsmen and swordswomen do after the victory? They repair the defences, build up the ramparts to secure the ground they have just won. This is what the trucking industry, and our regulators have to do now.
The TWU is going to come back to the issue of safety on roads, again and again. It’s only right they do so, it is a vitally important subject, both for the trucking industry and Australia. The only way to avoid a re-emergence of a beast like the RSRT is to build an effective, credible and secure, method of assuring the people of this country they are not in imminent danger of road accidents caused by trucks.
According to the Australian Trucking Association, strong new chain of responsibility laws, which are in train, will enable action to be taken against trucking industry customers who currently deny they are covered by the laws at all. The ATA Council was briefed by National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CEO, Sal Petroccitto on this subject, earlier this week.
We must not sit around and wait for this to happen, we need to get into the room and ensure the rules are watertight and increase credibility in the effectiveness of COR, something it currently lacks.
Yes, some in the industry will get caught up in stricter rules, but as long as they apply to every part of the chain, which effects safety, it’s got to be worth it. Otherwise it’s back to the RSRT, if Labor win the next election, and the jury’s out on that one.
One of the parts of the COR, which needs a little help is the truck maintenance regime. The credibility of self assessment and accreditation took a major blow after the Mona Vale tanker crash and the subsequent crack down by the authorities , which was portrayed in a way to attack the credibility of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme.
Again it’s the NHVR who are forging ahead with improved accreditation procedures, beefing up the NHVAS and including initiatives like the, more effective, but not perfect, TruckSafe in the schemes recognised by the authorities.
Again, it’s the job of the trucking industry, and its representatives to make sure the eventual regime is as watertight as possible. Trucking can’t afford to allow standards to slip in any area. The team which brought us the RSRT will be waiting for any sign of laxity in striving for the best safety standards.
There is also the matter of the $4 million, which is hanging around after the RSRT was abolished. Our Federal Transport Minister, Darren Chester, has announced this will go towards something which looks like Safe-T-Cam, being introduced across the country.
Of course this sounds a little like pre-election hyperbole, but, again, we have to take this seriously and fully support its implementation, upping its credibility, making it part of our ramparts against the next siege.