Talking Turkey About Trucking

Getting passionate

Attending the ATA/ARTSA TMC in Melbourne this week was an interesting experience with some aspects of the event giving us hope for the future and others, more depressingly, going over issues which come around every time and don’t look like getting any better in the foreseeable future. Read more

Rattling the chain

Chain of responsibility issues continue to dog the transport industry. As a review of the COR rules, their enforcement and their remit is being undertaken by the National Transport Commission is taking place, the trucking industry has to cope with the current regime, warts and all. Read more

Driver health review

The National Transport Commission is launching a review of the medical standards applied to truck drivers to ensure they reflect current medical knowledge. The last review into standards was published in 2012 and NTC CEO Paul Retter said he reckons it is time to look at the subject again.

 

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Paul Retter

 

 

“We regularly review the medical standards to make sure they are up to date with the latest medical evidence and reflect the needs of drivers and safety workers,” said Retter. “This review will measure and analyse any risks that people with certain medical conditions might pose to the safety of our transport networks, but it will be a balanced approach that takes people’s transport needs into consideration.

 

“We think the current guidelines are working well but it pays to check that view against the latest evidence, particularly when community safety could be affected.”

 

The NTC will be getting feedback from a range of stakeholders in the next year to assess the need for or impact of any changes to the standards. They are, currently, tendering for interested parties to help conduct this review, a consultant with medical expertise who can help liaise with the interested parties.

 

The results of the review are likely to affect the way rules are enforced on drivers in the industry. Anyone working in the trucking industry wishing to get involved and keep an interest in the review can get more information from the NTC website.

 

“Ensuring our drivers are healthy and well is a top priority for industry,” said Noelene Watson, ATA Chair, after the review was announced. “Heavy vehicle drivers have a demanding job, and ensuring their medical needs are met is essential for both safety and staff wellbeing., but the current commercial driver health standards lack effective screening tests for major health issues such as sleep apnoea and diabetes.

 

“Recent studies have estimated that more than 25 per cent of long distance truck drivers may have undiagnosed sleep apnoea. We’ve also had feedback from operators through our Trucking Australia open forum, where attendees called for the ATA to promote healthier driver lifestyles and seek better medical standards. We responded by developing a new series of driver health fact sheets, with the first released on 3 October.

 

“We were also charged with working to have the standards changed so drivers sent for medical tests can keep driving until the results are assessed. The ATA will work closely with the NTC as the review progresses, and press for medical standards that are both effective and fair.”

Workshop excellence finalists

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has announced the three finalists for the 2014 Craig Roseneder Award. This is an award recognising technical and maintenance excellence in the workshop by an individual and presented at the Awards Dinner during the ATA Technical and Maintenance Conference (TMC).

 

“Safety and preventative maintenance are top priorities for the industry,” said Noelene Watson, ATA Chair. “So it’s essential for operators to have people in their workshop who go the extra mile and think of a better way to do things in the future. This year’s finalists for the Craig Roseneder award do just that, having demonstrated an above-and-beyond approach to vehicle and workshop safety.”

 

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Last year’s winner, Wayne Merrick from Boral Logistics, receives his award from the previous winner, John Schulz of FBT Transwest.

 

The finalists are:

 

Laeton Hardy who works for Hardy’s Haulage, Cudgera Creek, NSW. He grew up around trucks and started as an apprentice mechanic at Hardy’s Haulage straight after finishing year 10. Laeton is now the company’s General Manager and Workshop Manager, insisting on the highest technical and maintenance standards, with new equipment undergoing up to three weeks of improvements, including the installation of safety steps before a vehicle enters service.

According to the citation, Laeton’s expertise means he is also able to offer insightful suggestions to his equipment suppliers and other transport operators. A number of his proposals have become standard or optional across the Kenworth range, most notably, his proposal that all electrical relays and circuit breakers should be relocated to one central and easily accessible location behind the dash in the cab.

Glenn Griffiths works for Ron Finemore Transport, Wodonga, Victoria as the Fleet Maintenance Manager for Ron Finemore Transport. He manages Ron Finemore workshops in both Orange and Wodonga. In this role, he is responsible for developing maintenance programs and delivering them to a fleet of 250 prime movers and 450 trailers.

The citation says Glenn continually challenges the safety status quo, developing new equipment such as fifth wheel coupling aids and non-slip access ladder covers to reduce driver injury rates. He also instigated the ‘Finemore Fitness’ program, providing subsidised health club membership to employees to help improve staff health and reduce absenteeism. Glenn is dedicated to training the younger generation, with four apprentices currently learning the trade under his guidance.

Damien Allison works for De Bruyn’s Transport, Burnie in Tasmania and started as an apprentice more than 20 years ago. He has risen through the ranks and was promoted to Maintenance Manager in 2005, responsible for all maintenance to the diverse De Bruyn’s fleet, which includes 113 powered vehicles, 130 trailers, forklifts, light vehicles and a 500 tonne capacity fish feed supply vessel.

In the citation it is said, Damien has worked diligently to introduce standardisation and improved procedures within the fleet, and has implemented a number of safe work measures within the workshop to reduce incident and injury rates. He is a strong supporter of the apprenticeship program, and many of his apprentices choose to stay with De Bruyn’s after finishing their training. Under his stewardship, 12 warehousing trainees and 14 workshop apprentices have completed their qualifications, with many also excelling in the National World Skills competition. Damien is an active member of his local community, gaining life membership to Apex Australia in 2012 after 17 years of service with the organisation.

 

The winner will be announced on October 28 at the Castrol Vecton Awards Dinner as part of the ATA/ARTSA Paccar and Dealer TMC. Courtesy of award sponsor Castol Vecton, the winner will receive a trip to the American Trucking Associations’ 2015 Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee and $1,500 in spending money. The winner will also receive complimentary registration to TMC 2015.

Healthy driver initiative

A new driver health initiative is releasing the first in a series of health fact sheets. The first, developed by the Sleep Health Foundation in partnership with the ATA, focuses on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

 

This is a condition which affects some 40 per cent of Australia’s long distance truck drivers. OSA causes the soft tissues of the throat to close or partially block the airway during sleep, preventing normal breathing and forcing sufferers to wake multiple times during the night.

 

“Sleep apnoea has a serious impact on every aspect of a sufferer’s life. However, OSA is completely treatable. There’s no reason to suffer in silence,” said Professor Doug McEvoy from the Sleep Health Foundation.“This week is national Sleep Awareness Week, the perfect time to focus on making sure that you are getting the healthy rest you need.

 

“We are delighted to partner with the trucking industry for this important awareness initiative, and strongly encourage trucking operators to use these sheets to help improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce.”

 

Truck drivers need to ask themselves three simple questions:

  • Do you snore heavily, or wake up gasping or choking during the night?
  • Do you regularly wake up with a headache or feeling tired?
  • Is it hard for you to keep your eyes open at the end of the day?

 

If the answer is yes, then drivers are advised to speak to their GP to assess their condition.

 

The fact sheets have been designed so truck operators can use them as the basis of a staff briefing or toolbox talk, as well as printing them for the staff noticeboard. This is the first of a series of fact sheets which will be released to ATA members throughout the year.

 

Anyone interested in getting hold of one of these sheets will need to contact their ATA member association for more information.

Talking Turkey About Trucking

Picking the right fight

Sometimes it is just choosing your battles and the timing of them which achieves results. Getting the target or the timing wrong and you send the incorrect message and miss your target. The submission by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) to the joint National Transport Commission/National Heavy Vehicle Regulator heavy vehicle roadworthiness review sets out to attack a direct competitor, sending out the wrong message, if progress is the aim. Read more

What’s on during Truck Week

It’s that time of year again. Truck Week is the annual event organised by the Australian Trucking Association, which grew out of the need to improve awareness and perceptions of the trucking industry.

 

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Here’s a list of the numerous events around the country, get involved and help your industry:

 

Parliament House Delegation
Private event
Date: 3-4 September
Location: Parliament House, ACT
Event contact: Bill McKinley
ATA Chair Noelene Watson will lead a delegation of trucking industry figures to Parliament House to talk to senior politicians about the issues affecting the trucking industry.
Parliament House Breakfast
Private event
Date: 4 September
Location: Parliament House
Event contact: Bill McKinley
Leading road safety researcher Prof. Mark Stevenson from the Monash University Accident Research Centre will share his findings from his recently-completed heavy vehicle crash study with politicians and trucking industry figures over breakfast at Parliament House. This study is the biggest of its kind ever to be completed in Australia.
Nolans Interstate Transport Out of Uniform Day
Private event
Date: 5 September
Location: Gatton, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne
Event contact: Darren Nolan, 07 5466 2830
During TruckWeek, Nolan’s Interstate Transport will hold a casual dress day for all employees to help raise awareness of the existence of depression and anxiety within the trucking community. Staff can participate by donating a gold coin, with all money raised to go to beyondblue.
Buyparts and Kincrome Tools support beyondblue
Public event
Date: 1-7 September
Location: www.buyparts.com.au
Event contact: Steve Tabacchiera
Together with Kincrome Tools, Buyparts will donate $1 for every $10 spent on the Kincrome tooling range purchased on buyparts.com.au during TruckWeek 2014 to the beyondblue foundation. In light of recently well publicized events and the male dominance of the trucking industry, Buyparts strongly believes that encouraging men to seek help for depression and related illness is of high importance for the health of the industry we all participate in.
National road safety advertisements
Public event
Date: 1-7 September
Location: WIN TV
Event contact: Steve Power
During TruckWeek, the ATA will run road safety advertisements on national TV explaining how car drivers can share the road safely with heavy vehicles. Featuring the animated Safety Truck, you can also watch the videos on the ATA’s YouTube channel.

New South Wales

Volvo Commercial Vehicles Sydney West Dealership open day
Public event
Time: 10am – 4pm
Date: 30 August
Location: 9 Oatley Close, Blacktown
Event contact: Corina Gonzalez, 02 8713 8447
To officially celebrate its opening earlier this year, VCV Sydney West will hold a community day on Saturday 30 August, with entertainment for all ages and brand specific tours of Mack, UD, Volvo Truck and Volvo Bus products. There will be kids stage show performances by Australian country music star Amber Lawrence, special guest appearances from Peppa Pig and the Volvo V8 Team, Mack the Transporter, food stalls, jumping castles, face painting and much more.
DSE Trucks 20 Year Reunion
Private event
Time: 4pm – 7pm
Date: 30 August
Location: Smithfield NSW
Event contact: Kirsty Bee, 02 9725 3111
DSE Trucks has been operating for more than 20 years and has a reputation for “Delivering Service Excellence”. To celebrate TruckWeek, they have organised a reunion of more than 200 past and present drivers and staff that have helped DSE become the success it is today.
ATANSW Port Botany Sausage Sizzle
Public event
Time: 7:30am – 10:30am
Date: Monday 1 September
Location: Truck Marshalling Area, Bumborah Point Road, Port Botany
Event contact: Jodie Broadbent, 0417 201 466
ATANSW will hold a free sausage sizzle for truck drivers and operators in and around the Port Botany area from 7:30am to 10:30am on Monday 1 September. Media and members of the public should contact Jodie Broadbent for access if they wish to attend.
Tippings Transport staff morning tea
Private event
Time: 10am
Date: 1 September
Location: Dubbo
To celebrate TruckWeek, Tippings Transport will hold a morning tea for its employees, as well as recognising long-serving staff members.
3M Innovation Centre Tour
Public event – registration essential
Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Date: 2 September
Location: 3M Centre, Building A, 1 Rivett Rd, North Ryde
Event contact: Pippa Batchelor, 0409 924 268
Come and see the 3M technologies which make truck maintenance quicker, cabs warmer, trucks more visible and people safer. Tours will be running every hour to take you around the 3M Innovation Centre and explain how many technologies used in the Trucking Industry work. Registrations are essential for this free tour – please RSVP at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QKBHL93
TruckWeek on the Newell
Public event
Date: 1-5 September
Location: Towns along the Newell Highway
Event contact: Rod Hannifey, 0428 120 560
Rod Hannifey has invited every newspaper and radio station in towns based along the Newell Highway and Olympic Way from Melbourne to Brisbane to join him in the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle for an interview during TruckWeek.
Formula Chemicals Truck Display and BBQ at Melrose Park public school
Private event
Time: 10:00am
Date: 4 September
Location: Melrose Park Public School
Event contact: Leigh Smart
To celebrate TruckWeek, Formula Chemicals has organised a truck display and school barbecue with Melrose Park Public School. The display includes a Toll 22 pallet 2013 Volvo Tautliner, a Formula chemicals 2014 Hino 14 pallet truck, a Fire Engine from Eastwood, a Vintage Truck and a Hino Truck.
Formula Chemicals is also providing a BBQ and showbags for the school’s 200 children, and a donation of $500.00 to the school.
The Mayor of Ryde, Mayor of Parramatta and members of Parliament have also been invited to attend.
Chappo’s Transport goes back to school
Public event
Time: 10:30am – 2pm
Date: 5 September
Location: Nashdale Public School, Nashdale NSW
Event contact: Coralie Chapman, 0438 395 238
During TruckWeek, Chappo’s Transport will work together with local Nashdale Public school to add truck safety to the children’s studies and have a colouring in competition.  On the Friday, Chappo’s will host a lunch time BBQ for the students, where they can also get up close and personal with some heavy vehicles. Students will test their new truck safety knowledge with a quiz, before an assembly where one child from each class will be awarded a TruckWeek achievement certificate for the best colouring in. All children will receive a gift bag on the day.

Victoria

Goulburn Valley Transport Group – TruckWeek Dinner
Public event
Time: 7:00pm
Date: 30 August
Location: Goulburn Valley Hotel
Event contact: Peter McPhee
To celebrate TruckWeek 2014, the Goulburn Valley Transport Group will be hosting a dinner at the Goulburn Valley Hotel on Saturday 30 August. The dinner will feature a guest speaker from the Australian Trucking Association.
Cost is $35.00per head for two course dinner and bookings can be made by contacting Len Cockram on lac@cockram.com.au.
Don Watson Transport TruckWeek Careers Day
Private event
Date: 1 September
Location: Don Watson Transport, Bacchus Marsh
Event contact: Noelene Watson, 03 5367 6655
To celebrate TruckWeek, Don Watson Transport will host 40 year 11 and 12 Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning students at their Bacchus Marsh depot. The students will be given tours of the maintenance, administrations and operations areas of the business, as well as being invited to sit in the cab of a truck.
Politician Drive Day
Private event
Time: 11:00am
Date: 5 September
Location: Graham Thomson Motors Dealership, Cnr Doyles and New Dookie Road, Shepparton
Event contact: Gerard Michel, 03 5821 3977
Graham Thomson Motors – New Dookie Rd, Shepparton, will be hosting an opportunity for Federal, State and Local Members of Parliament and Council on Friday 5th September from 11.00am to meet with local operators and travel in a truck to appreciate the issues the trucking industry face on a daily basis. This event is to provide an opportunity for local people involved in the trucking industry to talk face to face with our politicians about what we can do locally to promote a safe and professional trucking industry within the Goulburn and Murray Valleys.

Queensland

Blenners Transport road safety ads
Public event
Date: August – September
Location: WIN Network Cairns
Event Contact: Roger Blennerhassett, 0448 684 444
To help show their local community how to share the road safety with heavy vehicles, Blenners Transport has paid to have the ATA’s animated road safety videos played on WIN Network Cairns during prime time evening television for four weeks during August and September. The animated truck has been proudly branded with the Blenners logo.
A different kind of ticket
Public event
Date: 1-5 September
Location: Warwick and Cunninghams Gap
Event contact: Graham Buchner, 07 4661 1544
Truck drivers pulled over in Warwick during TruckWeek may be given a different kind of ticket, with the Warwick Police giving out free raffle tickets to some trucks stopped at the Caltex Truck Stop, Warwick, and the Fishers Park Truck Stop, Cunninghams Gap. The raffle will be drawn on Sunday 7 September, with the winners receiving trucker jackets in their size courtesy of the Warwick and District Road Safety Group.
Warwick Daily news trucking feature
Public event
Date: 1-5 September
Location: Warwick
Event contact: Graham Buchner, 07 4661 1544
From Monday 1 to Friday 5 September, the Warwick Daily News will run a daily safety message from the Warwick and District Road Safety Group to remind people to drive safely around trucks. Each edition from Monday to Thursday will also include a truck colouring in or drawing competition page for children 12 years and under, with prizes for the best drawing and colouring.
Team Transport
Private event
Time: 10:00am – 10:30am
Date: 2 September
Location: WorkCover Queensland
Event contact: Michelle Turton
The Logistics Industry team at WorkCover Queensland are passionate about supporting workers and their employers to return to work after injury.  To celebrate this and raise awareness of road safety with their colleagues throughout WorkCover Queensland, the Logistics team will be holding a morning tea to promote TruckWeek.
TruckWeek drive day and awards presentation
Private event
Date: 4-5 September
Location: Ostwald Bros Transport depot, Moura
Event contact: Athol Carter, 0418 444 457
To celebrate TruckWeek, Ostwald Bros Transport will be hosting an opportunity for members of parliament and local government to travel in a road train to gain an understanding first hand of what drivers face and do in their daily tasks in the Banana Shire area. An awards presentation will also be held, recognising staff who have consistently displayed safe and professional driving.
Warwick truck parade
Public event
Time: 4pm
Date: 5 September
Location: Palmerin St, Warwick
Event contact: Graham Buchner, 07 4661 1544
The Warwick and District Road Safety Group have organised a truck parade in Warwick’s main streets, starting at 4pm from Wallace St outside Victoria Park, turning into Wood St, then Palmerin St, finishing at Queen’s Park.The Queensland Minister for Health and local member for Warwick, Lawrence Springborg, is just one of the special guests who will be riding in the parade. Other guests include Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Peter Blundell, the Principals of Warwick State High School and Scots College, the Director of Nursing at Warwick Base Hospital, the Officer in Charge at Warwick Police and the Manager of the Warwick Daily News.

The parade includes vehicles from many local businesses and services, including Wickham’s Transport, CM Fraser & Sons, Hardy’s Haulage, John Dee, Transport Field Services, Haidleys Coaches, Darling Downs Heavy Towing & Salvage, the Warwick Daily News, the Warwick police, ambulance, Fire Brigade and Rural Fire Brigade.

The event is sponsored by Rose City Tyres, the Warwick Credit Union, Mack Trucks, Brown & Hurley, Cat Trucks, CM Fraser & Sons and GR Buchner & Co.

James & Kathleen’s truckin’ awesome wedding!
Private event
Time: 10:30am
Date: 6 September
Location: Gold Coast hinterland
Event contact: Kathleen Bakon
After getting engaged at Trucking Australia 2013, ATA Communications Officer Kathleen Bakon and her fiance James Horne are delighted to tie the knot during TruckWeek 2014. We guess it shows that the ATA staff really are married to their work.
Simon National Carriers Tour De Office
Private event
Date: 8-12 September
Location: Carole Park, QLD
Event contact: David Simon
Simon National Carriers will celebrate TruckWeek and raise money for Diabetes Australia by participating in the Tour De Office from 8 – 12 September, where 80 riders (including CEO David Simon) will take a 30 minute shift on a stationary bike in their Carole Park offices. Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute will visit the depot during the week, while rt health will be on site conducting general health checks for staff.
Hastings Deering CAT CT630S RoadShow
Public event
Time: various
Date: 15 August – 19 September
Location: Major truck stops across Queensland
Event contact: Gary Johnson, 07 3713 8370
The Hastings Deering CAT CT630S RoadShow, with support from Navistar, will provide truck owners and drivers from SE QLD through to Cairns with a first-hand introduction to the new Cat CT630S and CT630SC models coupled to B-double combinations. Commencing Friday August 15 from the Hastings Deering Cat Truck Centre at Richlands in suburban Brisbane, the roadshow will cover more than 5000 km. Full tour details can be found at http://bit.ly/1memwhq.
Gold Coast truck show
Public event
Time: 7:00am – 3:00pm
Date: 16 November 2014
Location: Mudgeeraba showgrounds, Gold Coast
Event contact: Kevin Franklin, 0439 170 882
Although a little late for TruckWeek, the Gold Coast truck show will be home to a truck convoy and display showcasing impressive graphics and interiors.

Northern Territory

Alice Springs Truckies ReUnion
Public event
Date: 28-31 August 2014
Location: National Road Transport Hall of Fame, Alice Springs
Event contact: Liz Martin OAM, 08 8952 7161
The Alice Springs Road Transport Historical Society will join the celebrations for TruckWeek 2014 with their annual Truckies ReUnion, running from 28-31 August 2014. The ReUnion will acknowledge trucking legends with the Shell Rimula Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday 30 August, while members of the public are invited to attend the CAT Truck open day at the Hall of Fame all day on Sunday 31 August.

South Australia

Hentschke Transport staff awards ceremony
Private event
Date: 3 September
Location: Loxton
Event contact: Dennis Hentschke
Hentschke Transport will celebrate TruckWeek and the professionalism of their staff by presenting TruckWeek achievement awards to some of their exceptional employees.

Western Australia

Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls industry and road safety day
Public event
Time: 9am – 5pm
Date: 2 September
Location: Karratha Leisureplex oval, Karratha
Event contact: Heather Jones, 0439 507 282
A display of road transport industry vehicles used around the Pilbara, including a road safety day for the general public to get to know trucking issues with sharing the roads with motorists and tourists. School students are invited to hear from LTC Perth showing the pathways for students to secure jobs in the road transport industry. We will have competitions being run with great prizes to give away. The Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls will be in attendance to discuss how women can make road transport their career.
Brunswick Lions Club TruckWeek dinner
Public event
Time: 7pm
Date: 2 September
Location: Brunswick WA
Event contact: Mark Talbot, 0419 964 481
The Lions Club of Brunswick, WA, are inviting members of the public to join them for a dinner at Roelands Hall at 7pm on Tuesday 2 September. For more information, contact Mark Talbot on 0419 964 481.
Port Hedland Roadwise Big Rig Expo
Public event
Time: 10am – 4pm
Date: 6 September
Location: Port Hedland Turf Club, McGregor St, Port Hedland
Event contact: Keith Murfet, 0419 672 610
An opportunity for members of the public to get up close and personal with some of the heavy machinery that shares their roads. Featuring roadtrains, roadtrain simulator, heavy lift cranes and emergency services that service the area, the event is aimed at promoting road safety in the Pilbara area.
Entry is by gold coin donation with proceeds going to the local St John Ambulance. The RAC Inattention Car will be in attendance and there will be random prize draws on the day.

Tasmania

Heavy Vehicle Rollover Prevention Refresher
Private event
Date: 1-5 September
Location: De Bruyn’s Transport depots in Hobart, Launceston, Davenport and Burnie
Event contact: Ferdie Kroon, 0409 800 244
Recently, De Bruyn’s Transport was stunned by a serious heavy vehicle rollover. During TruckWeek, they are putting safety first by holding refresher sessions in the VicRoads Heavy Vehicle Rollover Prevention Program for all staff across their depots.

Talking Turkey About Trucking

The lowest of the low

Trucking takes plenty of disparaging and deprecating comment from many quarters and people working in the industry are constantly reminded just how low their status is in Australian society. However, this week started out with the humble truckie being taken to a new low, being compared to a child molesting Catholic priest.

 

In talking to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Cardinal Pell came out with some outrageous slurs on the truckie. He was using the relationship between a truck driver and the truck owner as a comparable one to the relationship between himself, as a leader in the Catholic Church, and priests responsible for abusing children.

 

Not only is this preposterous, but also reinforcing the negative attitude truck drivers meet in many areas of their lives. The horrific stories coming out of the Catholic Church and its inaction when confronted with the facts of child abuse are, rightly, high on the agenda for Australia. However, the issue, along with Pell’s appalling analogy is not the main concern of Diesel News.

 

Our concern is, however, for the standing of the trucking community in the wider community. The news here is not good. A lone voice, that of ATA Chair Noelene Watson was the only one reacting to the slur from the truckie’s point of view. The rest of the mountain of criticism heaped on Pell was from the point of view of the anti-abuse campaigners.

 

The incident does illustrate a symptom of a long term problem, which the trucking industry has consistently failed to grapple with satisfactorily. The general public have a very low opinion of those working in trucking and the media reflect this, in the way news about trucks and trucking is reported.

 

If there is any news or comment around trucking in the national media it is inevitably negative and demeaning. There is no good news coming out of the trucking game, apparently. A selection of the news stories going around this week include a Bossley Park man driving a seriously defective truck loaded with Barramundi and Acacia Ridge residents wanting the rego details of B-doubles breaking a truck curfew in Southern Brisbane.

 

We don’t help ourselves and the small but well meaning events organised for Truck Week next week are unlikely to change many hearts and minds. Yes, we should go out and support these well meant events, which serve to bring the community and trucking people together. However, if we want to make a real change in the way the industry is perceived by the wider community, we need to make sure our house is in order.

 

Cardinal Pell has a very low level of credibility because he refuses to accept the wrongdoing of a large number of Catholic priests. If we want to get more credibility than him, we need to publicly accept there are wrongdoers in our community. There are elements in the trucking community who bring shame on us all, naming and shaming them, bringing some deep long term problems out into the light, is the only way to change perceptions of the trucking industry.

Ravaglioli Commercial Vehicle Wireless Mobile Column Lifts

Encouraging young technicians

The upcoming Technical and Maintenance Conference in Melbourne is providing workshops with an opportunity to reward and inspire young technicians in the workforce with the Cummins Workshop Scholarship. Read more

ATA stalwart to retire

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.