Talking Turkey, Talking Footy

Talking Turkey, Talking Footy

The CEO of the Queensland Trucking Association, Gary Mahon, was talking turkey, talking footy when he decided to draw out a long analogy between playing football and the road ahead for the trucking industry in a recent speech.

Talking Turkey, Talking Footy

“The purpose of football is fairly straightforward,” said Mahon. “It’s to get a bag full of air and put it over a line. It’s amazing how many people can make that as complicated as you could possibly think, but the reality is, that is the purpose.


“We exist for the purpose of commerce. When you simplify it, it’s to move freight from A to B. When we get involved in a regulatory regime, we get tied up in a whole load of fancy administrative legislation, etc. Then we lose sight of first principles, the reason we exist is for commerce and we accept we will do this within a safe working environment.


“When we look at the regulatory agencies, they have a remit around safety, efficiency and productivity. What I am saying is, it is time for us to sit back and reflect a little about seeing the same enthusiasm for efficiency and productivity as we see for safety. As it happens, our safety performance is actually pretty good and figures have been coming down markedly over the last twenty years.”


From Mahon’s point of view, to get the bag full of air over the line involves a lot of people of all shapes and sizes. He reckons in what he calls a ‘healthy realm of competition’ they all get to be winners on their day. Administrators have introduced rules to the game, and sometimes they intervene too far and disrupt the game. They change the rules and step back, to allow the football to proceed.


“The principle applies for us, in that a lighter hand of regulation – but inserted in the right place and at the right depth – gives commerce the opportunity to function and produce economically for this country,” said Mahon. “We exist for commerce and we accept we want to conduct it safely. We contribute 8.6 per cent to the GDP of this country, that is a significant chunk of change. We are a healthy employer.


“When you pump money into road infrastructure, you raise levels of productivity. When you raise levels of productivity, you lower the cost of production. When you lower the cost of production, you increase demand. That’s why we do what we do.”


Mahon stressed that he was not arguing against the stress put on safety by the authorities, but rather he wants the case to be made of putting further emphasis on both productivity and efficiency. He is looking for the trucking industry to be on the front foot, shaping policy and not rolling with whatever rules are imposed on it.

Training Initiative in Queensland on Tour

A training initiative in Queensland, VET 4 T&L, is holding a series of information events all across the state over the next three months. The initiative has been set up through the Queensland Trucking Association as part of the VET Industry Engagement Program and is funded by the Queensland Department of Education and Training.


Its remit is to support ongoing reform and operations of the vocational education and training system in the state by providing services based on the establishment and maintenance of industry networks. These provide two-way connectivity between the vocational education and training (VET) system and the transport and logistics industry, including Road, Rail, Logistics, Maritime & Aviation. The Queensland Government recently increased spending in the vocational training area by $56 million, taking it well over $800 million per annum.


Training Initiative in Queensland


The roadshow organised by VET 4 T&L will run information sessions across the state. Attendees will be brought up to speed on available training and funding opportunities. They will also receive a free HR Guide with practical tools and templates for transport business. There will also be an Industrial Relations session about contracts of employment and unfair dismissal.


The full itinerary can be found on the VET 4 T&L website. 


Some of the events will be aimed at secondary school staff involved with providing career advice. A series of professional development workshops will help them in outlining the VET opportunities available for their students. These will be held by the Queensland Education Department in all regions across the state, complemented by post-workshop webinars.


Change at the Top in Queensland

The Queensland Trucking association has announced the resignation of its CEO, to take place later this year. Peter Garske had tendered his resignation to the QTA’s Board of Directors Meeting held on February 9.

101111Tim Squires & Peter Garske

“The QTA Board of Directors has accepted Peter’s resignation acknowledging his significant contribution across 20 years of service to the Board and the Association’s members” said Ben Almond, QTA President. “The date of effect will be determined by a process of advertising, recruitment and transition of an appointee to replace him as Chief Executive Officer of the Association.”


Garske was appointed to the role of CEO of the QTA back in November 1995. His role as CEO saw him provide strategic and operational leadership to the trucking industry in Queensland. He was appointed by the Ministerial Council (SCOTI) to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Board in May 2012 and sits on the board of the Queensland Transport and Logistics Council.


Not only has Garske been involved in a wide spread of organisations associated with the transport industry including as Trustee Director of TWU Nominees Industry Superannuation Fund acting as the Chair of the Fund’s Investment Committee, but is also a member of the Queensland Workplace Health & Safety Board, Chair of the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads Heavy Vehicle Safety Forum and a member of the Department’s Road Freight Industry Council as well as a number of Government and Industry Committees and Policy Groups.


Incidentally, he was a Director from 2001 to 2006 of the Colonial Agricultural Company, Australia’s then 8th largest cattle holding. Before getting involved with the trucking industry, Garske was a Principal Consultant with the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


A statement issued this week by the QTA stated the Board of Directors accepted Garske’s decision, acknowledging the QTA under his leadership is recognised in the State of Queensland and across Australia as a pre-eminent road transport and freight industry association.


“In serving on many Government and Industry Boards, Councils and Committees, Peter has represented the industry with professional expertise, earning the trust, not only of the QTA’s members, but also of Premiers, Ministers and Senior Public Servants,” said Almond. “There is no better indicator of the reputation of the QTA and its outgoing CEO, than the fact that both sides of politics have sought and acted on our opinions and submissions.”

Toowoomba toll talk

Here is a fly-through made of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing to show its route up the range and around the city’s north. The new 41 km route will improve freight times and costs for the increasing truck traffic heading west from Brisbane towards the Darling Downs and further west into the rest of Queensland. It will also considerably reduce the truck traffic, which currently passes straight through the centre of the city.


Here are the kinds of loads currently using the city’s streets:



The new road is now being built, with an expected completion date sometime in 2018. The final cost of the project is, therefore still uncertain. There are fears in the trucking industry the operator of the new road will set the toll levels for freight traffic at a level which will swallow up any savings made from the improved access to the West.



In a recent interview with the local Toowoomba newspaper, The Chronicle, Queensland Trucking Association CEO, Peter Garske, welcomed the prospect of a new crossing, which will be more productive and efficient than the current situation. He was also pleased with the decision to replace the originally planned tunnel with a 30 metre cutting, allowing large loads and dangerous goods to use the new route.



When asked about possible toll prices, Garske was of the view the new operator should not get too greedy and suggested a toll below $20 for each truck would enable transport operators to make cost savings, as well as ensuring trucks didn’t continue to use the Central Toowoomba route to save money.



Now, here for all of you nostalgia nuts, is a video of a V8 Mack Superliner hauling up the old range, as it was before its recent revamp:


Award night for QTA

At the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) Awards night a celebration of trucking in Queensland saw a wide range of individuals and operators receiving honours.


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Two Driving Excellence Awards were presented on the night. The first went to Neil Kerkow from BP Australia’s Wondai depot. He has been employed at the same depot for over 35 years and is known around his workplace as having a keen eye for detail in all areas of his work. He has taken on a mentoring role with other drivers, providing guidance and support, including contributing to a ‘Black Spot’ sheet for other drivers to ensure their safety at delivery sites. The second Driving Excellence Award went to Steven Williams from Seymours.


The QTA Professional Driver of the Year was awarded to Dwight Emerson from Simon National Carriers. With a long experience in trucks behind him, Emerson left his home country of Canada in 2004, coming to Australia and starting work as a linehaul driver.


His professional driving career broadened into B-Doubles, Road Trains and, now, he has extended himself into the safety and operational areas of the company. Highly regarded by his fellow employees, he drove Assistant Police Commissioner, Mike Keating on a road trip to Rockhampton to allow him to get first hand experience of life on the road in a B-Double and to better understand the challenges facing heavy vehicle drivers in maintaining appropriate safety standards.


The Industry Excellence Award went to Donald Seymour from Seymours. He began as a driver with one truck and, now, with his sons Scott and Carl, owns and operates a fleet of 98 heavy vehicles, 23 light vehicles, all working in general freight and logging.


Don’s passion and love for the road transport industry provides example to his employees that Transport is a rewarding career offering a unique lifestyle opportunity, he believes to be both rewarding and enjoyable.


The winner of the 2014 QTAYoung Achiever Award was Nathan Wilson from Willow’s Bitumen Haulage. Nathan is a partner in Willows Tipper Hire, starting out as an apprentice diesel fitter at Cummins in Mackay. He now drives a triple, hauling dangerous goods and has never had an incident. As an apprentice Nathan won Cummins ‘Fitter of the Year’ Award and was a finalist for Apprentice of the Year. At Cummins they nick named him the “Yes Man” because he never said no to any job. Nathan keeps up with the latest knowledge and attends courses and trade shows to make sure that he is at the top of his game.


The Industry Safety Award winner is Toll Mining Services (TMS) Explosives Services after an earlier this year. A Mine Plant Operator misjudged the height of the tines and penetrated two boxes of detonators. The potential consequences of a detonator discharging could have been catastrophic endangering lives and equipment. Consultation between Toll Mining Service, Dyno Nobel and BHP has since sought to develop a solution for the identified risks.


The Excellence in Contribution Award winner is Christopher Knight from Followmont Transport, the People Leadership Excellence Award winner this year is the Easter Group and Trucking Woman of the Year Award recipient is Julie Russell from Russell Transport.