A criticism of the trucking industry is often that not enough of the people working in the industry are doing the right thing. One person who has been doing the right thing and has often been a lone voice in the wilderness, is Rod Hannifey.
You may not agree with everything he says, and the way he says it, but there is one thing we can all agree on, he has been consistent and extremely persistent, while retaining a level of dignity and being very patient.
He has worked as a long haul truckie for longer than he cares to remember and continues to put his full shift in, both on the road and in the media. The message has been the same from the word go and he can show some tangible results from his persistence. Just look at the rest areas debates and improved understanding of trucks in the caravanning community.
Rod has contacted me recently, reminding me it is ten years since he got his TIV (Truck Industrty Vehicle) on the road. The campaign is on to find someone to support him into the next ten years, a sponsor who will enable him to keep on with his campaign to improve road quality and safety outcomes, while educating the rest of the road users about how to behave around trucks.
Rod’s two major benefactors from the past have done their bit and now it is time for someone else to get on board and help Rod to help us. Both Ken Wilkie, who donated his K108 to Rod when he was replacing it with a new truck, and Rod Pilon, who took on Rod, bought a truck and allowed him to paint it up with his messages, while working as an interstate truckie, have kept Rod Hannifey going over the years.
It’s time for a new truck and a new platform to keep Rod working for the good of all truckies, as well as the wider community. He is always in demand on local radio and TV to give his side of the story from the trucking industry perspective, both to the media and politicians. He manages to get quoted as a spokesman for us more often than just about anyone else speaking for trucking.
This access to the media should not be wasted. He is a spokesperson for us, but on his own terms. Other interests in the industry would like to be able to control the message, but they can’t. Perhaps that is why he hasn’t got the support he has deserved over the years from the industry’s institutions.
The fact of the matter is the trucking industry doesn’t have many options. Our voice is rarely heard in the general media, and as a rule, the message is treated negatively by the media outlets which do report. Even the, normally so balanced, ABC has a tendency to paint the trucking industry in a negative light.
We get little good positive coverage throughout the media, it would be a shame to waste any opportunity to get our story out there and treated as a positive for society. The public of Australia are so uninformed about road transport and freight as a whole, there is a desperate need for someone who is trying to do the right thing to get their message across.