Getting the industry more united and more proactive is the aim of Warren Clark in pushing forward the trucking agenda. Moving ahead with NatRoad is now the task for Clark, who took over as CEO at the Canberra HQ of the National Road Transport Association, better known as NatRoad last year.
He could have expected a relatively smooth transition into the role. The period up to Christmas rarely holds many surprises in the halls of power of the nation’s capital. This was before the introduction of the RSRT, happily, now abolished.
Clark’s job now is to ensure the issue does not drop off the radar. Labor has indicated they will bring the RSRT back in, in some form. NatRoad will be working to build belief in a credible alternative.
“What NatRoad is going to do is reassess, proactively, what the genuine trucking operator needs and how it effects them,” said Clark. “We’re putting plans in place to give value to our members before it’s at a crisis point. More united and more proactive, with a better link to our grassroots and a greater link back to the politicians, to make sure, when legislation is being implemented, it has real input from industry.
“When these Senators stand up on the Senate floor, we want them fully informed. We are very conscious of how segregated the industry is and we are trying to unite it so these people don’t have to worry about things they have no control over. As an individual you have no control, but as a body we can control it for them.
“We are looking at improved safety through technology, facilities, training, education and communication. They are never going to go off the radar, but while the original fight was about safety, the underlying result is, are these guys still in business? We are going to branch off and look at things like unfair contracts, payment terms, waiting times, those sorts of things.”
In the period between the abolition of the RSRT and the Federal Election, NatRoad and other associations had the opportunity to look at where they stand, and who’s who in the zoo.
“I think we have learned who our friends are, we’ve worked out, groups who work for large organisations, who are pushing that barrel,” said Clark. “Well, we’re pushing the barrel of the owner/driver and the fleet operator for the betterment of the industry, not just a couple of big clients.
“We are rebranding NatRoad, we’re making operators aware of how the system works. It’s a system which can work really well for them. They’re not just a number, they can be a voice and we have the best interests of industry at heart and we are going to push to get things done. If we can’t do it, we will push it up the tree to the Australian Trucking Association and they will be able to help.
“It is important to understand, industry can’t knock down everything which gets put up. At some stage, industry has to work with a few new things. This is where the NHVR is going. If we don’t accept genuine improvements then you will get new RSRTs all of the time. We need to get that across.”