We often have to sit and listen to the powers that be telling us how committed they are on safety, our reaction is often something like, ‘put your money where your mouth is’. Well, this week someone finally did, it’s not a massive amount but it is significant symbolically.
The Australian Trucking Association has run some kind of Safety Trailer around since the early nineties. It began as a way of spreading the word, via visits to shopping centres etc. trying to get the general public to understand and be aware of the trucks with which they share the road.
Over time it has transmogrified into a teaching aide traveling from school to school all across Australia. Groups of kids are cycled through the truck and trailer in groups, getting the message about how to behave around trucks and, hopefully, inspiring some young minds to think about a career in the road transport industry.
It may be a small parcel of information trying to get through to a generation of kids who are constantly being bombarded with information for the whole of their waking lives. It is a real bit of information and the reality of a semi trailer parked up in the school yard is often impressive, in and of itself.
This Safety Trailer is funded by the ATA to the tune of over $200,000 a year and cost considerably more to set up in the first place and will cost even more when being refurbished later this year. It is a major cost to the organisation but the belief in its value, both by the ATA’s founders and its current leadership mean it will continue to function.
This week, I was at a small gathering where Sal Petroccitto, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CEO, announced the regulator was going to contribute $5000 a year, for four years, to the ATA Safety trailer for the next four years.
While this is hardly going to make a major change to the state of the finances of the project, it does make a symbolic gesture about the importance of the project and the way the powers that be are thinking in this space, at the moment.
This is the regulator we are talking about, its job is to ensure the rules governing the road transport industry on the road are clearly stated and correctly enforced. Nowhere in the NHVR’s remit does it state it has to fund safety related initiatives by other organisations.
The signal it sends is clear, there is an agenda, apparently being driven from above, from the Federal Minister himself, to push safety and any initiative which will improve safety outcomes around the trucking industry.
We can only hope this kind of atmosphere continues, we don’t want to sit through another set of speeches at another safety related event to be told how important the philosophy of safety is in our industry. We want the speakers to do the right thing and ‘Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is!’