Tanker Pioneer Honoured

The 2016 Australia Day Honours list included the announcement of an honour for Ian Cootes. The former fuel tanker fleet owner has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in the list, published earlier this week.


The citation reads, “For significant service to the road transport industry, to the development of improved safety and efficiency standards, and to philanthropy.”


Ian Cootes founded Cootes Haulage in 1965 as a single tanker operation, which grew to employ around 800 people by the time he sold the business in 2001. He served as a member of a number of industry bodies during this time, and worked to improve safety and efficiency standards for dangerous goods transport as the Director of the Australian Road Research Board.


The Cootes fleet was held up as an exemplar of what could be achieved with a genuine commitment to safety and efficiency. The immaculately turned out fleet of tankers serviced a wide range of fuel distribution contracts around Australia and set standards few, at the time, could match.


“Ian was considered a leader of the trucking industry, as far as he was concerned, everything had to be exactly spot on or it just wasn’t worth doing,” said Noelene Watson,Chair of the ATA. “This was reflected in his extensive service as a Board member of the National Bulk Tanker Association, and when he served as a Board member and then President of the Australian Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association.


“He was always a highly respected industry operator, and a really positive influence on the industry. He set the benchmark for other operators to look up to, and was an important early contributor to the ATA. In addition to his work for the trucking industry, Ian’s award recognises his philanthropic contributions.


“Ian has been a long-standing supporter of the Alfred Hospital through The Alfred Foundation, where he served as Chair from 2003 to 2008 and continues to serve as its Deputy Chairman today. His work has been recognised through his induction to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2003 and his addition to the National Trauma Research Institute Honour Board in 2004. It’s very appropriate that his work has now been recognised nationally.


“On behalf of the ATA and the whole trucking industry, I want to offer Ian my congratulations on this most significant honour,” said Watson.