Daley finally agrees to meet ATA NSW

The NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association finally holds first meeting with roads minister

By Michael House

The New South Wales branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has finally held its first meeting with the State’s road minister, with the branch describing the one-on-one chat as "comprehensive".

Jill Lewis from ATA NSW says she raised a number of issues with Minister for Roads Michael Daley, including rest areas and route access restrictions on local roads.

"We [the ATA NSW] had a long and very comprehensive meeting with the minister and were very happy with the outcome. We had some long and frank discussions and both pledged to work together in the future," Lewis says.

Lewis also believes there will be significant changes in the industry due to ongoing communications between the two organisations, despite the ATA NSW being left out of a road safety roundtable conducted by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) last week.

"I think we have a determination from both the minister and the ATA NSW to see some results and I genuinely mean that," Lewis says.

"The minister did say to us he was satisfied with what happened at the roundtable and we expressed disappointment that we didn’t get a seat, but he did invite suggestions from the ATA NSW to be put forward."

Daley has released some details of plans that emerged from the roundtable meeting and made it clear comments from the ATA NSW in regards to road safety were vital.

"A number of ideas came out of the roundtable across a key range of areas and I’ll be working with the minister for police, NSW Police and the RTA to get the ball rolling on some of the ideas a soon as possible," he says.

"Although it wasn’t possible to have every road safety campaigner in NSW present at the roundtable, I will look carefully at any suggestions that could help save lives. That includes suggestions from the ATA."

Suggestions to improve heavy vehicle road safety that came out of the roundtable include rewarding good driver behaviour, the enforcement of new fatigue laws, demerit points for work diary offences, heavy vehicle education programmes and safety features such as electronic stability control for all vehicles.

The ATA has struggled to gain access to the roads minister in the past due to political tensions between the group and Labor ministers such as Eric Roozendaal.

Roozendaal, who held the roads portfolio before Daley, accused the ATA in Canberra of being a front for the Nationals due to its ties to the political party.

ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair was a former Nationals MP, while the current media spokesman for the group is a former Coalition staffer.

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