Women in Trucking Australia advocacy group launched


New entity hits the ground running with national safety campaign

Women in Trucking Australia advocacy group launched
The WITA launch. Image: Heather Petty

 

The launch of a new women’s trucking organisation has been backed by the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI).

Women in Trucking Australia (WITA), the brainchild of CEO Lyndal Denny, was one of 24 recipients to receive funding through the latest round federally supported National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) initiative.

Two of the group’s aims are to encourage and support more women into driving careers, and reduce risky behaviour through a series of heavy vehicle road safety advertisements on television.

The latter campaign, scheduled to air nationally late January, was introduced on January 18 as part of the organisation’s official launch.

Denny, a road train driver for Qube Logistics, says she believes enlisting female truckies in an industry often seen as male-dominated will make viewers sit up and take notice.

"Heavy vehicle drivers have much to contribute to the national road safety conversation through believe our collective, lived on-road experience," Denny says.

"We hope that the realities presented in this unique and confronting campaign will encourage people to think about the consequences of risky behaviour around heavy vehicles.

"It’s hoped findings and recommendations from the campaign will contribute to opening the dialogue on how the sector can continue to create workable solutions to make Australian roads safer in addition to helping inform future policy."

WITA chair Natalie Kascak, one of two female roadtrain fuel-tanker drivers in South Australia, says too many motorists continue to engage in high-risk driving behaviour around heavy vehicles.

"In their 2019 Major Accident Investigation Report, Australia’s National Truck Accident Research Centre reported that 83 per cent of fatal, multi-vehicle crashes involving heavy vehicles were not the fault of the truck driver," she says.

"The campaign is made up of a series of short videos featuring female truck drivers and has been designed to show viewers the potentially dire consequences of poor on-road decision making around heavy vehicles.

"We wanted to do something radical to get motorists thinking really seriously about their behaviour and we believe this confronting campaign will do just that."


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One of the speakers include current NSW Road Freight Industry Transport Woman of the Year – ‘Deaf Trucker Girl’ Candice Lureman, Australia’s only profoundly deaf female road train driver and the only deaf woman worldwide to have driven triple road trains, the NHVR notes.

NHVR director southern region Paul Simionato says the HVSI supports groups across the country to deliver programs that deliver tangible improvements to safety in the heavy vehicle industry.

"This new campaign is a powerful reminder that trucks need space to keep you safe and I commend WiTA on the work they are doing to make sure all road users get home safe," he says.

"Candice’s presentation about her career journey, from driving overseas and in Australia to the challenges she has overcome is an inspiration to all women seeking a career in the heavy vehicle industry."

The group’s launch was also supported by South Australian politician Katrine Hildyard.

"Absolutely honoured to join a group of incredible women truckies as they officially launched Women in Trucking Australia and showcased their world-first series of road safety ads, fronted by female road train drivers," she says via social media.

"This group of women leaders are inspiring, resilient and prepared to support each other to grow female participation in the industry, improve safety and working conditions, and achieve equality.

"Loved hearing their stories and witnessing their encouragement of one another and the women who will follow them into the industry.

"Thank you to each of you for choosing to make a difference for your industry and for each other."

One of WITA's stated aims is to achieve gender balance by 2035 by working with industry, governments, academia and relevant stakeholders to remove barriers and enhance training and employment opportunities for women seeking to establish careers as heavy vehicle drivers.

 

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