Opinion: Showing Australia our value

By: David Smith


Industry’s development is due to cooperation and involvement

Opinion: Showing Australia our value
David Smith

 

Over the last 46 years, I have seen great change within our trucking industry. From a time where there was little emphasis on professionalism and safety, our industry has evolved to one of high standards with a commitment to doing things right.

I first became involved in the trucking industry when I left school, joining the family business. It was a completely different industry to what we know today, where it was important to just get the job done by whatever means possible – an attitude that is simply unacceptable in today’s world.

In my time I have worked as both a driver and business owner. Being part of the industry for a long period of time left me wanting to give something back, so

I joined the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of South Australia, Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

Anyone can stand on the outside and grizzle and moan without making a meaningful contribution, but I learned very quickly that with the support of an association behind you, you have more clout and can get great outcomes.

There is no doubt in my mind the valuable role these organisations play in the industry, both nationally and locally. I have long been a strong supporter in the power of what you can achieve as an association rather than doing it tough on your own.

My experience has shown me that strong associations are the key to effecting change and delivering benefit to the whole of industry.

Trucking is an industry that I am passionate about and truly believe in. While I have seen great change in years gone by, I look forward to tackling new challenges and have a clear vision for the future.

My vision is to boost industry safety, professionalism and sustainability, ensuring the ATA and our members continue to lead the way. While we all have diverse viewpoints and may not always agree completely on everything, we must not digress. We must remain focused as a professional group with core goals and values.


Read Smith's take on the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, here


As we faced the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, governments recognised the essential role trucking plays in keeping our country moving. My focus is ensuring this recognition continues in the development of the new Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) – legislation that will have an impact on industry for many years to come.

For too long we have been overregulated and held down by red tape. In response to Covid-19, government and regulators adapted and were agile, demonstrating great support for industry.

I now call on government to continue this momentum in the new truck laws, giving operators the flexibility to do their job professionally and safely, and not held to task over minute issues that don’t have any safety outcome, such as cross border issues.

Covid-19 also saw a new-found appreciation from the Australian community for trucking operators, understanding that all the food in our supermarkets, medicine in our pharmacies and fuel in our service stations are delivered on the back of a truck.

In our efforts to ensure our industry remains sustainable, we must harness this understanding and use it to demonstrate the career opportunities, valuable work available and rewarding outcomes that come when involved in trucking, thus encouraging new entrants to the workforce.

The ATA stands for you and will work hard to deliver better outcomes, but we cannot do it alone. In my new role as ATA chair, I believe we must be the change we wish to see and show Australia our value.

Working together we can make a great change and deliver the positive outcomes we will remember forever.

David Smith chairs the Australian Trucking Association

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