Industry embraces transport reform
In the immediate aftermath of the resoundingly successful VTA State Conference, it’s worth reflecting on the extent to which our great transport industry, and the men and women behind it, are embracing reforms to make it safer, more prosperous, and attractive to work in.
Close to 200 operators, suppliers, regulators, legislators and other stakeholders gathered at the end of March at Silverwater Resort, Phillip Island, for two days of intensive learning about the reforms that will impact our industry this year and next.
In recognition of the many changes being considered by our governments, our regulators and the various transport authorities tasked with governing our industry, Keep Up With Transport Reform was unashamedly the theme of our conference.
Delegates benefited from timely updates from dignitaries such as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack, Victorian Roads, Road Safety and TAC Minister, the Hon Jaala Pulford, and Shadow Federal Assistant Minister for Road Safety, Senator Glenn Sterle, who outlined their safety, transport and infrastructure priorities, both in government and in opposition.
National Transport Commission Chief Planning Officer Paul Davies provided a timely update on the NTC-led review of National Heavy Vehicle Law, and we also heard from NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto about the regulator’s focus on ensuring the modern law is a factor in a safer and more productive industry.
Change was indeed a regular theme throughout all the presentations.
But I was particularly struck by the consistent call to action by all the speakers for stakeholders to work constructively together for the good of our industry and, more importantly, the receptiveness of delegates to this important challenge.
The industry has certainly matured beyond an ‘us versus them’ mentality that was holding us back, and unnecessarily pitting stakeholders against each other, much to the detriment of all of us.
As I expressed in opening remarks to the conference, as an industry we are at a juncture where we need to be united in values and outcomes such as productivity, efficiency and safety, with the next few years an awakening for so many transport businesses of so many different shapes and sizes.
This sentiment was echoed by stakeholders that some may have previously thought unlikely to subscribe to the notion that employers and employees – and their representative groups – can work together constructively together to achieve great things.
It was in this vein that Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Michael Kaine articulated the pressure that both operators and drivers face in a commercial world where deadlines are paramount and everywhere.
His impassioned plea for striking a balance on industrial relations and landing on acceptable minimum standards resonated with many delegates.
On balance it was encouraging to note the openness of operators to accept the need for change and step up and take our rightful place as an integral part of the communities within which we exist and serve.
I sense a growing recognition from the industry of the need to embrace change for improvements to abound, and that building dialogue and understanding within the communities that we operate in is paramount to our industry coming out of the shadows and standing up as a proud member of society.
As my fellow industry association colleagues are aware, conferences like these involve an enormous amount of time and preparation and require the support of sponsors to make them happen.
Particular thanks to our major sponsor TWU Super who go out of their way to support and get involved in all aspects of the VTA and the transport industry, as well as our many other support sponsors who are so generous with their time and resources.
Planning is already well underway for our next seminar, this time focussing on our ports and waterways and their place in the supply chain.
Port Outlook brings together all the major stakeholders from the Victorian ports, stevedoring and associated agencies on Tuesday, 28 March for an important update. For further program information and to register, visit
Victorian Transport Association