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Prime Mover Magazine

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Noelene Watson

Reflections on my tenure as ATA Chair

May 2017

Safety must remain a high priority for the ATA.

Each year there is an event at Tarcutta that commemorates the lives of truck drivers who have been killed in the course of the employment, and people who are affiliated with the industry.

I was asked to speak at this function in 2015. The grief displayed by family members who have lost their loved ones while working in our industry was heart wrenching.

One of the greatest highlights from my tenure as ATA Chair was the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

Watching the RSRT convoy roll up to Parliament House in Canberra with its message that putting owner-drivers out of business would not improve safety was breathtaking.

The RSRT’s eventual defeat proved that as a unified industry we can make positive change.

This industry is made up of so many inspirational and hardworking individuals, and I have been proud to work with them and represent them as ATA Chair.

The trucking industry can only continue to grow and develop if we work together. In 2016 we were able to achieve great things by working with our industry counterparts, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC).

The ALC and ATA met and discussed the possibility of the two associations joining together to represent the industry as a whole, to achieve a single code of practice rather than a fragmented series of codes developed by different bodies. 

Over a series of meetings, the ATA and ALC have been able to demonstrate to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and Darren Chester, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, that it’s our moral obligation and social responsibility to protect our industry.

This unified front demonstrated that we can work together for the betterment of the industry.

This country runs on trucks, and we need to recognise the hard work and efforts of our drivers and take care of them as best as we can.

The ATA would not function without the support of our foundation sponsors, BP, NTI and Volvo Trucks, as well as our major sponsor PACCAR and all our other sponsors and partners. 

I would also like to extend my thanks to the current directors and councillors for a fine job well done. The professionalism of this select group of marvellous contributors to our transport industry reflects on us all.

To all of the past and present members of the board I thank you for your support and wisdom over these three years, as well as the directors who have retired during my term as Chair: Denis Robertson, Mark Sullivan, Doug McMillan, Trevor Martyn, Gordon Martin and Matt Butler.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the secretariat who work tirelessly to keep the ATA functioning smoothly and efficiently.

Last but not least, I give my sincere thanks to my family, for allowing me the time away from our business to contribute in a small way to our wonderful transport industry. 

I cannot adequately find the words to convey my sense of gratitude for the extra workload they have endured, and I thank them very much.

To my successor Geoff Crouch, I offer you my full support and best wishes.

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