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LRTAWA Conference delivers addresses from keynotes

Health was the focus of The Livestock and Rural Transport Association of Western Australia (LRTAWA) Conference where grain carriers, fertiliser and livestock professionals, farmers and graziers gathered as part of the industry body’s annual meeting in Bunbury.

Overseas guests including Chase Creedy, an American grain merchant, who provided grain forecasts and the likely impact of world events on grain prices. Steve Meerwald of the Agriculture and Food Company, looked at the future of agriculture products overseas with emphasis on the access to markets in the Middle East and China.

Chris Puckridge from Rural Financial Counselling Service was also a guest and addressed the impact of live exporting, providing insights for operators to manage debt levels in lieu of the stoppage.

Attendees included many small and family-owned businesses, as they heard keynote addresses from professionals based around the theme of the conference – driving a healthier industry.

Mark Talbot, Executive committee member of the LRTAWA, is an owner operator out of Wedderburn Transport. This year’s conference had particular relevance to him as a fourth generation beef farmer and vocal proponent of animal welfare.

“Animal welfare and driver welfare are probably our highest priorities. They’re up there together. I have a passion for livestock, so I care about the cattle,” he said.

“I care about what we do and my staff are the same. We all have that same passion for making sure we do the job right.”

The truck is not the only equipment that requires a regular service to keep it in good working order Ben Piggott from Aspire Physiotherapy told attendees. He emphasised, as part of his address, that transport workers needed to take care of their bodies with regular exercise and stretching especially after long journeys and arduous days of repeat activity.

On the spot checks were also provided for attendees with audiologists Blanche Coyle and Rachel Talbot on hand to provide hearing tests, with loss of hearing emerging as a trend within the industry.

Ken Hart, a member of St John’s, conducted blood sugar levels and general conditioning and health.

The associated members who are an essential part of farming supplies account for the 150,000 kilometres of road network across Western Australia.

Talbot said it was crucial that bigger companies supported local businesses. In a struggling economy costs increased for all local businesses.

A successful parts and equipment showcase on the Friday, with Kenworth, Scania, Mack, Mercedes-Benz, International, Volvo, DAF and Iveco all making commercial vehicles available for test drives proved a hit with over 200 attendees for the first of the three day event.

It was the 38th LRTAWA Conference. Talbot said it was the best event he had seen in his 22 years of attending.

"Given the range of guests and feedback I've received I believe it was the most successful Livestock and Rural Transport Association conference in the history of the event."

(Image: Mark Talbot LRTAWA Executive Committee Member).

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