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Road transport bodies tackle mental health in remote Australia

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has joined the Northern Territory Road Transport Association (NTRTA) and Western Roads Federation to deliver mental health education for heavy vehicle operators and owners serving the country’s Top End.

NHVR Strategy and Stakeholder Executive Director, John Gilbert, said the NHVR would provide a $5,000 grant for the NTRTA to deliver mental health information as part of six Regional Transport and Logistics Forums hosted by the Western Road Federation, kicking off in Bunbury this week.

“As many as one-in-five heavy vehicle operators experience mental health issues during their career and that can be even higher working in remote regions,” said Gilbert.

“We’re committed to working with the road transport industry in actively implementing strategies to create safe and healthy workplaces, including mental health in the workplace,” he said.

The NTRTA’s Executive Officer, Louise Bilato, said heavy vehicle businesses in remote parts of Australia face many unique circumstances that can make the job tough and stressful.

“Promoting mental health through peer-to-peer support, advocating for safe and healthy work practices and prioritising sleep are essential if we are to reduce suicide risk and mental health challenges in the industry,” said Bilato.

“This initiative is intended to support transport operators implement effective strategies to assist their workforce identify their mental health risks and implement strategies to help deal with their problems,” she said.

Western Roads Federation CEO, Cam Dumesny, said the forums, held jointly with Regional Chambers of Commerce, would also bring together heavy vehicle industry and businesses across regional Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

“The sessions will also provide information for members of the Western Australian business community about their obligations under the Chain of Responsibility and we’ll look to generally discuss local issues,” said Dumesny.

The sessions will be held in Bunbury (November 13), Alice Spring (November 22), Kununurra (November 26), Broome (November 28), Karratha (November 30) and Kalgoorlie (December 7).

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