Having held the position of Executive Director of the Office of Transport Security (OTS) at the Department of Infrastructure and Transport from 2006 through to 2013, Paul Retter can draw on extensive experience in the transport and logistics industry. Now serving as CEO of the National Transport Commission (NTC), he is one of Australian trucking’s most prominent high-level officials and a firm advocate of the high productivity movement.
Q: There are a lot of lobby groups, industry associations and government agencies involved in today’s political debate. What’s unique about the NTC?
A: The great benefit of the NTC is that unlike other government agencies, who are very much linked to a single government, we are a statutory authority that is independent of any one government. I work for all of them and yet in a sense I am not dependent upon any one of them. That both empowers us but also puts a lot of responsibility on me – if we put something on the table for discussion, it can’t be rubbish.
Q: With the NHVR becoming more prominent in the political landscape, please share with us where the NTC will fit into the picture.
A: What we do is develop national transport reforms that are designed to improve productivity, safety, environmental impacts and – just as important – we look for efficiency in the road, rail and inter-modal categories. Our aim in doing all of that is to create a stronger economy and to help local businesses and communities thrive. That may sound almost philanthropic, but it’s about creating a stronger economy – and we know that transport is the arteries that make the whole organism work, so our job should be to make it as effective and efficient as possible. That’s why we do the bidding of the Transport Infrastructure Council, which comprises of the Federal, State and Territory transport, infrastructure and planning ministers.
Q: The NTC has established a dedicated Industry Advisory Group. How does that fit in?
A: There’s the opportunity for members to put ideas on the table and have them tested in terms of relative merit with other industry in the room. They get the chance to hear where we are at with the current program of work and they also get the opportunity to shape some of the key things that we are taking forward to ministers that are new proposals. I think that’s a good thing. We are actually encouraging people to stick their hands up if they don’t like anything.
The full story has appeared in the September edition of Prime Mover. To get your copy, click here.