Industry News

Time for some far-reaching and fundamental changes

For far too long as owner-drivers and small fleet operators we have fallen into the familiarity of how things have been in the road transport sector. This familiarity breeds complacency and is was complacency that killed the cat. 

This complacency will cost every small business in Australian, every owner-driver and every small fleet operators very dearly in the not too distant future. 

In my previous Big Rigs articles – In The Shadow of Today Already Walks Tomorrow as well as the Can our Future be left to Politicians and Bureaucrats – I have raised a number of different ideas and hopefully caused not only drivers but owner-drivers and small fleet operators in particular to and give some consideration to what I had written. 

If they haven’t provoked some thought, they really should because it will be us as drivers, owner drivers and small fleet operators who will need to force the significant and far reaching changes to put this critical industry sector on the right path

In my last article I raised the issue of the 3 R’s, Recognition, Respect and Remuneration. Unless we as individuals give ourselves the Recognition and Respect as well as demand the Remuneration we deserve nothing will happen. 

It is my very firm belief, from a business prospective, there needs to be some very significant, far   reaching and fundamental changes in the road transport industry. 

As operators, owner drivers and small fleet operators it is our responsibility to demand these changes happen. 

As Winston Churchill said: “One man/woman with conviction will overwhelm a hundred who have only opinions”.

As individuals I believe we have a moral responsibility to start demanding action be taken by all the decision makers and lobbyist for the industry (industry representatives groups) involved in the day-to-day administrative and legislative aspect of the road transport industry.

Two major fundamental things need to happen. Firstly, there really needs to be a Royal Commission into this industry sector. 

The road transport industry in far too critically important to every Australian and every small business to continue operating as is currently the case.

The politicians and the bureaucrats have created a monster over which they no longer have control. 

The second and major fundaments requirement is a referendum on having the road transport sector fall under federal control. 

We have five state transport departments and two territories pissing on their individual state and territory boundaries marking their territory to the detriment of everyone involved the road transport industry. 

The fact that states have individual control over this industry would have made sense back when the constitution was drafted. In the world we live in today, the sheer volume of movements across state borders would have been beyond the comprehension to the legislators responsible for the current constitution. 

We have the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, which is basically a toothless tiger, at the mercy of the state transport departments. 

This is very evident from the day-to-day working of this supposed national regulator. We are now in a ridiculous situation where there is now national and state legislation which operators, owner-drivers and small fleet operators have to contend with on a day-to-day basis.

As those involved at the coalface in this industry can testify, if the coffers are low there is one sure way to top up the monetary shortfall, have state road transport officers and the police conduct a blitz. 

There are mountains of infringements from menial clerical errors to any number of nonsense infringements to rake in a lot of money in a very short time. 

I have no issues where there is genuine safety issues but there is no need for the industry to be subjected to the bullshit revenue raising that happens far too often. 

It is driving good, dedicated operators out of the road transport industry to the future detriment of every Australian and more importantly business generally right across the country. 

Graham Cotter is the author of Don’t Suck the Pencils


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