The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association tells us it is comprised of six mature state associations, together representing around 700 different transport businesses. For most of the past 35 plus years we have focussed on the bigger picture. We have driven our own agenda.
We have put forward ideas and strategies to influence decision makers. We have been on the front foot, always striving to protect and enhance your operating environment so that it remains safe, efficient and financially viable.
But these are not normal times. Over the past two years, we have lurched from crisis to crisis. The shocks to our industry have been many and varied. It hasn’t been government regulation, media, research or community expectations that have thrown up disruptions, it’s been drought, fires, floods, war and disease, perhaps the most enduring and difficult of all challenges that have affected humankind over the millennia.
From the perspective of a national industry association, there is not a lot we can do about the weather, species jumping viruses or centuries old territorial disputes. So when these shocks suddenly occur, we need to be nimble and quickly switch modes from proactive to reactive. Other longer-term priorities just have to go on hold. During the storm, we batten down the hatches and man the pumps to keep the ship afloat until the inclement weather has passed.
Throughout these challenges, ALRTA and our six State Member Associations have represented the interests of grass-roots members at the highest levels. We attended the National Drought Summit. We put forward views at the National Bushfire Recovery Forum. We were involved in drafting the National Freight Movement Code in response to the COVID pandemic. And we have kept members up-to-date about flood disruptions including available support and financial assistance.
Some of our most significant achievements have been to delay significant heavy vehicle charging increases by two years, establish national protocols for the safe re-opening of food, showers, rest and toilet amenities, and to influence the creation of a multi-year loss carry back allowance for all Australian businesses. Through our membership of the Australian Trucking Association we have also tackled the adblue shortage, maintained generous accelerated depreciation allowances, and gained ‘in principle’ Ministerial approval for a move to competency-based licensing and a new driver apprenticeship to help address our longer-term labour shortages.
Yet, as you know, the real impacts of these external shocks are felt at the coalface, in your business. Thanks to ongoing disruptions to global supply chains and domestic labour shortages, the Australian economic climate is rapidly changing. Inflation is back, and it’s not happy!