If the trucking industry doesn’t get involved with those that lobby for the attention of those in power, then it is not getting the right representation. This is especially true for the smaller operators and the owner driver segment of the industry.
The problem is there is very little official representation for anybody in the trucking industry, and getting involved in the politics of trucking can be very time consuming. These two factors ensure that the larger trucking operators’ opinions and needs are better catered for by the industry’s association than are the concerns of the little guys.
There are some excellent exceptions to this rule, but the fact of the matter is that there are thousands of trucking operators out there without a voice, who feel their concerns are not communicated upstream and heard by the decision makers in the various state capitals and in Canberra.
This alienation from the decision making process is frustrating and depressing for someone who feels like they are banging their head against a brick wall, with little prospect of seeing needed changes actually happening.
This kind of situation will be familiar to many in the trucking industry, feeling they are a largely unrepresented group and also involved in an industry which most politicians have little interest in and one which the media represents in a negative way most of the time.
That feeling of being alienated is not going to go away unless you do something. Yes, there are limited channels with which to communicate your frustrations, but when one comes along, then ignoring it should not be an option. If there is an opportunity, you need to take it.
One such opportunity is getting involved in the Australian Trucking Association’s General Council election. This is an opportunity to have your voice heard on the larger stage and by people who do engage with the decision makers.
At the moment the website for nominations is open for the two positions up for election: the owner driver (one truck) representative and the small fleet (2-5 trucks) representative.
These two representatives do have seats at the top table in terms of industry representation to government. They are involved in major policy decisions and guiding the direction the ATA takes in its discussions with government.
Often the level of voting for these representatives is depressingly low, a factor which undermines the credibility of this sole chance at representation.
The feeling of being under-represented is not going to go away any time soon, but by engaging with the process and registering to vote here, at least the reps will have more than a handful of votes behind them.
Smaller trucking operations have very little opportunity to actually engage with the wider politics of the industry and getting involved, looking at the nominees and actually voting is the only way to be heard. Even if you profoundly disagree with the direction of our industry associations, nothing is going to change unless you engage and use your vote.