It doesn’t matter how much we carry on telling everyone how vital trucking is to the Australian economy and to the efficient functioning of the country, there is still very few signs of appreciation of what the trucking industry, as a whole, does for Australia.
A prime examples is the attitude taken by Pacific National in banning truck drivers from all of the amenities at all of its sites. The company is very good at telling the world how important it is to the functioning of the Australian economy and completely oblivious of the fact that the vast majority of freight moved in Australia is on the roads driven by truck drivers.
The video featured by Diesel News this week also highlights this ongoing issue, showing us that it is not just an Australian issue, but also prevalent in North America. Experience tells us that it is also true around the developed world.
In someways, the trucking industry is it worst enemy. The culture within the industry is very much a ‘can do’ culture. If there is a problem, we just get on and solve it. There is not a major song and dance about it, and reports on the news or current affairs programmes on TV. Trucking simply solves the problem and gets the job done.
This makes us, as an industry, virtually invisible. We are getting things done, the supermarket shelves are restocked every night with all the latest fresh produce, we can go down to Bunnings and buy a new wheelbarrow anytime we want and we all buy something on eBay and it arrives on our doorstep within a week, as if by magic.
Of course, the fact of the matter about magic is that it is hard work and these things would not happen without the trucking industry, as a whole, being extremely organised and very efficient at what they do.
At the same time as the trucking industry is making life so much easier for everybody else in society, our drivers are still being denied the basic rights to things like a quiet safe place to sleep, washing facilities, toilet facilities and wholesome food on a day-to-day basis.
We can be proud of the way the industry has rallied and made sure that the ridiculous levels of panic buying on the part of some members of society has not meant empty supermarkets. Distribution has been ramped up so that these selfish consumers can continue to stockpile things that they are never going to run short of.
The problem lies in what is going to happen after we get over the worst of this latest coronavirus crisis and the world reverts back to something similar to what it was beginning of 2020. Everybody is going to forget just how fantastic its trucking industry was in its performance in keeping the wheels of industry and supply chains of food to the nation, keeping it going through the worst of the crisis.
It is no good, at that point, for the trucking industry to then try and emphasise how well we have performed during the crisis. People need to be told now, while they are panicking, just how much they depend on the trucking industry. The point needs to be driven home while they are listening to us, this is our window of opportunity to try and get an improvement in the status of truckies and trucking in the eyes of the broader community.