The trucking industry fails to talk with one voice and most of the time, the debate is lost because of the disparate messaging, we need a plan for a plan. Things are complicated, but the trucking industry needs a single clear plan to go forward.
The trucking industry complains about the way every state has its own set of laws around trucking, which impacts its ability to run an efficient and productive transport system. However, the powers that be get different messages depending on which representative organisation for the trucking industry it is talking to.
We then complain about how other essential industries get preferential treatment from the government and are given what they ask for in terms of legislation. These industries know how to communicate with Canberra and the state capitals, they speak with one voice and send one single clear message.
The trucking industry has a number of representative channels, many of which overlap and all of which have a valid reason to make representations. There is a time and place for these nuanced messages, state-by-state and segment-by-segment. Each individual group have special problems which make life difficult for them.
However, over and above this there are also some basic issues which are common across all states and all sectors of the industry. These are the issues on which there only needs to be one message and one messenger.
Many of them are the most basic, all about keeping everyone safe, healthy and treated equally. Once we get these big ticket items on the agenda. Afterwards, then is the time for a more diverse message in specialist areas.
Surely all of our representatives can get together and come up with a basic set of bullet points on which we can all agree. Then we organise the message to be consistent and when anyone from government or regulator meets with the industry, they get hit with the same demands explained in the same language. This is the only way to get a message across, in simple language and exactly the same from every source.
There must surely be some key points we can all agree on and are willing to push forward. All of which would make life easier for everyone involved: drivers, operators, consignors, customers and other road users.
The latest plan to come out sets out some of those basic areas we should surely all be able to agree on. It’s the six point plan from the National Road Freighters Association. Admittedly, they are another organisation fighting to get their agenda to the top of the list, but at least the six points could be adapted to suit just about every one and get them on board.
Some of the issues are about the current covid crisis like a sensible testing regime for all drivers. More covid concerns come up about the need for truck stops to remain open.
Others are about the inconsistency from state to state and the need for a more national permit system. Other interstate issues raise their heads around the way the roadside enforcement still changes from state-to-state.
The problems around a truck rest rest area strategy are as old as the hills. The need for a strategy is the main thing, because there isn’t one at at the moment. There is also a need to get a really good look at the standard of the roads across the country.
Surely, everyone in the industry can rally around some clear wording on all of these issues. Then, whenever anyone from any government interacts with us they will get the same message. If we do this then, surely, the message will eventually get through.