The ATA has responded to road safety advocate Rod Hannifey's concerns.
The ATA has responded to road safety advocate Rod Hannifey's concerns. Big Rigs

Drivers matter in truck law review: ATA

AUSTRALIA'S Australia's hardworking truck drivers matter. Their voices must be heard, and their opinion considered - especially as we enter the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review process.

Truck driver and road safety advocate Rod Hannifey has raised concerns about this process and how drivers can have their say, and I totally share his concerns.

In reviewing the law, the National Transport Commission (NTC) is releasing a series of issues papers, calling on the trucking industry to share their feedback, whether they be a driver, association or small business.

We're contributing feedback to the review by providing detailed submissions, developed after following extensive consultation with industry members - the 50,000 operators and 200,00 staff the ATA represents.

We're committed to involving drivers in the feedback process and feeding their input into our submissions to the review. We know that our drivers matter and that high-level policy decisions ultimately affect their working lives on the road.

We want to make sure their voices are heard loud and clear, because they're the ones out on the road facing these issues every day.

In April this year at Trucking Australia, we brought trucking operators and drivers together for a series of collaborative workshops that looked at heavy vehicle rest areas, the fatigue system and road access.

This was our chance to form a strong foundation for developing ATA submissions to the review, drawing on the valuable input drivers gave to each session when they reviewed the current law, shared personal experiences and collaborated to design better solutions.

The views and contribution of drivers is so important. That's why ATA council members include an owner-driver representative, Frank Black, and a small fleet operator representative, Angela Welsh. Each has direct input on council matters and can share invaluable insights on the issues that directly impact those working on the industry's front line - Australia's hardworking drivers, mechanics, small business owners, fleet managers and apprentices.

Our members associations also play an important role in representing drivers, giving them the opportunity to share experiences and ideas through association events, forums and conferences.

We want to make it as easy as possible for drivers to have their say, and so does the NTC. Their review process aims to include all industry members, from truck drivers through to associations like the ATA. While they are releasing issues papers that may be long and complex, it doesn't mean you have to write a lengthy submission to have a say.

There's plenty of bite-sized opportunities to share your thoughts, including short surveys, polls and a message board, all of which will be taken into consideration in the review process.

It's inevitable that any law reform process is going to involve some issues that seem remote from the work diary, compliance and enforcement issues - issues that drivers and small business owners face on the road every day. But it's important to deal with the bigger issues too, like how the law is structured and how the regulator is held to account.

The results we want to see on the road come from getting the structure right - and listening to the voices of drivers to make sure it delivers.

Our number one priority is making sure our drivers are heard. If you have an issue - we want to know. We want to know your thoughts on how the ATA can ensure our industry remain safe, professional and viable.

We need to work with drivers, member associations and our council so we can develop submissions that accurately represent industry views and will secure our future.

If you want us to send through your opinion about the HVNL review, email and we will make sure you voice is heard.

Big Rigs

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