'The nation will stop without us'
TRUCKING is an essential service, let's get it recognised as such.
When I begin a speech or a conversation by saying that I work in the trucking industry, it often leads to a distancing or a much-reduced amount of interest from the other party or parties.
However unless they are farmers, doctors or nurses, police or paramedics or soldiers, I work in one of the most essential services in the listeners' life.
Without the trucking industry, they would have no food on their table or even have the table, no car or petrol for the car, no roof over their heads and no bed to sleep in.
How do we get this through to the populace that rely on our services?
How do we make them understand that we are not a hindrance to their lives but essential to their everyday existence?
This is our challenge, not only to improve our image, to be recognised as professionals but to be seen as an essential service.
We need to have people understand that rail can never replace road transport but can only work as an integral part of the entire transport network, not the complete solution.
We could expand our coastal shipping to become more efficient but again it would only be a small part of the national transport network.
We will always need to rely on road transport (trucking) in Australia and we need support to do this as safely, professionally and as proudly as possible.
We need better roads, more rest areas with better facilities, a flexible fatigue regime. Is this starting to sound familiar, it should be, the industry has been asking for these important improvements for so long we could recite the list in our sleep?
As we head into the Brisbane Truck Show and election week, let's try for as much positive publicity as possible, talk to your local politicians and media to tell them how important we are to the economy, show them how professional we are, offer a ride along - get their attention in a good way.
If you are going to be in Brisbane for the truck show, why not sign up for the Transport Women Australia Limited breakfast and have a chat with Coralie about what we have been doing and what our plans are for the next few months?
My next column will be coming to you from Washington DC as I return to the USA for some work and play.
I look forward to seeing some of you at Alexandra Truck Show, where TWAL will have a stand.