Amazing as it may seem, we have much to celebrate as 2020 draws to a close. We are still standing, a little battered and beaten and sadly in some cases without members of our families. However, in the majority, the resilience of the trucking industry has kept the country moving and supplied with all the essentials of life through the most chaotic year most of us will ever experience in our lifetime.
In helping the farmers through the horrific drought, then the soul-destroying bushfires, to the idiocy of the toilet paper hoarders, we have continued to do our job; day after day, night after night.
We made great strides in being recognised as an essential industry, Queensland has set some laws for keeping truck rest areas for trucks and the Heavy Vehicle National Law is being reviewed.
There has been much more progress, investment and research put into the mental health of our drivers and other workers with several national programmes being rolled out; The Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds being the one most directed at trucking. The SIRF programme Men – Talking Men’s Mental Health and its webinars are great also.
Transport Women Australia Limited had several successful events before the onset of the coronavirus slowed us down considerably.
However, we launched our Creating Connections Mentoring programme and also nominated several members for awards with some success. Melissa Strong won the Excellence in Transport Award at the Women in Industry Awards and Annastasia Denigan took out the Young Achiever Award at the Australian Freight Industry Awards.
We awarded our Driving the Difference scholarships with our fabulous sponsor Daimler Truck and Bus Australia Pacific for the second year, with four very varied and deserving winners.
The Trish Pickering Memorial Award, which was established in 2019, was awarded in 2020 to Phyllis Jones OAM. This award is made possible by the generosity of Wes Pickering, to whom we are exceedingly grateful.
I have joined the Board of the Australian Gender Equality Council and I hope to make a difference by expanding and sharing my knowledge; equality for all genders should be the ultimate goal for all of us.
We are going ahead with our 2021 Conference to be held on 28-30 May, in Melbourne.
Plans are well advanced, and we are excited about the programme we have in place, with more news to be released as it comes.
The TWAL board and I would like to wish you a wonderful and safe Christmas and we will see you back here in January 2021. We are looking forward to a fantastic year ahead.