Labor is making good on its long-running promise to give truckies a seat at the table when it comes to decisions impacting their working lives.
Five spots for “long-haul” drivers are now open on a heavy vehicle rest areas steering committee which will decide how $140 million in new federal investment will be spent over the next 10 years.
Nominations for a place on the committee close on Friday, December 16, with the first of three meetings set for February 2023.
Assistant Transport Minister Carol Brown will make the final decision on the line-up, which will also include four representatives from industry organisations and be chaired by WA Senator Glenn Sterle.
“As a former truck driver with over 40 years’ experience and who still drives trucks to raise money for charity, it is an honour to be invited to chair this committee,” said Sterle.
“The allocation of $140 million in the Albanese government’s recent budget is an extremely important investment and will help to improve safety for our truck drivers as well as productivity for our economy.
Sterle said a key aspect of the steering committee will be the membership of long-haul truckies whose input he says will be crucial.
“Never before have truck drivers been consulted like this, and I am very proud that the Albanese government has delivered on this commitment,” he said.
“The work of the committee will be extremely important in making sure that we get the design and location of new rest areas right.
“I am looking forward to the establishment of this committee and getting to work as soon as possible.”
High-profile truckie Rod Hannifey welcomed the announcement and confirmed he will be throwing his name into the committee hat.
“It means that truckies still have the voting sway if it’s five and four others,” said Hannifey, who is also the president of the National Road Freighters Association.
“We certainly want people from different areas so we probably need one from heavy haulage, one from livestock, maybe a couple from general, and one other, that would be my initial thought.
“I’ll also be interested to see what industry associations apply and what they think they can bring to the table because how many of them will ever be sleeping in those rest areas?”
According to the Expression of Interest (EOI) call-out from the Australian Government, the committee will be a space for members, including long-haul truck drivers and industry representatives to share experience, analyse data and provide advice, as well as determine priorities for Heavy Vehicle Rest Area projects.
The committee will set assessment criteria for applications for funding and assess applications against those criteria.
“The committee will share strategic advice and set priorities for heavy vehicle rest area projects, as truck drivers themselves know more than most about the missing gaps in our rest area network,” said Brown.
“We’re keen to get to work as soon as we can.”
To be considered for a committee role the EOI also recommends that applicants have the below qualities.
- Experience driving heavy vehicles on long-haul trips across a wide range of locations in Australia;
- An understanding of the issues facing drivers on long haul trips;
- The ability to work collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal; and
- The ability to analyse applications and provide advice on merit.
Applicants should note that there is no payment for participation on the committee, but “reasonable” out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed.
Before the first meeting, members will also be required to sign a conflict of interest declaration in addition to a confidentiality agreement.
In the interests of due diligence, the department may undertake a general background check on applicants prior to being recommended to the Minister.
“You are encouraged to disclose any sensitivities you are aware of which might impact your selection,” said the EOI.
To make your application and for more information, click here.
General enquiries regarding the process can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.