By Queensland Trucking Association
The future of the industry is dependent upon policy decision makers challenging orthodox thinking to create real step changes. This is what the industry needs now. It is no coincidence that in the last three decades the highest for labour productivity growth was the nineties. This was the decade of persistent and significant road transport reform.
At the recent QTA Road Freight Industry Awards, we were fortunate to have Dr Craig Challen SC OAM as guest speaker. He is well known around the world for his role in the rescue of 13 young Thai soccer players. He openly said if risks weren’t taken to challenge normal rescue protocols and practices, all those trapped would have perished. There was no question as to whether they were going to be rescued, it was just a matter of how that was going to be achieved. The challenge for government and regulators is embracing reform that genuinely shifts the dial on the safety and efficiency of the industry.
Our members challenge us to deliver relevant and practical services that make a difference to their businesses. Our membership investment supports our leading advocacy role which ultimately benefits the entire road freight industry. Our appreciation for our operator and sponsor members who support the QTA is greatly valued.
In 2023, we are excited to be delivering our leading truck driver training program funded by the NHVR Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative. This innovative program will inject drivers with an existing HR licence into employment and be put through 160 hours of on-road driving with a driving mentor. Combined with theory on essential safety and compliance awareness, this program will prepare job ready drivers to a standard set by employers. This is an ideal path to set these drivers to complete a Heavy Vehicle Driving Apprenticeship which was approved in Queensland in October. We must also increase awareness of the career opportunities in the industry. To tackle this, we will roll out the first of our Get in2 Transport and Logistics industry tours in 2023. Kicking off in North Queensland, school career guidance officers and students will come together with industry to engage more young people in the industry. These two initiatives form the basis of our Workforce Strategy and specifically our Heavy Vehicle Driver Pathways Plan.
We will also commence our First on Scene Incident Response training around Queensland funded by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission. With an overwhelming expression of interest response, this course will provide valuable training and awareness for truck drivers who are often the first person on the scene of road accidents in regional and remote areas. This is a progressive collaboration between the industry, Queensland Police Service and Queensland Ambulance.
We will also continue the Livestock Handling Workshops in Queensland with the next course to be held in Charters Towers in February.
With other significant issues such as establishing all-weather national freight lanes, increased investment in the Inland Freight Route among other road investments, progression to a low carbon environment, and the ongoing issue of labour shortages, road user charges and the industrial environment, the year ahead provides plenty of challenges for us to tackle.