Gary Mahon, CEO of the Queensland Trucking Association, believes there was one major takeaway for industry from the recently-released five-year productivity report by the Productivity Commission.
Mahon says that the 1000-page probe, which contains 29 reform directives and 71 specific recommendations, including a focus on workforce adaptability and creating a more dynamic and competitive economy, reinforces the need to “elevate our ambitions” when it comes to PBS.
“I think we’re mired down too much in the technical procedures and the processes, and our ambition should be to change the composition of the fleet,” said Mahon.
“In a large country with a relatively small population where truck-trip efficiency is paramount, we should have an ambition to have something like 30 per cent of the fleet under PBS combinations.
“Everyone knows that the elephant in the room is that to get the combination approved is one thing and then to get access is quite something else. Why aren’t the two things aligned and the ambitions of authorities are to open up and encourage and grow the composition of PBS in the fleet?”
The report also reinforced for Mahon the need to improve elements of industry training.
“The need to promote apprenticeships and formal training, both to benefit the individual and also the benefit in terms of unquestioned correlation to productivity growth,” he said.
“Even with AUKUS, and the skilling of Australians and training and development and their TAFE places, truck driving and logistics-type qualifications should be supported in that program.
“At the moment they’re not. We’ve got the apprenticeship over the line but it’s category two, so you do an apprenticeship at yours, or the employer’s cost, whereas if you’re an apprentice, plumber, carpenter, or mechanic, you get support from the government.”