There’s a long list of things I’d like to see our industry achieve in 2022 but three are at the head of the NatRoad agenda.
The most urgent is a solution to the diesel exhaust fluid shortage.
This issue is bigger than our sector, but with so many small operators running on the tightest profit margins we’ve ever seen, road transport has the most to lose.
At the time of writing, the federal government had finally confirmed the industry’s advice that five weeks supply remained in the supply chain, and signalled that it was ramping up its international search for alternate sources of DEFs and its main ingredient urea.
My hope is that as we enter 2022, Australia’s immediate supply needs are being met by securing new overseas suppliers and we are expanding and securing our own domestic production capacity.
My second New Year’s wish is that governments at all levels acknowledge road transport as an essential service – not only in word but in actions.
That means standardising border passes nationally, giving heavy vehicles priority at border crossings (touch wood that both won’t be needed) and removing local freight curfews.
Our industry did more than any other to keep essential goods moving during the height of the pandemic. NatRoad is working daily to make sure we’re not being taken for granted.
Lastly, I’d like to see a re-set of the National Heavy Vehicle Law reform process so that our collective industry expertise drives a process based on good evidence.
That means putting a high-level expert panel into the driver’s cabin so we’re not consulted after a half-baked idea has been cooked up.
I have no doubt the bureaucrats trying to standardise the laws that govern our industry are good and decent people, but most struggle to fix things they don’t understand.
Few, if any, face the daily pressures and risks as heavy vehicle drivers.
Warren Clark is the CEO of NatRoad.