Opinion

Supply chain certainty high on conference agenda

covid relief

I am pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Victorian Transport Association’s State Conference 2022, being held at Silverwater Resort, Phillip Island from March 20-22.

The conference is a fantastic opportunity for freight and transport industry participants to gather for important discussions on the big issues facing our industry, and after (another) year like no other, there is no shortage of things to discuss.

Our theme for the Conference this year is Attaining Post Pandemic Supply Chain Certainty, and with national and international supply chains under immense pressure during Covid, strategies and tactics for preserving the integrity of supply chains in Australia are more important than ever.

Whoever thought we’d still be experiencing shortages of key consumer goods approaching two years of the Covid pandemic? But as we’ve all learned in recent times, circumstances can change very quickly. Consumers that were grappling with food, grocery and toilet paper shortages early in the pandemic are much more conversant with supply chains, even to the point where they can understand how things like fuel additive and labour shortages can impact the stable supply of goods and services.

Attaining post pandemic supply chain certainty is about much more, however, than securing supplies of toilet paper and other essential goods. It’s about attaining policy and regulatory changes that means our economy is not at the complete mercy of supply chain disruptions overseas.

The AdBlue crisis over Christmas is a great example of the vulnerabilities we face as an island nation that isn’t as self-sufficient as we need to be. Attaining supply chain certainty is about ensuring we as a nation can produce and resource the basic things we need to keep our economy secure – reliable assess to fuel, food, water and energy are the basic inputs we need to attain this.

For the freight industry, we’ve long known that labour shortages are among our greatest threats, which has been well and truly confirmed during the pandemic. It’s difficult to provide certainty about transport labour given the structural flaws within our systems and processes that discourages greater uptake of transport jobs, and this will be a key point of discussion during the conference. Licencing reform and changes to how we educate and skill our workers are critical to growing the pool of transport labour and attracting younger workers.

Over two days, the conference will feature experts from state and federal governments and oppositions, industry regulators, operators, suppliers, and other experts for important discussions on the issues confronting freight and logistics.

Topics covered will include training, education and licencing, alternative fuels and technology, industrial relations and heavy vehicle transport law, human resources, safety and infrastructure, with a distinct focus on the key changes and reforms required for confidence and certainty in our supply chains.

VTA state conferences are well-known for being content rich, and this year promises to be no exception with around 35 speakers confirmed to address delegates. The speaker line-up and program will be released over the weeks leading up to the conference as content is finalised.

Another importance part of the conference are opportunities to make new contacts and reconnect with colleagues, customers, and others you likely haven’t seen for many months. 

We are especially encouraging operators to consider sending younger members of their team along to learn from their industry peers. It’s critical that we continue to attract and retain young people to the transport industry and professional development opportunities like the state conference are important for educating and training transport leaders of the future.

State Conference 2022 is proudly supported by major sponsor TWUSUPER, whom the VTA sincerely thanks for their ongoing support of the transport industry. To register and review the range of ticketing options please visit www.vta.com.au  

We look forward to welcoming stakeholders from the freight, transport and logistics sector to Silverwater Resort next month. I hope to see you there.

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