Con­fi­dence on high

Small trans­port busi­nesses have rea­son to op­ti­mistic for 2017 in the face of change within the in­dus­try. NatRoad CEO War­ren Clark writes

Owner Driver - - News - WAR­REN CLARK, NatRoad’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, has more than 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence lead­ing and de­vel­op­ing busi­ness for emerg­ing com­pa­nies. War­ren has held the po­si­tion of CEO at var­i­ous com­pa­nies and is a cer­ti­fied char­tered ac­coun­tant.

I HAVE just been read­ing a re­port into the small busi­ness sec­tor that in­di­cates small trans­port busi­nesses and owner- driv­ers are surf­ing the largest wave of con­fi­dence since 2010.

A re­mark­able turn­around from where we were this time last year; it speaks vol­umes for the im­por­tance of clar­ity and cer­tainty when it comes to op­er­at­ing small truck­ing busi­nesses.

There is no doubt about it – we op­er­ate in a com­plex sec­tor, with much red tape and rules.

When those rules change, it is paramount that those changes are clearly com­mu­ni­cated to and un­der­stood by op­er­a­tors, and that op­er­a­tors are given time to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion and make the changes needed to make within their busi­nesses to com­ply.

In 2017 we will con­tinue to see change, but we will see it im­ple­mented in a way that is re­spect­ful to­wards small truck­ing busi­nesses.

For ex­am­ple, chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity changes will be in­tro­duced over the next 12 months by the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor ( NHVR) through a clear pro­gram of in­dus­try ed­u­ca­tion.

NatRoad is sup­port­ing this ef­fort, join­ing with the NHVR in a se­ries of face- to-face one- day Re­gional Truck­ing Sum­mits from Fe­bru­ary to June.

At th­ese Re­gional Truck­ing Sum­mits, which are free to at­tend, you can hear first hand from the NHVR, and ask ques­tions of it.

In ad­di­tion, we will brief mem­bers on en­force­ment and com­pli­ance mat­ters, as well as changes in the in­dus­trial re­la­tions land­scape that could well impact your busi­ness in the next two years.

Strength­en­ing the road trans­port in­dus­try starts at the door of ev­ery road trans­port busi­ness, and we want to make sure you have the knowl­edge on your doorstep de­liv­ered for free be­cause we know that you need this in­for­ma­tion to stay safe and com­pet­i­tive.

I hope you can at­tend; you will find a list of venues and dates, along with other rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion, at www. na­troadsum­mit.com.

It’s easy to reg­is­ter on­line, or call us on 02 6295 3000.

LOOK­ING BACK

When it comes to in­dus­trial and work­place re­la­tions, there are many po­ten­tial changes in the winds.

It is no se­cret that NatRoad holds the unions to ac­count; it is part of our DNA.

I had the priv­i­lege of hear­ing first hand where this char­ac­ter trait was born when long-time in­dus­try op­er­a­tors re­cently gath­ered in Shep­par­ton to mark the 30th an­niver­sary of the for­ma­tion of the Na­tional Trans­port Fed­er­a­tion.

It was at the time of the in­fa­mous block­ades – or union black bans – cur­tail­ing busi­ness op­er­a­tions in the 1980s that prompted the for­ma­tion of an or­gan­i­sa­tion to tackle in­dus­trial re­la­tions mat­ters on be­half of trans­port op­er­a­tors.

And, in 2017, we con­tinue to ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in th­ese com­plex chal­lenges and dis­cus­sions that shape our in­dus­trial re­la­tions land­scape.

Th­ese are in­tense com­mit­ments for our as­so­ci­a­tions that can take many months, even years, to reach an out­come – yet each in their own way have the abil­ity to impact the com­pet­i­tive­ness of ev­ery road trans­port busi­ness. That is why we take our seat at the ta­ble, as we have al­ways done, on be­half of mem­bers and the in­dus­try.

This year we will con­tinue to be in­volved in pro­posed changes to the NSW Gen­eral Con­tract Car­ri­ers De­ter­mi­na­tion, in Victoria the inquiry into the Owner Driver and Forestry Con­trac­tors Act 2005 and the Owner Driv­ers and Forestry Con­trac­tors Reg­u­la­tions 2006.

On a na­tional scale, through FairWork Aus­tralia we are scru­ti­n­is­ing the pro­posed changes to the mod­ern awards, which in­clude the Road Trans­port and Dis­tri­bu­tion Award 2010 and the Road Trans­port ( Long Dis­tance Op­er­a­tions) Award 2010, en­sur­ing fair­ness is the key.

Last year we saw first hand, through the Road Safety Re­mu­ner­a­tion Tri­bunal ( RSRT) de­ba­cle, what hap­pens to the in­dus­try when rules or pro­vi­sions un­fairly tar­get just one seg­ment of it. Fair­ness comes when the voices and ev­i­dence from the full sec­tor are rep­re­sented dur­ing the de­ci­sion making. And when the out­comes are known, this is just the kind of in­for­ma­tion we seek to give our mem­bers and the in­dus­try so that they can con­tinue to be com­pet­i­tive, con­fi­dent and thriv­ing.

“IT IS NO SE­CRET THAT NATROAD HOLDS THE UNIONS TO AC­COUNT”

WAR­REN CLARK

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