Watson retires from ATA chair
A LONG-SERVING member of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and chair of the board since 2014, Noelene Watson has announced plans to step down from the role next month.
Watson’s retirement was formalised during ATA’s annual general meeting on April 5, although she will continue to remain a member of the board and its council.
Watson, who is the MD of refrigerated logistics company Don Watson Transport, was re-elected to the role of ATA chair last year.
Looking back at her legacy as the ATA chair, Watson says: “Under my leadership, the ATA campaigned for strong practical road safety measures, including the reforms to the truck safety laws that will come into force next year.
“We also stood up for owner-drivers and small family trucking businesses.
“I’ll never forget the chilly April morning when I watched our truck convoy against the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal roll up to Parliament House.”
Watson highlights some of the ATA’s efforts in improving operations in the road freight industry.
“The ATA pressed the NTC and Austroads to upgrade the truck driver medical standards,” she says.
“As a result of our work, the standards now warn treating doctors against relying on subjective measures of sleepiness to rule out a patient having sleep apnoea,” Watson says.
Thanking her associates at the trucking body for their support, Watson says she was pleased with the legacy she is leaving behind.
“I believe it’s the ATA’s job to stand up for our industry when it’s attacked.
“I well remember the day in 2014 when the ATA media unit phoned me to say that Cardinal George Pell had insulted Australia’s professional truck drivers by comparing them to paedophile priests.
“I stood up for our industry and our drivers then, and would do it again. I have no regrets.
“More positively, I had the privilege of helping to present the National Trucking Industry Awards for three years to some amazing people.
“I also had the chance to honour the winners of the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian Award, which recognises heroic and selfless acts by drivers in the course of their work.
“I would like to thank all of the ATA’s directors and councillors for their support, and particularly our vice-chairs during my period in office: Geoff Crouch, David Smith and Tim Knowles.
“I would also like to thank the ATA’s foundation sponsors: BP, NTI and Volvo Trucks; our major sponsor, PACCAR; and our other sponsors and event partners.”
Noelene Watson has stepped down from the ATA chair position