Goodaye all, sorry for the gap, there is often very little spare time and whilst I have kept busy, I have spent some time chilling, watching a bit of tv and trying to very slowly, complete the last of the excellent Robin Hobb Assassins Apprentice series. I am onto the last book, number 9 and am filling gaps, but don’t want it to finish. I very much enjoyed the Rangers Apprentice, even more as it was written by an Australian to get his boys to read, but this is even better.
The meeting with Minister Burke in Canberra was preceded by an informal meeting with Minister Kings Transport advisor in the lobby. He has come back to Aus from a stint in Canada and we spoke of his time there and the need for more driver involvement. I have offered him a trip when back on the road. The meeting I was there for started at 3.30 and there was a wide range of industry, union, associations, suppliers, transport, retailers and also the gig economy was represented.
Minister Tony Burke opened with an overview and thanked the industry for its efforts during covid. His advisors then offered an outline and then Glen Sterle gave a passionate lead in to the discussions.
Each attendee was given a chance for comment, including my self, but in one way, being one of the last, meant I could take notes and not only fill gaps, but then be suer I could cover what others had missed or not considered. This meeting was to pursue and then hopefully see enacted, the first two recommendations for the Senate inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry. It was then to report or contribute to the skill and employment meetings held in Canberra that week.
Had I not been on workers comp and still attended, I would have been the only person not being paid to attend and the only full time driver, out of the 30 or so attendees. There were some via zoom, academics including Professor Michael Quinlan who was the chair of the “Beyond the Midnight Oil” inquiry. I spoke of contributing to many such things, my role and the importance of having drivers involved. I did state I recognize the good intent of all, unions and associations, but again pushed that none of them, or those attending, live fulltime on the road and so do not live the life and fully understand the ramifications of it.
I was told I had delivered a passionate and powerful message by the Minister and all were informed this meeting would see results. It was specifically stated, it was not a matter of if anything would be done, it will and the only issue was when! I do believe it was worth the effort to drive down and have a say, it was my last day with the sling on and I wore it there not just to protect the shoulder, but to hopefully lessen the chance of being bumped or patted on the sore one. I did attend (and have two lemonades) at the dinner held by the TWU after the meeting finished at 5, but left at 9. It was agreed by all, and many from the Ministers meeting did attend, that it had been a long road covering many years, that the job was certainly not done or complete, but it was a good start and the intent to finally have an industry body to contribute and be a part of industry change. It is a good start and will only work if all keep pushing.
I had planned to stay in Canberra for the night, but had physio the next day and so headed home and ended up doing my spot on Nightshift at Wellington, before getting home and to bed in the rain.
I have some jobs still to do on the truck, am chasing some suppliers about bits and pieces and hope to have it all done, (with just the rear taillights to be fitted when I can get it to Brisbane) and then the cupboards. Once I have a date for return and the 50 year trailers are complete, it will be back into it for another 4 or 5 years, with new trailers due next year. I will have to reengage with many who were willing to supply parts and photos and support for the trailers, it has taken longer than I hoped, but many have commented on the look of the truck and with its dedicated trailers, it will look the part and do the job. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.