Executive Changes, Transport News

ALRTA ED farewells livestock and transport industry

The outgoing ALRTA executive director has farewelled members and the industry as he leaves to become the CEO of the ATA

Outgoing executive director of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) Mat Munro has reflected on his journey over the past decade as he says farewell to the role.

See below what Munro said to ALRTA members in the ALRTA’s weekly newsletter:
‘All organisations experience change. People have always known this. Way back in 540BC some Greek bloke said “There is nothing permanent except change”.
The ALRTA is about to change, again. After 10 years as Executive Director, I am stepping away from the role to become CEO of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).  For me, it is the new challenge I need. For ALRTA it is an opportunity to consider new opportunities for the future.

Ten years ago, ALRTA already had a reputation for punching above its weight.  Yet at the same time it was struggling financially and was organisationally immature. The National Council and Executive at that time were ready for a change.
When appointed Executive Director in 2013, I was ALRTA’s very first direct employee. Prior to that time, all staff and business systems were supplied via a third-party consultancy and shared with a state member association – a model that had worked well for many years. 
However, a small employment change was the catalyst that sparked a revolution in the way ALRTA did business.
ALRTA now employs three staff directly, supported by a professional finance team. Our office has moved to the Parliamentary Triangle in Canberra – the very beating heart of Australian decision-making.  The organisation operates under a modern governance structure, supported by strong corporate partnerships. We own a building that is practically debt free and we have financial reserves locked away for a rainy day.
This is a great place to be for any organisation about to enter another round of change. The organisational heavy lifting has been done and ALRTA is poised to take another leap forward – of course, under the strategic direction of the six state member associations that ALRTA exists to serve. 
I’m very proud to say that ALRTA has also notched up many significant policy achievements over the past 10 years. For example, ALRTA has been successful in:

    • securing one hour of work and rest flexibility for livestock carriers to assist in managing animal welfare.
    • establishing two AFM templates for livestock carriers, providing even more flexibility for those undertaking long distance work.
    • allowing limited personal use of a heavy vehicle, improving life on the road for many drivers since able to travel to reach hot food, showers, toilets or wash clothes. 
    • reducing red tape by increasing the work diary exemption radius to 160km for rural carriers.
    • improving access certainty by clearing the way for customers to obtain Class 3 permits ahead of organising transport.
    • securing an exemption from unworkable mandatory ABS brakes for heavy trailers operating in rough environments.
  • abolishing the former Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal when it threatened the livelihood of our members, families and communities.
  • securing an exemption from new financial laws that would have prevented members from obtaining additional insurance before journeys.
  • improving livestock standstill rules in the event of a foot and mouth disease outbreak.

 ALRTA has also worked with Standards Australia to develop and publish AS 5340:2020 an Australian standard for livestock loading/unloading ramps and forcing pens. Widespread adoption of the Australian Standard will prevent injuries and save lives.
More recently, ALRTA worked with NHVR to develop a registered industry code of practice for managing effluent in the livestock supply chain. For too long the transporter has been the only party held responsible for effluent related load restraint breaches.
And to make a practical difference and demonstrate new concepts, ALRTA has even built and operated critical infrastructure.
At Kilcoy Global Foods we built an innovative unloading gantry and trialled a user-pay access system. We proved that transport operators are prepared to make a financial contribution to obtain safer infrastructure sooner – if the price is reasonable.
In partnership with local governments ALRTA has built three effluent disposal facilities on important livestock freight routes. Each facility is free to use and was designed by our members for the use of all livestock carriers. We need more of them, but we are off to a good start.
Around us, our industry and our world continues to change. So, we must change too.
New technology is making our industry safer and more efficient. Heavy vehicles are rapidly becoming computers on wheels. Everything from the phone in the driver’s pocket to the braking and stability systems are becoming ‘smart’ – soon, even our road infrastructure will be talking to the vehicle. Drivers may even become redundant for some types of journeys. Add to this an imminent change in fuel and engine technology and the industry of tomorrow will likely look very different from the industry of today.
Charting a course through all this change and uncertainty requires a strong and united voice for the rural road transport sector. ALRTA has been that voice for the past 38 years. 
Our state member associations and their elected representatives remain as passionate as ever about our vital industry. So, while the ALRTA might look and feel little different under new management, that passion is something that will never change.
On that note, I really can’t walk out the door without acknowledging the association members and staff who have supported me over the past 10 years. Looking back at all we have achieved, and the platform we have created for the future, it is plainly obvious that we really are stronger together. 
I sincerely thank past Presidents, Executive, Council, state member associations, committee members, our dedicated secretariat staff and our generous national sponsors who have devoted their time, intellect, muscle and energy to protect and enhance our industry. I count many of you among my friends. The incoming ALRTA Executive Director will certainly be in great hands.

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