NatRoad-ARTA merger on track

The proposed NatRoad-ARTA merger passed its first test after ARTA members voted in favour of the move

By Brad Gardner

The proposed NatRoad and Australian Road Train Association (ARTA) merger has passed its first test after ARTA members voted unanimously in favour of the move.

NatRoad will now hold a meeting so its members can vote on whether the two organisations should combine.

ARTA members voted at the trucking group’s annual general meeting last week, with ARTA Chief Executive Duncan Bremner saying members saw it "as the best way forward" for the organisation.

He says there was "rigorous debate" on the issue as members aired their concerns and discussed the implications of a merger.

Bremner says members were initially concerned about representative issues and whether the ARTA’s focus on road trains would suffer as a result of the move.

However, Bremner says the organisation will maintain its identity and still continue to service its membership base.

"The meeting went very well. There were no dissenting voices," Bremner says.

The decision to merge was made during the 2008 NatRoad Conference in August after both boards agreed the move would reduce costs while increasing member services.

The organisation will be renamed NatRoad Incorporating the ARTA, with the ARTA operating as a sub-committee and Bremner either partnering NatRoad Chief Executive Bernie Belacic or taking up a junior role.

Furthermore, it is expected an ARTA representative will step into a vice-presidential role while Bremner says two or three ARTA board members will join the NatRoad board until 2010, when there will be an open vote.

Former NatRoad president Roger Pickering says amalgamating is in the best interests of both groups, which work closely on many issues.

"In reality this move simply formalises what has long been a natural fit between the two organisations whilst removing the duplication of policy development, resource investment and membership services," Pickering says.

ATN understands a date has not yet been set for NatRoad members to vote on the merger. ATN contacted Belacic but he was unavailable for comment.

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