NSW 'trucks minister' has industry understanding

Even before he’s sworn in, new ‘minister for trucks’ David Campbell has industry knocking on his door

NSW 'trucks minister' has industry understanding
NSW 'trucks minister' has industry understanding
September 15, 2009

Even before he’s sworn in, the new ‘minister for trucking’ in New South Wales David Campbell has industry representatives knocking on his door.

The industry was left shocked and a little peeved at the announcement last week that Campbell would take control of the all-important roads portfolio in a reshuffled Rees Government ministry – the fourth new roads minister in as many years.

In the office of Michael Daley (pictured), who will leave behind road transport policy and a raft of unfinished trucking regulation after just 12 months in the job, staff were equally surprised when contacted by ATN as news filtered through of the reshuffle late on Friday afternoon.

Daley will be sworn in as the new police minister later this week, with Campbell to add road policy to a transport portfolio dominated by Sydney’s much-maligned rail network.

Road transport policy has been destabilised by a high turn-over of roads ministers in recent years. Daley took over from current Treasurer Eric Roozendaal, who himself spent less than two years in the job and had a difficult relationship with some transport groups.

In total, four ministers have served in the roads portfolio stretching back to Michael Costa and the controversial Carl Scully in 2005.

That industry education and lobbying would have to start again was met with sighs by many in the transport sector. But Campbell has been mostly praised as a minister prepared to consult on issues.

One representative told ATN Campbell is no ideologue and has shown a willingness to engage the transport sector in his 12 months in the difficult portfolio.

The Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) New South Wales branch, which has had a testy relationship with the NSW Government, has already written to Campbell to welcome him to the position and will seek talks in the coming weeks.

ATA-NSW Manager Jill Lewis says Campbell has "a good understanding" of issues in the trucking industry.

"ATA-NSW has met with Mr Campbell on a number of occasions in his capacity as Minister for Transport. He was always well versed on our concerns and willing to work with the industry to achieve the desired outcomes," she says.

"I’m sure in his new role, Mr Campbell will continue to be willing to work with us on the issues facing the New South Wales trucking industry."

Lewis says Daley did a "fine job" as roads minister.

In a cover story for the latest ATN magazine, Daley spoke of the need to engage with industry and seek feedback on policy like fatigue management and on-road enforcement.

"We shouldn't be over-zealous about it," he said of enforcement. "We want to be fair and change behaviour, not put people out of business."

He won mostly praise speaking to the recent NatRoad annual conference, taking the time to talk to operators after his speech.

"He listened to the trucking industry on a wide range of issues," Lewis says.

The latest ministerial moves were prompted by the resignation of John Della Bosca as health spokesperson, quitting in scandal after revelations of an affair.

Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt will take over health responsibilities in a government low in the polls but not facing re-election until 2011.

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