OUR SAY: A thankless task but you couldn't live without it

Most people couldn't give a stuff about the trucking industry. This is why they should.

By Brad Gardner | January 21, 2011

When National Transport Commission boss Nick Dimopoulos fronted a union conference last year and said transport wasn’t "sexy", he wasn’t wrong.

Little attention is paid to the road freight task. Most people couldn’t give a stuff where their Coke, building supplies or latest fashion trends come from.

Instead their thoughts are dominated by their annoyance at having to share the road with giant rigs.

When motorists pull up behind one – whether it be Grandma Betty in her Fiesta or Mike in his clapped-out import with a Milo tin for an exhaust – their first thought is to plant their foot on the accelerator to zoom past.

Our elected officials, the anti-truck brigade and green groups all prattle on about the need to get trucks off the road, with the inference being they aren’t really important.

But as the recovery from the devastating Queensland floods gets underway, where will the materials needed to restore communities, rebuild homes, fill grocery aisles and get businesses up and running come from?

It won’t be on rail. The task will fall on the trucking industry, as it did before the floods and as it will after the waters recede.

As Queensland Trucking Association CEO Peter Garske noted recently, rail isn’t up to the job. It’s not a simple case of a trucking advocate taking a shot at rail; it’s a fact.

The many places goods are needed are inaccessible by train. There’s no railhead outside homes, supermarkets or businesses.

Rail can’t cart perishables to fill the shelves of shops and it cannot respond with the immediacy needed to deliver urgent supplies.

When the recovery finishes and many begin the process of starting afresh, the media will no doubt run stories about how flood-stricken communities got their lives back on track.

While many people will have different stories to tell, you can bet a truck will be at the heart of each recovery.

Perhaps those who show little regard for the industry will remember that when they next pass a truck on the road or begin to question its worth.

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