Trucking's survival a shared responsibility: QTA

QTA president says all sectors involved with the trucking industry are responsible for making sure operators remain viable

Trucking's survival a shared responsibility: QTA
Trucking's survival a shared responsibility: QTA
By Brad Gardner | October 25, 2011

The Queensland Trucking Association has turned the spotlight on government and customers over their treatment of operators, saying the economic survival of trucking firms is a shared responsibility.

Speaking at the QTA’s annual dinner last weekend, President Tim Squires says many operators are struggling financially from a combination of cost pressures.

He put the onus on government to keep in mind the ramifications policy decisions have on the industry, saying truckers face potentially adverse outcomes from the carbon tax, road pricing reform and electronic work diaries.

"On the other side of the equation we see a continuation of the compression of freight rates determined by retailers, the agricultural industry, manufacturers, exporters and the mining industry," he says.

"It is appropriate that this association continue to remind all stakeholders that, provided there is an application of good business management, trucking operators are entitled to an adequate return on investment. The economic viability and survival of individual operators and the broader trucking industry is a shared responsibility."

The Federal Government is expected to respond to its discussion paper on reforming pay methods in the trucking industry this month, but Squires has questioned whether the changes currently being canvassed will deliver benefits.

"The continuing debate on a commonwealth government response to the NTC [National Transport Commission] ‘safe rates’ research and position paper does not show any early signs of providing relief to the situation I have just described," he says.

The NTC in 2008 reported a link between poor safety and low rates of pay. It recommended government intervention in the marketplace to address low rates of pay and incentive-based payments.

Squires, who also runs Tothag Transport, sits on the Federal Government’s hand-picked safe rates advisory group. It was established to consider the NTC’s recommendations and provide advice to the government.

Released last year, the government’s discussion paper recommended establishing a tribunal to rule on what constitutes a safe rate.

Squires also used his speech to say it is inappropriate to consider the costs of the carbon tax, registration fees or road pricing reform on trucking operators in isolation.

"Collectively additional costs on our industry ultimately become the straw that breaks the camel’s back for so many honest operators employing so many thousands of honest Australians," he says.

"Now is an appropriate time to remember that 80 [to] 85 percent of the freight task is performed by small to medium size enterprises – the mum and dad businesses. A fact I feel is regularly overlooked."

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