Vale trucking industry servant David Coonan

Long-term ATA policy manager passes after battle with illness

Vale trucking industry servant David Coonan
David Coonan


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the trucking industry are mourning the loss of David Coonan, who passed away overnight after an extended illness.

Coonan was the ATA’s policy manager from 2006 until he retired on medical grounds in 2014.

The ATA’s chief engineer, Bob Woodward, first met Coonan in 1990 and worked closely with him during his time at the ATA. He says that Coonan was a passionate and expert advocate for the industry.

"David and I wrote the first edition of the ATA’s truck impact chart, which has now become a standard reference," Woodward says.

"David’s expertise was so great he was invited to present about high productivity freight vehicles at one of the foremost truck research centres in the world, the University of Michigan Transport Research Institute.

"The ATA was privileged to host David at the high productivity freight vehicle demonstration day we ran in Wodonga in early August. I am so pleased he was able to see Australia’s unique trucks rolling past for one last time."

Another colleague, ATA chief of staff Bill McKinley, says Coonan argued strongly that people in the national truck law chain of responsibility should be innocent until proven guilty.

"David’s vision of how the law should work was achieved on Monday 1 October, when the reforms to its chain of responsibility provisions came into force," McKinley says.

Read Coonan's forthright take on electronic work diaries back in 2010, here 

Coonan was awarded the 2016 Castrol Vecton Industry Achievement Award for his technical innovation and achievement within the industry.

He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and two daughters, Jennifer and Elizabeth.

Coonan started his career as a diesel mechanic. He then managed the Department of Housing and Construction’s Australian Capital Territory (ACT) vehicle fleet, before joining the ACT Government as its deputy registrar of motor vehicles.

He later worked as a senior transport policy officer for the ACT and Australian governments.


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