Industry welcomes McCormack retaining portfolio

Ministerial reshuffle sees freight transport responsibilities largely untouched

Industry welcomes McCormack retaining portfolio
Michael McCormack and Scott Morrison in Cloncurry earlier this month


Transport industry groups have greeted the retention of Michael McCormack at the head of the infrastructure and transport portfolio as a welcome example of political continuity.

After prime minister Scott Morrison’s federal ministerial reshuffle, McCormack remains deputy prime minister and infrastructure and transport and regional development minister.

The latter post has seen regular changes of incumbent over the past six years – a former one of whom, Barnaby Joyce, has now also lost his post as drought envoy.


He will continue to have the support of Scott Buchholz as assistant minister for road safety and freight transport, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) notes.

"Michael McCormack understands trucking and the important role it plays in the Australian economy. He has demonstrated a commitment to improving industry safety and productivity since he was first appointed to the role in 2018," ATA chair Geoff Crouch says.  

"He is a well-known advocate for small business, as well as regional and remote Australia. I’m certain he will continue to advocate for and support the road transport industry."  

Crouch sees McCormack as demonstrating an understanding of the importance of trucking, having already made important contributions to the improvement of industry safety and productivity. 

"Earlier this year, deputy prime minister McCormack delivered $400,000 of government funding to assist in the redevelopment of the Volvo ATA Safety Truck – an initiative that will educate young drivers and vulnerable road users about how to share the road safely with trucks," Crouch says. 

"He has also delivered much-needed funding for heavy vehicle safety initiatives and road safety projects through the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. 

"Deputy prime minister McCormack shares the ATA’s vision of zero fatalities and serious injuries on our roads."

The ATA also congratulates Alan Tudge, who will enter Cabinet as Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure in the Treasury portfolio.

"We are very pleased that the Government has recognised the importance road safety and our industry by refocusing Scott Buchholz's role. It's a great appointment," Crouch says.

"The ATA and our member associations look forward to continuing to work with deputy prime minister McCormack and his portfolio team on important issues such as the need for independent, no-blame safety investigations of heavy vehicle crashes, more and improved truck rest areas, and mandating advanced safety technologies such as autonomous emergency braking."

Read how industry groups greeted the election result with policy advice, here

The ATA calls on McCormack to lead action on the reviews into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and heavy vehicle accreditation.

"It is vital we see substantial reform in this space to support the hardworking individuals and businesses that call the Australian trucking industry home."


The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) hailed the decision on McCormack, who also retained the Nationals’ leadership unopposed last week.

"Michael McCormack has approached the transport and infrastructure portfolios with great enthusiasm since he took them on early last year and we are thrilled that there is continuity of leadership in these important ministries in the returned Morrison Government," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"We’ve valued the relationship and dialogue we’ve established with the deputy prime minister and his team and his interest in the VTA and the transport industry more broadly has been keenly felt through his attendance at numerous VTA and industry forums, where he has listened to and acted on the challenges we are confronted with.

"We look forward to building on the constructive engagement with the Deputy Prime Minister, and to advancing the agenda of our members and industry with other cabinet members whose portfolio responsibilities impact the freight and logistics sectors."


National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) chair Duncan Gay says he looks forward to continue working with McCormack to deliver on-going heavy vehicle safety and productivity reforms.

"I congratulate Michael and assistant minister for road safety and freight transport Scott Buchholz on behalf of the NHVR staff and board, and look forward to working with them to deliver an on-going reform agenda for heavy vehicle safety and productivity," Gay says.

"Michael has taken a keen role in understanding the challenges facing heavy vehicle operators and has been a strong advocate for progressing initiatives which deliver greater productivity and uniform laws and regulations across state borders.

"The returned Coalition government has made announcements in relation to boosting the ongoing Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative program, as well as additional funding for a local government infrastructure assessment program.

"I look forward to continuing the NHVR’s close working relationship with federal government and Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities in the years ahead."

McCormack has been responsible for the NHVR since February 2018.

Meanwhile, Michaelia Cash is employment, skills and small and family business minister, but loses the industrial relations portfolio to attorney general and leader of the house Christian Porter.

Former assistant transport minister Paul Fletcher has a new role covering communications, cyber security and the arts.

Outside Cabinet, Steve Irons is Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships.


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