As the weeks of winter rolled by – across July, August and into September – we kept visiting Mr Windsor. He kept asking us questions. We showed him the NTC’s paperwork. We showed him the NTC’s charging model. Twice. Three times. He wanted to know more about our industry. He wanted to know about our problems. We showed him the flaws in the NTC’s figures, yet again.
But he wasn’t saying ‘yes’.
Frankly, we started to get worried. Were we wasting our time? Were we doing it wrong?
We took advice from one of the most successful lobbyists in Australia. We spoke to a mate who’d worked for Prime Minister Howard and also to a former adviser to Prime Minister Gillard. Their advice: ‘Tony is his own man. If he talks to you, he’s genuinely interested. Keep trying. Don’t stop.’
On 17 September, Mr Windsor showed the Parliament what he’d been up to:
Safety is a very important issue for the road transport industry … all of us recognise the pressures that owner-drivers, particularly, and others, are put under from time to time in the delivery of their products. I am delighted to see that $40 million out of these funds was going towards safety—lay-bys et cetera—that the road transport industry can take advantage of.
In my discussions with the Minister for Transport he has indicated that another $10 million will go towards the livestock and road transport industry, particularly in relation to sale yard safety, loading ramps, wash-down bays, the sort of things that the industry for many years has been crying out for.
Even though, in a sense, this is about cost recovery—and the various states and the Commonwealth have agreed to that—part of that cost recovery is a benefit back to those industry groups that are using the roads and have been subjected to quite great stresses in terms of safety.
Whether it is wash-down bays, loading ramps or gates at sale yards where trucks are loaded, there will be an additional funding, which I think will be announced in December, available to various shires and interest groups and the industry itself to apply for to incorporate into the benefit that will flow to the industry in terms of safety.
HANSARD 17 September 2012, p58-59
It’s not what we came for, but we certainly haven’t come away empty-handed. It’s a good start.
On behalf of President Beer, our Former National President, David Smith, has personally thanked Mr Windsor for securing funding from the Government to begin dealing with the safety issues caused by bad ramps and gates.
David has also dropped in to thank Minister Albanese for agreeing to Mr Windsor’s request, and has reinforced the importance of keeping a strong Chain of Responsibility and delivering more flexible fatigue management under the NHVR.