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Lobbying 101: How does Natroad influence politicians and the public to get what our members want?

At Natroad our members sometimes wonder how lobbying works. NatRoad plays an important role in influencing governments and other parties to address the issues affecting the road freight industry and improve the business environment for members and the industry in general.

However, lobbying doesn’t happen overnight it can take some time to see change.

Why does NatRoad lobby?

NatRoad is focused on our industry and prides itself on supporting business viability and safety. We aim to represent our member’s interest, and those of the road freight industry which means that communicating our policies to all Australian Governments and senior bureaucrats is an important part of our work.

What does NatRoad do?
Our efforts include:

·         Working with all levels of government to improve heavy vehicle laws and regulations

·         Lobbying for improvements to vehicle safety on the road plus workplace safety and health

·         Advising the federal Government on increasing efficiency of business management, improvements to industrial relations legislation and reducing red tape

·         Communicating and educating members about changes to laws and regulations as they occur

·         Campaigning on issues of interest to members such as getting more recognition of heavy vehicle drivers’ skills

 

How do we lobby?

In consultation with our members the NatRoad Board canvasses the industry environment looking for opportunities to create a more profitable and sustainable future. We then make submissions to various government bodies where it is in the interests of our members to do so: these can be as simple as a telephone conversation, an email or detailed written submissions. We have a range of policies in place about many, many aspects of the industry’s operation and from time to time we refresh those policies with members.

Major Submissions to Government

NatRoad makes submissions to various government bodies where it is in the interests of our members to do so. In 2017-2018 we prepared 37 major submissions to governments and agencies on behalf of members.

Key submissions included:

·         NatRoad’s multiple responses to the National Transport Commission regarding its grass roots review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).  Many of these contain case studies that were obtained from members showing how poorly or unfairly the law can work: these examples are invaluable in pursuing change.

·         National Freight and Supply Chain Inquiry

·         Assessing the Effectiveness of the Performance Based Standards Scheme

·         National Road Safety Strategy Inquiry

·         Electronic Work Diary Policy Framework

·         Reasonable travel allowance expenses, and

·         Impact of technological and other change on the future of work and workers in Australia.

 

What happens next?

The law often changes slowly. There is also a natural reluctance in people to accept change, even when the evidentiary case is strong. For example, the National Transport Commission doesn’t expect changes to the HVNL to be in place until 2021 at the earliest.

However, on occasion there are some quick wins. For example, NatRoad convinced Transport for New South Wales to agree that for camera related offences members should not be charged for requesting a copy of the image showing their alleged offence. This small but important change has saved the industry thousands of dollars.

While the wheels of the law making machine move slowly, NatRoad is resilient and persistent in lobbying for change in our industry.