Members sometimes wonder how lobbying works. It is a big part of what we do. NatRoad plays an essential role in influencing governments and other parties to address road freight industry issues: influencing the way governments make decisions is the heart of lobbying. This helps to improve the business environment for members and other industry participants. For example, we constantly assess members’ tax burden and seek to have that reduced.
However, lobbying doesn’t happen overnight. Change takes time.
Why does NatRoad lobby?
NatRoad is focused on the trucking industry and prides itself on supporting business survival and safety. We represent our members’ interests and those of the road freight industry. Communicating our policies, or the course of action we want them to take, to all Australian Governments and senior bureaucrats is an important part of our work.
We want them to care what members think.
What does NatRoad do?
- Working with all levels of government to improve heavy vehicle laws and regulations, especially those that have a negative impact on productivity.
- Lobbying for improvements to vehicle safety on the road plus workplace safety and health, including improving the quality of roads as a safety measure.
- Advising the federal Government, the NHVR and State and Territory governments on increasing business management efficiency, improving industrial relations legislation and reducing red tape.
- Communicating and educating members about changes to laws and regulations as they occur, and a lot is expected under a new federal Government.
- Campaigning on issues of interest to members, such as getting more recognition of heavy vehicle drivers’ skills, including getting an apprenticeship up and running.
How do we lobby?
In consultation with our members, the NatRoad Board looks at the industry environment for opportunities to create a more profitable and sustainable future. We have member working groups to ensure policy is developed from the ground up before the Board considers it. We then make representations to various governments and other bodies. We do so where it is in the interests of our members. These communications can be as simple as a telephone conversation, or an email or may lead to the development of detailed written submissions.
We have a range of policies in place about many aspects of the industry’s operation. From time to time, we refresh those policies with members, often during NatRoad annual conferences.
What happens next?
The law changes slowly; it reinforces the status quo. There is also a natural reluctance in people to accept change. Reform often loses its lustre when the grind of providing detail comes into play; this has been the fate of several attempts to reform fatigue laws.
However, there have been some quick wins. For example, NatRoad convinced governments around Australia that border restrictions for COVID aren’t necessary. We also convinced the NSW government to keep freight-friendly testing stations open long after that State dropped testing of freight drivers, but other places required that testing. We constantly pushed for uniformity in COVID regulation and published a daily COVID bulletin that explained the rules to members as they changed. We are ready if stricter regulation in this area surfaces again.
Attitude: We don’t Give Up
NatRoad stays resilient and persistent. Every day we try to do our best to ensure change happens, change that benefits our members.