By Robyn Molloy

The crisis facing the transport industry needs to be urgently addressed and has the potential to impact nearly every other sector of the WA economy, Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny says.

Why the transport industry needs a Senate Inquiry and how the conference will drive the discussion

He says those in the industry are failing to be profitable because of a multitude of issues and has called on sector participants to help elevate the problems to government and policymakers at this year’s WA Freight and Logistics Conference.

The conference, organised by CCIWA and Western Roads Federation, will be held at the Perth Convention Centre on October 24, and includes keynotes and forums with representatives from across Australian and regional WA.

WRF has been pushing nationally for a Senate Inquiry to be held into the transport industry, with the inquiry announced last month to examine the importance of a sustainable and efficient road transport industry.  

The wide-ranging inquiry will look at pay and conditions, infrastructure maintenance and development, impact of regulations, career pathways, safety and technology, with recommendations to be handed down in April next year.

”Our industry has reached a point where companies aren’t making money and as a result, we’re not able to attract good people to our industry,” he says.

“We’re having issues with standards, compliance, with the ability to invest in new equipment, a whole raft of things.

“This is really crucial stuff. And this is where companies in particular need to be actively engaged and listening to it.”

A panel discussion addressing issues to be raised at the Senate Inquiry will be moderated by Senator Glenn Sterle, who is chair of the standing committee overseeing the inquiry, with representatives from national and state transport associations.

“Senator Sterle is an ex-truck driver and, politics aside, is passionate about this. He has taken the view, as we all have, that profit is not a dirty word and we need to start making a profit as an industry.

“That’s what appealed to all the associations and that’s why we’re really strongly supportive of him and trying to get this inquiry up.”

A heavy vehicle national law review, Westport, Infrastructure WA and regional barriers and opportunities will also be up for discussion at the conference, which will be opened by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

Dumesny says previous freight and logistics conferences had started to raise the importance of the transport logistic industry to the economy.

“Industries are often involved in the day-to-day, so it’s rare for them to get together and look at the issues as an industry and how we shape the industry for the future, and in so doing we help shape the WA economy.

“It’s a journey. It’s not an overnight success story but we are starting to see ourselves more actively engaged now at a public policy level – not just reacting to it but helping to shape it. And that’s an ongoing journey that we need to take.”

Tickets to the WA Freight and Logistics conference are selling fast. Don’t miss your change to be in the room. Book tickets and see the program here.