ATA election winners outline vision for industry

Small fleet and owner driver representatives respond to election result

ATA election winners outline vision for industry
Angela Welsh and Frank Black


Frank Black (Arcidiaco) and Angela Welsh were appointed to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) General Council at the 2019 election.

Black, from Albert Park in South Australia, was elected as the owner driver representative, and Welsh, from Blaxland East in NSW, the small fleet representative.

There were 123 ballots were cast in the election of the owner-driver representative from 203 electors, marking a 61 per cent voting rate.

Black won 61 per cent of the vote (75 votes), ahead of John Beer (23), Tim Montague (18) and Luke McCrone (7).

Forty-nine ballots were cast in the election of the small fleet operator representative from 95 electors, marking a 52 per cent voting rate.

Welsh defeated fellow nominee Lynley Miners by a single vote (25 to 24).

The elcted will have direct input on council matters and are eligible to join ATA policy committees.

The new representatives will take up their roles at the ATA’s 2019 AGM, to be held in Perth on April 3 in conjunction with Trucking Australia 2019.

Angella Welsh

Welsh is the director of Straightshot Transport, which offers interstate and intrastate services including transporting general freight, towing, carrying, courier, hot-shot and oversize load pilot services.

"I am a very private person, however, when there is something that I strongly believe in, I will stand up and do my best to make things right and/or better," Welsh tells ATN.

"I am very humbled and surprised that I was elected to the ATA General Council. I put my name forward because I can see a number of issues and concerns in our industry, and instead of just sitting back and complaining I decided it was time to start taking some positive steps to help make changes occur.

"Most of the businesses I deal with on a day to day basis have little to no time spare to help create meaningful changes. With the media and political focus on the number of "truck related" crashes without identifying to the general public that these stats do not mean truck "at fault" crashes, our drivers face an increased battle on our roads with those that drive defensively near or around them.

"From a small business perspective, I get to see the direct impact the negative publicity plays on the most valuable part in our industry, our drivers.

"Safety MUST be our number one priority. I believe a better "safety culture" and better driver education and experience will truly help our industry and its currently tarnished image.

"It will almost certainly be a massive learning curve for me being a part of the Australian Trucking Association, but I also believe I have a lot to offer at the same time.

"I am passionate about safety for our drivers and making sure the little end of town (small transport businesses) have a voice on legislative changes that will inevitably occur.

"I am honoured to carry on the role from Lynley Miners in April, and look forward to the future of our industry."

Frank Black

Black has been a long-distance owner driver for more than 30 years who has previously served on the ATA general council.

"I’m very pleased with the win. I hope my presence on the general council will mean the ATA will start to listen to reasoned arguments about why we need to reform our industry and make wealthy clients at the top pay, instead of passing resolutions which play right into their hands," Black says in a statement.

"I hope they will start to understand how damaging their campaign to shut down a road safety watchdog three years ago was since it took away guaranteed 30-day payments for owner drivers. Since then drivers are doing it hard, anyone who is talking to us regularly will know this.

"Transport operators are also doing it hard. No amount of ignoring the problem will make it go away. We have a chance for change and the ATA needs to get on board.

"The problem is that when the ATA opposed the road safety watchdog three years ago it was replaced with nothing. The ATA are even passing resolutions to do nothing. Drivers need enforceable and sustainable rates and conditions addressed, doing nothing is not a solution."

Black also received the backing of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), which lauded him for advocating "for changes in the industry to ensure safe rates and a stronger independent voice for owner drivers on the ATA".

Earlier, the TWU and ATA had stoushed over the election voting process. Read more, here

"I congratulate Frank on a fantastic win. Drivers along with transport operators and industry bodies are joining the chorus demanding positive reform in our industry," TWU national secretary Michael Kaine says.

"What we need is tough regulation, not voluntary codes. We need to lift standards, not allow a dog-eat-dog race to the bottom. We need a system of Safe Rates so that everyone, drivers and operators alike, have got a minimum threshold to ensure they can keep their businesses going, pay their overheads and pay themselves a wage to support their families. This will make our industry fairer, but it will also save lives."

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