The ATA CEO Ben Maguire has announced the organisation  will restructure and increase its focus on safety and will now  combine its TruckSafe, Safety Truck, safety promotion and safety research activities into a single section within the ATA.

Maguire revealed the section will be headed by a new Safety, Health and Wellbeing director. Melissa Weller, currently the ATA’s Safety and Skills adviser, has been appointed to the role.

“Until now, the ATA has operated TruckSafe as a separate business unit to the rest of the ATA. This has resulted in duplication. We have also missed out on opportunities to cross-promote what we do,” Mr Maguire said.

“The restructure will enable us to leverage more benefits from the expertise of the TruckSafe board and will place safety accreditation and promotion at the centre of the ATA’s work. It will bring TruckSafe into the mainstream of how we work as a team.

“The restructure emphasises our commitment to TruckSafe as an important part of the future of truck safety regulation. TruckSafe accredited operators do not receive the same regulatory concessions as NHVAS operators, even though they need to meet higher standards. This is not just unfair and anti competitive; it discourages operators from being in a higher quality scheme.

“Our first submission to the Heavy Vehicle National Law review proposes that safety-based schemes like TruckSafe should be formally recognised under the law, with the NHVR regulating safety schemes and auditors rather than trying to run one.”

The restructure follows Justin Fleming’s decision to leave the ATA after ten years with the organisation.

“Justin’s passion and commitment to TruckSafe and the industry is highly regarded by our team, sponsors, members, board and all the operators he deals with. Through Justin’s leadership, many a business has benefited from the business and safety improvements that TruckSafe offers. The industry is better for having people like Justin involved,” Mr Maguire said.

The Chair of the ATA, Geoff Crouch, said the board greatly appreciated Justin’s dedication and leadership.

“During Justin’s tenure at the ATA, he always demonstrated an unwavering commitment to promoting TruckSafe as the best safety management solution for Australian trucking operators, regardless of size. Justin’s dedication and passion have ensured that many companies have benefited from the TruckSafe product and improved their safety. Justin can be truly proud of this achievement,” Mr Crouch said.

“As the Chair of the ATA ‒ and as a TruckSafe accredited operator ‒ I’m looking forward to the future of TruckSafe. The restructure will deliver a compelling vision for the scheme’s future and a safer, healthier industry,” he said.

TruckSafe Chair Ferdie Kroon thanked Justin for his commitment.

“A large number of industry people, from all walks of life, have benefited and continue to benefit from Justin’s excellent work. All of us treasure Justin’s friendship, experience and skills.

“In conjunction with Justin, the TruckSafe board has worked very hard on the future of our product. At our next board meeting, in July, we’ll hear a pitch for a new digital platform. We’ll also work on how we can further simplify our standards and guidance material,” he said.

Mr Fleming said that TruckSafe was now in the best position it could possibly be to realise its full potential in the market.

“We have so many exciting developments that will be released in the near future to assist all our operators with not only compliance, but also to make sure they are the safest trucking businesses in Australia,” he said.

“I’ve had an incredible career in the trucking industry, and it’s been amazing because of the great people in the industry: the ATA and TruckSafe boards, our operators, our customers, our drivers and our support staff. I would like to thank everyone for their friendship during the last decade.

“I also want to thank TruckSafe Adviser Kevin Walsh for his support over many years.

“I now plan to concentrate on my agricultural businesses and to do some management consulting in the meat industry. I started my career as a trade-qualified butcher, so it will be fascinating to go back into the industry at a senior management level.

“I am leaving TruckSafe in a wonderful pair of capable hands, in Melissa Weller. I know that Melissa will take the business forward into the future,” Mr Fleming said.

Ms Weller said that her vision, as a safety practitioner, was everyone should get home safely, every day.

“Safety links to every aspect of business. You simply can’t have a productive and viable business if it is not a safe business. I am very excited to have this opportunity to lead the ATA’s safety communication, TruckSafe safety management system and safety, health and wellbeing education. We have started vital actions in these areas, and I am looking forward to getting results with our very motivated and safety focused ATA community,” Ms Weller said.

Melissa has managed safety projects for eight years. In 2016, Melissa was recognised by the Institute of Public Works and Engineering Association awards for excellence and was a 3M Diamond Road Safety Awards finalist for a safety project she coordinated across nine local government areas.

Melissa is leading the evidence-based redesign of the Volvo ATA Safety Truck education campaign. Melissa has a MR licence and has completed vocational training in fatigue management, traffic management and road safety auditing.

During her career, Melissa has held senior roles in strategy and policy development, road safety and business development. Melissa was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Australasian College of Road Safety.

TruckSafe’s high level of service to accredited operators will not change as a result of the restructure. TruckSafe operators can contact Kevin Walsh on 02 6253 6927 or for support.