The COVID-19 pandemic thrusted upon us a set of circumstances none of us imagined. As a result, 2020 will be remembered as the year we had to quickly adapt, respond, embrace new technology and mobilise to ensure we could continue to operate and service our customers or, in our case, members.
It will also be the year that will be remembered for the phrase “you’re still on mute…”.
I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank and acknowledge the wonderful HVIA team who rose to the challenge, reacted swiftly and decisively, and responded to a set of circumstances beyond their control.
I also want to record my thanks to our members, who on numerous occasions have provided us with timely advice, information, and anecdotes that has helped us respond in real time to government, whilst they were working through the key policies during the pandemic.
HVIA members have been very proactive in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to keep themselves and their colleagues safe.
Closing lunchrooms, temperature checking, split shifts, working from home, re-designing workflows, increased education, cleaning, sanitation, and social distancing clearly demonstrated the seriousness of the pandemic and has largely ensured our members can continue to operate – even during Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria.
I am also conscious that in times of turmoil, discretionary expenditure is always first to come under scrutiny. We have been so grateful that a record number of members have paid their membership fees in a timely fashion, which has helped manage our cash-flow but also indicated the importance and value placed on belonging to a collective during turbulent times.
Both now and into the future, we will set a course of regular contact with our members both in terms of structured engagement through our committees, technical working groups and weekly Talk the Torque e-bulletin (I hope you are receiving this e-newsletter?) but will also invest in technology to ensure we can extend and improve these engagements.
We will also continue to make gains with our policy, technical and government advocacy. Our engagement will ensure that we are always on the front foot and ensuring we capitalise on more ways to support and deliver results for our members. This year, saw several HVIA highlights, including:
- Submitting the draft new Tipper Code to the NHVR,
- winning a concession to grandfather rear marker plates saving the industry millions,
- advocating for an extended Instant Asset Write-Off (IAWO),
- helping to architect a Backing Business Investment (BBI) bonus depreciation scheme,
- advocating the need to extend the IAWO to 31 December 2020,
- leading the charge on ensuring the transitional arrangements of the RVSA meant reduced testing costs for existing CRN and SARN components; and
- placing vehicle safety and technology solutions on the agenda via the NHVR’s Vehicle SETUP blueprint announcement.
We know there is much more to be done, but with your help and support we will get there.
I am also delighted to advise that the Board approved HVIA’s investment in an online Learning Management System (LMS) and we are in the process of developing a new comprehensive training package for new entrants to the industry and staff in back-of-house / non-technical roles.
This will be the most comprehensive industry wide course available and we hope it will become part of our members’ induction process and afford an ongoing learning opportunity for key staff.
I thank the members who have really supported this initiative providing pictures, content and other support and I really hope we can ensure this course is affordably priced and effective.
Once this is done we will look to re-format our existing face-to-face courses into the online LMS, which will ensure we can provide educational content at a fraction of the existing price, but more importantly the content can be done by staff at their convenience and at work, meaning no lost time off-site.
Our ability to deliver content is limitless and we will be looking to our members for advice on other short courses that are needed to ensure we raise the bar of the industry in an efficient, affordable, flexible way.
Sadly, this year we had to cancel ComVec, but it will be back in 2022. We undertook a strategic review and the planned changes to the event are still very relevant and will see a major evolution of its value proposition into the future.
However, looming quickly is a small event called the Brisbane Truck Show that we need to get through first and I will tease there are some exciting major announcements coming, which largely build on the success of 2019.
I know there is some level of trepidation surrounding events due to COVID but please trust that we will be going to great lengths to ensure the safety of our attendees and we are buoyed by the overwhelming enthusiasm and thirst for hope from our exhibitors and stakeholders.
There will need to be subtle changes but we have spent this time diligently planning, working with the BCEC and the Queensland Government and can assure all members there is the capacity and willingness to put on the show, safely and with minimal disruption. As they say: the show must go on!
Lastly, a thank you to the HVIA Board members who volunteer their time to the betterment of the industry and do a wonderful job in helping steer the organisation.
Their advice, support and presence was called upon greatly in 2020 and even though they had to ensure their own businesses, staff and families were safe, they were always available and for that we all owe them our gratitude.
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