2020 HVIA President’s report

2020 has been a year that we will all remember. Running a business, as we all do – during a global pandemic – has for many required a great deal of energy, resilience and agility.

For a select few in our industry, they have never been busier; for others it has been tough to survive and for most, it has required immense attention to detail as we’ve pivoted into new markets, tried to find operational efficiencies, engaged with lenders and landlords and found new and innovative ways to try and normalise our activities.

However, putting on my presidential HVIA hat, I have also never been prouder to be part of an association that has been able to mobilise very quickly, to support and advise, making this challenging period a little easier.

On behalf of the Board and staff, I hope your experience was the same. We thank you for your ongoing loyalty and support in what has been truly turbulent times.

Anecdotally, the fact that our membership has increased in recent months tells me that the efforts of the HVIA team were appreciated and valued.

The Board unashamedly set a direction of seeking closer ties with government nearly three years ago, and we feel this decision has been vindicated during the pandemic.

Our association was one of the few prominent national bodies called upon to provide vital operational advice, to inform economy-leading policy change and to provide thought leadership.

The results included the increase to the original Instant Asset Write-Off threshold, the implementation of the Backing Business Investment scheme and the subsequent extension of the former to 31 December 2020.

We have also led the way with our call for increased government funding to ensure local manufacturers have opportunities to grow, invest in new equipment and processes, to pivot, onshore or enhance their operations.

Our recent safety policies have opened up pathways that continue to ensure the very latest in safety technologies become more prevalent in the fleet.

2020 saw some major changes for our organisation. It started with a fundamental Memorandum of Understanding that saw ARTSA devolve itself of corporate members and go on its own new journey. I’m pleased to report that most of the former ARTSA members have joined HVIA and are gaining the benefit of our member offering.

This year, the Board has also added to its stocks by bringing on Daniel
Whitehead, President and CEO of Daimler Truck and Bus Asia Pacific, and
also Roy Lombardi, CEO of Howard Porter in WA.

Apart from adding enormous strategic nous, Daniel and Roy bring further balance to the make-up of the Board, with an important truck OEM voice and a geographical investment in the West respectively, extending our reach and output.

The Board has also recently signed off on a new Strategic Plan, which will ensure we remain proactive and focused on the direction and activity of HVIA for 2020-2025. This will see the greater use of technology to lead training, education and member engagement.

We are also keen to utilise our best asset – the Brisbane Truck Show – by not only applying an international lens but to ensure we continue to have tangible, proactive, educational outcomes for the broader community.

In 2021, HVIA will continue to evolve our policy and advocacy work and to ensure we are a proactive thought leader and trusted voice for the industry.

We will continue to increase our prominence, engagement and activity levels and it is fair to say that we are seeking additional stakeholder and partnership opportunities.

As I write this email, HVIA and its predecessor CVIAQ celebrates its 50th anniversary. I believe it is absolutely necessary, as we reflect on the legacy of the organisation, to make mention and pay tribute to the six initial members of HVIA who joined in 1970.

We will have more to say about this achievement in the coming months, but I place on record my appreciation for the ongoing, loyal membership of:

  • Haulmark Trailers (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • IVECO Trucks Australia
  • BPW Transpec Pty Ltd
  • Volvo Group Australia Pty Ltd
  • Russ Engineering Pty Ltd
  • Penske Australia

It is hard to predict the future with COVID-19 still ever-present in our lives; what does the new normal look like? When will it commence? When will a vaccine be available?

But rest assured, whatever ends up being the answers, every effort of HVIA will be made to remain at the forefront of support, advice and information for our members.

I don’t know about you, but the investment I make in HVIA’s membership gives me great comfort that I am part of a collective industry that together can ensure its voice is heard far quicker and with much greater impact then we can as separate and smaller entities.

John Drake

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