2021 HVIA Chief Executive Officer’s Report

Nearly 20 years ago, former United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld answered a question with an off-the-cuff statement that has since become famous for its deeply philosophical outlook, notwithstanding many believe its prophecy was unintentional.

He said:

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know.

“We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

“And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

I have been thinking about this statement recently, as I feel it best sums up the COVID-19 pandemic. If the last eighteen months are anything to go by, I for one, will not try to predict what the next twelve months have in store as this insidious pandemic evolves.

I will, however, give you one guarantee – the team at HVIA will be doing our best to ensure we are advocating strongly, supporting our members, seeking to influence policies that affect the industry and trying to ease some of the burden for you.

I know it is not easy right now – I know it has been a challenging year, but I sincerely hope the next twelve months will see the pendulum shift as the country re-opens in a sensible way, once the vaccination rate hits the agreed target levels, and supply chain issues start to improve.

I want to thank our members for their ongoing support and loyalty in the face of these challenges and hope we have been able to assist you in some way in 2020-21.

We are cognisant of the importance of creating value for each member and we are always open to ideas as to how we can best serve you.

As you can see from the financial statements, we are getting close to the Board’s stated financial goal of a “break even” position every two-year budget cycle.

Once achieved, this will be a significant milestone for HVIA’s sustainability and validates the decision to create a national body to service the HVIA membership.

Brisbane Truck Show

Far and away the biggest focus for HVIA this year was the 2021 Brisbane Truck Show.

Held in May, we had the perfect window, to hold the event with 31,000 attendees over the 4 days, which was an incredible achievement.

Although, these numbers were approximately 20% down on 2019, HVIA had budgeted for this eventuality and the feedback from exhibitors was very much quality over quantity in terms of the attendees.

Those in attendance have described the feeling at the event as notably jubilant. For many it seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered after a year of extended lockdowns – finally a chance to catch up with colleagues, peers and customers.

It was a testament to our industry, and to the event itself, to still have 9,000 interstate guests travel to Brisbane with the ever-present risk of quarantine.

This led to 45,000 hotel room-nights for the city and putting the event firmly in the upper echelons of any event held in Australia since the beginning of the pandemic.

It was also extremely pleasing to see the South Bank Truck Festival continue to gather momentum.

Whilst still in its infancy, the strategic vision is for this activation to the be the outward facing, community forward event. Its positive outreach affirms the Brisbane Truck Show as an industry asset, and our quest to maintain industry’s high social licence to operate.

HVIA owes a great deal of gratitude to those exhibitors that stuck by us and ploughed through in the face of adversity and uncertainty.

I would like to say thank you to everyone involved from the exhibitors to the attendees, sponsors, stakeholders and the HVIA staff who dedicate many sleepless nights ensuring every detail is in place.

Our efforts have already turned to the early stages of planning for the 2023 Truck Show.

This includes the incredible news that HVIA’s bid for the international Heavy Vehicle Transport and Technology Symposium was successful and will see this event held in conjunction with the BTS in May 2023 – another feather in the event’s cap!


The Board has recently signed off on a significant project to lead the way in providing advice to the industry, community, government, operators, and
others about the uptake of zero-emission vehicles (whether that be battery electric vehicles or fuel cell electric vehicles).

There is so much the industry must do to prepare for this transition and our engagement with HVIA members has highlighted there are gaps.

Gaps in knowledge that we need to overcome; gaps in skills development and employee training; gaps in terms of the regulator’s understanding; gaps in the government’s policy strategy and infrastructure roll out, as well as electricity supply.

HVIA will be taking a leading role in ensuring every member is as best prepared as possible to ensure that there is no impediment once the market is ready to embrace the new technology in earnest.

I am also delighted to advise members that HVIA has also recently been announced as one of the successful recipients of funding for the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.

HVIA’s application centred around making two significant training courses in load restraint and best practice tyre management, utilising our new learning management system.

HVIA sincerely hopes that implementation of these courses will ensure the industry’s safety performance in these areas improve.

Administrative Changes

This year saw a change in our ranks with Teagan Hadley offered a position at IVECO Brisbane.

Teagan was a great contributor over her five years with the organisation and left with our blessing to continue her personal and professional growth.

With Teagan’s departure, we have been fortunate enough to secure Kay Marco to the HVIA team in an ongoing capacity. Kay has helped HVIA as a contractor for both the 2019 and 2021 Brisbane Truck Shows, but it is great that Kay can join us full time and bring her wealth of event experience to HVIA.

As mentioned in the President’s report, HVIA must reluctantly say goodbye to Nick Stavrakis and Mario Colosimo from the Board.

Nick and Mario joined the Board in 2015 and must retire pursuant to the HVIA rules.

In their time, they have brought a wealth of experience, professionalism, ideas, knowledge and acumen to the organisation and we wish them well in their future endeavours.


In closing, I want to acknowledge and thank our loyal members for their ongoing support once again.

I want to thank the HVIA Board for their significant input, advice and contributions and congratulate the HVIA staff for another ground-breaking year.

Todd Hacking
Chief Executive Officer

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