Deputy CEO Monthly Message
At one time or another, we’ve all read or studied a William Shakespeare play.
In Romeo and Juliet there are the lines:
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”.
Now, I profess that Member Services and Support is not in the rose category and it would be a very long bow to claim that my role as General Manager of the Division has similarities to Juliet. However, the name ‘Member Services and Support’, and my role, are germane to the woven fabric that forms MTA Queensland. The name ‘Member Services and Support’ says what the division does and specifies my duties.
It is the members of the 11 industry divisions that form MTA Queensland. Your needs, support and advocacy are our foremost responsibility. My duty is to ensure that these are delivered. Central to our responses is knowledge - knowledge which comes from knowing your views and requirements. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, computer communication and cell phone use for email and text messaging provide information and advice immediacy between members and the Corporate Office.
Members can access information or make comment via the MTA Queensland and the MTA Institute websites and the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Incidentally, the websites have received more than 100,000 views and the social media pages have reached tens of thousands of users. Through the electronic communication medium, members receive the weekly industry bulletin timed for 11am each Thursday (excepting public holidays) and a website which is updated with the recent media statements, submissions, courses, events and activities.
Undoubtedly, computer communication is vital for the flow of information between Members Services and Support and members. For me, the best form of communication comes from attending divisional meetings and listening to the views expressed. It is here that the issues emerge: some general in nature; others of industry requiring advocacy and some occasionally controversial. For the 14 years I’ve worked with members attending divisional meetings, I’ve listened and learnt. Over that time, my corporate knowledge of each of the division’s views and policies has increased and evolved with the technological communication changes. Having this corporate and current knowledge is vital for advocacy on the divisions’ or members’ views to all levels of government.
By way of example only, knowing the policy and contemporary views of the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (Qld) policy on trading hours enabled the Corporate Office, with the Retail Motor Vehicle Sales members, to successfully advocate in several fora and in submissions for the existing regime to remain. This is only one of many policy issues where we have achieved outcomes that have been to the advantage of members and the wider automotive value chain. There has been one policy area (and only one) when the Corporate Office erred in its advocacy on behalf of a division. This was in relation to the New Car Retailing Industry - a market study by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The Automotive Engineers Division (AED), in discussing the finished submission, pointed to a policy point seeking clarification or amendment. I was of the belief that the details in the submission accurately reflected the members’ views on the matter, but they required clarification to make the point unreservedly and without interpretation. A supplementary submission was forwarded to the ACCC to reflect accurately the AED position.
The significance of these examples is to emphasise the importance of divisional meetings for members to express views and discuss issues either general or industry specific for immediate advocacy or action. I encourage our regionally diverse members to participate in divisional meetings and have input. Distance is not a barrier. - the Corporate Office provides online communication through Skype or by telephone hook-up. For me, it is hearing your views expressed at divisional meetings that provides the practical understanding of the issues from the perspective of the member/s. And that is what advocacy is about - expressing your views and your policies to all levels of government. This brings me back to the name ‘Members Services and Support’. We are here for you, your needs and your services. It is my duty to deliver for you.
Automated Vehicles Advice from the National Transport Commission
Over the past 18 months or so, we’ve participated in policy consultations pertaining to the operation of partial to fully automated vehicles on the nation’s road network. The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released three policy papers which I urge members to consider. These are
- Assuring the safety of automated vehicles policy paper
- Clarifying control for automated vehicles policy paper
- National enforcement guidelines for automated vehicles
Although each is important, I draw your attention to the latter policy document outlining the national enforcement guidelines which are to provide guidance about how the requirement of proper control in Australian Road Rule 297 - that is “a driver must not drive a vehicle unless the driver has proper control” - should apply to vehicles with automated functions. It confirms that the human driver is responsible for complying with road traffic laws when a vehicle has conditional automation engaged at a point in time.
These are on our website and were included in a recent weekly bulletin. Alternatively, they may be viewed at http://www.ntc.gov.au/roads/technology/automated-vehicles-in-australia
President’s Annual Ball
The President’s Annual Ball is the signature social event on MTA Queensland’s calendar. It was an evening of celebration and bonhomie. The highlight was the announcement of the winners of the MTA Institute Apprentice of Year, and the Community and Innovation Awards. Congratulations to apprentice of the year Elliott Lemmon from Greg Tunstall Automotive in Ormiston; Mark Dodge Motoring Cairns on their outstanding volunteering and charitable activities to be selected for the community award; and to EV North (owner Michael Lunn) for the innovation award derived from work in rebuilding internal combustion engine vehicles to run as plug in Electric Vehicles (EVs). Highlights of the evening and the details of the award winners are on the website.
The window of opportunity for our visit to Central Queensland on 5 December closed. There were too many conflicting activities at both ends preventing the finalisation of the schedule. Divisional Executive Andy O’Hearn, in the lead up to Christmas, will visit members at their businesses to discuss their issues and provide feedback to me. Additionally, he will canvass future dates for a visit and meeting with the membership.
As I prepare this column, to use the words of Meredith Wilson’s Christmas carol:
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Toys in ev'ry store,
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.
I’m looking forward to the Christmas break. For me, Christmas is about the family and friends assembling to enjoy each other’s company and the festivities. After this, Shaun, Jackson and I will decamp to the Sunshine Coast to holiday, recoup and prepare ourselves for the coming year.
The Member Services and Support staff joins with me in wishing you a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.
Until 2018, wherever you are and whatever you do over the Christmas and New Year season, take care and take safe.
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