The future of the transport industry is clearly in capable hands, with six rising stars in the running for the inaugural Young Person in Transport Award.
As the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland gears up to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its formation, the award will recognise and acknowledge the contribution younger transport workers are making to the sustainability of the industry.
Member businesses of the rural transport peak body were encouraged to recognise excellence in their workplace and nominate outstanding individuals aged 35 years or younger, with the list then whittled down to finalists:
- Jack Mailman, Martins Stock Haulage - Oakey
- Axel Oppermann, Oppermann and Sons Transport - Rolleston
- James Scott, Scotts Haulage - Roma
- Daniel Steel, Stockyard Transport - Townsville
- Damian Swalling, Swalling Livestock Transport - Toowoomba
- Jack Uebergang, Frasers Livestock Transport - Rockhampton
LRTAQ president Gerard Johnson said it was an impressive group of nominees and offered his congratulations to each of the finalists.
"Each of these individuals displays pride and professionalism in their career, demonstrates a passion for our industry and has a strong desire to advance within it," Mr Johnson said.
"They are a credit to our industry and I'm looking forward to promoting their stories to encourage other young people to consider a career in rural transport."
Mr Johnson said in his opinion, one of the biggest challenges in the industry was driver welfare and attracting drivers.
"The average age of a driver these days is over 50, and in order to secure the future of our food and fibre supply chains, we need to get serious about bringing younger people into the industry," he said.
"Our six finalists are the proof in the pudding that this is a great industry to both earn a living and forge a rewarding career in."
Mr Johnson paid tribute to Meritor for generously sponsoring the initiative.
"I'd like to thank Meritor for helping us to shine a spotlight on the important contribution our younger workers are making to the sustainability of our industry," Mr Johnson said.
Meritor Australia product and marketing manager Adam Carroll said the company is proud to be associated with the award, recognising outstanding young people in the livestock transport industry.
"For over 50 years, our facility in Melbourne has been manufacturing the axles that keep Australian livestock trucks moving and we'd like to ensure that relationship continues for the next 50 years," Mr Carroll said.
The winner of the LRTAQ Young Person in Transport Award 2021 will be announced at the upcoming Bull Carter's Ball on Saturday, July 17, as part of the LRTAQ Annual Conference in Roma.