Michael McCormack has taken over Barnaby Joyce’s federal infrastructure and transport ministerial portfolio along with the Nationals Party leadership.
McCormack will combine the role with that of small business minister, taking that portfolio into Cabinet, and deputy prime minister.
McCormack’s time as small business minister and Riverina MP has seen him gain some exposure to transport and logistics issues, having backed the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics (RiFL) Hub project, the Gillenbah truck stop, the Kapooka bridge project and he supported the convoy against the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).
Industry and government organisations welcomed him to his new responsibilities.
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair Geoff Crouch says that, from personal experience, McCormack is a good choice.
"Michael McCormack will bring great drive and determination to the infrastructure and transport portfolio," Crouch says.
"I have known Michael for more than 20 years. He is a proven advocate for small business, and regional and remote Australia. I’m confident he’ll bring this drive and determination to supporting the road transport industry."
Crouch notes McCormack demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the road transport industry in parliament in 2012, saying: "If it needs to be carried, carted, dumped, hauled, moved, shifted or transported, there is every likelihood a truck or trailer will be the most economical, fastest and most reliable way of getting it from point A to point B."
Crouch believes McCormack represents an opportunity to focus the transport agenda on improving safety and boosting productivity.
"Trucking is critical to connecting Australians with goods and exports, as Michael McCormack knows well," Crouch says.
"But road transport must be safe, and must keep Australian businesses competitive in global markets.
"The ATA looks forward to engaging with the deputy prime minister on the need for independent and expert safety investigations of heavy vehicle accidents by the ATSB, on implementing the new laws on chain of responsibility, and ensuring our fatigue laws and rest areas are focused on saving lives.
"We also need to enable economic opportunity by boosting productivity, improving road access, building better and safer roads and eliminating over-regulation."
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) welcomed the, with NHVR chair Bruce Baird saying he looked forward to working with McCormack to deliver the regulator’s ongoing reform to heavy vehicle safety and productivity.
"On behalf of the NHVR staff, our chief executive and board, I congratulate Michael," Baird says.
"I look forward to working with the incoming Minister to deliver consistency across Australia’s borders, reduce red tape for heavy vehicle operators and boost road safety for all road users.
"In particular Michael has been a strong advocate for regional communities and I look forward to his leadership as a shareholding Minister of the NHVR."
Baird also thanked outgoing minister Joyce for his ongoing support of the NHVR and heavy vehicle industry.
Victoria’s industry representative body also backed the new transport minister.
"The Victorian Transport Association wishes to congratulate Michael McCormack on his election as leader of the Nationals, and his appointment as deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and transport," CEO Peter Anderson says.
"We have worked closely with his predecessors in these vital portfolio areas, and we look forward to working with the Minister and his team to develop policies and solutions that improve conditions for freight and logistics operators throughout Australia."
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