THE peak body Road Freight NSW has appointed a new chairman, transport industry veteran Austin Vella.

Mr Vella has more than 35 years’ experience in the trucking industry and is the managing director of Vellex, a family-owned and operated business, focusing on providing freight distribution and logistics solutions across Australia.

He is a long-term member of the RFNSW board of directors and is also vice chairman of the Australian Trucking Association, with a reputation within industry for his passion and commitment to prioritising safety on the roads. He replaces Leigh Smart as RFNSW chairman.

Mr Vella said, “I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to contribute further to the great work that (previous chairs) Jon Luff and Leigh Smart started that has resulted in the success of RFNSW.

“Together with our CEO Simon O’Hara and the backing of an exceptional and experienced Board, I look forward to the challenges ahead.”

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In his new role, Mr Vella said he would represent and advocate for RFNSW members and the wider trucking industry and work with transport regulators to ensure a safe, compliant and profitable industry to service the needs of the community.

“The freight task will increase and so will the challenges, but with new technologies, new solutions need to be explored to ensure further improvements are achieved,” Mr Vella said.

“RFNSW will prioritise the mental and physical health of the workforce. We will continue consultation for development of compliance legislation inline with corporate social responsibilities, all the while ensuring a sustainable industry.”

Simon O’Hara welcomed Mr Vella’s appointment, saying his hands-on experience, insights and understanding of the transport industry, would be of great benefit to RFNSW and its members.

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