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Journeys : Oct Nov 2011
From the President The RACT is a very successful iconic Tasmanian business, but at the same time it is also a mutual. Many of our valuable members may not be aware of this fact. They may see mutuals as only being credit unions, building and fr iendly societies. The term ‘mutuality’ descr ibes the unique structure of the R ACT. The basic premise is that our members who are also our customers actually own the organisation. In the RACT, like all mutuals, each member has a share in the organisation, and the share cannot be traded like shares in public-listed companies. In addition, our members all have an equal and valuable role in the direction of the RACT and its governance structure. I stress to all members the impor tance of participating in the affairs of the Club, especially with the annual election of their Board of Directors. When the R ACT generates a surplus, it’s directed towards member benefits. Examples of how a surplus can provide opportunities lies with RACT’s extensive statew ide program of community suppor t and sponsorship. From large to small, the R ACT group suppor ts events, programs and initiatives. Among our key community and members’ events are the presentations to our 50 year R ACT members. These events have been operating since the early 1980s and since 2008, because of the increase in the number of recipients receiving the awards, they are now held annually throughout the three main regions of Tasmania. In 2008, the regional distribution of 50 year recipients and regions was 15 from the North West, 12 from the North and 65 from the South. This year it increased to 37 from the North West, 48 from the North and 165 from the South – a total of 250. It is healthier lifestyles, members living longer and driving a lot more in their retirement years that has contributed to this amazing increase. In the next five years, there will be around 2809 RACT members who will be eligible for this award. Each recipient is invited to a social event with a partner, to receive their award and a photograph of the occasion and each year thereafter pay only 50% of their Roadside membership subscription. As President of the RACT, I believe we are demonstrating clearly to our members, especially our 50 year members, that in being an effective mutual, membership is very impor tant to the Club. Stuart Slade President and Chairman of the Board RACT welcomes changes to older driver regulations The R ACT has welcomed the State Government’s decision to abolish the annual on-road assessment for drivers aged 85 and over. We recommended such a reform in a recent submission to the Tasmanian Government’s Consultation Paper on a Seniors’ Policy. The RACT undertook comprehensive research on the issue, and concluded that the regulation was unfair, created stress and additional financial hardship for older people, and was inefficient in identifying impaired dr ivers. The mandatory on-road assessment was a barrier to the mobility of older Tasmanians. There was evidence that safe, able older dr ivers often voluntarily handed-in their licences rather than submit to a test. “Older Tasmanians should be able to drive for as long as they are safe to do so,” says Vince Taskunas, the RACT’s General Manager Public Policy and Communications. “Maintaining a driver’s licence should be based on ability rather than arbitrary age limits, and so we believe the Government has made a good decision on this matter.” In announcing his decision, Minister for Infrastructure David O’Byrne said that older drivers were not a major road safety problem in Tasmania. Austroads research shows that older drivers reduce their exposure to high-risk times of driving, such as peak hour traffic or night driving, and drive fewer kilometres in total. Older drivers are relatively unlikely to be in single-vehicle crashes, especially those involving loss of control, speeding, hooning, illicit drug-taking or other risky behaviours. The RACT has also welcomed the Gover nment’s review and update of a vital publication that provides helpful information to older motorists, The Older Driver’s Handbook. We have offered to assist in the publicity and distribution of the handbook. In our recent submission to the Tasmanian Government’s Consultation Paper on Seniors’ Policy, the R ACT also argued for a strong national focus on mobility for older Australians. Our submission stated that for older people (and Tasmania has the nation’s oldest population) mobility is integral to accessing health ser vices, other essential ser vices, employment, volunteer work, recreational travel and social interaction. We also noted In our community 4 October / November 2011
MNJ Aug Sep 2011