Turbans And Truckies Come Together To Promote Harmony
Turbans and truckies combined to deliver a visual and auditory feast at the joint Turbans 4 Australia Harmony Day - Convoy For Kids Sydney event held at Liverpool in western Sydney on Sunday, March 20.
The feast of the senses kicked off at 7am with close to 100 trucks forming a convoy from Sydney Dragway to the Liverpool Catholic Club around 25 kilometres away. Fittingly, the convoy was led by two vehicles from the Newborn & Paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS) – the convoy’s chosen charity – and the freshly-painted Green and Gold Charity Logistics truck, a new social enterprise launched just last week by Turbans 4 Australia.
Convoy For Kids Sydney sponsor Winston Express Haulage led the way with more than 20 of its trucks taking part in the convoy, alongside a fleet of trucks from fellow event sponsor AirRoad, plus a bright-looking ‘Bob the Builder’ inspired truck from Sydney-based outfit Traffic Logistics.
Alongside the impressive truck display, kids were treated to a rich choice of rides, including a jumping castle, merry-go-round, dodgem cars and slippery slide, while the big kids got to enjoy rides in a couple of hot street rods on show. Both young and old were mesmerised by the fireworks display and the amazing colour, sound and movement of the traditional Sikh dancers to close out the event.
For both Turbans 4 Australia founder and president Amar Singh, and Convoy For Kids Sydney committee president (and TWU NSW official) Mark Smallwood, the event was a great success.
Staged in partnership with Multicultural NSW and the Liverpool Council – and with support from sponsors including NTI, NHVR and RMS NSW, the Harmony Day event aimed to promote multiculturalism in the transport industry based around the theme ‘Everyone Belongs’.
The last-minute decision to join forces with Convoy For Kids Sydney to stage a combined event – after widespread flooding in the Hawkesbury region forced the convoy to alter its usual route – helped the cause greatly.
Not only did this bring the truckies and the turbans together, it also enabled Turbans 4 Australia to hand over a cheque for $3,000 to NETS from the proceeds of the day.
Turbans 4 Australia was founded in 2015 as a charitable organisation aimed at showcasing the “honourable beliefs” of Australia’s 150,000-strong Sikh community, which include “equality, respect, benevolence and help extended irrespective of caste and creed”.
Since it began the organisation has helped people in need, both in Australia and abroad, from driving seven semi-trailers full of hay to drought-stricken farmers in Coonamble, to providing supplies to the victims of Cyclone Marcia in Queensland, to helping renovate a community hub in Mount Druitt; to organising and transporting much-needed supplies to victims of the recent floods in and around Lismore in northern NSW.
Sunday saw Turbans 4 Australia launch a new social enterprise, Green and Gold Charity Logistics, which will aim to provide logistics support to Australian community-based charities, some on a “paid” and others on a “pay forward” basis.
“We can’t preach harmony and not practice it,” Singh says in reference to the decision to stage a joint event.
Singh, who runs a family-owned transport business in western Sydney, says the event sought to counter the “hatred and racism” that’s running rife in the trucking industry, especially on social media.
“I’ve seen a lot of hatred, a lot of racism, which seems to be treated as normal. But if transport was a normal 9-5 office environment it wouldn’t happen at all. It’s not very nice, and it’s not what Australia is about,” he says, noting that drivers from multicultural backgrounds are being criticised for poor driving skills when the licensing system is to blame.
“The main point of the event is to create harmony. [The trucking industry] should be sticking together, asking for better roads, better truck stops, a better licensing system. We need to stick together, and we need to work together to raise awareness among the general public about what the transport industry does.”
Well-known truckie Mike Williams, popular host of the On the Road podcast, agrees. And it’s why he threw his support behind the event.
“It needs to change, we need to talk about it, because it probably won’t be solved without communication and mutual respect. And that’s why I wanted to promote this event,” he says.