Louise Bilato is a prominent and passionate advocate for road transport in the Northern Territory.

Story + Photo Kerry Sharp

Louise Bilato learnt to walk on the rough red dirt of the Plenty and Tanami ‘highways’. The Darwin toddler and her five siblings used to travel vast distances with their schoolteacher mum Valerie to visit their dad Dino, who spent months at a time away from home as a subcontractor working on northern beef roads in the 1960s and ’70s. 

More than 50 years later, these vital bush byways and the truck drivers who use them are a top priority for Louise, a prominent and passionate industry advocate since becoming executive officer of the Northern Territory Road Transport Association (NTRTA) in 2009. 

“The job is very much about driver safety and welfare, supporting industry to be the best possible version of itself, and working closely with governments and other relevant agencies to identify ways to do things better,” she says. “There’s a lot of listening, lobbying, educating, negotiating and sharing information. An important task is to articulate critical issues on the national stage so that remote Australia’s voice isn’t drowned out by big city issues.” 

This story excerpt is from Issue #131

Outback Magazine: June/July 2020