|BIC National e-Bulletin – June 2023
Message from the Executive Director
It has been a difficult few months for the bus industry as we deal with a series of tragic accidents that have impacted the lives of many, both within the industry and across the wider community.
Our deepest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of those who have been killed and those who have been injured in several crashes involving buses and coaches, particular the horrific Hunter Valley Bus Crash. We express our gratitude to the emergency services and first responders on the scenes of these accidents and all the members of our industry who have offered support to the companies impacted by these events.
In the aftermath of the Greta Bus Crash the BIC Council have met to discuss priorities going forward. The Council are working on an industry position statement on seatbelts which as always remains a complex and contentious issue. We are also refocusing the program for the National Industry Conference to have a greater focus on safety- the safety of our operations, the safety of our buses and the physical and psychosocial safety of our workforce.
Even before the tragic accidents occurred it was becoming increasingly apparent that the bus and coach industry in Australia is experiencing unprecedented changes and challenges. These include the national bus driver and wider skills shortages, the transition to low and zero emission buses, the intersection of hyperinflation and contractual constraints, increasing consolidation and growing rhetoric about effectiveness or otherwise of privatisation, and a range of reforms that are due to take effect at the national level.
For the industry to weather these changes and challenges effectively it needs the support of a strong industry advocacy body that is undertaking projects that advance the cause of the industry. The BIC Council and secretariat are working hard on your behalf to deliver strong advocacy, relevant research, policy, and advice.
Executive Director, Bus Industry Confederation
Policy, Advocacy and Technical Updates
BIC Council Update
The Bus Industry Confederation Council has outlined its key projects for the upcoming year, focusing on various areas to advance the bus industry. Alongside their existing endeavors in policy, advocacy, research, industrial relations, and events, the Council have identified the following priority projects:
Local Content Definition: The project aims to develop a standardised definition and calculation methodology for local content, which can be adopted by state and territory governments. This initiative will aim to achieve consistency between the states and territories about how local content is defined and measured during both manufacture, assembly, and operation.
Zero Emissions Bus Advisory: The BIC will release the first Zero Emissions Bus Advisory, which will encompass standards and specifications for zero-emission buses in July. They will also develop Advisory 2, focusing on operations and maintenance, and Advisory 3, addressing depots and infrastructure. These advisories will provide guidance and promote best practices in transitioning to zero-emission bus fleets.
Support for Disability Standards reform implementation: The council is committed to assisting the industry in implementing the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport reforms. They recognise the importance of creating an inclusive and accessible public transport system and will provide guidance and support to ensure compliance with these standards.
Transition to Low and Zero Emission Policy: With a strong commitment to sustainability, the council will develop a policy position that outlines the bus industry’s transition to low and zero-emission technologies. This policy will underscore the industries mission to reducing emissions and promoting environmentally friendly transportation solutions.
National Recruitment and Retention Project: In collaboration with APTIA, the BICs industrial relations arm, the BIC will undertake a national project focused on recruitment and retention within the bus industry. This initiative aims to address workforce challenges, attract new talent, and develop strategies to retain skilled professionals in the industry.
By undertaking these projects, the Bus Industry Confederation Council and Secretariat are actively working towards enhancing the bus industry’s sustainability, accessibility, and workforce development. These endeavors will contribute to the overall growth and success of the industry while aligning with broader societal and environmental goals.
Bus & Coach New Zealand Welcomes New Chief Executive
The NZ Bus and Coach Association (BCA) recently announced the appointment of Delaney Myers as its new Chief Executive. Recently serving as the Public Transport Manager at Waka Kotahi, Delaney is well-acquainted with the NZ industry through her extensive experience in roles related to School Transport at the Ministry of Education. She is also learning about the industry in Australia and was a delegate at the BIC National Summit in March.
Delaney has expressed her enthusiasm for joining the BCA during a time of significant change in the industry and acknowledged the challenges ahead, emphasising the importance of a strong and united industry for the future success of bus operators. Delaney looks forward to contributing to the industry’s growth and development as part of the BCA.
BCA has recently undergone organisational changes, including the appointment of an independent Chair and the election of a new business board, replacing the representative Council, President, and Vice President. This streamlined and focused board structure aims to enhance BCA’s responsiveness to members’ concerns and enable robust advocacy on their behalf. The goal is to foster a more efficient and sustainable passenger transport industry in New Zealand.
Delaney will officially assume her role as the Chief Executive of BCA on July 3rd, and we look forward to working with her to advance public transport on both sides of the ditch.
Transport Ministers’ Priorities
Infrastructure and Transport Ministers from across Australia recently convened in Perth, to discuss key issue that have implications for our industry and colleagues in other transport sectors.
Recognising the need to address climate change, ministers established a Decarbonisation of Transport Working Group to enhance national coordination and develop a transport decarbonisation work plan and shared principles for national decarbonisation. The BIC have already been in touch with the convenor of the working group, who is also leading the development of the Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Roadmap and Action Plan, to highlight the bus industry transition to zero emissions and barriers and opportunities to ensure a safe and sustainable transition. The BIC Council has agreed to develop an industry policy position to inform the working group and roadmap.
Ministers also endorsed proposed amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law and have tasked the National Transport Commission (NTC) with development of drafting instructions for an Amendment Bill and core regulations in consultation with industry. The BIC will continue to engage with the NTC on this vital reform, building upon over 3 years of advocacy on this issue. Ministers noted an aspirational goal of having a package of legislation and core regulations by July 2024.
The Stage 2 Reforms of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, which have been a key focus of BIC advocacy over recent years, were also considered. Ministers agreed the states and territories would develop prioritised plans to implement the preferred reform options, Ministers also tasked officials with developing a flexible implementation approach for the reforms that apply to existing assets and infrastructure. We will keep the industry apprised of the reforms and what they mean for you as more details become available.
Electrifying Canberra’s Public Transport: 106 New Zero-Emission Buses
The ACT Government has made a significant stride toward electrifying Canberra’s public transport network by procuring a fleet of 106 new zero emission buses. Minister for Transport and City Services, Chris Steel, unveiled the plan to introduce 94 battery electric buses, positioning Canberra as a leader in zero emissions transport.
With the implementation of the Zero-Emission Transition Plan for Transport Canberra, this initiative represents a major technological advancement in the city’s bus fleet. By the year 2040, or possibly earlier, the entire fleet is set to transition to zero-emission technology, reflecting the government’s commitment to sustainability.
To realise this vision, the ACT Government has signed a contract with Vehicle Dealers International (VDI) to acquire 90 Yutong ‘E12’ battery electric buses, with negotiations underway for an additional four electric buses from Custom Denning. The first batch of 94 electric buses is expected to be received by late 2023, gradually expanding the fleet to cater to the city’s growing needs.
This investment not only replaces ageing diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses but also positions Canberra as a model for environmentally friendly public transportation.
Increase to Heavy Vehicle Road User Charge
As we highlighted in a recent e-bulletin the 2023-24 Federal Budget included an increase in the heavy vehicle road user charge rate effective from 1 July 2023. The increase in the road user charge will lead to a reduction in the fuel tax credit rate for heavy vehicles traveling on public roads.
If this change applies to your company to assist you in accurately calculating your claims, we recommend using the fuel tax credit calculator. To access the latest fuel tax credit rates for businesses, please visit ato.gov.au/fueltaxcreditrates.
Over a period of three years, starting from 1 July 2023, the current heavy vehicle road user charge rate for diesel, petrol, and gaseous fuel will increase by 6% per year. It is also important to note that the biodiesel rate will also experience an increase on 1 July 2023.
NSW Bus Industry Taskforce Takes Action to Address Driver Shortage
The NSW Bus Industry Taskforce, established by the Minns Labour Government, is taking swift action to address the shortage of bus drivers and improve service availability. With over 500 driver vacancies in Greater Sydney and Outer Metropolitan areas, urgent measures are being implemented to ensure a smooth transportation experience for passengers.
To streamline the process of obtaining a bus driver authority in NSW, several changes will be made:
· Waiving the $70 application fee for the next 12 months,
· Allowing drivers over the age of 25 with specific driving experience to apply, and
· Introducing electronic issuing of documents and simplifying the application process.
To gather practical solutions, a bus industry roundtable was held on 21 June 2023, where operators, drivers, and industry representatives shared their insights. Ian MacDonald, the BICs National Industrial Relations Manager was a significant contributor to discussions at the Roundtable, bringing a national perspective to the issues at hand.
Bus Passenger Forums led by Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Marjorie O’Neill will also be used to collect community feedback to inform the Taskforce’s work.
A recruitment drive in NSW will be launched to attract more individuals to the profession, while Transport for NSW will collaborate with operators to adjust timetables and improve service provision. Minister for Transport Jo Haylen emphasised the need for simplified processes and industry collaboration to address the driver shortage and improve bus services across the state.
Update on the Rollout of Integrated Ticketing System in Tasmania
The Rockliff Government’s in Tasmania are progressing an important initiative to implement a contemporary, integrated ticketing system as part of their commitment to improving public transport. Under the collaborative efforts of the national transport sector, Tasmania has partnered with Queensland and its ticketing provider, Cubic Transportation Systems, to deliver a state-of-the-art ticketing solution.
This integrated ticketing system will enable passengers to seamlessly use any general access public transport service across the entire state through a single system. It encompasses a dynamic ticketing solution that not only ensures a smooth journey but also offers modern payment methods, real-time information, and data-driven network enhancements.
In addition to gaining access to a premium ticketing system, Tasmanians will benefit from Queensland’s investment in product research and development by exchanging knowledge and insights into their future intelligent transport systems and solutions.
This collaboration represents an exciting opportunity for Tasmanians to enjoy one of the most advanced, flexible, and secure public transport payment systems available globally.
Register for the BIC National Conference!
Hailing the Future – Now
October 29 – November 1, 2023, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, SA
Do not miss the highly anticipated BIC National Conference, where BIC Members, government representatives, and industry professionals will gather to network and discuss National and International issues within the Bus and Coach Industry.
We are currently developing an exciting conference program that will feature policy leaders presenting on key topics. This is your chance to connect with industry leaders, engage in discussions about future challenges, and explore opportunities within the industry.
For more information and to secure your spot, visit the BIC website and register today. Be part of this important event and be at the forefront of shaping the future of the Bus and Coach Industry.
We look forward to seeing you at the BIC National Conference, Hailing the Future – Now!
National Bus & Coach Show 2024
At the request of the Suppliers Group the BIC is hosting the National Bus and Coach Show on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 September 2024 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.
First round Expressions of Interest for exhibition space closed on 30 June. But there a still a few opportunities to grab some exhibition space. Will you be joining us? We are excited to announce that the following bus and coach manufacturers and suppliers and already on board. We are excited to have the following companies on Board already;
Irizar Asia Pacific
Challenger Bus and Coach
Express Coach Builders Pty Ltd
Yutong Bus & Coach
BCI – Bus & Coach International
This month, Everybody Out! covers two important topics: the minimum wage determination and the commencement of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Legislation on June 6, 2023. APTIAs newsletter explores the impact of the minimum wage determination on employees and employers across various sectors, shedding light on the latest developments in this critical issue.
6 June 2023 marked the start of significant changes brought by the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Legislation. We delve into the details of this legislation, emphasising the importance of fair pay and job security for the workforce.
APTIA Council’s work on the Recruitment and Retention Project is highlighted. This initiative tackles the challenges of attracting and retaining talent in our industry, and we provide updates on its progress and significance for future growth and success.