Message from the Executive Director
It has been an incredibly busy month at the BIC Secretariat. We have been hard at work locking in venues and dates for the National Industry Conference and the new trade exhibition – the National Bus and Coach Show 2024.
The National Conference is being held in Adelaide from October 29 to 1 November this year and the Bus and Coach Show takes us to Brisbane in September 2024.
We have been continuing our strong advocacy on behalf of suppliers who are facing unprecedented pressure due to hyperinflation, skills shortage, supply chain and freight issues.
Workforce shortages across the industry continue to dominate discussions. Driver shortage is top-of-mind of bus operators across Australia’s cities and regions. Therefore, the BIC Secretariat is undertaking a significant project in association with APTIA and the Industrial Working Group with the aim to help businesses (and government) address the current shortages in our driver workforce.
Work on the Zero Emissions Bus Advisories continue at pace with the launch of Advisory 1 imminent. Our new fulltime national technical manager, Dean Moule, has hit the ground running, rapidly getting up to speed on key industry issues and priorities. Dean and I attended the QBIC Conference in Cairns which provided an opportunity to catch up with a greater cross section of the industry and acknowledge the amazing work of David Tape, the QBIC Executive Director who is retiring shortly. David’s hard work in support of the industry over many years has been truly remarkable. We wish him all the best on his next journey.
Executive Director, Bus Industry Confederation
Policy, Advocacy and Technical Updates
Proposed new electrical standards – Transport for New South Wales
The BIC is preparing an industry response to proposed new electrical standards for buses supplied in NSW. Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) has requested that the BIC provide a response to their proposed standards on:
- Mounting and Installation of Electronic Equipment.
- Standards for Electronic Systems
To assist with a comprehensive combined industry response to TfNSW, we encourage those that supply TfNSW with products/services to submit their feedback to the BIC by 10th May. Of course, all responses are treated confidentially. If you haven’t received a copy of BICs email about the proposed NSW standards and would like to find out more, or if you have a question, please contact Dean Moule on email@example.com.
BIC and APTIA working with governments and Industry to address skills shortages
Bus driver shortages are escalating the current public transport problem of reduced services across the nation. The BIC and APTIA have been working with industry leaders to scope a national recruitment and retention project. The BIC undertook an industry wide survey in late 2022 to identify where and why shortages were occurring and also called for evidence of successful recruitment. The results of this survey have formed a large part of the BIC’s plan to assist bus operators across the
nation with their recruitment and retention goals. The ultimate outcomes of the work we are undertaking include:
- improve the image of bus and coach transport in the eyes of the public to improve patronage growth and make public transport more appealable as a career pathway
- create an attractive environment for potential bus drivers to choose a career in public transport
- pursue recognition of public transport as an essential service
- pursue the federal government to seek support for measures that makes it easier to retain and recruit bus
- promote the benefits of public transport, privately run, to governments to ensure that there is a meaningful partnership between governments and industry to provide transport services.
Australia’s migration system under federal government review
The Albanese government will dramatically simplify Australia’s migration system by bringing in a three-tiered assessment designed to cut red tape and reduce delays to permanent residency. The changes proposed by the federal government may assist the industry in addressing some of the skills shortages across the
workforce including drivers, mechanics, and engineers. The proposals include a “light-touch” approach for very skilled migrants on high salaries; a mid-level cohort of migrants who earn above the amount of the temporary skilled migration income threshold (to be increased from $53,000 to $70,000); and a lower-wage cohort in sectors with skills shortages such as the caring sector.
The federal government will be consulting with state and territory governments and key stakeholders – unions, business groups, and civil society – during May and June 2023 on these critical policy shifts. The BIC and APTIA will ensure the broader interests of the entire industry are heard during these consultations.
The federal government plans to release the final Migration
Strategy later in 2023.
Federal Government has released their national strategy for electric vehicles in Australia
The National Electric Vehicle Strategy (NEVS) has been released with big announcements about fuel efficiency standards creating a lot of interest from media across Australia. The strategy has three key objectives:
- increase the supply of affordable and accessible EVs
- establish the resources, systems and
infrastructure to enable rapid EV uptake
- encourage increased EV demand.
Disappointingly the strategy was confined to passenger vehicles (i.e. cars) and light commercial vehicles and did not extend to buses, coaches and trucks despite the NEVS consultation strategy originally specifying heavy vehicles. The BIC has been discussing the omission of heavy vehicles in the strategy with Catherine King, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. According to the Minister, the federal government is soon to embark on new work to develop a zero emissions roadmap for transport overall. This roadmap will focus on shipping, aviation, trains, trams, buses, coaches, and trucks. The BIC will continue to engage with
government during the development of this roadmap to ensure that any proposed pathways assist Industry to a sustainable transition to zero.
A digital and automated workforce – is this the future for the transport sector?
iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre has just released a significant new report which states that in order for the transport sector to create new jobs and stay competitive (among OECD countries), Australia must upskill its workforce for digitalisation and automation.
Transport digitalisation and automation – fuelled by technologies such as connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), electric vehicles (EVs), and blockchain – will significantly impact the industry with some jobs changing or becoming obsolete.
The iMOVE report outlines key digital and automation skills expected to be in high demand, including knowledge of autonomous robots, simulation tools, IoT solutions, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. The report also emphasises the importance of soft skills, such as critical thinking, communication, and complex problem-solving.
The report, which also compiles outcomes of other studies, such as the The Future of Transportation Work by the Centre for Future Work (Australia Institute), revealed the
probability of automation of transport occupations in our industry as follows: bus drivers 67%, bus and truck mechanics 73%, and transportation attendants 75%.
National Bus & Coach Show – 2024
The Bus Industry Confederation is proud to officially launch the National Bus and Coach Show 2024. This new trade exhibition will be held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 September 2024.
We are hosting this event at the request of our supplier group members who have expressed considerable concern about a non-BIC member hosting the Bus Expo. The suppliers group provide considerable support to the BIC and the state bus associations,and were strong in their advocacy that the Bus Expo be hosted by BIC or a state bus association member that supports and advocates for suppliers as well as operators.
Previous agreements have meant that the trade exhibitions would be held in Queensland, Victoria
or NSW. An MoU between these state associations (which the BIC and suppliers’ group are not a party too) preclude BusNSW and QBIC from hosting an exhibition in 2024, hence the BIC have stepped in.
Expressions of Interest for exhibitors are now open and close 30 June 2023. Be sure to register quickly as we will be negotiating exhibition space on a first come first served basis. Sponsorship opportunities will open soon.
The National Bus and Coach Show 2024 is not to be confused with the Maintenance Conference and Australasian Bus and Coach Expo 2024 which is hosted by
BusVic. BusVic are no longer a member of the BIC.
We are also pleased to launch this years National Industry Conference. The Conference is being held at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide from 29 October to 1 November. Early bird registrations are now open – so book early to save.
In a break with tradition, we have called for Expressions of Interest for potential speakers. If you have a great yarn to tell that will inform and educate our delegates submit your EoI now. We’ve set up a conference committee to ensure a great range of speakers and no advertorials.
In this edition of Everybody Out, APTIA maps out the proposed scope for the recruitment and retention project and provides a detailed update on what governments are currently considering in relation to:
- Labour rates and the minimum wage determination
- Fair Work Commission activities
- Proposed future industrial relations reforms
- Working public holidays.
Don’t miss out on this bumper edition of Everybody Out – download now.