Message from the Executive Director
I am pleased to report that the recent BIC Suppliers group meeting held on 14 February 2023 was a great success. One of the key topics discussed during the meeting was the “Cost Price Squeeze” which has been affecting our industry. With the CPI at 6.2% (20-year average of 2.7%), producer prices rising and capped priced contracts, it is important that we address this issue as a group to ensure industry sustainability.
The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to discuss potential solutions to address the cost price squeeze. A number of potential measures were identified including progress payments for body builders, rise and fall
variations, and lobbying state transport departments to recognise the serious inflationary pressures on costs of materials and labor. We have quickly moved to obtain a meeting with the Federal Minister for Manufacturing, Senator Tim Ayres to discuss the significant impacts of the cost price squeeze and skill shortages on our manufacturers and suppliers and will be taking a contingent up to Parliament House to meet with him during the upcoming BIC National Summit. By working together, we will find a way to navigate these challenges and emerge stronger as an industry.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members who participated in the meeting and contributed to the discussions. I encourage everyone to continue to engage with each other and to work collaboratively towards finding solutions that will benefit our
industry as a whole.
I look forward to engaging with you at the upcoming Bus Industry Summit 2023.
Executive Director, Bus Industry Confederation
ALERT: Email scam related to Bus Industry Summit
We would like to alert members to and raise awareness of a fraudulent email that has been recently circulating in the industry. It has come to our attention that some of our members have received an email claiming that attendance lists with contact details for the upcoming Bus Industry Summit 2023 can be purchased. We want to emphasize that this is a scam, and the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) does not sell attendance lists.
We take such matters seriously, and we want to assure you that the BIC is not involved in any such activities. We urge
you to exercise caution and to refrain from responding to the email or providing any personal information. If you have received such an email or any other suspicious communication, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately at email@example.com. We will investigate the matter and provide you with the necessary guidance to protect yourself from any potential harm.
The BIC takes the security and privacy of its members seriously, and we will do everything we can to ensure that our members are not compromised in any way.
We’re excited to remind members that the Bus Industry Summit 2023 is just around the corner! The event will take place on March 21st and 22nd at the Hotel Realm in Canberra, offering a unique opportunity for members of the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC), government representatives, and industry stakeholders to network, discuss current issues and seek solutions.
Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this exciting event. Registrations are now open but will close soon. To register, simply head to the BIC website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In addition to the Summit’s fantastic lineup of speakers and panelists, attendees will have the opportunity to gain valuable insights into a range of topics affecting the industry. The program will feature a session on “The National Electric Vehicle Strategy and Heavy Vehicles” on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Facilitated by BIC Councillor Rolf Mitchell, this session will provide attendees with key information about the development and progress of the national EV strategy, as well as insights from John Anasis of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia about funding for the EV transition.
Another exciting session on the program is the Heavy Vehicle National Law session with Ken Kanofski. Attendees will have access to the industry’s first insights into what the new heavy vehicle law and regulations
will look like. You will get your chance to provide feedback and help us to emphasis that a bus is not a truck.
REGISTER NOW for the Bus Industry Summit 2023 – we can’t wait to see you there!
Policy, Advocacy and Technical Updates
BIC advocacy efforts result in changes to battery electric vehicle maintenance requirements in Queensland
The BIC has achieved an advocacy win with its efforts to ensure national harmonisation when it comes to the installation, repair, and maintenance of battery electric buses. Roz Chivers, the Executive Director of the BIC, wrote to both the Minister for Transport and Main Roads and the Minister for Education, Industrial Relations, and Racing about concerns regarding Section 73 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013. The Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) has responded to these concerns by
announcing a licensing exemptions for electric motor work.
The exemption will bring Queensland in line with the other states on Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) maintenance and repairs while they considers changes to the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and the regulation. The OIR will be releasing guidance material on the WorkSafe website. NSW and VIC have already released public guidance material under their respective Work Health and Safety Frameworks, which focus on training, hazard identification, and risk management.
This advocacy win is a significant step in ensuring emerging technologies like battery electric buses are considered in a nationally consistent manner. This win is a testament to the BIC’s dedication to advocating for the interests of members and the broader bus and coach
Advocating for Safe and Accessible Rural Transportation
We recently had a meeting with the Federal Government, Department of Finance, to discuss the state of rural and regional roads and how it impacts bus and coach operators. One of the major issues that came up was the weight-limit on bridges, which can cause significant disruptions and delays for operators who have to find alternative routes. Another concern was accessibility for passengers, including the lack of appropriate platforms and ramps, which can make it difficult to access public transport services.
We will continue to
advocate for improvements in these areas to ensure that everyone has access to safe and reliable transportation.
Renewal of Work Diary Exemption Notice for NSW Buses Sparks Debate: What You Need to Know
The New South Wales Work Diary Exemption Notice 2020 (No.1) expired on 9 February 2023. The notice exempts drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles carrying out specified classes of work in New South Wales from the requirement to keep and record information in a work diary under specific conditions i.e., for a contracted bus service or emergency rail replacement bus service (100+km work).
BusNSW expressed support for the NHVR to renew this notice, and we would like to
provide members with some information on the matter.
In responding to the NHVR, BusNSW stated that there is no evidence to suggest that the current work diary exemption has impacted the safe operation of buses as public passenger vehicles in NSW. Furthermore, operators using buses with a GVM over 4.5t fitted to carry more than 12 adults (including the driver) are required to comply with work and rest options applicable to the Heavy Vehicle (Fatigue Management) National Regulation, regardless of the work diary exemption.
Bus operators accredited in NSW are also required to keep a record of the dates and times during which each vehicle is driven under the NSW Passenger Transport (General) Regulation 2017. In addition to this, the NSW Bus Operator Accreditation Scheme (BOAS) requires operators
to have a Safety Management System that includes fatigue management risk controls.
The NHVR published a new Exemption Notice which commenced on 10 February 2023. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the New South Wales Work Diary Exemption Notice 2020 (No.1) and its renewal, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Recall Rectification Benchmarks to be Introduced by the Department of Infrastructure
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (the department) will be introducing recall rectification benchmarks as part of their regulatory activities under the Road Vehicle Standards legislation. These benchmarks will be applicable to all new recalls from Wednesday 1 April 2023.
The introduction of rectification benchmarks will provide suppliers, manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of road vehicles or approved road vehicle components with
suggested timeframes to progress and complete voluntary recall activities. The rectification benchmarks for a specific recall will be determined by its priority status which is allocated to a recall by the department once it has been risk assessed. The risk assessment considers many factors, including the nature of the defect and size of the recall. The benchmarks range from 6 to 36 months depending on the priority level of the recall and the percentage of vehicles rectified.
The benchmarks were informed by research on the performance and progression of recalls within an international context. They are based on average rectification rates for Australian recalls. Suppliers will be advised of the priority status and rectification benchmarks applicable to their recall when they notify the department of a new recall. In cases where a supplier
is unable to commence recall rectification activity immediately due to parts availability or other issues, the department will assess the individual circumstances and negotiate alternate benchmarks.
The department has initiated a consultation period so that industry representatives have an opportunity to consider the introduction of recall rectification benchmarks. Any questions regarding the benchmarks can be submitted by email to Recalls@infrastructure.gov.au. The consultation period opened 1 March 2023 and closes 31 March 2023.
Once the consultation period has ended, the department will update the Recalls Policy to include recall rectification benchmarks and will inform industry stakeholders when it has been published on the Vehicle Recalls website.
It is important for industry representatives to consider these recall rectification benchmarks and address any questions or concerns during the consultation period. The introduction of these benchmarks will provide greater clarity and consistency in the handling of recalls, ultimately leading to increased safety for the public and vehicles on the roads.
Canberrans Embrace Public Transport Post-Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic caused a significant decline in public transport usage in Australia, resulting in reduced revenue and service levels. However, as restrictions eased and people returned to work and social activities, public transport demand has bounced back to some extent, with some states reporting patronage levels close to pre-pandemic levels.
Recent government data shows that Canberrans are embracing public transport, with the highest patronage numbers for the first week of school since the beginning of
the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister for Transport and City Services, Chris Steel, commented on the situation, stating that “With school returning last week and most people back at work face to face this year we are now starting to see the strongest return to public transport since the pandemic began.”
The numbers show from 30 January to 3 February, buses and light rail recorded more than 234,500 passenger journeys. This represents a patronage return of 77% compared to journeys taken on the same weekdays in 2020, and 87% of journeys taken in the same week in 2019.
These encouraging figures demonstrate that Canberrans are beginning to feel more comfortable with public transport and are returning to it in larger numbers. It is a positive sign that people are gradually regaining their
confidence in using public transport, which is essential for reducing traffic congestion and improving the city’s environmental sustainability.
The increased use of public transport also has several benefits, such as reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and providing more accessible and affordable transportation for the general public. By using public transport, individuals carbon footprints are reduced, which is a significant step in combating climate change.
The increase in public transport patronage is a positive sign for the future of transportation in Canberra. We hope that this trend continues and that more people will use public transport, helping to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and support a more sustainable future.
The Power of Accessible Public Transport: New Study Shows Significant Societal Benefits
A recent study from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney Business School has shown that improving suburban public transport access can have significant societal benefits. The study, published in Transportation Research, argues that better mobility for those who experience disadvantage due to where they live can lead to improved health, increased employment, and reduced crime rates. The authors suggest that these benefits should be factored into the cost-benefit analysis of transport
Lead author Professor John Stanley, who has been researching sustainable transport and social inclusion for almost two decades, collaborated with colleagues from ITLS and the University of Melbourne on the study. The paper builds on their previous research, which found that mobility plays a crucial role in promoting inclusion.
The results of the study are significant, as they highlight the importance of providing accessible and reliable public transport to disadvantaged areas. By doing so, people living in these areas can benefit from improved health outcomes, greater employment opportunities, and a reduction in crime rates. The paper emphasizes the need to include these benefits in cost-benefit analyses, as they demonstrate the long-term value of investing in public
The BIC is pushing policy makers and city planners to consider the inclusion of these cost-benefit analyses when making decisions about transport infrastructure projects. Ensuring accessible public transport is vital for promoting social inclusion and improving the overall wellbeing of our communities.
Revolutionising Public Transport: ANU’s RouteZero Project Paves the Way for Electric Buses in Australia
Attention, electric bus enthusiasts!
Have you ever wondered if electric buses could handle the tough routes and weather conditions in Australia? Well, wonder no more because researchers from the Australian National University’s (ANU) Battery Storage and Grid Integration
Program are leading a project to find out!
This is the largest electric bus fleet pilot project ever conducted in Australia, and it’s aiming to determine the best charging infrastructure to service and operate electric buses and depots. With a budget of $36 million and several partners involved, including ARENA, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and Transit Systems, the researchers have developed a data-driven tool called RouteZero. It’s available for free online and provides valuable insights into the charging infrastructure required for individual routes and depots.
The RouteZero tool has already been tested in metropolitan Sydney and estimated that electrifying all timetabled bus routes would require up to 945 MWh of electricity per day. This is a significant development in the field
of electric buses, and we’re excited to see how the project’s outcomes will shape the industry in the years to come. If you’re interested in learning more about the model, Bjorn Sturmberg, Senior Research Fellow in the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, is available to discuss the project and potentially assist with producing a bespoke analysis of your needs.
So, if you’re curious about the future of public transport and want to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry, this project is definitely worth checking out. Contact us at email@example.com to get in touch with Bjorn and learn more about how electric buses could be the way forward for Australia’s public transport!
Victoria Powers Up with First All-Electric Bus Depot for Zero-Emissions Fleet
Victoria’s push towards a cleaner and more sustainable bus fleet has reached a significant milestone as the state’s first all-electric bus depot is set to become operational in the coming weeks. The Ventura depot in Ivanhoe will house the largest fleet of locally made zero-emission electric buses in Victoria as part of the Zero Emissions Bus (ZEB) Trial. This trial, which has a budget of $20 million, will help transition approximately 4,000 diesel buses in the state’s public fleet to zero-emissions, including around 2,200 in
The depot is currently being converted to accommodate the expanding electric bus fleet, and the ZEB trial will use it to inform the state’s transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll recently visited the site to highlight the importance of the project. Starting from 2025, all new buses added to Victoria’s public transport routes will be zero-emissions, contributing to the state’s sustainability goals. This project is part of Victoria’s broader push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, which is critical to the health and wellbeing of the community.
Mercedes-Benz Withdrawal Sends Shockwaves through Australian Bus & Coach Industry
The Australian bus and coach industry has faced another challenge, as Mercedes-Benz announced on 20 February its withdrawal from the local market. The move means that Mercedes-Benz will discontinue the sale of its new bus and coach products, impacting local manufacturing jobs. This latest upset is likely a result of uncertainty in the industry roadmap, inflation, supply chain issues, wage growth, and skill shortages as contributing factors. The announcement comes as a shock to the industry, highlighting the fragility of the
local manufacturing sector, with up to 40 companies contributing to the final assembly of a single bus.
The Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) responded to the announcement, calling for the government to take action and support the bus and coach industry. The BIC proposes the implementation of procurement models to provide manufacturers with greater long-term certainty and consistent demand as a way of ensuring the industry’s long-term success. In addition, it urges state governments to standardize buy-local policies to help manufacturers and governments plan for future product demand and facilitate the transition to zero-emission vehicles.
2023 BIC National Conference – Rotorua
Mark your calendars for the 2023 BIC National Conference, which will take place from 16-19 October at the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua, New Zealand. This is a must-attend event for all those in the bus and coach industry, offering a fantastic opportunity to network, learn from industry leaders, and gain valuable insights into the latest trends and developments.
Don’t miss the chance to nominate for the BIC National Awards, which open soon for submissions. Keep an eye out for e-Bulletins and visit our website and
LinkedIn page for more information on how to enter. Let’s recognize the hard work and achievements of our peers and showcase the excellence of our industry. We look forward to seeing you at the conference and celebrating together!
Welcoming our New Members
We are thrilled to announce that Westpac, Australia’s first bank and one of the four major banking organisations in the nation, is now a member!
Westpac provides a wide range of financial services, including consumer, business, and institutional banking and wealth management. The company’s purpose is to create better futures together, which drives their strategy to build long-lasting customer relationships.
As a member of the BIC, Westpac will have the opportunity to connect with other industry professionals and contribute to the
growth and development of the bus and coach industry. We welcome Westpac to the BIC community and look forward to working together to create better futures for the industry and the wider community.
The first edition of the Everybody Out newsletter for 2023 has been released. It includes important information about upcoming changes to businesses, such as paid family and domestic violence leave and paid parental leave, as well as the implementation dates for the 2022 “Secure Jobs, Better Pay” reforms.
The upcoming Bus Industry Summit 2023, on March 22nd, will feature discussions about the next round of reforms and the “statement of principles” for new enterprise agreement applications. Panel sessions on multiple bargaining and recruitment and retention will also provide valuable insights. Finally, APTIA’s first breakfast for 2023 will take place in Brisbane on March 9th and members will find out about outcomes in next month’s edition.
For more information, please visit the APTIA website.