As we embark on a brand-new year at the Bus Industry Confederation it is becoming obvious that we are in for an even busier year than last year.
The first week back from the festive season break saw us ramp our advocacy campaign ‘industry in crisis’ but refocus its call to ensure that the bus and coach industry receives the same consideration from the Australian and state and territory governments as the rail industry does. Over $12 million was set aside in last years Federal Budget to establish an Office of National Rail Industry Coordination (ONRIC)‘, who work with the National Rail Manufacturing Advocate, the Rail Industry Innovation Council and stakeholders to address industry needs and develop capability.
The key focus of the work has been to develop the National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy and associated plan that will simplify procurement and harmonise standards across states and territories, increase innovation and improve skills and capabilities in the rail manufacturing sector. It sounds like something the bus and coach industry needs. So, we have included it in our prebudget submission with a little bit extra to allow us to develop a skills hub, also modelled on that used by the rail industry. We will be advocating hard for this and encourage all industry members to advocate to their local members to support this proposal which is available on our website.
With all eyes on the road toll and the announcement of a Road Safety Forum on Thursday 22 February, we are ramping up our bus and coach safety advocacy campaign launched in the aftermath of the Greta crash. The Forum will bring together international and Australian road safety experts, advocates for motorists and road traffic victims, academics, as well as federal and state stakeholders to focus on safer roads and saving lives. We are working to ensure our industry isn’t forgotten during these discussions and the subsequent deliberations of road safety ministers and police ministers from across the country at the National Road Safety Conference.
Our industry was overlooked — some think disgracefully — in the recent allocation of grant funding under the first round of the National Road Safety Action Grants Program.
January has also seen us continuing to provide feedback to governments to ensure sensible regulation on heavy vehicle technical issues and how buses and coaches operate on our roads. Work is continuing apace with the national recruitment and retention project, ensuring that the industry is ready for wide-sweeping industrial relations reforms. It is also all systems go on planning for the National Bus and Coach Show in September and the National Industry Conference in November. Plus, with our new National Communications Manager now onboard, we’re making changes to how we communicate and engage with our valuable members and other industry stakeholders.
We are busy, the industry is busy. Lets buckle up and enjoy the ride together.
Executive Director, BIC