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Clearing the air

This weekend’s BusNSW conference shapes as an illuminating affair, with clarity sought on the new bus supply panel, and some last minute program changes

By David Goeldner | April 14, 2011

There have been a few last minute changes to the conference program for this weekend’s BusNSW annual conference at Terrigal.

Due to pre-Anzac Day commitments, the state’s new transport minister Gladys Berejiklian will now address delegates on Friday night – 15 April – instead of the scheduled Saturday address.

Berejiklian’s address will now take place at the Volvo Bus-sponsored welcoming function at Terrigal Crowne Plaza resort’s Sea Salt restaurant at 6pm.

While the Minister will brief delegates on the O’Farrell Government’s transition into office, the proposed session on public transport policy 21 days from the election will now be delivered by re-instated Transport NSW Director General Les Wielinga at 9am on Saturday.

Also to be presented on Saturday will be the BusNSW Action Plan – approved on Wednesday by the BusNSW Board.

BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish will present the action plan which will be based on a revised bus services strategy and community approach for the consideration of Berejiklian and Transport NSW.

“The action plan has eleven recommendations to the NSW Government on ways it can improve transport outcomes for the community,” Mellish says.

“We are trying to relate the action plan and its recommendation to the Government’s own new initiatives and policy announcements,” he says.

“We feel there was a level of arrogance from the previous Government and a new approach is needed.”

Mellish says the fact that there is a new NSW Government means there needs to be a new bus service strategy.

BusNSW will also be seeking some clarity on the recently formed bus supply panel, created by the previous Keneally Government under John Robertson’s stewardship, and proving to be unpopular across the supply side of the bus and coach industry.

The matter of the panel’s status will be raised during the session on bus procurement, specification, livery and financing.

Mellish says the panel-style session will be ‘topical’ because of the NSW Government’s establishment of the bus procurement panel.

“Members of the Government will be in that panel session as well as suppliers and operators,” he says.

“The best information we have is that the evaluation is continuing and there hasn’t been any decision to put it (the panel) on hold.”

Mellish says there had been a lot of lobbying to achieve a moratorium.

“The key players we met with this week say that it is continuing to be evaluated in the normal way – that tenders have closed and they are doing their normal assessments.”

BusNSW and BIC have asked for the supplier panel to be reconsidered.

“It’s continuing until we are told otherwise,” says Mellish.

He says the same key Government personnel will be on the panel session this Saturday.

“We are going to have the key government people there and we are going to try and work out what’s fact and what’s fiction,” Mellish says.

“I will be asking what is the status of the panel, and does a change of government change anything.”

The Saturday sessions start at 9am and conclude at 4.45pm followed by the conference dinner sponsored by Custom and Mercedes-Benz.

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