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Gammie clarity sought

BusNSW is seeking a way to deal with expiring contracts while the new Deputy Director-General attends to Rugby matters across the ‘ditch’

By David Goeldner | August 18, 2011

World Cup Rugby matches in New Zealand will delay the start of NSW’s new Transport Services Deputy Director-General, tied up with public transport logistics in Auckland until the end of October.

The delay has led BusNSW to call for interim measures to deal with expiring metropolitan bus service contracts before the new DDG Fergus Gammie (pictured), currently Auckland Transport’s Chief Operating Officer, takes up his position in November.

Gammie is a former CEO of Auckland Regional Transport Authority, a strong candidate for the position, and well-placed to lead NSW’s revamped Transport Services division.

While BusNSW welcomes Gammie’s appointment, the association’s Executive Director Darryl Mellish says the timing is critical in the context of expiring bus services contracts.

“With the view that Fergus Gammie is not starting for some time we are looking for some interim arrangements regarding negotiating the new contracts,” Mellish says.

He says Gammie’s strong reputation in New Zealand’s public transport sector indicates a strong appointment to the role of NSW Transport Services Deputy Director-General.

Mellish is aware of comments Gammie has made about the need for performance indicators and the action required to take affect if performance wasn’t met.

“In that sense our initial reaction at BusNSW has been positive and we would be very keen to meet with him,” Mellish says.

BusNSW has extended an invitation for Gammie to attend the Australian Bus and Coach show at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in Sydney during early October to get a sense how the bus industry works in NSW.

But given Gammie’s commitment during the upcoming Rugby World Cup, Mellish is seeking an early briefing from Transport for NSW Director General Les Wielinga about the restructured NSW Transport department.

“We’ve asked Les Wielinga for an industry briefing on the restructure of Transport for NSW because now that they’ve announced a DDG position the structure underneath him should become clearer,” Mellish says.

“We think a briefing would be in order.”

Following Gammie’s appointment it remains unclear on what role incumbent Deputy Director-General of Transport Services John Karaboulis will play in the revamped department, which now includes six separate divisions.

Mellish says the likely scenario is that Gammie will take on the DDG’s role with an expanded portfolio while Karaboulis continues with the Department at a senior level in bus procurement.

“We are seeking a briefing to better understand the structure and who will be the key industry contacts,” Mellish says.

“We know that Transport Services will be important, but also important will be the Policy and Regulation Deputy Director-General’s positions which is yet to be announced,” he says.

“We also expect to have very close relations with that DDG also.”

Following Rugby World Cup, which concludes on October 23, Gammie will head NSW’s Transport Services division with an over-arching brief to develop and manage performance contracts with operators, and work towards a system of seamless public transport across the state.

Gammie’s division will also be responsible for ticketing services, including the roll out of Sydney’s public transport electronic ticketing system.

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced Gammie’s appointment last week along with two other Deputy Directors-General out of the six such positions across transport divisions soon to be finalised.

Along with Gammie, the two finalised DDG appointments are Rachel Johnson to head up Freight and Regional Development and Chris Lock who will lead Transport Projects.

Berejiklian says the new appointments brought with them a wealth of experience that will be used to improve transport in NSW.

“We are extremely pleased to have people of such calibre and experience on board, as we focus on improved customer service for transport in NSW and delivering value for money for the NSW public,” she says.

“These new Deputy Directors-General will help to set the strategic direction for Transport for NSW and maintain our focus on placing the customer at the centre of everything we do.”

Berejiklian says the best candidates were sought from Australia and overseas.

“I believe this new team will bring a dynamic approach, enabling us to drive improvements across the transport portfolio.”

A spokesman for Auckland Transport says Gammie will leave the Authority to take up residence in Sydney in November at the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup, hosted by New Zealand and logistically the nation’s largest-ever public transport exercises.

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