Councillors elected in landmark move

The Australian Public Transport Industrial Association will move towards official status after the election of its inaugural board last night.

Councillors elected in landmark move
Councillors elected in landmark move

By David Goeldner | August 25, 2010

Australia’s bus and coach industry celebrated a landmark moment this week with the election of its first board to represent the sector’s industrial interests in award modernisation and enterprise bargaining.

Members of the Australian Public Transport Industrial Association elected Wayne Patch as Chairman and Steve Scott as Deputy Chairman, who will lead ten councillors through the next phase of award modernisation.

BIC National Industrial Relations Manager Ian MacDonald says the first item of APTIA business is to apply for registration as an industrial organisation under the provisions of the Fair Work Registration of Organisations Act.

MacDonald says the main aim of APTIA will be to ‘defend’ the Passenger Vehicle Transport Award, currently being implemented by private operators across Australia affecting thousands of employees.

"There are 30,000 drivers within the private bus industry throughout Australia, and about 25,000 were represented at the APTIA meeting," MacDonald says.

"We’ve got a very broad base and number of employers in APTIA, and the group that met this week in Canberra is the industry."

MacDonald says the nature of the industrial environment lends itself to applications seeking to vary awards.

"What you need is consistency, you don’t need to have changes," he says.

"We’ve already seen applications to vary the PVTA and the industry is determined to make sure that reviews of the award take place every four years as scheduled."

MacDonald admits the move towards modern awards in all industry sectors across Australia may have been rushed, taking 2,500 awards and condensing into 150.

"There was always going to be some inconsistencies and some ambiguity, and clearly people have been recognising this," he says.

"But we’re not too badly off in the bus and coach industry."

He says modern awards applying to other sectors have had many applications placed through Fair Work Australia to vary the terms and conditions of awards.

The Bus and Coach sector has had just three applications, each having been resolved or withdrawn by the applicant.

"At the end of 2011 there will be a review of the PVTA and that’s the appropriate time to be reviewing it, not mid-stream," MacDonald says.

APTIA’s first meeting discussed the provisions of the PVTA, testing the industry’s position on the award.

"Because we have members like Greyhound, Murrays and Transit Australia Group – larger operators – we were able to have a good discussion on the making of enterprise agreements," MacDonald says.

Present at the meeting were Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson and Australian Chamber of Commerce CEO Peter Anderson.

The meeting also ratified a pre-existing working party of industry leaders who have worked through the modern award transition period since 2008.

This Industrial Working Group gained official status at the Canberra meeting, now working as part of APTIA, and managed by MacDonald.

"The Industrial Working Group will be the working body that looks at policies, applications and what’s needed in our industry to make sure we are well-informed and members get value," he says.

Beyond the defence and review of the PVTA, MacDonald says APTIA will be there in an ongoing advisory and industry education capacity.

"APTIA will continue to educate the industry in relation to industrial laws, interpretations of the awards and national employment standards, and to assist members in their negotiations for enterprise agreements inside their businesses."

MacDonald says members of state associations without direct APTIA membership will be able to access the new body.

"Anyone who is a member of a state association will be able to access me for answers to questions where the state representatives don’t have the resources to answer themselves."

He says questions related to the PVTA should first be raised through the state association.

As of 24 August 2010, the inaugural APTIA Board members are:

Wayne Patch, Chairman – QBIC and Transport Australia Group

Steve Scott, Deputy Chairman – BusNSW and Punchbowl Bus Company


Graham Davis – QBIC and Clarks Logan City

Stephen Rowe – BusNSW and Busways

Roger Quinsey – BCA South Australia and Quinsey’s Coaches

Shane Dewsbery – TasBus and Redline

Michael Balsch – Transport Forum WA

Stephen Lucas – BusVic

Geoff Vickers – BusVic

Neil Smith – Urban Transport Group and Transit Systems Australia

Tony Hopkins – Greyhound Australia

Scott Grenda – Grenda Corporation

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