Australia covered at BIC awards

A highlight of this year’s Bus Industry Confederation annual conference, held in Sydney this week, was the presentation of its national awards – four winners from four states

Australia covered at BIC awards
Australia covered at BIC awards

By David Goeldner | October 28, 2010

The Bus industry Confederation’s annual awards in Sydney this week had Australia covered with winners in four categories coming from as many states.

Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania took the four gongs on offer honouring achievements in environmental innovation, best supplier, industry achiever and – the grand award – outstanding contributor to industry.

BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish convened the awards ceremony at BIC’s annual conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Each winner was nominated through their respective state associations, and as part of the award criteria the nominees must demonstrate active participation with their industry committees over a sustained period.

The Outstanding Contributor to Industry Award went to Transit Australia Group Managing Director Wayne Patch, nominated by the Queensland Bus Industry Council and sponsored by Iveco.

Patch’s win celebrated his twin careers in public administration which spanned two decades with Queensland Transport where he was instrumental in implementing legislative reforms in the mid-1990s, as well as his more recent career as a bus proprietor in regional Queensland with TAG.

A former QBIC President, his involvement in ‘bus politics’ continues with his recent election as the inaugural Chair of the Australian Public Transport Industrial Association.

"The industry is very dear to my heart, and it goes to show that perseverance does show at the end of the day," Patch says.

"I have been involved in the reform of the industry from both sides of the fence and if we are going to succeed as an industry you’ve got to keep progressing through by working with Government and influencing policy making."

QBIC Executive Director David Tape says Patch’s win was extremely well-deserved.

Wayne has made a long term commitment to the industry in Queensland, and it’s great to see him recognised by his peers at a national conference – which is absolutely fantastic.

Patch had previously won the Queensland version of the award earlier in 2010.

"A lot of people don’t realise the work that Wayne Patch does behind the scenes for all operators," Tape says.

As the operator of an expansive group of entities along the Queensland coastline, Tape is aware of the misconception that Patch might not be concerned about the interests of the smaller operator.

"As I sit on QBIC I can definitely say that perception is wrong."

Tape says Patch has put his heart and soul into the industry.

"Regardless of how big your fleet size is, Wayne is in there batting for you – he’s an absolute champion," says Tape.

Conversely, in the early phases of his career as an ‘up and comer’ in the industry is Adams Coachlines’ Managing Director Adam Barnard who won the Achiever of the Year award, sponsored by Australian Bus and Coach Underwriters (ABCUA).

Barnard was selected from a wide field of seven other nominees, each flown to Sydney for the event by ABCUA.

He says it’s an honour to receive the award, and thanked ABCUA for bringing him to Sydney from Perth.

"It’s been a great conference, I’ve really enjoyed it," Barnard says.

"I love this industry and I think we are doing a good job in WA."

Picking up the Environment and Innovation Award was Metro Tasmania, the Hobart-based public transport operator, represented at the BIC conference by Heather Haselgrove.

Also sponsored by Iveco, the Environment and Innovation Award winner must have strong commitment to the environment, and demonstrate and introduce practical measures into their operations.

In reading the citation for this award, Darryl Mellish expressed mild disappointment at there being just two nominees for the award, considering the range and number of innovations the industry has adopted in this area.

Nevertheless, Metro Tasmania was a much-deserved winner given the size and scope of environmental programs they have implemented in the past few years.

This has included the completion of a greenhouse and energy report, implementing eco-driver training, and introducing low emission vehicles into the fleet.

Metro Tasmania also plans to introduce bio-diesel fuels into the fleet in the near future.

Nominated by TasBus, Metro Tasmania’s CEO Heather Haselgrove says she is passionate about passenger transport.

She says Tasmania’s public transport has a unique opportunity by virtue of having a transport minister who is also the Green’s parliamentary leader in that state.

"I would encourage lots of other people to nominate for this award," Haselgrove says.

"It demonstrates that passenger transport can make a difference to the environment, and I’m looking forward to seeing another person up here (on stage) next year."

And it was a case of back to back wins for the Supplier of the Year with Volvo Bus again taking out this award – sponsored by ABC magazine.

Volvo Bus was a strong winner in this category based on their industry presence, commitment to BIC, BusNSW and support for the operators they supply throughout Australia.

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