Conference to court controversy


This year’s QBIC conference promises to be more vocal than the last, and there’s sure to be controversy

Conference to court controversy
Conference to court controversy

By David Goeldner | February 7, 2012

There could be a tinge of controversy at this year’s Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) conference with continuing concern about the truck-aligned National Heavy Vehicle Regulator likely to appear at the event, partly to appease the bus operator audience.

"I must admit I have been a critic of the NHVR Project Office to date, because everything that has appeared has been truck and freight task-centric, with no real direction or guidance for what’s going to happen to a ‘bussie’," QBIC Executive Director David Tape says.

"I have voiced my concern on a number of occasions," he says.

Tape will invite National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Project Office Executive Director Richard Hancock to speak at the April conference, likely followed on the podium by BIC Executive Director Michael Apps to provide clarity in bus terms matters raised in the NHVR presentation.

"My discussion with the NHVR is that if they do present at the QBIC conference it needs to be bus-related so that members get value from the presentation," Tape says.

Tape says having the NHVR at the Gold Coast conference aligns with this year’s ‘Communicate, Connect, Create’ theme.

"With our theme Communicate, Connect, Create, it’s not just about our association doing those things, it’s also our member operators communicating with fellow operators, and making connections to create growth and further business in our industry,’ he says.

"To me it’s an all-encompassing conference, it’s not just about what the association has done and what it can do, it’s about what we as an industry – not only in Queensland but on a national basis – can achieve."

The conference program will include some of the state’s leading public transport identities.

Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads Director General David Stewart has agreed to attend and give a presentation at the conference.

"With bus contract reform we are looking at an officer from the Department of Transport and Main Roads to give a presentation on contract management and process," Tape says.

QBIC has called for a document for contracted operators in Queensland which will outline the obligations of the operator in regard to contract compliance, as well as outlining the obligations of the department to the operator.

"It will hopefully give a clear process and direction on contract management, what it’s about, where it’s going to and what it hopes to achieve," Tape says.

And given the conference falls just one week after Queensland’s state election, Tape has extended invitations to both the current Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk and shadow opposition transport spokesman Scott Emerson.

"Hopefully whoever the new Minister is will have the time to open our conference and give some vision and direction on where they would like to see the portfolio going," Tape says.

After the success of the Townsville conference last year, a highlight from that event returns this year with the bus suppliers’ panel session.

"It was very well received and we talked about everything ‘bus’ from the body through to finance," Tape says.

"Last year we only had 30 minutes, but this year I have allocated an hour to a panel session so that panellists won’t be cut short when they start to get involved in discussion.

"I think it will be well-received," he says.

The QBIC conference is the first of the major Australian bus industry conferences for 2012, and could well set the national tone for the year ahead.

QBIC’s Communicate, Connect, Create conference will be held from April 2 – 4 at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, partnered by Australasian Bus and Coach magazine.

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