Queensland clean-out - transport ministry in 'limbo'

This week’s ‘clean-out’ of top jobs in Queensland’s transport sector could affect the upcoming QBIC conference program

Queensland clean-out - transport ministry in 'limbo'
Queensland clean-out – transport ministry in ‘limbo’

By David Goeldner | March 28, 2012

Next week’s Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) conference could be without its star speakers after last weekend’s wipe-out of the Australian Labor Party and a clean out of Director-General positions after the Queensland elections.

Premier-elect Campbell Newman is currently acting Transport Minister, and has replaced Queensland’s long-serving Department of Transport and Main Roads Director-General Dave Stewart with former Liberal Party politician Michael Caltabiano as the new DG.

QBIC Executive Director David Tape has contacted both Newman and Caltabiano, inviting their participation at the annual conference which starts Monday at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Tape says it’s not clear whether the former opposition transport spokesperson Scott Emerson, now a member of Campbell Newman’s government, will move into the transport ministry which is due to be selected and sworn in by early next week.

"The Minister was to open our conference, followed by a Director-General’s update, so at the moment the current Minister for Transport and Main Roads is in fact the Premier Campbell Newman," Tape says.

"I have asked the Director-General’s office if the new DG will be attending, and I have asked if the Premier, as Transport Minister, will be attending – so I am waiting to be advised.

"I anticipate that I will probably have to improvise."

Tape says, however, that QBIC is looking forward to working with the new Queensland Government.

"Given the Premier’s background and enthusiasm in regards to moving people around Brisbane as Lord Mayor, I can only take it that he is very keen to commit to public transport – moving people effectively and efficiently – and we look forward to working with the new Government on that," Tape says.

Tape adds that despite a likely change in the speakers program given the recent state election result, QBIC’s conference was set to break attendance and exhibitor records for a Queensland bus industry event.

So far, 260 delegates have registered for both next Monday night’s welcome reception and the conference plenary sessions. Combined with exhibition registrants, total attendance will reach 364 on the floor. Total booth numbers have reached 42, along with 35 buses, chassis and trailers on display.

"For a QBIC conference, that total is awesome – we’ve never had that many people and exhibition booths before," he says.

Tape says he was ‘blown away’ by the response to the gala dinner, which will seat 312 people on Tuesday night.

"My secretariat has worked tirelessly on this event, and I must pay acknowledgement to their efforts."

Tape says as the QBIC conference approaches he will continue to monitor developments in the Queensland Parliament.

He also hopes former Transport and Main Roads Director-General Dave Stewart’s expertise is not lost to the state’s transport sector.

"It will be interesting to see what position David accepts."

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