Compelling compendium


Contract reform and employment changes are two compelling reasons to get to Hamilton Island

Compelling compendium
Compelling compendium

By David Goeldner | February 21, 2013

Amongst a compendium of topics planned for this year’s Queensland Bus Industry Council conference, contract reform and technical amendments to the Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award (PVTA) stand out as ‘must attend’ sessions.

QBIC Executive Director David Tape says these sessions are critical to a bus operation regardless of its size and scale, and where it happens to operate in Queensland.

"Operators need to be at the conference to hear how the state is going to deal with contracted services, and how operators will be renumerated," Tape says.

The Queensland bus contract reform process will be presented by TransLink Bus, Coach, Ferry and Aviation Executive Director Michael McGee.

Tape says QBIC has been in consultation with McGee over the past eight months in terms of what it deems as important aspects of operators’ contracts, such as asset management and bus acquisition, among other items.

"TransLink now manages all contracts in the state, whether it’s a route service in south-east Queensland, a school contract out west or a QConnect contract in the north," Tape says.

"We hope there are aspects of the contract framework we design over the next month that can be transitioned into all contract areas."

The deadline for TransLink contracts is June 2014, when current contracts expire.

"TransLink has been open in their communication, and we are fortunate that we are going through a negotiated process, and not going to tender as has been done in southern states," he says.

"By the time we run our conference, we will be very close to the state issuing invitations to offer to incumbent operators for the contracts they currently hold."

The QBIC conference also provides the first opportunity in 2013 for bus industry delegates to hear APTIA National Manager Ian ‘Macca’ McDonald’s assessment of the current status of the PVTA.

"The PVTA is under review for any technical inconsistencies, and there could be changes," Tape says.

Hopefully we will have some direction on likely changes to the Act and how it affects the award, and how this might affect wages and employment.

"It’s a part of the conference program that could impact on the way operators pay their drivers."



ON BOARD TO DELIVER

The QBIC conference themed ‘On Board to Deliver’ opens with an address from Queensland’s assistant transport minister Steve Minnikin, followed by an address from acting TransLink Deputy Director General Matt Longland.

The addresses by Minnikin and Longland take place almost a year after the 2012 Queensland Election, and the subsequent absorption of TransLink into the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

"With the merging of departments it gives us one body to deal with all contracts for the entire state," Tape says.

Also on the agenda will be CEO Richard Hancock’s update on the progress of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulatory Authority since its inception in January this year.

Cooper Grace Ward legal partner Peter Dwyer follows with practical advice on how to respond to safety incidents, then on to the Saturday afternoon sessions from Bus Industry Confederation Executive Director Michael Apps, followed by a session on bus finance from Heritage Finance, on to ‘green’ themed driver training from Strategix, and wrapping with the Bustech-sponsored gala dinner.

But the conference is not all about heavy industry topics, bookmarked by operators’ contracts and wage agreements, as there will be scope for ‘networking’ among the fairways of nearby Dent Island leading up to the speakers’ program.

For the avid nine-iron hackers, get to the event early for the annual QBIC golf day, held at the Dent Island Golf Club from 9am on Friday, April 5.

The conference speaking program will be held on Saturday, leading to QBIC’s Annual General Meeting, closed to full association members only, on Sunday April 7.

With or without golf enthusiasts, the conference is on target to attract a record attendance.

By mid-February, more than 200 industry representatives had registered to attend the Hamilton Island conference which runs from April 5-7, 2013.



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