Security needed

NSW regional operators are asking for contract security as current contracts come to an end

The lack of contract security is the main concern being raised by regional New South Wales bus operators after a series of regional seminars.

BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish says the lack of contract security is one of the main issues facing regional operators, after ten bus industry seminars were recently attended by 400 operators.

He says they are predicting changes to the terms and conditions of the next rural and regional contracts which start expiring from July 2015. 

Transport for NSW took a partnership approach to rural and region contract negotiations in 2006/07. 

However, the department has moved to market testing for the last round of Metro contracts and negotiating market prices for Outer Metro contracts.

Transport for NSW are now looking to apply some of this thinking to the next round of rural and regional contracts.

BusNSW has signalled a task force approach to the next round of rural and regional contracts indicating its willingness to work with the State Government to achieve the outcomes they consider are needed.

So far, Transport for NSW have only advised all of the items raised by industry will be considered in the development and procurement of the next generation of rural and regional contracts.

The changes include cost savings, shorter contracts, changes to KPIs, penalty based reporting regimes and end of term provisions that provide the NSW Government with flexibility.

 "BusNSW has provided members with discussion papers setting out the pros and cons of the existing contracts and coming up with ideas to facilitate the next round of contracts, and showing the government the willingness to work together on improving public transport in country areas," says Mellish.

"It is unclear if Transport for NSW want to engage to vary the existing contract or are delaying until the next contracts are done.  Either way, practical solutions are needed and BusNSW wants to help."

Contract issues will be discussed at the upcoming BusNSW Management Seminar in Hunter Valley.

Transport for NSW Director-General Dave Stewart will be addressing delegates at the seminar on April 16.

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