By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: Fabian Cotter

EVENT: BEAUTIFUL HOBART’S icy winter chill could not penetrate the warmth and heat – or is that heart? – of the awesome event that was the TasBus 2018 Conference. ABC magazine was honoured to attend.

Thousands were raised for worthy charities and it was great to see people happily partake in the event.

They say your greatness is not what you have, but what you give. And if there’s any truth in that precept then it took human form at the TasBus 2018 Conference mid-year, where the local bus industry’s charitable hearts were laid bare for all attendees to see.

Held June 1-2 at the elegant Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart, Tasmania, delegates were treated to a wonderful occasion of in-depth bus industry banter followed by an extravagant night-time dinner function, underwritten by its own unique specialness of all the state BIC-related functions.

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The Friday-night Welcome Function kicked off things, with TasBus general manager Geoff Lewis greeting us all and setting the general warm tone of the event. The drinks and tasty nibbles were an added bonus to the friendly catch-ups between bus and coach operators, industry experts and the odd media person spotted expertly executing camera-juggling and drink-holding duties while sampling abovementioned delicious nibbles. Or so it was remarked upon.




With the night’s end and the icy night air outside to be braved by some, the next day’s conference started with a range of hot topics discussed. The Official Conference Opening was officiated by The Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP, Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure, followed by words from the Tasmanian Labor Party’s David O’Byrne MP, Opposition Spokesperson on Transport, followed by the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens, Cassy O’Connor MP.

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Project 2018’s director John Dawson gave his update followed by a discussion on Contract Analysis from Peter Dwyer, a partner at Piper Alderman. Prior to lunch, Kelli Cumming, director Strategy & Service Transition Business Services for the NHVR updated us and talked about Chain of Responsibility.

With bellies full the hot topics continued, starting with a Workers Compensation Changes chat with Dixie Emmerton, CEO of Centre for Tasmanian Industry, followed by an APTIA Award Update from Ian McDonald, National IR manager. BIC executive director Michael Apps expertly delivered the national update, before the main part of the conference was wrapped up by Shane Dewsbery, president of TasBus.

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With the 3.30pm AGM complete, there was a short break to re-energise and get to the pre-dinner drinks on the Mezzanine level. Again, more chit-chat, schmoozing and friendly banter ensued before the night festivities took place.

Key to all this was the award ceremony to honour top people and organisations involved in the local bus industry.

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These included: Ian Garth – Outstanding Contribution 2018; Barry Bonnitcha (Styleride seating) – Tasmanian Bus Industry Legend; Jan Bingley (Merseylink) -  Industry Achiever award; Scott Workman (Havnadip Bus Repairs) -  Environment and Innovation award; Alan Williamson (Distinctive Systems)  – Supplier of the Year award; and Megan Morse (MetroTas) – Safety Award.

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With the official bit sorted it was time for a bit of fun and frivolity, but all for a good cause as the now legendary TasBus Charity Raffle & Auction took centre stage. Thousands were raised for worthy charities and it was great to see people happily partake in the event and give to help so many others that needed it.

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Overall, a great event that left many looking forward to the next one, believed to be held in Launceston next year.

We’ll keep you up to date…

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