An Extraordinary Life – Michael Apps

Photography by: various courtesy BIC

PICTORIAL: Bus industry icon Michael Apps sadly passed away on 26 December, 2020.

An Extraordinary Life – Michael Apps
“Industry and Australia are in his debt and we are unlikely to see anybody as effective again…’” said BIC chairman Wayne Patch, in remembering Michael Apps.

Michael’s Farewell Celebration was held at the Kamberra Function Centre in Canberra on January 18, 2021, attended by 150 friends, colleagues and family. An even greater number of 2,000+ joined the celebration online. Michael’s wife, Madonna, and his family sincerely extend their appreciation and warm wishes to all who participated. Michael also received a number of public tributes and these will be made available for a short time on the OzeBus website:



Here, BIC chairman Wayne Patch shares a few key memories about keen rugby player and fan Michael and his commitment and passion for the Australian bus industry.

"In February 2002, the Bus Industry Confederation was established, and Michael, as many in Industry will know, served as its executive director for nearly two decades.

"At the core of Michael’s national agenda for industry was the development of creative solutions to assist our nation’s policy makers in tackling the many challenges that confront us in respect of moving people around cities, regions and towns. He understood that the challenges we face cannot be overcome by any single transport mode solution and it was this acknowledgement that made him much more than just a bus industry advocate.

"Michael led the national agenda for public transport, promoting the benefits of moving-people services as a national priority for all levels of government. His often irreverent approach masked the serious nature of the policies being espoused and enabled the BIC to get politicians and senior bureaucrats to consider BIC’s position. 

"Michael has formed countless trusted relationships with political operatives of all persuasions, bureaucrats of all jurisdictions and industry participants in every sector. His collegiate approach to his work in Canberra gained him respect from all and strong friendships from many.

"In the words of past BIC chairman Stephen Lucas, who spoke at Michael’s Farewell, so aptly said: ‘There are many stories about Appsy and his good-humoured approach to life… Tributes in the media have lauded him with descriptions such as loveable larrikin, but understate the genius of his lobbying. He was never offensive or angry… He made his point with wit and … yes …with a bit of cheek. He had strong friendships across the political spectrum and embedded solid public transport policy in the Australian government.

"Industry and Australia are in his debt and we are unlikely to see anybody as effective again…’"

"As chairman of the BIC, I leave you with these final words on our little mate. Michael embraced life – with commitment, courage, enthusiasm and joy. Australia has lost one of its most passionate public transport advocates with his passing.

"Industry has lost a ‘bus captain’ who genuinely cared about all businesses, all interests and all people.

"I have lost an esteemed and trusted colleague and I will always fondly remember him as a great friend whom I shall greatly miss."













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