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Queensland operators won’t go down SA road

As QBIC prepares to talk up new contracts with regional Queensland operators, a repeat of SA’s devastation up north is unlikely

By David Goeldner | June 30, 2011

This week’s fall out from several South Australian operators losing their contracts won’t be felt in Queensland, with northern operators preparing for a new contract reform phase.

Queensland Bus Industry Council Executive Director David Tape says Queensland school bus operators are likely to benefit from the anticipated ‘all-encompassing’ reform process which will include TransLink and Q-Connect operators.

“The school sector will be the biggest winners out of this process because we will finally be able to deliver to school operators in Queensland a contract that is transparent and sustainable,” Tape says.

Reacting to this week’s announcement that many school bus operators in South Australia had lost their contracts through a government tendering process, Tape believes such a situation is unlikely to occur in Queensland.

“I’m not sure what process was implemented down there between industry and the state, but what I am hearing is that there is a fair bit of hurt,” he says.

Tape says in Queensland, school bus operators have a right of renewal at the end of the contract.

“As long as the incumbent contractor has performed to a satisfactory level and met their KPIs they normally have the right of renewal or first offer,” he says.

“It doesn’t normally go to a tender situation, and I believe the majority of the industry in Queensland is out there to provide a safe and reliable service.”

Tape says part of QBIC’s action plan is to develop within three years a new school contract model to provide ‘realistic’ funding to school bus operators.

“It’s to give them incentive and provides consistency of contracts throughout sectors,” he says.

Operators believe overdue action is required in Queensland which currently operates under a school bus contract system seen as ‘one size fits all’, which Tape believes creates inequity across the sector.

“A contract needs to be fair to all parties, and what we hope to deliver to all parties – not only in the school sector – is a contract regime that delivers world class passenger services through sustainable contracts,” he says.

While Queensland appears to be in a stronger position than South Australia, there are still outstanding matters that QBIC will take to Government on behalf of its members.

High on the list of priorities is the call from school bus operators to raise the school bus funding cap.

“Caps are an issue and we will look at any cap or procurement process that brings buses into service,” Tape says.

QBIC kicks off a round of ‘grass roots’ meetings in July in regional Queensland to gain information from predominantly school bus members to feed into the contract reform process.

The first meeting will be held at Great Eastern Motor Inn, Geordie Road, Gympie on July 23, throwing the doors open to all operators – QBIC members and non-members.

Tape wants to hear from all regional operators who ‘put rubber on the road’ about issues affecting them and what they are looking for in their contracts.

“At the end of the day, operators need a sustainable contract, or they could go to the wall,” he says.

Bus suppliers will also be at the Gympie meeting, showcasing several new vehicles at the venue.

Further details are available at or contacting 07 3397 1700.

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