BIC moves on Can­berra

Man­u­fac­tur­ing, in­dus­trial re­la­tions and fu­ture tran­sit are some of the hot top­ics in the bus in­dustr y right now, Michael Apps writes

ABC (Australia) - - CANBERRA -

Fe­bru­ary 28 and March 1 saw sup­pli­ers and op­er­a­tors move on Can­berra for one of our key ad­vo­cacy ac­tiv­i­ties for the year.

More than 150 peo­ple, mem­bers of the Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion and state as­so­ci­a­tions par­tic­i­pated in the na­tional In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Sem­i­nar and the Tech­ni­cal and Sup­pli­ers Sum­mit, which were run in par­al­lel and then fol­lowed by an in­dus­try din­ner that in­cluded a num­ber of key min­is­ters, shadow min­is­ters, fed­eral mem­bers and sen­a­tors.

Min­is­ter for Ur­ban In­fra­struc­ture Paul Fletcher and Shadow Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture, Trans­port, Cities and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment An­thony Al­banese both made ad­dresses at the din­ner, and their sup­port for BIC re­search and pol­icy di­rec­tions could not have been bet­ter recog­nised.

I also had the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide a speech and send the in­dus­try mes­sage to the mem­bers and sen­a­tors of Fed­eral Par­lia­ment and to the ACT Gov­ern­ment present at the din­ner, about our mes­sage and ex­pec­ta­tions of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, no mat­ter who is in power.

The mes­sage at the din­ner was based around three key pri­or­i­ties.

The rst was the re­ten­tion of the heavy ve­hi­cle au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing skill set that has been de­vel­oped in Aus­tralia over many decades that still sees 80 per cent of route buses and 60 per cent of school buses built in Aus­tralia.

The speech recog­nised that the bus man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor is highly com­pet­i­tive, and all man­u­fac­tur­ers – lo­cal or from over­seas – ac­cept this. At the same time, it was em­pha­sised that fed­eral, state and ter­ri­tory gov­ern­ments need to recog­nise the im­por­tance of re­tain­ing th­ese niche man­u­fac­tur­ing skills in Aus­tralia and the scope for th­ese skills to be utilised in other ver­ti­cal mar­kets such as health and cor­rec­tive ser­vices, mil­i­tary and min­ing.

The sec­ond key point was that we are seek­ing Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment ac­tion to get on with re­form­ing in­dus­trial re­la­tions laws and how vi­tal it is that Aus­tralia moves on from the con­stant ‘elec­tion cy­cle’ that seems to drive our in­dus­trial re­la­tions and re­form or lack thereof. Some of this IR re­form that is re­quired is not that hard or con­tentious, just caught up in a union ver­sus em­ployer cam­paign that is more about the next elec­tion than the in­ter­ests of busi­ness and em­ploy­ees.

And the in­dus­try asked a big IR ques­tion. We put it out there. It is a very big call, but in the con­text of our grow­ing cities, our grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and the in­creas­ing pres­sure on pro­duc­tiv­ity due to our con­gested cities in the fu­ture, should pub­lic trans­port be recog­nised as an es­sen­tial ser­vice and be af­forded pro­tec­tion from strike ac­tion sim­i­lar to the Lon­don un­der­ground and New York tran­sit?

A big call but an is­sue worth con­sid­er­a­tion and an is­sue that we as an in­dus­try are tak­ing a lead­er­ship role.

And the nal pri­or­ity re­lated to the fu­ture of our cities and re­gions and how we will move peo­ple.

We pro­vided our ideas based on our solid re­search and ev­i­dence based pol­icy plat­form on what the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment should be do­ing in re­la­tion to mak­ing state, ter­ri­tory and lo­cal gov­ern­ments ac­count­able in re­la­tion to ‘city deals’ and the fu­ture shape and live­abil­ity of our cities and re­gions.

We asked that in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment, where the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has the real power be­cause it has the ‘money’, to be more fo­cused and that all ma­jor road pro­jects in our cities re­quire states and ter­ri­to­ries to plan the road as a tran­sit cor­ri­dor that di­rects peo­ple in cars to­ward us­ing pub­lic trans­port, rather than build­ing more roads as space for cars to  ll. A ba­sic, strate­gic and dif­fer­ent way of think­ing and plan­ning.

The role of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is to pro­vide a frame­work and to pro­vide the in­cen­tives for state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to plan and build our cities and towns of the fu­ture. This should be based around pub­lic trans­port achiev­ing the largest mode share of daily trips in the fu­ture.

An av­er­age of 10 per cent of trips by pub­lic trans­port is not go­ing to cut it by 2030, 2040 or 2050.

‘City deals’ are a mech­a­nism that in­dus­try thinks can work, but they must have balls.

The fo­cus of the ‘city deals’ agenda by Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment must be on plan­ning and in­te­grated trans­port so­lu­tions, pub­lic trans­port and buses and tripling the pub­lic trans­port share of daily trips.

As I men­tioned in my last BIC col­umn, the BIC Na­tional Con­fer­ence will be held at the Grand Chan­cel­lor Ho­tel Ho­bart from Novem­ber 12-15, 2017. The theme will be ‘Mov­ing Peo­ple – Mo­bil­ity as a Ser­vice’ and will fo­cus on how in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment will de­liver fu­ture tran­sit and mo­bil­ity ser­vices.

Mark it in your diary.

“Gov­ern­ments need to recog­nise the im­por­tance of re­tain­ing th­ese niche man­u­fac­tur­ing skills in Aus­tralia”

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