The Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion Na­tional Tech­ni­cal and Sup­pli­ers Sum­mit in Can­berra.

Bus in­dus­try sup­pli­ers and pol­icy ex­perts tackle some of the more tech­ni­cal is­sues around bus de­sign at the BIC Sum­mit in Can­berra

ABC (Australia) - - CONTENTS - WORDS RAN­DALL JOHNSTON

There’s plenty hap­pen­ing at a reg­u­la­tory level in the con­text of com­pli­ance and how Aus­tralian De­sign Rules ap­ply, and a large sec­tion of the con­fer­ence was ded­i­cated to in­form­ing at­ten­dees of the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in this space

Alarge sec­tion of the Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion ( BIC) Na­tional Tech­ni­cal and Sup­pli­ers Sum­mit in Can­berra was ded­i­cated to in­form­ing at­ten­dees of the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in this space.

The con­fer­ence got off to an in­trigu­ing start with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the De­part­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment in­form­ing del­e­gates about the evo­lu­tion of cur­rent ve­hi­cle safety stan­dards.

Bus in­dus­try sup­pli­ers and op­er­a­tors are in­ter­ested in what’s hap­pen­ing at a reg­u­la­tory level in the con­text of com­pli­ance and how Aus­tralian De­sign Rules (ADRs) ap­ply, and a large sec­tion of the con­fer­ence.

First speaker Mark Hester is a qualied me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer and helps to over­see ve­hi­cle certication, al­low­ing new bus and coach prod­ucts to be in­tro­duced to the Aus­tralian mar­ket.

Hester’s job is largely based around cre­at­ing a uni­form set of de­sign stan­dards and his team is fo­cused on stream­lin­ing the rules and mak­ing sure ev­ery­one ac­cepts the min­i­mum stan­dards.

“The cost bur­den of any new reg­u­la­tion must be off­set by re­mov­ing reg­u­la­tions in other ar­eas in terms of com­pli­ance,” he says.

Hester and his team work closely with in­dus­try and road user groups. The Road Ve­hi­cle

Stan­dards Act is cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped by Hester’s team and this will set out the law in a way that is much eas­ier to un­der­stand than what is cur­rently in place. Th­ese new stan­dards are likely to be in­tro­duced in 2018.

His de­part­ment is also look­ing at emis­sions stan­dards, al­though it is not known pre­cisely when an up­dated set of stan­dards will have been de­vel­oped and are ready to im­ple­ment.

AN EQUAL FOOT­ING

Next to ad­dress del­e­gates was road safety and trans­port pol­icy di­rec­tor Ka­t­rina Cristo­fani and

her as­sis­tant di­rec­tor Ge­off Smith, both of whom are work­ing to im­prove dis­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity stan­dards on pub­lic trans­port. The Trans­port Stan­dards

Safety Re­view, which was held in July 2015, re­sulted in seven key rec­om­men­da­tions that will help im­prove dis­abled ac­ces­si­bil­ity. Cristo­fani’s team is work­ing on im­ple­ment­ing th­ese now.

Smith says that there are a few chal­lenges for bus and coach op­er­a­tors in this space in cre­at­ing equiv­a­lent ac­cess and meet­ing the stan­dards.

“We are now at the point where we’re try­ing to make our way through the is­sues and see if we can come up with a pack­age by the end of this year.

“Com­ing out of the sec­ond re­view, what we found na­tion­ally is that op­er­a­tors don’t use ‘equiv­a­lent ac­cess’ pro­vi­sions sim­ply be­cause they’re un­sure about them,” he says.

Back in 2009, a com­mit­tee was formed to look into mo­bil­ity scooter safety fol­low­ing a num­ber of deaths. A num­ber of th­ese scoot­ers are de­signed over­seas, so as part of that, the com­mit­tee also con­sid­ered ac­cess to buses and trains. This led to what is now known as the Pub­lic Trans­port La­belling Scheme, pro­vid­ing stick­ers for scoot­ers that meet a certied stan­dard.

He says the com­mit­tee is meet­ing again this month with the aim of pro­duc­ing an Aus­tralian Tech­ni­cal

Specication for mo­bil­ity scoot­ers. The Aus­tralian com­mit­tee has done a lot of work on tech­ni­cal stan­dards for mo­bil­ity scoot­ers to t onto pub­lic trans­port.

One of the key ar­eas of fo­cus is lim­it­ing speed – per­haps to 10km/ h – and also im­ple­ment­ing a uni­fied stan­dard around dimensions.

FLEET SNAPSHOT

Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor (NHVR) spokesper­son Pe­ter Austin says the na­tional bus eet is highly com­pli­ant com­pared to freight trucks and that the nal re­port on the Na­tional Road­wor­thi­ness Base­line Sur­vey will be re­leased in May.

“What we are do­ing with the Na­tional Base­line Sur­vey has never been done across the ju­ris­dic­tion,” he ex­plains.

“We made sure we got a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of the en­tire ve­hi­cle eet and there is no preva­lence of ma­jor de­fects within the na­tional bus and coach eet.

“We will have a we­bi­nar af­ter the re­lease of the sur­vey that will al­low us to talk to in­dus­try about what we should do mov­ing for­ward. The buses we tested per­formed very well; the av­er­age age of the buses we tested was 9.8 years.”

The largest area of fault NHVR found while con­duct­ing its sur­vey test­ing on buses was re­lated to brakes.

Base­line sur­vey aside, the NHVR plans to tar­get its reg­u­lar sched­uled and ran­dom road­side in­spec­tions based on the per­ceived level of risk in 2017.

“We need to make sure that our re­sponses are based on the level of risk and we need to make sure that we are be­ing con­sis­tent in terms of our in­spec­tions,” Austin says.

“We are still look­ing at post- July 2018 when we can im­ple­ment rec­om­men­da­tions that come from the base­line sur­vey, so we’re still in the early stages.

“In the fu­ture we do want to con­duct more base­line surveys.” COM­PLI­ANCE IN FO­CUS Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices ( RMS) prin­ci­pal man­ager of en­force­ment op­er­a­tions Brett Pat­ter­son says the Heavy Ve­hi­cle Com­pli­ance Sur­vey 2015 re­port shed light

The 2016 Fire Safety Re­port shows that bus fires in­creased by 92 per cent

on New South Wales bus fleet com­pli­ance.

“We work closely with BusNSW and we need to work to­gether closely to achieve com­pli­ance,” he says.

“The most com­mon is­sues that we see are to brakes, aux­il­iary equip­ment, tyre faults, and oil and fuel leaks.”

In 2015/16, RMS looked at 38,000 in­di­vid­ual coaches, with 17 per cent of the faults it found re­lat­ing to brakes.

Of all the buses in­spected in 2016, only 1 per cent had ma­jor de­fects.

A new ini­tia­tive in­volves host­ing op­er­a­tors, BusNSW and man­u­fac­tur­ers to road­side in­spec­tions to help them gain an in­sight into the com­mon types of faults it sees on a day- to- day ba­sis.

Trans­port for New South Wales ( TfNSW) metro ser­vice pro­cure­ment and con­tract man­ager Penny Harte spoke

at the con­fer­ence about the preva­lence of bus fires.

“Bus fires have been re­cur­ring more reg­u­larly the last few years,” she says. “In fact the 2016 Fire Safety

Re­port shows that bus fires of in­creased by 92 per cent; 80 per cent of bus fires are caused by the brakes.

“We have an in­de­pen­dently cheered bus fire mit­i­ga­tion com­mit­tee and we’re work­ing on rec­om­men­da­tions which we will then present to the gov­ern­ment.

“The com­mit­tee in­cludes bus man­u­fac­tur­ers and the Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion and other in­dus­try stake­hold­ers.

“We meet with bus op­er­a­tors to dis­cuss fire safety.

“We even retro­fit en­gine bays to make them safer, which is a pro­gram we have been run­ning for a num­ber of years.

“We have been look­ing at im­prove­ments to the fire in­ci­dent data­base to help us un­der­stand what we need to do to re­duce the in­ci­dences of fire.

“We have a strong fo­cus on preven­tion and op­er­a­tors and man­u­fac­tur­ers help us to achieve that aim.

“Main­te­nance is ob­vi­ously a key fac­tor among op­er­a­tors.”

Fire mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment is also be­ing fit­ted onto the rear axle of buses in New South Wales as part of an on­go­ing safety im­prove­ment pro­gram, since a large num­ber of bus fires start in the tyre well.

Harte also spoke about in­clud­ing re­gional and ru­ral op­er­a­tors in the bus pro­cure­ment panel for the first time this year and a po­ten­tial shift to­wards elec­tric buses.

“We are con­sid­er­ing tri­alling elec­tric buses in New South Wales. We are look­ing to go to mar­ket, look into the costs and iden­tify what would be suit­able routes first, in re­gard to the op­er­a­tion of elec­tric buses.”

Mov3­ment prin­ci­pal con­sul­tant Mark Gjerek says the trans­port in­dus­try is one of the big­gest users of en­ergy in Aus­tralia at 27 per cent.

For this rea­son Gjerek says the gov­ern­ment will in­creas­ingly look to fo­cus on the trans­port in­dus­try to im­prove its en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards.

EM­PLOYER RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY

Down the road at the APTIA In­dus­trial Re­la­tions sem­i­nar at Ho­tel Kur­ra­jong in Can­berra, op­er­a­tors were learn­ing about best prac­tice when it comes to be­ing a re­spon­si­ble em­ployer and what is ex­pected of em­ploy­ers in ac­cor­dance with the Fair Work Act.

Dis­cus­sions were fo­cused around the im­por­tance of ad­her­ing to strict pro­ce­dures when it comes to em­ployee dis­missal and how to avoid costly pay­outs.

In­ter­act Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Nikki Brouw­ers says that keep­ing peo­ple healthy and happy at work is some­thing that bus op­er­a­tors must com­mit to.

“You need to meet with your su­per­vi­sors and your HR de­part­ment to make sure you have strong and con­sis­tent poli­cies in place and that th­ese are ad­hered to,” she says.

Guest speaker Aus­tralian Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor James Pear­son says the in­dus­trial re­la­tions en­vi­ron­ment in which op­er­a­tors have to run their busi­ness th­ese days is tougher than ever.

There’s a lot of commentary around about whether the Fair

Work Act is be­ing used in the way it was in­tended, where em­ploy­ees are dis­missed by their em­ployer (in what most peo­ple would see as fair cir­cum­stances) be­ing re­turned to work af­ter de­ci­sions by the Fair Work Com­mis­sion (FWC).

He also spoke about in­dus­trial ac­tion and the im­pact this has on the pro­duc­tiv­ity of the in­dus­try.

“We know the threat of in­dus­trial ac­tion can be in­tim­i­dat­ing and can make a pro­found dif­fer­ence to your protabil­ity in a very small amount of time, be­cause you have to run things on time,” Pear­son says. “Peo­ple ex­pect to buy a ticket and get from point to point where they’re go­ing in safety and on time.

“Our con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety as em­ploy­ers th­ese days is not well un­der­stood and we should be en­cour­ag­ing busi­nesses to cre­ate more jobs.”

A panel of in­dus­trial re­la­tions ex­perts dis­cussed the out­come of some re­cent em­ployee dis­missal cases.

Tran­sit Sys­tems Aus­tralia gen­eral coun­sel Mike Kent, Grey­hound gen­eral man­ager of in­dus­trial re­la­tions and hu­man re­sources Kylie Hen­ningsen, and Aus­tralian Cham­ber of Com­merce deputy di­rec­tor of work­place re­la­tions Alana Mathe­son spoke about nav­i­gat­ing the cur­rent in­dus­trial re­la­tions cli­mate.

Un­fair dis­missal cases are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly difcult to man­age and it is very hard to know what the out­come will be from a FWC hear­ing, ac­cord­ing to the trio.

The gen­er­ally held view among th­ese ex­perts is that pro­ce­dural ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties or ad­min­is­tra­tive er­rors made in the em­ployee dis­missal process, or a mis­take in the ling of as­so­ci­ated pa­per­work, can of­ten trump (or deem in­valid) a fair rea­son to dis­miss an em­ployee in a FWC hear­ing.

To sum­marise their ad­vice: em­ploy­ers need to make sure the pro­cesses that lead up to the ter­mi­na­tion are solid and ad­hered to. If em­ploy­ers don’t fol­low the cor­rect ter­mi­na­tion pro­cesses, they could land in trou­ble and be faced with a dis­missal chal­lenge.

MIN­IS­TERS WEIGH IN

Del­e­gates were treated to rous­ing speeches by two min­sters dur­ing the sum­mit din­ner. First to take the stage was Shadow Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture and Trans­port An­thony Al­banese.

“We are all friends in this room and we all agree on the di­rec­tion our cities should take mov­ing for­ward,” he says.

“We need to sup­port jobs and Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ing. The bus in­dus­try has led the cities agenda and 30-minute city con­cept.

“Peo­ple are liv­ing in­creas­ingly in sub­urbs where they can af­ford a home but where there aren’t jobs so they have to travel large dis­tances into the CBD.

“There are 350,000 peo­ple trav­el­ling from west­ern Syd­ney into the CBD ev­ery day. We need to change that and chal­lenge the non­sense that you can deal with ur­ban con­ges­tion by build­ing more roads. You can’t – we need to be pre­pared to be hon­est about that.

“Un­less you have mass tran­sit, we can’t have the kind of growth that we need to see.

Our con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety as em­ploy­ers th­ese days is not well un­der­stood

“We need more in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture and to im­prove the efciency of pub­lic trans­port.”

Min­is­ter for Ur­ban In­fra­struc­ture Paul Fletcher, who also spoke at the din­ner, says the im­por­tance of the bus in­dus­try can­not be un­der­stated.

“Rail seems to come rst, but bus rep­re­sents a third of the trips taken.

“This in­dus­try is very im­por­tant for do­mes­tic tourism. All too of­ten the de­bate seems to get framed in terms of rail ver­sus road, but buses in­volve much less up­front cap­i­tal than rail or tram.

“One of the key fo­cuses of the new West­ern Syd­ney Air­port will be bus con­nec­tiv­ity and we have been look­ing at in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tors, to see how we can best run ser­vices to and from the new air­port.

“The Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion has played a very strong ad­vo­cacy role and taken the ini­tia­tive on a num­ber of is­sues that have cropped up over the last few years that are likely to have an im­pact on the in­dus­try. The ar­rival of au­to­mated ve­hi­cles is likely to blur the di­vi­sions be­tween dif­fer­ent modes of trans­port into the fu­ture.”

Above (L-R): BIC vice chair­man Steve Heanes; Fed­eral road safety and trans­port pol­icy spe­cial­ist Ka­t­rina Cristo­fani

Right: Fed­eral heavy ve­hi­cle stan­dards ex­pert Mark Hester

Above: In­ter­act Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Nikki Brouw­ers

Left: BIC ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Michael Apps Op­po­site: In­dus­trial re­la­tions ex­perts Kylie Hen­ningsen, Mike Kent and Alana Mathe­son; The BIC Na­tional Tech­ni­cal and Sup­pli­ers Sum­mit was well at­tended.

Above: Iveco’s Steve Heanes, Sca­nia’s Ju­lian Gur­ney and Piper Al­der­man part­ner Pe­ter Dwyer Op­po­site: Deputy Leader of the op­po­si­tion An­thony Al­banese; Min­is­ter for Ur­ban In­fra­struc­ture Paul Fletcher

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