More than 250 BusNSW del­e­gates at­tended this year’s Mem­ber Con­fer­ence, held at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Val­ley April 19-20, for a dis­cus­sion on a range of in-depth top­ics af­fect­ing the NSW bus in­dus­try to­day.


It was an epic event at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Val­ley wine re­gion, its beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tion be­ly­ing the se­ri­ous bus top­ics to be had. Fabian Cot­ter re­ports.

The event started with a ‘Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Boot Camp’ cov­er­ing top­ics that are im­por­tant to all sec­tors of the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing con­tracted and non-con­tracted op­er­a­tors, and in­dus­try sup­pli­ers.

The top­ics had a ‘P’ theme and in­cluded:

• Pric­ing, Prof­itabil­ity and Per­for­mance

• Peo­ple

• Pub­lic Re­la­tions and Pro­mo­tion

• Prop­erty and Plant.

The main ob­jec­tive for the boot­camp was to get mem­bers think­ing about their day-to-day busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties and where there may be op­por­tu­ni­ties for im­prove­ment. The af­ter­noon fin­ished with a look at the fu­ture via a pre­sen­ta­tion on the au­ton­o­mous shut­tle bus trial cur­rently un­der­way at Syd­ney Olympic Park.

Del­e­gates en­joyed the Volvo-spon­sored

He en­cour­aged del­e­gates to take up the chal­lenge and get in­volved in new trans­port ini­tia­tives.

Wel­come Func­tion on the Thurs­day evening with Lau­ren Downs, gen­eral man­ager of Volvo Bus Aus­tralia, in­tro­duc­ing a new-look team to del­e­gates.

The con­fer­ence com­menced with BusNSW pres­i­dent John King wel­com­ing del­e­gates.

King spoke about a rapidly chang­ing world and the way bus and coach ser­vices are planned and de­liv­ered be­ing trans­formed as never be­fore.

He en­cour­aged del­e­gates to take up the chal­lenge and get in­volved in new trans­port ini­tia­tives, which will help in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment un­der­stand what works and what doesn’t.

The con­fer­ence theme –

Nav­i­gat­ing the Fu­ture – re­flected the need for op­er­a­tors, sup­pli­ers and gov­ern­ment to steer the pub­lic trans­port frame­work and to adapt to a chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

BusNSW ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Matt Threlkeld pro­vided an in­dus­try re­port later in the day em­pha­sis­ing that, af­ter 75 years of rep­re­sent­ing pri­vate bus and coach op­er­a­tors, BusNSW and its mem­bers were well placed to as­sist with the nav­i­ga­tion by con­tribut­ing to pub­lic trans­port pol­icy and tri­alling new tech­nol­ogy to de­liver trans­port ser­vices.

The first con­fer­ence speaker was moun­taineer Michael Groom. In 1987, Groom be­came the first Aus­tralian to climb the world’s third­high­est moun­tain, Kangchen­junga, with­out the use of bot­tled oxy­gen or Sherpa sup­port.

Groom re­counted an in­spir­ing story of how he sur­vived many un­for­tu­nate ac­ci­dents that nearly killed or crip­pled him, and in 1993 he was able to achieve his child­hood am­bi­tion of climb­ing Mt Ever­est. He went on to climb the five high­est moun­tains in the world, be­com­ing the fourth per­son to do so, and on Aus­tralia Day 2000 Michael re­ceived the Or­der of Aus­tralia Medal for his achieve­ment in moun­taineer­ing.

The next speaker was The Hon. An­drew Con­stance MP, Min­is­ter for Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture. Min­is­ter Con­stance thanked

op­er­a­tors for their con­tri­bu­tion to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and pro­vided del­e­gates with some key in­sights into the NSW Gov­ern­ment’s Fu­ture Trans­port 2056 Strat­egy and Plans.

The Min­is­ter spoke openly about the need for in­no­va­tion within the trans­port sec­tor and the suc­cess of the Trans­port for NSW on-de­mand trans­port pi­lots. The Min­is­ter ac­knowl­edged mem­ber con­cerns re­gard­ing the retrofitting of seat­belts to some of the older ru­ral and re­gional con­tract buses and sup­ported a com­mon-sense ap­proach to re­plac­ing ve­hi­cles.

Tony La Rocca from SURA made the Achiever Award Pre­sen­ta­tion to Michael Kerr from Rover Coaches, which was fol­lowed by Darryl Mel­lish an­nounc­ing the fol­low­ing In­dus­try Award Win­ners:

• Sup­plier of the Year – Volgren;

• In­no­va­tive Op­er­a­tor of the Year – Punch­bowl Bus Com­pany;

• Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion to the In­dus­try – Frank D’Apuzzo from Buslines Group.

Min­is­ter Con­stance pre­sented the re­cip­i­ents with their tro­phy and cer­tifi­cate.

Ses­sion Two in­cluded the fol­low­ing pre­sen­ta­tions:

1. Reg­u­lat­ing for Safety pre­sented by Julie Mor­gan - di­rec­tor, In­sights and Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vices, at Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices

2. NSW Pas­sen­ger Trans­port Law pre­sented by Jes­sica Lin­sell - di­rec­tor Trans­port Ser­vice Pol­icy Trans­port for NSW

3. Point-to-Point Trans­port Com­mis­sion and The Bus In­dus­try – Point-to-Point Trans­port com­mis­sioner, Bar­bara Wise.

Ses­sion three in­cluded the fol­low­ing pre­sen­ta­tions:

for 1. On-de­mand NSW Strat­egy Trans­port pre­sented – Trans­port by John Karaboulis, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ser­vice De­liv­ery & As­set Man­age­ment;

2. On-de­mand Trans­port Pi­lots - A Gov­ern­ment Per­spec­tive pre­sented by Emma Reedy, man­ager, Op­er­a­tional De­liv­ery, Ser­vice De­liv­ery & As­set Man­age­ment

3. Pre­mier On-de­mand – An Op­er­a­tor Case Study pre­sented by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Pre­mier Trans­port Group

4. The Path­way to Au­ton­o­mous Ve­hi­cles – A Fo­cus on Con­nec­tiv­ity pre­sented by Ju­lian Gur­ney – na­tional sales man­ager, Bus & Coach, Sca­nia Aus­tralia

5. The Path­way to Au­ton­o­mous Ve­hi­cles – A Fo­cus on Elec­tric pre­sented by David Mead, vice pres­i­dent Asia Pa­cific Re­gion, Volvo Bus Cor­po­ra­tion.

Ses­sion Four in­cluded the fol­low­ing pre­sen­ta­tions:

1. BusNSW In­dus­try Re­port pre­sented by Matt Threlkeld, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor BusNSW;

2. Na­tional Bus & Coach In­dus­try

Up­date pre­sented by Michael Apps, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion (BIC).

All of the con­fer­ence pre­sen­ta­tions em­pha­sised the need for in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment to deal with a rapidly chang­ing land­scape through a col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ship ap­proach.

The jungle-themed con­fer­ence din­ner in­cluded an im­promptu singing per­for­mance by lo­cal op­er­a­tor and Din­ner MC Aaron Lewis from Rover Mo­tors, and pro­vided del­e­gates with an op­por­tu­nity to re­lax, net­work - and get their danc­ing shoes on for a good boo­gie.

All of the con­fer­ence pre­sen­ta­tions em­pha­sised the need ... to deal with a rapidly chang­ing land­scape.

Op­po­site be­low: Aaron Lewis col­lects the Achiever Award on be­half of win­ner Michael Kerr from Rover Coaches.


A Pre­mier Trans­port Group’s on-de­mand op­er­a­tor case study rep; BusNSW ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Matt Threlkeld wel­comes all.

Left: The faces of our in­dus­try in at­ten­dance; Sca­nia sales man­ager Ju­lian Gur­ney de­liv­ers The Path­way to Au­ton­o­mous Ve­hi­cles.

Top and

right: Min­is­ter Con­stance; Trans­port for NSW’s John Karaboulis speaks about on­de­mand ser­vices.

Above and left:

Band in top form; Jungle fun.


‘ Hops’ on board the beer bus!; Volvo’s Lau­ren Downs; ‘In the jungle, the mighty jungle’.

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