Queensland Bus Industry Council
The state’s peak bus industry body has welcomed a commitment by Queensland Labor to scrap the Newman Government’s controversial new bus tender process and reintroduce direct negotiations.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) said many in the industry are living in fear that they will be replaced by out of state bus companies who can afford to initially run at a loss to meet the State Government’s new criteria.
The QBIC has launched a transport blueprint for the state, “Moving People Queensland”, which has received endorsement from Labor.
In a letter from deputy opposition leader Tim Mulherin, Labor committed to “immediately halt the Newman Government’s destructive and divisive competitive tendering approach to bus contracts and revert to a negotiated contract process with operators.”
Mr Mulherin also acknowledged that the LNP’s approach had “the potential to drive locally owned and operated bus operators out of business”, and committed Labor to establishing a new independent statutory authority to guide the state’s infrastructure program.
QBIC executive director David Tape said the commitment showed an understanding of transport needs.
“This will provide for certainty of contracts and a continuation of business for small to medium bus operators in Queensland.”
“Finally there is some hope to retain Queensland business and Queensland jobs.”
The QBIC has called on the LNP to match Labor’s commitment.
Media Contacts: Lyall Mercer – 0413 749 830 // Barbara Gorogh – 0435 909 608
The LNP’s focus on the BaT Tunnel and carparks for train stations shows the Government doesn’t understand transport needs, according to the peak body representing Queensland’s bus industry.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) has launched a transport blueprint for the future, which calls for more frequent bus schedules, more investment in transport infrastructure and better cooperation between industry and government.
Executive Director David Tape said more people relied on buses than trains and other public transport, with State Government figures showing bus travel accounting for over 67 per cent of public transport in SE Queensland and over 93 per cent in the regions.
“Our solution is simple and workable. Every bus on the road is estimated to save 50 cars, and if we focus on better bus infrastructure and more services, we won’t need to keep building as many roads.”
The QBIC also slammed the State Government for a lack of industry consultation during the last three years, which resulted in the Government changing the bus tender process, a move the association warned recently would see many bus operators go out of business.
Mr Tape said he has received a commitment from Labor deputy leader Tim Mulherin that if elected, the ALP would scrap the tender process, reintroduce negotiated contracts and better engage with the industry.
“We welcome Labor’s commitment as it will provide for certainty of contracts and a continuation of business for small to medium bus operators in Queensland.”
Calling on the LNP to match Labor’s commitment, he revealed that many in the industry who have voted for the Liberal and National Parties all their lives were disillusioned and would vote against the party for the first time.
The QBIC’s transport blueprint, “Moving People Queensland” is now available.
The failure of Queensland airline Skytrans will be repeated “a hundredfold” in the bus industry across the state if the Newman Government doesn’t immediately reverse its decision to put bus contracts to open tender.
This is the prediction from the state’s peak industry body, the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) who says the State Government has failed Queensland companies through a “cost-cutting obsession that is counter-productive.”
QBIC executive director David Tape said small and medium size companies – many family businesses – are living in fear that they will be replaced by out of state bus companies who can afford to initially run at a loss to meet the State Government’s new tender process.
“Until now, the State Government has renewed bus contracts by direct negotiation, as they know the profit margins and have the power to set them,” Mr Tape revealed.
“But suddenly, and without giving us specific details, they have announced that any company anywhere, with no investment in the region, can win a bus contract in 2015 by simply slashing prices.”
Mr Tape said a single bus costs around $400K and local operators have invested in other infrastructure and employment in order to service bus routes according to the Government’s guidelines.
“Now they tell us they don’t care about our investment and they are happy to allow an out of state company with a willingness to run at a loss to take over the contract, while the local company goes out of business.”
He said engagement with the industry by the Government has been severely lacking. “Open and transparent communication from Government has not been forthcoming to date.
“They are treating Queensland companies with contempt and hoping we stay silent before the election because post-election, many Queensland bus companies may not even exist.
“Well, we are not staying silent, and are asking for a pre-election commitment that the Government will change course.”
Bus services across Queensland could be slashed and safety standards compromised if the Newman Government proceeds with plans to implement an open tender process for bus routes next year, according to the industry’s peak body.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) says the new process, which has been rejected by other states, could also result in the closure of established Queensland companies and widespread job losses.
QBIC executive director David Tape called the move a “cynical cost-cutting exercise”. “The Government has not publicised their plans and has even refused to be open with the industry about their motives.
“They are clearly attempting to hide what they know will be huge ramifications for bus services, safety standards and jobs across Queensland.”
He said Queensland companies could be destroyed overnight, replaced with companies from anywhere.
“Many of these operators are family companies that have been servicing their local areas and investing into local communities for decades.”
In the past, bus routes have been awarded by direct negotiations, a process that ensures a high standard of service.
“Our industry is regulated, and the Government knows every operator’s profits. They already have the power to set the profit margin.”
Instead, every route will be subject to a process that will see companies fighting to save every cent possible, in order to obtain the cheapest tender.
“When costs are slashed something is compromised – whether that be services, maintenance, safety or employees wages and conditions.”
“Even now, operators are not spending. Why would they when they might be out of business next year?”
“It’s a mess we do not have to have, with no good outcome.” The QBIC has called on the Government to immediately change the process.
“The lives of bus customers and school children, and the future of Queensland companies, are more important than trying to save a few dollars.”
The state’s bus industry has accused the Queensland Government of trying to cut costs at the expense of public safety, by changing the way it awards bus contracts.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) says the new open-tender process announced by the Government is unworkable and has been rejected by other states.
QBIC executive director David Tape has warned, “This is a cynical cost-cutting exercise that has come about through the Commission of Audit.”
“When costs are slashed something is compromised, and in this case it will be services, maintenance or safety.”
He said the move has also placed the entire industry in limbo, as no bus company in South East Queensland has the certainty of being in business after October 2015.
“We can’t guarantee jobs so drivers are leaving; operators are doing basic replacement and essential spending only and no one will buy a company that only has a year of life guaranteed.
“The open tender decision has wiped hundreds of millions of dollars in goodwill off the value of Queensland bus companies that was built over decades, and will cost local jobs.”
Mr Tape said the industry has no issue with the Government’s aim of ‘contestability’, but believes this can be achieved through direct negotiations.
“The irony is that the Government already regulates the industry to the point that they know every operator’s profits, so all they need to do is set the profit margin and they have the most economical service,” he explained.
He said the State Government refuses to directly provide details of the process or answer the industry’s questions.
“We’ve had rhetoric and spin but no answers, no certainty and no solutions.”
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) and Bus Industry Confederation of Australia (BIC) will deliver the first ever combined State and National conference and exhibition at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from the 28th of September to the 1st of October.
This event will bring together in excess of 900 delegates from Australia and overseas to participate in both State and National programs under the banner of the Australasia Bus & Coach Conference & Expo. Over 100 exhibitors will be present, filling the Exhibition centre and northern lawn area with what this Industry has to offer, said David Tape, Executive Director of the Queensland Bus Industry Council.
Keynote speakers include the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Warren Truss (Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) and Assistant Minister for Public Transport in Queensland Steve Minnikin MP, along with a range of other key decision and policy makers in Australia.
The exhibition will be opened to the general public on Tuesday the 30th of September from 2pm to 4pm. “This is an exciting event for our Industry and we welcome families to attend and see the quality and safety initiatives now present in our buses and coaches here in Australia”, said David Tape.
Media contact: David Tape 0407 002 970
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC), met with Bruce and Denise Morcombe from the Daniel Morcombe Foundation yesterday to discuss “No Child Left Behind”.
QBIC Executive Director David Tape said this was a meeting that should have happened some time ago. “I am pleased that we met to discuss this extremely important issue, our discussions were open and honest, establishing common ground from which we can work together in an attempt to combat this issue”, said Mr Tape.
We agreed that this is an issue that requires a whole of community approach, one that requires key stakeholders at the table focussing on reducing the incidence of a child being left behind at a bus stop. “This is a complex issue with multiple variables, all of which need clear identification and transparent investigation”. “I will re state our joint position on this when I meet with the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Scott Emerson MP on Thursday”, Mr Tape said.
As the peak Industry body in Queensland representing the Bus and Coach Industry, QBIC looks forward to working with Bruce, Denise and the Daniel Morcombe Foundation in tackling No Child Left Behind and general Child safety on, in and around our Buses”, said David Tape from QBIC.
Media contact: David Tape (07) 3397 1700 or 0407 002 970
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC), the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) and the Department of Transport and Main Roads have joined forces to secure a $1 million government skills package to train more than 400 heavy vehicle drivers across the state.
QBIC Executive Director David Tape said the Transition program would supply much needed training support to meet skills shortages for the road freight and passenger industries.
“The Department of Transport and Main Roads will deliver the Transition program in 2012, with leadership from the Transport and Logistics Workforce Advisory Group Queensland (TLWAG-Q) and partnership funding from Skills Queensland,“ said Mr Tape from QBIC.
QBIC Executive Director David Tape also welcomed the package for the bus industry.
“Employers take note. This is a great opportunity for us to welcome people to our industry who will graduate with a skill set developed by and targeted at our sector,” Mr Tape said.
Transition is a state-wide heavy vehicle driver training and licensing program for 400 new entrants and existing workers.
The program will provide the skills and training needed for people to work in freight and passenger transport – a genuine opportunity for those wishing to enter these industries.
Additionally, existing truck drivers can upgrade their current licence and skills.
This program will train participants in a nationally accredited and industry endorsed skills set. The courses are offered across three areas: bus driving licences, truck driving licences and multi-combination licence upgrades.
Training will be delivered across Queensland in metropolitan and regional locations to be identified by industry demand. Places for new entrants will be fully-funded while existing worker licence upgrades will attract a 15 per cent co-contribution from the individual or their employer.
“The Transition program is a great outcome of the TLWAG-Q partnership which aims to develop sustainable solutions for skills shortages in our industries,” Mr Tape from QBIC said.
“This training program will see a fresh pool of talent start a career as a bus or truck driver while also offering support to the retention and development of the current driver workforce.”
QBIC acknowledges the hard work and collaborative efforts of our partners Transform at the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Skills Queensland and the Queensland Trucking Association.
More information about how individuals and employers can become involved in the program will be made available in May 2012 at www.tmr.qld.gov.au/transform.
Today marked an historical moment in the Heavy Vehicle Industry in Australia, with the introduction into the Queensland Legislative Assembly of the Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill by Transport and Multicultural Affairs Minister, Annastacia Palaszczuk MP.
When enacted in early 2012, the legislation will pave the way for a major reform process that will transform regulation of the heavy vehicle industry in Australia, under a national regulator starting on the 1st of January 2013.
It is envisaged that when passed by all jurisdictions, it will help ensure a safer and more productive heavy vehicle industry. Whilst this will provide consistency in cross border operations, I need time to digest the Bill to ascertain the benefits if any for the Bus and Coach Industry, said David Tape, Executive Director of the Queensland Bus Industry Council.
I am concerned that this may be a one size fits all approach that may indeed have benefits for the Trucking industry, but one which may hamper efficiencies and innovation in the Bus and Coach industry, Mr Tape said.
Our industry is already heavily regulated through compliance audits, accreditation and fatigue management, this must not be another layer of bureaucratic red tape which will only serve to stifle our industry, concluded Mr Tape.
The peak industry body representing hundreds of bus operators in Queensland has condemned the Bligh Government's bungling of the ongoing pay disputes between bus operators and the TWU in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
Queensland Bus Industry Council Executive Director David Tape said the public needed to know that the root cause of the pay dispute is that the TWU is demanding more than the Bligh Government pays its operators.
"Whether you operate route bus services on the Sunshine Coast or school services in Theodore the Bligh Government is paying you the lowest rates on the eastern seaboard of Australia" he said.
Mr Tape said that the Government's latest decision to unilaterally suspend ancillary payments to operators caught up in industrial disputes was a staggering breach of its contractual obligations and has sent shock waves throughout the entire industry.
"This latest knee jerk reaction is not only a fundamental breach of contract law but has set aside decades of accepted industry practice", he said.
"We will not stand by as an industry and allow the Bligh Government and the TWU to threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of Queensland bus operators and the essential services they provide to the communities they serve. We will use every avenue available to protect our businesses and the tens of thousands of commuters who depend on us every day"
Mr Tape said that if the Bligh Government was serious about bringing an end to the industrial action they would have applied to Fair Work Australia or to the Federal Minister for Workplace Relations to intervene and have the matter arbitrated where an independent and binding decision can be made.
"That's how you get buses back on the road, not by shutting the operators down" he said. Available to discuss this release Monday 15th of August 2011.
Media contact: David Tape (Executive Director) Queensland Bus Industry Council Inc (07) 3397 1700 or 0407 002 970
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