Queensland Bus Industry Council
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.”
Media Contacts: Lyall Mercer – 0413 749 830 // Barbara Gorogh – 0435 909 608
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
The Queensland Bus Industry Council will be visiting Mareeba on Saturday the 3rd of September to meet with local Bus and Coach Operators.
The purpose of the visit is to discuss critical issues confronting our Industry, said QBIC Executive Director David Tape.
Our Industry is facing the biggest challenge since the introduction of contracted passenger services in Queensland and we must be prepared, says Tape.
The Bligh Government will be engaging with QBIC in the coming months as part of the Bus Contract Reform Project. This Next Generation process will encompass all Government contracts relating to passenger services, including School transport said Tape.
The door is open for Industry to finally negotiate contracts that are transparent, sustainable and provide a genuine spend of the public purse. This should be a win win for all parties, an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss, Tape said.
Tape stated that this is not sector or member specific, it will involve all of Industry and I invite all Bus and Coach Operators to attend, Members and Non Members.
Further details are available on our website at www.qbic.com.au or by contacting our office on 07 3397 1700.
BIC Media Release
The peak body representing the bus and coach industry said today’s climate change plan announcement missed out on delivering essential reform in passenger transport and how we will move people today and in the future.
“The Prime Minister used 45 million cars off the road as a measurement of the success of this policy in reducing carbon emissions, yet maintained the status quo for cars in relation to fuel costs,” said Executive Director of the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC), Michael Apps.
“The Government’s climate change plan identified car use as the highest source of household emissions and recognised the impact on household budgets of driving a car, but did nothing to encourage viable alternatives to the car.
“A full bus takes 40 cars off the road and getting rid of a second car can save a family more than $5000 a year; if we get our public transport systems right and get motorists using them, there are clear emissions reductions and economic benefits,” said Apps.
Apps said the exemption from fuel price rises for buses until 2014 did not go far enough in providing price incentives for public transport and excise charges for buses and coaches should be aligned with rail.
“A diesel train currently pays no excise on fuel, but will be subject to the 6.2 cents per litre carbon price from July 1 2012.
“Under the carbon price, buses should be treated in the same way,” said Apps.
“We are not the trucking industry; we serve a different purpose which in the long run reduces carbon emissions, we are a ‘good carbon’ transport provider and need to be treated as such,” said Apps.
Apps said the bus industry is currently lumped in with trucks and pay 38 cents per litre in excise which is made up of the road user charge with the remainder claimed back as a fuel tax credit.
Apps said buses should only be required to pay the carbon price for transport of 6.2 cents per litre carbon price and no excise.
“The bus industry is the workhorse of public, school and coach passenger services in our cities and the only form of public and school transport in most of regional Australia; it must be supported by the climate change plan.
“It makes no sense, especially in the context of the Government’s recent National Urban Policy, to avoid explicitly providing big incentives for people to make an alternative travel choice to the car,” said Apps.
“Buses and public transport are part of the solution to the economic cost of congestion, the environmental impact of transport related carbon emissions and the mobility needs of our communities and the plan should recognise this by incentivising public transport use now.”
Apps said further to price incentives, polling by Auspoll in late June showed 72 per cent of Australians want to see some of the revenue from the Carbon Tax invested in public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure to give them transport choices and this investment should be an addition to the climate change plan.
Contacts: Michael Apps, Executive Director, Bus Industry Confederation, 0418 487 930
Public transport must be a winner under the carbon tax if we are to reduce transport related carbon emissions, said the peak body for the bus and coach industry in Australia.
“Cars are the biggest greenhouse emitter in the transport sector, producing almost 60 per cent of transport related greenhouse emissions,” said Executive Director of the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC), Michael Apps.
“On top of this traffic congestion costs our economy almost $15 billion a year.”
“Buses and public transport are part of the solution to both and the Carbon Tax announcement on Sunday should recognise this by incentivising public transport use not disadvantaging it,” said Apps.
“The exemption for petrol under the Tax could drive the perverse outcome of making public transport trips more expensive than driving.”
“If the cost of fuel for buses goes up, ticket prices will increase and we could see an absurd situation where public transport users get back in their cars to save money,” said Apps.
A summit at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday, hosted by a diverse range of groups from the transport, health and environmental sectors, including the BIC identified solutions to the issues of carbon emissions, urban congestion, physical inactivity and fuel prices.
Key recommendations from the summit included reforming the road pricing system to include congestion and user pays charging in accordance with the Henry Review of taxation, incentivising public transport use through the tax system and compensating public transport operators for cost increases under the Carbon Tax.
Polling conducted by Auspoll in late June and commissioned by the groups hosting the summit showed 72 per cent of Australians want to see some of the revenue from the Carbon Tax invested in public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure to give them transport choices.
The polling also showed 82 per cent of Australians supported an increase in Federal Government funding for public transport.
“Our polling demonstrated an overwhelming majority of Australians identify compensation under a carbon scheme as not just handouts from the Government, but also investment in measures like public transport that will make their lives better and reduce carbon emissions at the same time,” said Apps.
“This means building a low carbon economy and supporting the growth of clean energy and public transport.”
“This means using revenue collected from a Carbon Tax or any other pricing mechanism for the direct benefit of public transport systems and the community,” said Apps.
Contacts Michael Apps, Executive Director, Bus Industry Confederation, 0418 487 930
Bus Australia Network