Bus SA Member Alert – August 2020

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Executive Officer’s report: Bus SA online initiatives

First cab off the rank – COVID Clean training

COVID has really put the brakes on getting together, hasn’t it? But although we’re in no position to hold conferences or dinners, Bus SA wants to offer opportunities to get together online to network, and to improve our knowledge and skillsets at the same time.

First cab off the rank was the recent COVID Clean – infection control skillset training run by Natwide Personnel via Zoom. Over two sessions, nineteen member attendees learned a whole lot about COVID targeted to the bus and coach sector, including prevention, hygiene, and risk assessment.

The feedback for the course was overwhelmingly positive, and we all came away with a nationally recognised certificate: Comply with Infection Prevention and Control Policies and Procedures.

The COVID Clean course was the test case, to see whether we could get member participation in an online model. Given its success, I now want to know what you want to know!

Could you please get back to me with suggestions and ideas for future online (Zoom) initiatives.

No suggestion is unworthy! For example, the poll below contains some of the ideas that Lauran and I have been tossing around. Please vote!

Planning for a couple of these is already in the works. You can also email me to discuss. I look forward to hearing from you.

PS: If you want a really useful resource for workplace-related COVID information, specific to the transportation industry, check out Safe Work Australia’s COVID information for workplaces.

Andrea Overall, Bus SA Exec Officer

Government matters: A short look at things political

A week is a long time in politics. Or perhaps in this instance we should use “a month” is a long time in politics. It was just a month between the dropping of the changes to AdelaideMetro, and Minister Knoll falling on his sword courtesy of his regional MP expenses claims.

As a result of that brief period, SA has moved from the potential of having a modern, flexible bus network, to a likely “business as usual” approach for a substantive period, with neither side of politics having an appetite to drive reform.  Does this matter to the bus sector?  From a practical perspective, not really, as contracts will still be paid, and services delivered. 

Why did AdelaideMetro changes fail?  In my view it was primarily due the old maxim of “what problem are we trying to solve?” and creating a case within the community for reform.  There was little work done on engaging communities on what a redesigned network would look like, and there was little to no planning on how to roll out the reforms on a staged basis – attempting to change the whole city at once was always going to be a hard task. 

Unfortunately from a practical perspective the abandonment of this project means new approaches to solving the city’s mobility challenge are not likely to happen for some period.

The good news, however, is that the new Minister, Corey Wingard, is someone known to our industry.  The Minister was previously the Shadow Minister for Transport, and had sought advice and input from the Bus Australia Network and the Bus Industry Confederation in those years.  We are planning to meet with the Minister in the near future and explore his agenda with him. 

We look forward to updating you all in future Member Alerts.

Lauran Huefner, Director Bus SA

Transport operator fees waived

Just a reminder that the State Government has acknowledged the difficult business environment for transport companies, including bus, charter, chauffeur and country taxi drivers.

As part of the government’s COVID-19 financial response package, annual operator accreditation and vehicle fees will be waived for a twelve-month period.

The waiver of fees will be automatically applied from 1 June.

For more information, see the DPTI Factsheet.

From the ATO: Has your business made a tax loss this year?

This has been a difficult year, and your business may have made a tax loss. A tax loss is when the total deductions you can claim, excluding gifts and donations, are greater than your total income for an income year. If your business makes a tax loss, you may be able to:

  • offset the loss in the same income year against other assessable income, or
  • carry forward the loss and claim it as a business deduction in a later year.

If you’re a sole trader or in a partnership and want to offset a tax loss, first check if you meet at least one of the non-commercial losses requirements.

If you do meet the requirements, then you can offset the loss against other assessable income (such as salary or investment income) in the same income year.

If you don’t meet the requirements, you can defer the loss or carry it forward to future years. For example, you can offset it when you next make a profit.

If your business is a company, you can generally choose the year you want to claim a deduction.

Remember, registered tax agents and BAS agents can help you with your tax.

Get more information from the ATO website

From the ATO: A reminder to watch out for scammers

Don’t forget to protect your personal and financial information. Scammers often try to ‘phish’ for information by impersonating government agencies such as the ATO.

If you hand over your information, scammers might use it to:

  • drain your bank account
  • establish fake businesses in your name
  • gain access to your online government services
  • scam your clients and employees.

Scammers have many opportunities to trick you into giving away your valuable information. There are some things your business can do to help stay safe:

  • use complex passwords and change them regularly
  • remove system access for people who no longer work for you
  • log out of systems and lock computers when you’re not using them
  • maintain up-to-date security and anti-virus software on computers and other devices.

There are also some things you can do to stay safe when you’re dealing with government services online:

  • don’t access services via a hyperlink in an email or SMS
  • access services through an independent online search
  • if you’re ever in doubt, look up the service’s phone number separately and call them to check.
Get more info:

RAA calling for driver vigilance in rural SA

Drivers in rural SA are three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured when involved in a casualty crash compared to metropolitan Adelaide, according to the RAA.

According to State Government figures (2015-19):

  • In the past five years, 30% of regional casualty crashes resulted in serious injury or fatality, compared to 10% of casualty crashes resulting in serious injury or fatality for city/metro areas.
  • Almost 30% of regional casualty crashes involve hitting a fixed object, compared to 13% in the metropolitan area
  • Around 15% of regional casualty crashes involve a vehicle roll over, compared to 2% in the metropolitan area.
  • In the past five year there were 381 casualty crashes in regional SA during August – 15 were fatal, 110 resulted in serious injury and 256 minor injuries.

Also see:

Can you guess South Australia’s worst crash spot?

The Britannia roundabouts on the eastern edge of Adelaide’s city parklands are still South Australia’s worst site for casualty collisions, according to the RAA. 

There were 52 crashes where people suffered serious or minor injuries at the roundabouts in the past five years.

The majority (46) occurred at the larger of the two roundabouts, which (ironically) were created in 2013 in an effort to improve safety.

Next on the list of worst crash spots was the junction of Marion and Sturt roads at Marion, which recorded 39 casualty crashes between 2015 and 2019.

Seven of the remaining eight intersections in the top 10 were in the northern suburbs.

The most common type of crash at the 10 intersections were rear-end collisions (40 per cent), followed by right angle (28 per cent) and right turn (26 per cent) collisions.

The top 10 are:

  • Britannia Roundabouts (52)
  • Marion Rd / Sturt Rd (39)
  • Stebonheath Rd / Womma Rd (33)
  • Main North Rd / Regency Rd (33)
  • Main North Rd / Philip Hwy / Yorktown Rd (32)
  • Marion Rd / Cross Rd (28)
  • Churchill Rd / Regency Rd (28)
  • Briens Rd / Hampstead Rd / Grand Junction Rd (28)
  • Main North Rd / Kings Rd / McIntyre Rd (27)
  • Peachey Rd / Curtis Rd (27)

‘Clear of Bus Check’ – new school bus safety check system

Bus SA member, Mt Gambier Buslines, has implemented an innovative occupancy safety check system so no child is ever left unaccompanied and trapped on a bus.

Known as the ‘Clear of Bus Check’, the initiative addresses the disturbingly regular problem of children being left on a bus. How can we forget the Queensland incident earlier this year resulting in the tragic death of a toddler?

The system has been developed by Transportme, a ticketing, reporting and vehicle tracking software system designed specifically for the school and public passenger market. Working in collaboration with Mt Gambier Bus Lines, their parent company Warrnambool Bus Lines and technology partner Isanet, Clear of Bus Check is being rolled out across 50 school buses.

According to the Managing Director of Transportme, Nigel Tooth, Clear of Bus Check is designed to be easy to use and fool-proof. When developing the system, driver error and complacency was a major factor to consider.

“We needed to make sure that if the driver did not complete this check in the manner that they should, the chain of command is notified and the situation can be rectified,” said Nigel.

Driver checks pin code at back of bus.
Driver enters pin code at front of bus.
Driver then enters pin code at front of bus.
How does it work?

Clear of Bus Check requires a driver to walk to the inside back of the bus where they read a very small pin code generator. They must then enter that pin into an interface at the front of the bus, in the driver’s area.

Nigel Tooth says that many hours were spent working on the logistics of the system.

“We had to think through what could happen if a driver did X or did Y”, he said. “We’d heard stories of drivers pressing buttons at the rear of buses with broomsticks. That’s what we knew we had to contend with,” he explained.

Stephen Lucas, Bus SA Board member and owner of Mt Gambier Bus Lines, says the strength in the system lies with the upward chain of notification.

“It’s vitally important that we know in real time whether the check has been completed. If it isn’t, the system notifies a specific person in Operations, and they chase up the driver straight away,” he said.

“We take school bus safety seriously. The safety of our students is extremely important to us, and we are pleased to be rolling out this system which gives us a real time compliance tool to aid in improving safety outcomes.

“Clear of Bus Check gives us comfort that we are doing everything practically possible to ensure no child is left on a bus,” said Stephen.

Check your own systems

Particularly with warmer weather around the corner, Bus SA encourages all operators to look very closely at their safety systems.

  • How do you make sure no child is left on the bus after service?
  • Do you have a compliance trail that can prove that each bus has been checked?

You can learn more about Clear of Bus Check on the Transportme website.

Parts of this article used with permission from Australian Bus and Coach Magazine. Read the original article here. Photography courtesy of Transportme.

Industrial relations news

Ian MacDonald, National Industrial Relations Manager APTIA

Everybody Out

The industry newsletter produced by the Australian Public Transport Industrial Association (APTIA), the industrial arm of the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC). See the latest version on the BIC website.

Also see this Q&A based on COVID-19 business-related questions that many in the industry have been asking.

The High Court decision in Mondelez case – good sense has prevailed

The High Court has overturned the Full Bench decision in the Mondelez case and restored the previous approach to allocating personal leave.

In a nutshell

The High Court decision restores the allocation of leave based around a notional day of 7.6 hours, rather than an actual day, which might be up 10 hours.

It ensures that personal leave will not exceed 76 hours a year and as an adjunct, although it was not part of the decision, annual leave will remain at 152 hours a year.

In more detail

Authors: Tim Capelin & Emily Setter

Earlier today, the High Court handed down its decision in Mondelez v AMWU [2020] HCA 29. The High Court’s decision means a “day” of personal leave is an average day for the worker not the specific day of absence. This interpretation of personal leave under section 96(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) is consistent with the way many payroll systems already provide for personal leave to accrue and be paid and avoids difficult changes to Employer payroll processes.

The highly anticipated decision comes after the earlier Full Court of the Federal Court took a different and impractical view of personal leave requirements. The Full Federal Court’s construction, if followed, would have required a significant change in the leave accrual systems commonly used by employers, as it required that leave accrue in days, not hours. The decision was opposed by the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, who intervened in the proceedings in support of Mondelez.