Bus SA Member Alert – October 2020

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Notice of AGM

Advance warning – we will be holding the Bus SA Annual General Meeting on 24 November.

At this stage it we’re hoping to have it in person – in an Adelaide city-based meeting room. However given COVID this could well change and become a Zoom meeting.

No matter which format it takes, Members are cordially invited and very welcome to attend.

The letter, annual report and Minutes from last year’s meeting will be sent to Members in early November.

Reminder – new Award rates and allowances from 01 November

From the first full pay period on or after 1 November 2020, new minimum rates and allowances start for workers in our industry.

The Fair Work Commission will issue the updated awards on 31 October 2020 and they will update the Pay guides and Pay Calculator as soon as possible after this date.

Bus SA will inform you as soon as the information becomes available.

You can also subscribe to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website to get email updates and be informed straight away when the new minimum rates are available.

TICSA Tourism restart conference

Bus SA is a proud Visitor Economy Partner of the 2020 Tourism Industry Council South Australia’s restart conference, being held on 02 November. 

The full day program will be hosted in Adelaide and at nine satellite events across regional South Australia, including Port Lincoln, Mt Gambier, Renmark, Kadina and Quorn.

Through collaboration and innovation, the Conference is aiming  to ensure sustainable industry growth for the future.

Date: Monday, 2 November 2020 | from 9:30am 
Cost: $55 per delegate (incl. GST)

Get more information and tickets here: ticsa.com.au/events/state-tourism-conference and here: facebook.com/ticsouthaustralia.

NHVR – new Stakeholder Officer in SA

Bus SA received this from the NHVR about the recruitment of a new Stakeholder Officer in South Australia.

Peta Smart has experience working in permit applications and as a roadside enforcement officer. Before the NHVR she worked in customer experience and stakeholder engagement in the high care medical sector.

Peta brings to the role the rare skill of being able to listen to concerns and find a way through the NHVR to help you in industry get the answers that you need.

Please do not hesitate to call Peta re any of your concerns or questions about the NHVR. If you want her to come to your work for a toolbox talk, she will be able to bring the right people to answer questions about anything NHVR.

Her details are:
Peta Smart
(08) 082149707
0439 641 838

Safe Visit - free contact tracing app

This came through to us from QBIC (Queensland Bus Industry Confederation). It really does seem like a handy contact tracing app should you need to keep track of visitors to your office/workshop, etc.

Safe Visit was developed by a couple of young entrepreneurs in Queensland and it’s already used by over 700 businesses (including large, well-known ones). And yes, it is completely free. The app complies with all data capture and privacy laws and does not spam or harass users.

It’s simple to use – you sign up online and receive a QR code that visitors can scan from their phones to log in. They enter their basic details (via their own phone) and they’re logged at your premises. Repeat visitors only need to scan the QR code – their phone remembers the rest of the details.

You can check it out here: safevisit.com.au/

Bus SA website – Members only area

There is a new Members only area on the Bus SA website which will grow to become a very useful resource over time. Currently it contains legal advice received as a result of the recent Rossato court case which upended the way the courts view casual employees. It’s important stuff.

I will keep you abreast of new information in the area via these Member Alerts.

I have sent all Members information about the new area, along with login details and a password. Partners of Bus SA, you can register online or please email me and I shall set you up in the system.

I hope you will take the time to have a look, and Members please feel free to change the password I provided you with! You can do this from the Member Login page. Click on ‘Edit Profile’ at the bottom of the grey box on the right of the page (you need to be logged in, obviously!).

The Members only area is a work in progress – if you have any problems using it, get any weird error messages, or if you’ve any questions please get in touch!

Contact me at admin@bussa.asn.au.

Andrea Overall, Executive Officer Bus SA

Busways Adelaide Metro rollout - digital by default

Busways digital engagement

Busways was selected by the South Australian Government to begin services for the Adelaide Outer South contract on 5 July, the only new market entrant appointed in two tranches of bus contract tenders.

After 77 years of service in New South Wales it was the company’s first interstate expansion and the new contract made Busways Australia’s largest privately owned bus operator.

They had just four months to engage, recruit and ‘onboard’ the Adelaide workforce (including 150+ new staff members) before commencing operations. Throw state border closures and physical distancing rules into the mix, and Busways had to get creative about employee engagement.

They turned to online solutions such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and to Blink – an intranet, enterprise social network and collaboration platform designed for remote communication.

With the COVID-19 border closures, only half of the Busways transition team was able to get to Adelaide to manage face-to-face meetings, depot and fleet inspections, and training. Original plans for depot-based transition offices were changed to accommodate physical distancing, and most engagement with transferring employees had to be done remotely.

All employees who registered to transfer their employment signed up for a Blink account and 99 per cent accessed the app weekly throughout the transition period. Digital employee engagement also gave new employees relevant and time-sensitive information, assuring them they were in capable hands.

Weekly active employee use of the system remains at more than 90 per cent in Adelaide, and engagement between depot managers and teams is leading to more informed drivers with timely awareness of disruptions, diversions, and major event information.

Busways Adelaide metro


Shaun Payne, a driver trainer with Busways, was a tad anxious going into the process but quickly found confidence that he was making the right move.

“Going through the transition during Covid-19 was very much uncharted waters for both incoming employees and the transition team, but it was completed professionally using alternative means to meet and inform the new staff,” Payne said.

“Overall, it worked very well and the approach I’ve seen to thinking outside the square has been positive,” he said.

Busways head of Marketing and Communications, Donna Frith, says while employees now have more access to their top-line managers through these digital solutions, face-to-face engagement still has a place at Busways.

“Our digital engagement methods have enhanced our ability to connect with our people in the field. The platform has given our frontline staff direct contact with their top line managers,” she said.

“Yet it is important that digital complements rather than replaces face-to-face engagement. Old fashioned relationship building at a company BBQ or via consultative meetings will always have their place as restrictions on gatherings ease,” she said.

This article is used with permission by Australian Bus and Coach Magazine. It is an edited version, read the original article here. Photography courtesy of Busways.

BIC industry & industrial relations news

National industrial relations (mini) seminar

APTIA will hold a free Online Zoom Seminar on Wednesday 4 November 2020 between 10 am and 12 noon (AEDST) titled Working our way through the pandemic.

  • How to handle leave entitlements – Presentation by Tim Capelin, Partner – Piper Alderman.
    What has changed in taking leave, including long service leave, personal leave, pandemic leave and annual leave
  • How to deal with health and safety – Presentation by Nikki Britt (Brouwers), Managing Director – Navigate Health.
    Instruction on how to protect the health and welfare of your employees including their mental and physical health.
  • Industrial Relations reforms in the pipeline – Presentation by Ian MacDonald, National IR Manager – Bus Industry Confederation.
    Consideration of the potential outcomes from the Attorney General’s Roundtable discussions, the ALP’s IR platform for the next election and the ambitions of the trade unions and employer groups for future IR reform.

If you have issues with drivers not wanting to come to work, concerns about the mental health of some of your staff, or you are just worried about proposed changes to casual employment, this is the seminar is for you.

To register email imacdonald@bic.asn.au by Friday 23 October 2020.

2020 Budget brief

The Morrison Government delivered their 2020-2021 “stimulus” budget for the Australian taxpayer on 6 October 2020. There are mixed reviews from the “experts” and in varying degrees depending on what media outlet or specialist you tune into.

The biggest stories for the budget in our view are the tax breaks for small business and the significant stimulus being injected into transport infrastructure – expanded to $14 billion in “new and accelerated” infrastructure projects over the next 4 years.

An extra $3 billion will go towards shovel-ready projects, building on the $2 billion announced since May 2020. 

The tax breaks included in this budget for small business are hugely significant including:

  • From now until 30 June 2022, businesses with turnover up to $5 million will be able to deduct the full cost of eligible depreciable assets of any value in the year they are installed.
  • From now until 30 June 2022, businesses with turnover up to $5 million can deduct the cost of eligible depreciable assets acquired.
  • Businesses with turnover between $10 and $15 million will receive additional tax breaks including:
    • deductions of certain start-up and prepaid expenses, exemptions from the 47% FBT tax on car parking
    • multiple work-related portable electronic devices, such as phones or laptop
    • easier PAYG instalments.
  • And for all businesses (regardless of turnover), a 50% wage subsidy for any business that takes on an apprentice between now and 30 September 2021.

It is clear that the economic recovery of Australia and the success of this budget is based on assumptions such as:

  • unfettered national and international borders
  • a COVID-vaccine being available for mass distribution by December 2021
  • any substantial interim COVID-outbreaks likely to effect confidence of households to spend and businesses to invest and employ people.

Download the BIC Budget Brief.

The criminalisation of wage theft (Qld & Vic)

Employers that engage in deliberate wage theft face jail terms of up to a decade, and 14 years when fraud is involved after the passage of legislation in Queensland’s Parliament.

And under federal and state laws, employees will have access to what the Palaszczuk Government promises will be a “simple, quick and low-cost” recovery process for underpayments.

In Victoria, wage theft legislation takes effect in the middle of next year.

The Queensland, wage theft legislation will be relying on police to investigate and for police prosecutors to launch prosecutions. In Victoria, an industrial inspectorate will investigate matters.

Across Australia changes are afoot, and legislation to stem wage theft could well flow through to South Australia in the near future. We all need to be aware of our responsibilities.

You can read more about this issue in the Adelaide Review.

Global mobility going for zero-emissions

BIC Executive Director Michael Apps on the 2050 net-zero emission commitment undertaken by all state/territory governments.

Zero-emission commitments are gaining a serious foothold, with many jurisdictions announcing fleet replacement schemes from diesel to fully electric, or implementing electric trials in the short-term with the intent to fully convert. 

Take note – Uber has now jumped on the zero-emission mobility wagon and has committed to a fully zero-emission platform by 2040, with the intention that USA, Canada and Europe will meet 100% ridership in fully electric vehicles by 2030.

We are inclined to think that fully electric bus fleets here in Australia may be possible in a 30-year time frame (2050).

With increasing pressure on state and territory governments to take action on their commitments to net-zero emission targets, it is clear that any new-energy approach needs to be transitional and also take into account a number of factors including the ‘bus economy’ and the operational and environmental surroundings of the bus task.

It is also important to acknowledge the task of Australia’s bus manufacturing and supply sector – a strong sector of innovative thinkers comprising designers, builders, mobility and engineering technologists and niche parts suppliers.

The BIC is in communication with the federal government to make sure they remain acutely aware of the low-emissions commitment of the Australian bus and coach industry. They are seeking to garner support for schemes that aim to incentivise by way of investment allowance, accelerated depreciation, up front capital differential payment and provides support for our bus manufacturing and supply sector.

Michael Apps, BIC Executive Director

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.