BusSAfe update – it’s happening!
After a long, covid-mandated hiatus, we are finally at the point where BusSAfe will be kicking off in schools around South Australia. We’re now booking schools for next Term, and while not exactly flooding in yet, bookings are steady – at the moment we have nearly 20 schools on board. I fully expect that once word starts getting around, interest will grow.
Please be aware that if you have a bus run servicing one of the schools we’re visiting, I will be contacting you to ask you if you would (please) send along a bus and driver for the sessions. We take the students outside and show them all around the bus and teach them about its safety features, some of these children have never been inside a bus! It is a hugely worthwhile exercise and we really value your participation.
In the meantime, I’ve created a Facebook page for BusSAfe that we will be using in lieu of a website. We’ll be uploading lots of photos and videos and drawings from our sessions – hopefully it grows into a really fun space.
Please do take the time to like and share, there’s not much there right now but it will grow with time! Visit facebook.com/bussafesa.
To find out more, please contact me,
Expanded super contributions for employees
From 1 July 2022, you will need to pay super to your employees who earn less than $450 per month, provided they meet other eligibility requirements.
This change expands super guarantee eligibility so that employees can receive super regardless of how much they earn.
As we move closer to 1 July 2022, check your payroll and accounting systems have been updated so you can correctly calculate your employees’ super guarantee payments. Your digital service provider may be able to assist with further information on how and when they will implement software changes to reflect the new requirements.
Keep an eye on the ATO website, they will provide further advice and guidance on this change, including updating online tools and calculators on 1 July 2022.
See the ATO’s Super for Employers page.
Bus rollaway safety video
Bus rollaways are more common than we like to imagine, and over the years they have resulted in injuries to drivers and passengers, damage to infrastructure and vehicles, and even in driver fatalities. One of the highest risk factors for bus rollaways – much higher than technical issues – is human error.
Recommend to your drivers that they watch this bus rollaway prevention video produced by Worksafe NT. It offers a comprehensive look at the causes of, and ways to prevent, bus rollaways.
Extension to the RVSA legislation transitional period
On April 4, the Australian government passed a new bill into Parliament to extend the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation transitional period by 12 months. This means the end of the RVS transitional period has been extended to 30 June 2023. Any previous transitional period deadlines that occurred before 30 June 2022 have also been extended by 12 months. Please note that this does not include any deadlines that had already expired, for example, opt-ins. The BIC has updated its transitional guidelines and this can be downloaded here.
The extension facilitates an uninterrupted supply of vehicles to the market by allowing the provision of buses approved under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 that would otherwise not be able to be provided to the market past 30 June 2022.
It is important that businesses continue to make arrangements to transition to the RVS legislation so that they are able to continue providing buses after 1 July 2023. If you have already transitioned to the RVS legislation you can continue providing road vehicles using approvals granted to you under the new legislation.
Bus breakdown guide
On 30 March, BusNSW and the Bus Industry Confederation launched a guide on how to manage a bus breakdown on the road. The guide to addresses the heavy vehicle safety issue where evidence shows that the majority of serious injuries and fatalities occur not within the bus, but rather on the road where passengers alighting from a bus can be hit by other vehicles. BusNSW assembled a core group of representatives from Industry to provide the ‘intellect’ and ‘best practice’ guidance content for the production of the operator guideline and accompanying training video. All materials are relevant to operational staff, workshop and mechanical staff, drivers and their passengers.
A dedicated webpage has been set up which includes a comprehensive guideline, training video, useful workplace templates that operators can incorporate into existing systems and a suite of campaign materials that operators can use in their communities to increase pedestrian and road-user awareness around a bus that has broken down.
Visit the bus breakdown guide page.
The guide was produced with funding assistance from the Commonwealth through their Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative scheme administered via the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
What are we doing about ‘zero’?
BIC View from Canberra (March 2022)
The past several months has seen escalated ‘disruption’ in our industry by the various announcements coming out of state/territory governments in their mission to reach for ‘zero’ – some as early as 2030. From a politician’s perspective, it is obviously a no-brainer that public transport will be the first (and easiest?) transport mode on which governments can hang their caps. The bus industry has an outstanding record as early adopters of ‘green’ technology; and yet we are the smallest fleet on the road compared with cars and trucks, we have the lowest per passenger on-road emission records and we continue to have the best safety record in public transport provision. It is ‘our lot in life’ that the task will fall to the bus and coach industry to navigate this major change in road transportation.
So how do we deal with governments in their race for ‘zero’?
Not an easy question to answer – but in truth, governments will do what governments must do! In response, The BIC is rapidly formulating a national plan to keep our emission and safety records on top of the pack. This will aid in our mission to increase the ‘bums on seats’ and get the federal government buy-in to provide public transport incentives to the states/territories to ensure that they deliver accessible, safe, affordable and green transport for all Australians.
For the past 12 months, the BIC has been taking part in a number of government and private enterprise roundtables, summits and white paper discussions. It is hard not to come away with a smashed pie that takes in all of the various elements that need to work together to design a uniform approach; an approach that needs to support the ‘self-interest’ of the states/territories government of the day and Australia’s COP26 sign up to Zero 2050. This is a bubbling hotpot for the bus industry and frankly, too much is at risk to muck around at the bottom of the quarry. We need to step up as an industry, lead the way and show how it’s done.
After significant engagement (and endless meetings) with state/territory/federal governments and the private sector, we have listened carefully to what is being put on the table and we have come away with a very mature understanding of the baseline challenges and the inherent complexity of the issues facing operators, suppliers and governments.
Sometimes the best way to approach complex issues is with simplicity. To that end, the BIC has decided that what Industry and governments really need RIGHT NOW is national guidance on a suite of minimum standards; a suite of technical advisories and operator guidelines. Standards that would see a national platform for state/territory adoption in the specifications of a ZEB vehicle, the maintenance, safe operation, supply of infrastructure and its integration.
To ensure that the highest priority concerns are addressed, we recently asked our member organisations to “Have your Say on Zero”. All respondents (about 45% of our members) were enthusiastic for the BIC to develop national guidelines in those 4 key areas. The highest and immediate concerns, from both operators and suppliers, was the need for a vehicle specification standard. This was followed by vehicle maintenance guidelines and safety management systems.
There were a number of common concerns shared by the majority of respondents and can be summarised as follows:
- Vehicle standards (in the absence of ADRs or recognised EU standards)
- Minimum qualifications and certified training needed for driving the bus, service and maintenance
- Safety instructions and care when other bus componentry maintenance is undertaken (such as doors, tyres and air-con).
- Standardisation of charging infrastructure and minimum qualifications for maintaining charging infrastructure
- Depot conversion and ensuring safe housing of a mixed fleet of diesel, CNG, battery/electric and hydrogen fuel cell
- Fire mitigation and what to do if battery or electrical componentry catches fire
- Vehicle range and charging requirements
- Total operational costs throughout expected life
- Mass increase to the vehicle.
The BIC has already commenced an analysis of available heavy vehicle international standards relating to electric and hydrogen. Our first step will be to pluck the best and most suitable elements that can be translated into an Australian context. The task is huge but will be a critical first step upon which to build all other stakeholder elements.