Member Alert – December 2021

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Member Alert header image

AdBlue potential supply – your response needed 22/12

This just in from Roz Chivers at the BIC:

I have been in negotiations with an importer who believes they have secured a substantial supply of AdBlue.  They are keen to distribute to bus and coach operators.  To process the negotiations we need to understand the following:

  • How much Adblue you need, in what location and what time frame?
  • Do you have an existing supplier and who are they?
  • Is there some sort of exclusivity agreement in place or are you able to go wherever there are supplies?

Given the supply situation, the rapidly approaching silly season and the fact that the company that has the supply are keen to progress asap.

Email your response to me (Andrea Overall – by 4.30 pm Wed 22/12 please. I will collate and pass on to Roz. **Even if you get a reply to me later I will pass it on for info.

You will remain anonymous in the information I supply  to the BIC. Your input at the moment is not binding. For example, you can say you are interested as a back up should your regular supplies fall through.

Unlike the bloke in the red suit, we know you’ve worked hard the other 364 days of the year.

Here’s hoping you have a chance for a break and a refresh over this holiday season.

Thank you for being our members, and thank you for your support of the bus and coach industry in our great state.

Merry Christmas to you and your families from all of us here at Bus SA.

Santa meme 2021

Director’s Report

2021 wrap up

What a year of politics – and I feel like we say that each and every year.

The Marshall Government certainly had a horror end to the year, after losing many other skirmishes over the past couple of years, ending in minority government with support of the crossbench. In many ways the 2022 election, due March 19, will be one of the most significant elections in recent times.

If, as expected, neither major party is able to secure a majority, government will be formed with the support of the crossbench. At the moment these are Brock, Bell, Ellis, Duluk, Bedford and Cregan.  Ellis essentially toes the line and supports the Liberal Party, however the others will make decisions completely independently of party lines. In the event that we have at least 5 of these returning as independents there will be a significant rush on to gain their support to form government. Pizza anyone?

This is important to us as an industry as many of these independents understand the mobility challenges within their electorates. And should they form a voting bloc within the Parliament it should be easier for us to gain traction on some of the changes we need to make to support South Australians as they move around their community and the state at large. I would encourage you all to think about how to make your local member gain deeper understanding about how mobility is crucial to vibrant regional communities.

I’d also like to mention that in 2022 Bus SA will be rolling out the Bus Safe training program for school children, with the support of the Department for Education. This could be seen as the most comprehensive bus safety program in Australia, and credit should be given to the Minister, John Gardner, for supporting it, and also to Andrea Overall, for her hard work with the Department in the development of the program. I am looking forward to watching this program during its delivery.

I wish you all a restful break. I look forward to 2022 with renewed vigour!

Lauran Huefner, Director

Bus SAfe trials

After months of hard work to get the primary school component of the Bus SAfe program ready for its audience, we had the first trials in November at Clare and Naracoorte primary schools.

The trials were hugely successful, the kids loved it and they were very receptive to learning the Bus SAfe messages. The feedback we received was uniformly positive – from teachers, principals, students, bus drivers and operators alike.

At Clare Primary, we had two sessions run by presenter Derani Sanders, a driver at Link SA. We are very grateful to Lofty Coaches who sent along driver John with a bus to show kids the emergency features of the bus. John got really involved and enjoyed telling the students stories from his 40+ years driving.

We reached out to SAPOL for both trials, and even though it was very short notice, Pirie police sent two officers from their Community Engagement branch to Clare. They stayed for both sessions and were a huge hit with the kids, getting involved in the ‘in an emergency’ part of Derani’s presentation and helping to really make it a special event to stick in the kids’ memories.

Derani is a warm, engaging presenter with a lot of experience working with kids – as well as driving a school bus she works in a kindy. She drew on this knowledge to make her presentation interactive and engaging for the students – getting participation from the audience and using measurement references that were easy for little ones to understand (it’s so much easier to conceptualise a bus in elephants, rather than tonnes!).

At Naracoorte Primary, we held three sessions. Two of them were run by presenter Michael Suto of Mt Gambier Buslines, and I did the last presentation. We were joined at these sessions by Pete from Stone’s Buses, to whom we are extremely grateful for their participation. Pete is a popular driver and there were quite a few students in the sessions from his bus.

Michael did a great job with the presentations and the kids liked him, responding very well to his laid-back style. He engaged with the students really well, and fielded some very left-of-centre questions with aplomb.

We are very excited to be rolling this program out to rural and regional schools in 2022. Many thanks to the Department for Education for their unwavering support.

Andrea Overall, Executive Officer

COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme

The Morrison Government is reducing the claim threshold of the no fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme to enable more people access to compensation for costs associated with a vaccine injury.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme is designed to ensure that people who have suffered a recognised adverse event as a direct result of a COVID vaccine have rapid access to compensation.

Reducing the threshold for access to the scheme from $5,000 to $1,000 will ensure more people can claim for eligible costs including lost earnings and care costs, providing greater levels of comfort to those yet to make the decision to vaccinate.

The Government has been considering this policy change for a number of weeks now and I thank all colleagues and stakeholders who have contributed to this decision.

Australians will now have ready access to compensation from $1,000 for COVID-19 claims related to the administration of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved COVID-19 vaccine delivered through a Commonwealth Government approved program.

Most importantly, this provides additional support and confidence for Australians as part of the vaccine rollout.

Further details are available at

Tourism & charter operators – great tools for the SA market that you can use

Our desire to travel hasn’t lessened just because of COVID, we’ve just had to change how we go about it. Enter stage left the great South Aussie road trip.

There are opportunities for bus operators to capitalise on this growing sector and the South Australian Tourist Commission (SATC) has developed tools and marketing collateral to support SA operators to attract the tourist market.

This marketing initiative is targeted at tourism operators to leverage the self-drive market and draw tourists into the regions – where there will then utilise goods and services available – hmmm, like charter services into tourist attractions!

There are six road trips, covering all 12 SA regions, each one includes an itinerary of things to see and do along the way. Within the tool sets are assets you can leverage like window stickers and logos and graphics and posters – it really is worth having a look to see what you can use.

Access the information here:

BIC Members Industry Summit

BIC has set 1 and 2 March 2022 for a members Industry Summit, which will be the first time in two years that members can meet face-to-face and discuss relevant issues affecting the passenger transport industry.

With the Parliament perhaps already prorogued or in the middle of an election campaign, industrial relations will be at the forefront in March 2022, with issues such as secure work, wages growth and proposed paid domestic violence leave at the forefront.

How this will impact upon the bus and coach industry will be the focus of the National IR Seminar component of the BIC Members’ Industry Summit.

On Wednesday 2 March 2022, delegates at the BIC Members’ National Industry Summit will hear from speakers from Employers’ Groups, from Trade Unions, from both sides of politics and keynote speakers will address the topic of the Seminar focussed on the election on “the Future Trends in IR.” An industry forum made up of BIC members will then discuss the issues raised in the Seminar in the concluding session.

Meet Poncho – the little bus that could

Hino Australia’s Poncho ‘small buses’ are ideally suited to South Australian requirements and conditions. After NSW, our state has the largest fleet in Australia. They are operating within Adelaide Metro services, and also in Port Pirie and Whyalla.

Poncho buses are now proving their utility in an on-demand transport service on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Following a four-year on-demand trial, Keoride became a permanent transport service on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in October 2021. It was one of the first NSW on-demand transport trial services, connecting customers from their homes to the nearest transport hubs at Avalon, Narrabeen, Warriewood and Mona Vale.

Keolis Downer Northern Beaches managing director, Mark Dunlop, says the Poncho’s safety and accessibility features, plus compact design and manoeuvrability, were of particular appeal for the Keoride service.

“The tight turning radius, size and handling of the Poncho make it well-suited to narrow and sometimes challenging geography of the Northern Beaches,” said Dunlop.

“Giving the local community access to shared trips that allow more flexibility and convenience has encouraged the use of public transport,” he added.

For Hino Australia’s manager – Bus, Sara Clark, the Poncho is a popular choice for on-demand operators, who are attracted to its versatility in delivering flexible transport services.

“Operators appreciate our ability to work with them to provide mobility solutions that best suit the requirements of their fleet while the Poncho’s safety, passenger comfort and accessibility appeal to patrons who use the service,” Clark said.

Bespoke buses

The Poncho buses have been customised specifically for the Keoride service, with additional options such as CCTV and fire suppression systems for added safety, and flip-out wheelchair ramps for increased accessibility, says Clark.

The Ponchos’ innovative kerb-kneeling technology, wheelchair ramp and dedicated wheelchair space inside provides level entry for all passengers. This feature also allows for passengers with prams to easily access the vehicle and safely transport infants, expanding the on-demand service to a wider community.

For safety, the Poncho’s large 850mm sliding door features sensitive touch technology and sensors near the entrance, which stop the door from closing if there is an obstruction. The door is also prevented from opening until the bus is in neutral and has come to a complete stop; drive and reverse can only be selected again once the door is fully closed.

“Poncho drivers benefit from a comprehensive field of vision which includes an infrared, night-vision enabled reverse camera that is perfect for night-time operations,” says Clark.

Factory settings

Measuring less than 7m in length, the Hino Poncho is both highly manoeuvrable and well-equipped, with features such as power steering, telescopic and tilt-adjustable steering column, three-way adjustable driver’s seat, and airbag suspension system with stabilisers, Hino says. Poncho drivers benefit from a standard five-speed Aisin A500 true automatic transmission, making stop-start operations both easier and more efficient.

If you’re in the market for a small bus or exploring your options, contact: Sara Clark on 1300 014 466 , or email

Hino Australia is a proud partner of Bus SA.

Industrial Relations news from APTIA

Tracking private sector wages

Private sector rates of pay excluding bonuses increased by 2.4% annually in the September quarter, up from 1.9% in June, according to the ABS, which says movements in its Wage Price Index have returned to their “pre-pandemic pattern”.

The September quarter WPI shows that private sector rates of pay excluding bonuses increased by 0.6% seasonally adjusted in the September quarter, which the Bureau says it is “in line with pre-pandemic September quarters” while it is up from the 0.4% rise in the June quarter. Private sector WPI increased by 2.4% over 12 months, up from 1.9% in June.

The Bureau says the latest quarter “saw more employers conducting salary reviews than observed at the same time last year, when COVID-19 had a bigger influence on business operations”.

“Small, isolated pockets of demand across a number of industries saw larger increases paid to attract and retain experienced staff,” it says.

In the public sector, rates increased by 0.5% seasonally adjusted (up from 0.4%) in the quarter and 1.7% annually (up from a record low of 1.3%).

“This quarter saw a return to regular scheduled increases after a period of public sector wage freezes,” the ABS says.

Across the economy, rates grew by 0.6% in the quarter and 2.2% annually (up from 0.4% and 1.7%).

A one-off ABS analysis of the frequency of pay rises for workers covered by the WPI survey shows that the incidence of pay rises in the September quarter fell from a decade-long average of about 35% to 40% to about 20%. This flowed from postponed wage negotiations and pay freezes due to the pandemic.

But in the latest quarter, “the proportion of jobs recording a wager rise has returned to the previous [pre-pandemic] range”, the ABS says.

Headline consumer price inflation, according to the ABS, increased by 3% in the year to September and 0.8% in the September quarter. The RBA’s preferred measures of underlying inflation, the trimmed mean, and the weighted median, each increased from 1.6% a year to 2.1%, the CPI, released late last month.

The latest WPI figure indicates that private sector WPI is ahead of underlying inflation, but public sector WPI is not.

Wage Price Index, Australia, September Quarter 2021

Making an application to orders to stop sexual harassment

The Fair Work Commission can now receive applications for orders to stop sexual harassment at work. The Fair Work Commission’s stop bullying jurisdiction under the Fair Work Act 2009 has been expanded by the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Act 2021 so that the Commission can now receive applications for orders to stop bullying, to stop sexual harassment, or to stop both bullying and sexual harassment at work.

Detailed information on the Commission’s role in dealing with applications to stop sexual harassment at work is now available on the Commission’s website. The website provides guidance on what sexual harassment at work is, who can apply, the process, how to respond to an application and information about discrimination, general protections and work health and safety.

The Commission’s Forms F72, F73 and F74 have been revised and updated so that they can also be used to deal with applications to stop sexual harassment at work. Applicants will use a single form to apply for orders to stop bullying, to stop sexual harassment or to stop bullying and sexual harassment. A new Orders to Stop Sexual Harassment Benchbook has also been published. The Fair Work Commission Rules 2013 have been amended, and a consolidated version will be available shortly.

A new email address is available for parties to file documents with the Commission and to contact case managers. This will replace the email address which will no longer be monitored. Emails to this inbox will be redirected to

The Commission consulted with stakeholders in preparing to accept these new applications A number of changes have been made to the materials following the consultations and FWC will continue to review and update material as the jurisdiction develops.

Feedback can be sent to

Review of modern Awards – Family and Domestic Violence Leave

The ACTU’s bid for 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave has been bolstered by new FWC-commissioned research indicating that a third of recent agreements have a paid entitlement and half of those deals provide at least the quantum the peak body is seeking.

The Flinders University research, says that 32.77% of agreements endorsed by the Commission between July 7, 2018, and June 30 this year, or 4011 agreements, provide paid FDV leave to almost 1.2 million employees.

The private sector accounted for 3671 or 95.52% of the agreements that provided paid leave entitlements, extending to 753,323 employees (63.15%) covered by the provisions, while the public sector accounted for 340 agreements (8.48%) and 439,680 employees (36.85%).

Of the agreements that provide paid FDV leave, some 28% provided for 10 days and a further 28% provided more than 10 days, potentially benefitting about 660,000 employees, according to the research.

The tribunal commissioned the research to provide an evidence base for its consideration of the ACTU’s bid for a 10-day paid entitlement, after it accepted the peak body’s request that it bring forward the three-year review of the unpaid leave entitlement, established in 2018.

The Commission also yesterday released further commissioned research from Flinders University, on the “nature and prevalence” of FDV and responses in the workplace.

The university emphasises that FDV “spills over to the workplace” and has a significant effect on women’s health, safety, and economic security.

It cites 2017 ABS data showing women are almost three times more likely to experience partner violence (physical and or sexual violence) than men, with 1.6 million or 17% of women and 547,600 or 6.1% of men experiencing partner violence from a current or previous partner since they turned 15.

It says FDV “is a widespread problem. . . with significant health, welfare, and economic consequences.

“It occurs across all ages, socioeconomic and demographic groups but mainly impacts on women and children”, while most victims are women.

“Indigenous women, young women, pregnant women, and women living with a disability are particularly at risk.”

The matter has been listed for a hearing on 28 February 2022 and 1 to 4 March 2022.

Election 2022 update

The Government is required to go to a full federal election by May 2022. APTIA will follow closely how each of the political parties are tracking with IR election policies. No doubt the Trade Unions and the Employer Groups will seek reform in a number of areas from agreement making to wage rates.

This is a summary of what we have so far.

Unions press to overhaul IR bargaining laws

Major unions are pushing for more power to pursue multi-employer and sector-wide pay claims to drive higher wages, declaring the current system is broken and hindering the ability of workers to earn more as the economy recovers.

Leaders of influential unions, including the United Workers Union, the Transport Workers Union and the CFMEU told The Weekend Australian they wanted Anthony Albanese to change the Fair Work Act to give unions greater capacity to engage in multi-employer and industry-wide bargaining if Labor won the federal election next year.

Employers have criticised the proposal as a “job killer” which, if granted, would mark a return to “large-scale” industrial action as the economy was beset with skills shortages and supply chain disruptions.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said Labor and the Coalition needed to look at changes given the existing workplace laws were delivering record profits for employers while leaving workers behind. “Bargaining is how working people win pay rises,” she said. “Our current system was designed in the last century and is no longer fit for purpose or delivering the results that Australia needs.”

ABS data published this week showed wages lifted by 0.6 per cent over the three months to September, taking wages growth to 2.2 per cent over the year. The Reserve Bank expects wages growth will rise to 2.5 per cent next year and 3 per cent by the end of 2023.

Same job, same pay

The Opposition has for some time had a policy that labour hire employees be paid not at the agreed rate by their employing entity (the labour hire provider) / or against the award minimum, but at the rate that would be applicable to their work had they been directly employed by the host employer.

Unions and Labor frame this as ‘same job, same pay’. This is a long-standing union priority and was Labor policy at the previous election.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has introduced a Fair Work Amendment (Same Job, Same Pay) Bill 2021 in the House of Representatives, which self-describes as “A Bill for an Act to give Australian workers the right to same job, same pay, and for related purposes.”

The Bill introduces an obligation that labour hire businesses provide workers with pay and conditions no less favourable than those provided to employees who are performing the same work directly for the host enterprise.

Given that it is a private member’s bill, it is unlikely that the Coalition Government will allow it to reach the stage of a Second Reading Debate or vote in the House of Representatives.

Nevertheless, the Bill gives an indication of the directions and priorities of Labor leading into the election.

BIC’s View from Canberra

December 2021

2021 was jam packed with borders slammed shut and reopened only to be shut again, and the thrills and spills of political storms where we have seen Ministers come and go and even Premiers!

Despite the drama we have been lucky to make some inroads with the re-knighted Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce at a recent industry roundtable dinner where zero emission buses and transition, accessible transport and regional connectivity were on the menu.

We also raised the issue of Zero Emissions Buses (ZEBs) and coaches with Angus Taylor, the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emission Reductions and any bureaucrat who cared to listen to us about what is required to ensure the safe operation, maintenance, and manufacturing of ZEBs.

It is our lot in life at the BIC to instruct governments on what was, what is and what will be.

The year that was in 2021 saw accelerated activity coming out of the Federal Department of Infrastructure & Transport, the Office of Road Safety, the National Transport Commission and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. The first half of 2021 saw several door-stopper regulatory impact statements on national law reform and legislative review of heavy vehicle law, heavy vehicle charging, disability access, Euro VI mandate, road safety, vehicle safety and driver safety. To this end, the BIC has submitted detailed reports on a staggering 7 proposed reforms and legislative reviews.

All vehicle regulation, standards and national laws undergo cyclic updates and/or reviews in some form and it is BIC’s job to minimise the impact and where possible maximise the outcomes for industry viability. A seemingly simple change to a clause within a regulation may have a potentially massive negative impact on our industry and it is the BIC’s role to work with the regulators and policy arms of the federal government to assess and where required, alter or introduce clauses to achieve the intended outcome.

A recent example of our ‘bus business insurance’ work is the review of the Transport Standards. The Infrastructure and Transport Ministers Meeting tasked the National Accessible Transport Taskforce to review and provide options on 70 reform areas in disability access laws for public transport. This review has been ongoing since late 2020 with the BIC at the table on various focus groups. The reforms are BIG with high impact factors for operators, bus manufacturers and suppliers. Concerningly there is a push from the disability sector to include dedicated school buses in the Transport Standards. It is a tough gig to convince the bureaucrats that no student, of any status, is without access to suitable transport options. There has been a few interesting ‘scrums’ during this review process and the BIC is taking a hard line to ensure that the bus industry isn’t placed in the position to provide costly solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Heavy vehicle national law reform, being undertaken by the NTC, has the equal potential to do-good or do-bad. The NTC is currently in its early phases of ‘policy assessment’ across 6 reform areas and their first attempt at ‘easy to use and flexible’ fatigue management laws was a fail. The BIC, in its quick and concise (civil) response, has put the NTC in retreat mode and the new proposed ‘easy to use and flexible’ standard hours have now been junked. Our broken record mantra ‘a bus is not a truck’ has hit a home run with the BIC being granted one-on-one collaboration with the NTC to ensure that the bus industry isn’t left at a dead-end with a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Dare we go further and discuss the whole let’s-go-zero agenda coming from all governments. The critical safety impacts are of national importance to the bus industry. There are little or no recognised regulatory standards for vehicles and zero-emission components or infrastructure, let alone on road operations and safe housing and maintenance at the depot. Nationally, we will see a major skills-gap in maintaining safe vehicles as fleets move from diesel and hybrid technology to electric and hydrogen. The BIC has established a committee of subject matter experts in their fields to help develop national industry standards and advisories to ensure that buses and coaches continue to be the safest way to travel on Australia’s roads.

The Australian Government is a ‘brains trust’ of thousands of public servants – most of whom are not moving people experts. It is vital that industry protects our own unique ‘brains trust’. The BIC is here to help industry do just that. Due to the massive reform in the pipeline, we feel it is incumbent upon the BIC to inform industry now of the progress of new national law that will be coming our way in the next couple of years. A National Industry Summit will be held in Canberra on 1st and 2nd March in 2022 so that you can make the necessary business plans to stay ahead of the game.

Go to to view the program and register.

As this is the last View from Canberra for 2021, we wish all readers a safe and joyous end of year break and we look forward to catching up with many of you early in 2022.