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Re Cap Garry Browne Meeting

Hi Garry,

Apologies in advance for my lengthy email but I felt the need to recap our meeting today (probably more for my benefit). Most is not urgent so read when you have the time. Firstly, thank you for allowing us to talk with you and please also thank Kerri, who made us feel very comfortable.

We did touch on things that we had intended to bring up at a later date which meant some topics were perhaps a bit rushed and may have needed further explanation.

With the new system being implemented tomorrow I realize you will be extremely busy but when you get a chance, I believe the Category Changing Issue to be the most important from what was discussed today as it is causing much stress, hardship and confusion. I have attached a bit more on this separately.

1) The Calculation Sheet

It will take some time, but in due course will be a good idea if and when the new system allows it.

2) The Claim Form

I can see where legally it may be warranted for am/pm signatures (especially with situations you mentioned) so if it is needed to remain this way, then while an inconvenience for larger operators, it is still doable and not really a major issue.

3) Maps/Routes with Run Cards

You said eventually this would not be a problem with the new system so when able, it would be a good idea, particularly for new runs. Though currently, the majority of operators would be fine without it and would only be necessary if Klms were disputed.

4) Engineers Certificate

While not my area (did not tender in this category), it seems to be a big issue for those that did due to the added expense of it occurring at 3 yearly intervals. Though, on reading the clause (10.2.1), I would have understood this to mean only under 3 years when first submitted. Where as, the RFT Clause (5.15a) does imply a continual condition. Either way, still a problem for existing operators holding older, yet valid certificates. Perhaps this could be necessary only when introducing a designated vehicle since purchasing second hand, even with a certificate, does not guarantee the previous owner did not make alterations himself. Just a thought.

5) Age of Vehicles

While there are some operators that are concerned with this rule (, personally I think it’s fair enough to expect operators to submit a mechanics report (5.14 RFT Contract) as to the vehicle’s road worthiness, as often older vehicles can be better maintained than newer ones. Unless this is now disallowed in the current contract, all that was needed is written approval from the department. Note. At this time, operators who obtained mechanics reports necessary to submit with their Tender Documents are yet to receive this written approval, so perhaps ‘illegal’ vehicles are being used due to a technicality. After talking about this with another operator, it was pointed out that all Heavy Vehicles (13+) have mandatory annual RTA checks that ascertain a vehicles condition anyway.

6) Rates

I’m not sure how we got onto the subject of rates today but since we did, it was good to note to you the problems still experienced by some on the low end of the spectrum. I appreciate that Chris Raper and the PwC did a well researched and unbiased appraisal of the rates which are obviously much better than before. For NON owner/operators it is still a bit tight, as with the person I mentioned today making only $2 and $9 on 2 of her 3 runs based on the new rates. She will need to decide whether to continue, but like many operators, she may hold on hoping for more Klms. (The problem lies in the 4hr minimum wage now to be paid under legislation – even if a run is only for 45 mins each leg) She, like many, have been running these runs at a loss for the whole first term while waiting for the new rates and so, sorry to bring this up, but it would be nice if (some) office workers, with no experience in running costs weren’t so sarcastic when talking of the extra money we are about to come by. It has been long awaited and well deserved.

We also touched on the driver approval process which I will also attach separately along with some questions on other parts of the contract for when you have time. For now though, I was hoping perhaps you could define an inconsistency between 2 clauses. One of them being the newly added payment for Temporary Absences which we touched on today. I realize that this addition was needed primarily because the system may not cope with multiple mapping of runs each month, but it was a big “windfall” for contractors because it recognizes our necessary ongoing costs where in the past, this was (almost) covered with the minimum daily rate. The inconsistency lies with the wording in this clause (16.1) “Payments will be made for the agreed loaded Kilometres……” and “…….will not be adjusted for temporary student absences.” Clause 18.1 also reiterates “Payments will be calculated……………..for loaded Kilometres”. Since payments have so far differed  between operators (and could have been accidental either way), could you clarify if a payment is to be made if a “temporary absence” creates an “unloaded vehicle”. Ie. 2 students only on a run and both are away on the same day? In this situation, will a payment be due under the Temporary Absence clause or not due because of the Unloaded Vehicle clause?

Off Topic.

When I mentioned ****** name today regarding a conversation I’d had with him, it seemed that you were aware of this. I don’t recall mentioning his name to you in our prior phone conversation but if I did, it was most certainly not aimed at getting him into any trouble. He was only passing on information that he understood to be accurate. While a tad condescending on another subject, he was actually very courteous.

It was interesting to find out that the ASTU was not with Shared Services until mid last year. This must make that position more difficult with this added department to look after. It seems a shame that the person you are relieving for was stood down when in fact most of the problems in January were due to events before his time. While I’m not sure where you will be off to afterward, I do hope this person is reinstated.

I would like to share the events of our meeting today with the members of the contractors association which can be done by private email but would you have any objection to me putting a summary on the website which would also then be viewed by site members and visitors?





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