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Update Garry Browne Meeting

15th May 2012

Dear Members,

I apologize for the lateness in this letter with updates of our meeting last Tuesday with Garry Browne. It has been a busy week for me since, both with other commitments and with ongoing communication with Garry Browne. I will keep you posted as to any outcomes.

The Meeting

Two committee members, Les Ross and I met with Garry Browne on Tuesday the 8th May to discuss the first of the issues decided upon at the recent contractor’s association meetings. Garry seemed to genuinely care about our problems and will seek to understand them and if possible, have them rectified.

While our list was to cover only the first four issues, conversation inevitably touched on others issues which we will follow up with him in more detail at a later date.

Calculation Sheet

The first request was made for the Department’s Calculation sheets to be sent to contractors with their invoices each month. Garry thought this was an understandable and achievable request. Due to the system at this time not automatically generating this sheet, it will be attended to in the near future.

Claim Forms

The new claim forms were discussed pointing out the unnecessary inclusion of both the AM and PM kilometres and signatures and the request was made to revert to the old forms. While Garry was uncertain of the original intent with the design of these new forms we did conclude the AM/PM kilometres may have been in place prior to the payment now made for temporary absences. It was also suggested that due to difference when reversing AM kilometres it may also be needed for the current system to calculate both trips accurately. The mystery is, if you get paid what their system says, regardless of the kilometres you submit on the claim form, why is there a spot for kilometres at all? With the requirement of multiple signatures, Garry’s explanation was understood and accepted by us has having a valid reason. That being, the need on occasions to ascertain drivers for a particular period if serious or illegal events have occurred.  We suggested compromises that may work with these forms which Garry will look into. It was agreed, while an inconvenience, particularly to large operators, reasons explained were very justifiable.

Run Maps

We requested the addition of the Department’s mapped route to accompany each run card to avoid unnecessary travelling by operators to determine that route or to be able to explain immediately if there is a problem with the route that is not obvious on their system. Garry agreed this was a reasonable request and will implement it soon. We mentioned that while this would be of great benefit in the first instance upon receiving a new run, it would not always be necessary to continue supplying unless either a variation occurs or if a dispute is raised. We also informed Garry of past problems caused by the omission of a map, sometimes taking up to a year to correlate making excessive the mandatory pay deductions.

Engineer’s certificate.

Les explained to Garry that this is only required when there has been a change made to the vehicle and that even the RTA does not require this every 3 years. Les spoke of the added time and unnecessary expense to contractors to which Garry advised he will also check on.

Vehicle Category Changes.

This topic, when asked about occurrences in the past, was answered emphatically no from both Les and myself, yet our reaction appeared to come as a bit of a surprise to Garry. We discussed with him the ramifications of this new method plus the fact it was not mentioned in the contract per se. He will be looking into this and more correspondence is needed so that he can.

Unexpected topics talked about were the problems with Driver/TSO approval procedures, new rates and age of vehicles. These were discussed briefly but will be addressed in more detail at future meetings. Separate submissions from members were also passed on to Garry for him to look into.

Garry, currently relieving in this position is somewhat unaware of some past procedures and is definitely attempting to learn, understand and correct both the issues of contractors plus the recent problems at Wollongong. I believe he will be independent and objective with his efforts to set things right with the ASTU.

An interesting factor that came to light was that the ASTU had only come under the direction of the Shared Services Department as late as mid last year. I’m uncertain as to who was in charge prior to this.

Our meeting lasted about an hour and a half. Les and I both agreed that while there was no certainty in accomplishment, we had at least made headway with some issues.

I will shortly send information on recent developments with the Category Sliding Debacle.

Regards

Rhonda Hinds

Secretary – Assisted School Travel Contractors Association.

 

 

 

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