COVID-19 Update

Working with Members – Committee Meetings and Weekly Teleconferences

The ARA is committed to supporting our members during these challenging and rapidly changing times. Our Committees and Working Groups are continuing to meet utilising video and teleconferencing facilities.  

The ARA has been hosting sector-specific weekly teleconferences for ARA member passenger operators, freight operators, contractors and suppliers. These teleconferences are a valuable connection for ARA members to discuss how COVID-19 is being managed, sharing approaches or seeking ARA advocacy to Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. Should you wish to join a sector-specific teleconference on COVID-19, please contact the following ARA team members: 

-        Passenger rail: Maria Morozova, via mmorozova@ara.net.au

-        Freight Rail: Paul Doyle, via pdoyle@ara.net.au

-        Contractors: Natalie Currey, via ncurrey@ara.net.au

-        Suppliers: Natalie Currey, via ncurrey@ara.net.au

Passenger Transport Operators have established a sharepoint facility in which to share resources with each other. A number of these groups are actively sharing documentation between their sectors to further enhance the collective approach to COVID-19.

 

ARA Making Representations to Government

The ARA has been engaging with the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments on issues raised by ARA members. ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie has been briefing the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications who provide feedback to Transport Ministers via the Commonwealth and State Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council (TIC) about key issues.

The ARA wrote to the TIC to ensure rail freight is deemed an ‘essential service’ and exempt from recent border control announcements. The TIC met on 25 March and released a communique committing to keeping freight and freight dependent activities running during this time.

Discussions amongst ARA members involved in infrastructure construction and the rail supply chain have focussed on measures to minimise disruptions to ensure supply chains and construction projects are not impacted. The ARA is raising these issues progressively with the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

 

Rail Medicals

There is currently no legal provision for the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) to approve any exemption from the medical requirements of the National Transport Commission’s National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers. Because of concerns raised by industry in being able to comply with the requirements of section 114 of the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), ONRSR has worked with State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments to reach a practical solution. State and Territory Governments have or will be, gazetting an exemption (with conditions) to section 114 of the RSNL. These exemptions will only apply to periodic health assessments and expire 3 months after the gazettal. The latest ONRSR Fact Sheet regarding implications of COVID-19 can be found here.

 

Extension of the ARA Mentoring Programs

Recognising the importance of connecting our industry during COVID-19, the ARA is expanding the capacity of the ARA Women in Rail Mentoring program to accommodate 60 pairs instead of the planned 40. The fees for mentees have also been reduced to acknowledge the financial pressures being experienced by rail organisations during this time.

The ARA has launched a new whole-of-industry Rail e-Mentoring program aimed at providing additional opportunities for networking, professional and personal development and sharing industry insights. Further details can be found here.

 

ARA Webinar Series

The ARA is hosting a series of webinars to inform and connect with ARA members. These webinars cover projects, initiatives, technology, management, and mental health. Details of the webinars can be found here

 

ARA Office Now Working from Home

Like our members, the ARA is going through challenging times with changes to operations due to COVID-19. The ARA has suspended some activities, and moved others online, but will continue to operate during the COVID-19 crisis to represent and support our 150 members.

The ARA staff are working from home and can be contacted by mobile phone and email. Contacts for all staff can be found here.

A range of events that had been planned have been suspended and will be rescheduled to the latter part of the year or to 2021.

 

Valuable Resources

The following publicly available resources may be of interest: