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John Kirk leaving ARA as lobby group seeks new path

<p>Australasian Railway Association (ARA) executive director John Kirk has lost his job with the organisation after seven years in the post.</p> <p>Mr Kirk was informed of the executive committee’s decision when he returned to work this morning (Monday, February 3) after three weeks’ leave. </p> <p>Executive committee member and rail industry consultant Fred Affleck will replace Mr Kirk until a new chief executive officer is found.</p> <p>ARA president Stephen Bradford said the management change stemmed from the ARA’s need for a new strategic direction to meet the growing challenges of rail reform. </p> <p>It is understood the ARA will unveil a new strategic vision in coming weeks.</p> <p>Significant change is occurring in the rail industry, including privatisation, the development of the AusLink plan and formation of the National Transport Commission, Mr Bradford said. </p> <p>These changes require new faces and new direction in the ARA.</p> <p>Mr Bradford and Dr Affleck stressed the need to put to bed the old modal battle between road and rail as many ARA members now want a more cooperative approach. </p> <p>The rail industry is now characterised by major players that have intermodal interests and are not interested in the road&#47rail divide.</p> <p>Mr Bradford said the role of the new chief executive will be to boost the ARA’s profile and impact.</p> <p>He thanked Mr Kirk on behalf of the executive committee for his work at the ARA and for his contribution to rail reform.</p> <p>ARA research officer David Hill also leaves the organisation this week. </p> <p>He has accepted a job with the Victorian Department of Infrastructure </p> <br />