Departing ARA chief executive Bryan Nye says the industry needs to continue working together to achieve future prosperity for Australia’s economy, and its people.
Nye doesn’t describe himself as a rail tragic. Instead, he sees himself as being passionate about transport reform.
“We’ve got it wrong in Australia,” Nye told Rail Express, “and we’re lagging behind the rest of the world … We’ve got to change that.
“You think about Australia’s geography, the demographics, the size of the country and where the centres are: Rail is a mode of choice that we have failed to address, and we’re just beginning to address it properly now.”
Nye this week announced his decision to leave the ARA after 12 years of hard work as its chief executive. When he joined the association in 2003, he and his staff had to build from the ground up.
“We had to build a credibility within the industry first, to establish ourselves,” he explained.
“We did that by getting the companies to work together, developing some policies, papers … As soon as the government realised the industry could get itself together, it started to listen.
“I think that’s the importance of it,” he continued. “If everybody says, for example, ‘The number one priority right now is Inland Rail,’ then the government will sit up and listen.
“That’s what excites me. Trying to get governments to pick up good reforms.
“Look at Sydney: it’s getting another harbour crossing, new light rail, the North West Rail Link … all of that comes from the public and the industry getting together to put pressure to make the government respond.
“That’s the benefit of the industry working together.”
Nye, who championed the establishment of the Rail Industry and Safety Standards Board in 2005, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to the rail transport industry in January 2014.
He plans to continue to work with the rail industry, and feels he can be a valuable contributor to industry boards and panels in the future.
“Rail is crucial to Australia’s economy, and it’s whole productivity,” Nye said.
“If we’re going to get greater government involvement and investment in rail, the industry needs to come together and be of one voice. That’s vital.”
A full profile of Bryan Nye and his career with the ARA will feature in the AusRAIL edition of Rail Express, which will be released at this year’s AusRAIL PLUS, scheduled for Melbourne from November 24 to 26.