Virtual site tour part of RISSB’s Rail Safety Conference

Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) has confirmed that delegates to October’s Rail Safety Conference will get a unique view into progress being made on the new metro platforms underneath Sydney’s Central Station.

Delegates will be able to see the work currently underway for Sydney Metro at the station and for the new underground pedestrian concourse, Central Walk.

With the station’s new landmark roof taking shape, the virtual site tour will also provide a vision of what the redesigned Central Station will look like when Central Walk opens in 2022 and when metro services commence in 2024.

Delegates will join principal contractor Laing O’Rourke as they dive into the construction site, showing progress for Central Walk, then the tour will go deeper into the new metro station box, currently at 18 metres underground and on the way to the depth of 30 metres.

While construction has benefited from lower commuter numbers passing through Central Station during the COVID-19 pandemic, innovative construction measures and techniques have been used to reduce the impact of major construction occurring at the busiest station in Australia.

During the tour, techniques to ensure safety on a complex project such as this will be shared with the audience. Laing O’Rourke will also be showcasing its use of artificial intelligence computer vision safety system during day one of the conference program.

The virtual site tour is one of a number of online interactive experiences that will be part of the two-day event. Nine streams covering issues most important to the rail industry, including track worker safety, level crossings, investigations, and data and information, will be a highlight of the two-day program. Six keynote presentations from local and international rail safety leaders will set the tone for the days’ discussions.

To find out more and book tickets, follow the link:

New opportunities at expanded AusRAIL Live & on Demand

AusRAIL’s move online provides new, unique opportunities to hear from some of the top rail industry executives from across the globe, streamed direct to any home or office.

The organising committee have established an impressive line-up of international presenters for the event, including Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild, who is currently overseeing Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

With trial running on the project’s Elizabeth line expected to start next year, this is a good time to hear about the complexity of this major rail project, and the plans to bring the line into passenger service by 2022.

LA Metro chief innovation officer Joshua Schank will join us to talk about innovation and experimental program and policy, providing a new perspective on ways to move the industry forward.

Schank’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation is leading a range of projects that aim to provide faster, better options for passengers as part of a more responsive service that supports the creation of vibrant communities.

The presentation is expected to provide new insights into how the rail industry can continue to play an essential role in supporting our economies and communities for years to come.

Conference attendees will also hear from Grand Paris Express project director Nicholas Massart, who will tell us how that project is transforming Paris into a more sustainable city.

This front row seat to presentations on the projects that are shaping the future of the industry globally is an unmatched professional development opportunity.

There are also plenty of ideas, insights and lessons from 2020 that that are creating new opportunities for the industry right here in Australia and New Zealand.

Project updates on Inland Rail, Cross River Rail and more will be featured across the expanded three-day program.

We have also established a range of interactive panels featuring executives working in Australian and New Zealand rail organisations, so delegates can hear about the issues, concerns and opportunities that are preoccupying the minds of the industry’s leaders.

AusRAIL Live & On Demand will also provide more opportunities to hear from the operators, contractors, manufacturers and suppliers that are shaping the rail industry.

In total, 14 new streams have been added to allow delegates to tailor their conference experience and access more content than ever before.

New streams for contractors, suppliers, freight, and port operators and more will be complemented by dedicated streams on the critically important issues of technology, sustainability, and accessibility.

Perhaps most importantly, the live and on demand format of this year’s event means delegates will have up to six months to catch up on content and make the most of the many and varied streams on offer.

This will be a huge advantage for delegates, who can go back and reference presentations or specialist streams as they start new projects and initiatives in the new year, providing a rare professional development opportunity.

With delegates given early access to the platform, you can start your industry networking a full month before AusRAIL actually gets underway.

The ARA looks forward to seeing the rail industry come together again at AusRAIL Live & On Demand. To register, go to

supply chain

Supply chain vision in the Decade For Action

ASCI2021 promises to demonstrate how the Australian supply chain and others around the globe have weathered COVID-19 and provide insights to their future resilience.

If any images comes to define the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it may be the sight of normally well-stocked supermarket shelves emptied of consumer goods from pasta and flour, to toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

While panic buying was an irrational response to the nature of the COVID-19 threat – there was no chance of Australia running out of many of these items – what the rush on supermarkets and other stores did demonstrate was the finely calibrated nature of Australia’s supply chains. To meet the needs of consumers for fresh goods at any time of the year and to avoid overwhelming storage spaces, Australia’s supply chain managers have been working to ensure that products are ready just in time, and ready to be plucked from the shelves at a customer’s whim.

The massive increase in demand due to panic buying brought to light the fragility of this system. In addition, as international flights were grounded, Australia’s ability to export its world-renowned fresh produce was immediately curtailed.

What this did was bring the role of the supply chain manager, and the people who enable the links in the chain to connect, out of the back-office and into the public spotlight. Monique Fenech, head of sales and marketing at the Australasian Supply Chain Institute (ASCI), has seen this firsthand.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really brought supply chain management to the forefront of people’s minds. We’re starting to talk about supply chain as an essential service, which has never been the case before.”

In a way by virtue of its success, the complexity of Australia’s supply chain has not often been on view to customers, however the critical role of the professionals in this field has never been more in demand as trade routes recalibrate and new markets are being identified.

“Supply chain management rolls off people’s tongues, they’re all talking about it from a consumer standpoint. But even more impact has been made within organisations because supply chain managers have been brought into the boardroom to fix this problem, look at these outages, look at these delays, look at these increased prices. Executive are asking, ‘We don’t have access to our air freight like we used to, what are we going to do?’ So that’s really changed the internal profile of supply chain management within the organisation,” said Fenech.

While the scale and magnitude of the current crisis may be beyond what was planned for at the beginning of 2020, Fenech counters that dealing with these kinds of issues, whether they be due to a pandemic or other cause, is actually the bread and butter of the profession.

“This situation is business as usual for our supply chain managers; they deal with risk on a day-to-day basis. A good example of that is where perhaps they might have a dual sourcing strategy in place already because for some, not all, supply chains that would be considered best practice, so they would already have set in place some business continuity strategies,” Fenech said.

The next step will be for companies to reset their risk management plans and contingency procedures to account for the ongoing restrictions and the likelihood of another pandemic happening again. This reality calls for supply chains to not simply return to a pre-COVID-19 status, but rather learn from the experience of the pandemic and bounce back more resilient than ever.

“As opposed to going back to the way things were, it’s about bringing all of the political, economic, geographic, and social impacts that affect our supply chains into the mix using really smart technologies such as artificial intelligence to give us a better idea of where our supply chains are vulnerable and how we can improve them in the new decade,” said Fenech.

This next decade will be the focus of the ASCI’s conference, ASCI2021, to be held on the 23rd and 24th of February at the William Inglis Hotel in Sydney. The conference’s theme is “Supply Chain Vision In The Decade For Action”, adapting the United Nation’s priority of the same name for the supply chain industry. Janet Salem, economic affairs officer, circular economy at the United Nations will deliver an international keynote highlighting the theme’s application for supply chain managers.

One area that Fenech sees as improving based on the experience during COVID-19 is the connection and collaboration between suppliers, something that the conference will highlight.

“Deepening the collaboration that we have with our suppliers is only going to make the supply chain more efficient and also more robust. Once that trust is there and the collaboration is there, the visibility inevitably becomes greater, and that is the end goal for a supply chain manager – to have complete visibility across the end-to-end supply chain and sometimes it takes something like a catastrophe to bring you closer to your supplier.”

For the past 60 years, ASCI has been working with the supply chain management industry to grow the career profile of supply chain management.

“Back in the early days, inventory management was a new career and we travelled to the US to find some global standards that we could use in Australia. We’re applying that same technique now to global end to end supply chain standards and in order to do that we’re looking at global compliance and global regulation and bringing that down to the level that we need to communicate to members,” said Fenech.

In Australia, ASCI provides best practice knowledge to build the standards of supply chain management.

“We call that our Professional Accreditation Scheme. Just like lawyers, engineers, and accountants, they have professional accreditation bodies that they belong to and they are registered within a professional accreditation scheme as well. That proves that they can practice within that field and they’ve proven their knowledge in that field,” said Fenech.

“We’ve never had anything like this in supply chain management in Australia so now is really good time to address it, considering the complexities of the end- to-end supply chain have been made so apparent through COVID-19.”

To assist its members in adapting to the disruptions of COVID-19, ASCI is conducting research and benchmarking global best practice so that Australian supply chains can come out of the pandemic more resilient that ever.

“Currently, ASCI is working with the University of Melbourne on a risk survey, to see how we’ve been redefining risk and that will be a really important part of our conference on day two where we will be presenting those findings for the first time and giving our supply chain managers who are delegates at that conference a first look in as to what they need to be doing to reset their business continuity plans.”

While discussions were held at the beginning of the pandemic to understand whether the conference’s theme should change to focus directly on the events of the past six months, the advisory board ultimately decided that the theme of “Supply Chain Vision In The Decade For Action” encompassed the ongoing challenges that supply chains would face into the future.

“If companies don’t change the way they do things and put their supply chains front and centre of their operational efficiency, then they’re just not going to survive in the new era,” said Fenech.

Over the two days of the conference, ASCI has assembled a panel of local and international supply chain leaders, who will share their insights from a range of sectors. These include the medical, industrial, defence, and fast-moving consumer goods sectors, as well as the transport and logistics sector.

On February 25, delegates will be able to tour the under-construction Western Sydney Airport site, the core of the future Aerotropolis and new logistics hub for Western Sydney. Attendees can participate in a panel discussion with local councils, moderated by Amanda Brisot, general manager Western Sydney Business Connection.

With multiple streams on each day, Fenech highlights that it is worth businesses bringing multiple attendees.

“Supply chain managers should think about bringing a few members of their team because there are certainly different experiences that each of their team members could have throughout the two-day conference. Team- members can come together afterwards to share key learnings across those functions.”

Streams on day one will cover procurement, operations management, and logistics management, while on day two streams encompass systems and technology, supply chain management, and the future supply chain management workforce.

“There are some great stories in there from Metcash, for example, about how COVID-19 brought about some great opportunity for them to work with Woolworths and Coles,” said Fenech.

ASCI2021 will also host the 28th ASCI awards’ dinner, and with so much upheaval during the past year, Fenech expects some engaging stories to come out of the awards. “It will be one of the best because we want to see where excellence exists, where excellence has been demonstrated through these really tough times, and often it’s during tough times that innovation really does
push through.”

For more information, to book tickets, and view the full program go to:

AusRAIL 2020 goes virtual

The 2020 edition of AusRAIL will be delivered through a new, live and on demand web-based platform.

Registration is now open for the event, of which Rail Express is an official media partner, and will run from December 1-3, adding an additional day to the schedule.

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) CEO Caroline Wilkie said that the new format will enable greater access than ever before.

“Our live and on demand platform will give delegates more access to program content than ever before, while creating dedicated exhibition and networking spaces that reimagine the exhibition hall for the online environment.”

While the program is yet to be announced, speakers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world will deliver live-streamed presentations that can be access in real-time or on demand. Delegates will be able to easily connect with fellow attendees through the platform, and not have to wade through crowds.

A AI-powered matchmaking service will identify delegates with shared interests and create direct connections. Exhibitors and sponsors have access to analytics tools to deliver on engagement.

The exhibition component of the event will also be delivered virtually, and the platform caters for a wide range of interactivity, including demonstrations, videos, and product information, as well as online networking.

Wilkie said the essential role of AusRAIL in connecting the rail industry will continue.

“After such a year of change it is more important than ever that the industry comes together to discuss the latest innovations and our plans for the future,” Wilkie said.

“AusRAIL Live & On Demand will bring together the rail community to mark the achievements of the industry, share learnings from the response to COVID-19 and highlight the opportunities ahead as the world prepares for a new normal in 2021.”

In 2020, as in previous years, Rail Express will bring you news and insights from AusRAIL and will be distributed to all delegates.


Women in Industry Awards announces finalists for 2020

The finalists for the Women in Industry awards have been announced.

The annual award, co-presented by Rail Express, highlights the contributions made by women to industries including transportation, logistics, manufacturing, mining, construction, and waste management.

This year saw the highest number of nominations, beating the 2019 record by 27 per cent. The growth of the awards was not only represented in the nominations themselves, but the number of individual businesses and organisations submitting nominees across varied industrial sectors.

The awards span multiple categories, including social leader of the year, rising star of the year, sponsored by Atlas Copco, business development success of the year, industry advocacy award, safety advocacy award, sponsored by BOC, mentor of the year, and individual excellence awards across the fields of transport, engineering, sponsored by BAE Systems Australia, mining, and manufacturing.

The most nominated category was the Rising Star Award, which received a record number of nominations this year.

Rail organisations represented in the awards include Transport for NSW, which included finalists Neolani Reardon (Safety Advocacy Award), and Camilla Drover (Excellence in Transport).

Sonja Malcolm, senior manager – capability & development from Sydney Metro was nominated for the Industry Advocacy Award, while Nadine Yousef, associate director at Sydney Trains received a nomination for the Safety Advocacy Award.

Lidija Dumbaloska, professional head of electrical engineering at Sydney Trains, received a nomination for Excellence in Engineering.

Judging will now begin before the winners are announced online in late August.

A full list of nominees are below.

Social Leader of the Year
Alanna Vial – BlueScope
Althea Papinczak – Women in Design and Construction (WIDAC)
Elizabeth Taylor – RedR International
Gemma Murphy – QBE Insurance
Jackie Lewis-Gray – BAE Systems Australia
Jane Tiller – Monash University
Sarah McSwiney – Boeing Aerostructures Australia

Rising Star of the Year
Proudly sponsored by Atlas Copco
Alicia Heskett – Shell Australia (QGC)
Helen Vu – BOC
Kate Robertson – Geological Survey of SA
Kate Stanbury – Stantec Australia
Keren Reynolds – BAE Systems Australia
Louise Azzopardi – WesTrac
Nima Sherpa – BHP
Rose Lindner – MMG
Vera Milutinovic – Inenco

Business Development Success of the Year
Caroline Murray – APS Industrial
Jackie Thew – Abrasive Media Supplies
Marika Logan – Elgas
Rachael Ashfield – ifm
Stefanie Frawley – Colliers International
Sonia Turner – Scope Systems

Industry Advocacy Award
Elizabeth Molyneux – AGL Energy
Hayley Jarick – Supply Chain Sustainability School
Jacquelene Brotherton – Transport Women Australia Limited
Jodie Sainsbury – Kickass Women
Joy Marrocco – AGL
Rose Read – National Waste & Recycling Industry Council
Shay Chalmers – Strategic Engineering
Sonja Malcolm – Sydney Metro

Safety Advocacy Award
Proudly sponsored by BOC Ltd
Annastasia Denigan – Cement Australia
Lyndal Denny – Women In Trucking Australia
Maddy Holloway – CITIC Pacific Mining
Nadine Yousef – Sydney Trains
Natalia Trewin – WesTrac Pty Ltd
Noelani Reardon – Transport for NSW
Terese Withington – Weir Minerals Australia Ltd
Tracey MacDonald – BAE Systems Australia

Mentor of the Year
Clytie Dangar – CRC ORE
Dayle Stevens – AGL Energy
Kylie Jones – Diageo Australia
Marie Varrasso – Officeworks

Excellence in Manufacturing
Josie Costanzo – Brickworks Building Products
Marina Melik – Boeing Aerostructures Australia
Rebecca Parnell – Artisan Food Company Pty Ltd
Rochelle Avinu – Leica Biosystems
Samantha McDonald – Bluescope

Excellence in Mining
Carlie Hayward – BHP
Clytie Dangar – CRC ORE
Jacqueline Madsen – Caterpillar
Kim Parascos – iVolve Industrial Technology
Rose Lindner – MMG
Sarah Withell – BHP
Terese Withington – Weir Minerals Australia Ltd

Excellence in Engineering
Proudly sponsored by BAE Systems Australia
Elizabeth Taylor – RedR International
Jane MacMaster – Engineers Australia
Jo Withford – Department of Transport
Lesley DeGaris – Boeing Aerostructures Australia
Lidija Dumbaloska – Sydney Trains
Mandy Petrides – Bosch Australia

Excellence in Transport
Agnes Lesson – Elgas
Camilla Drover – Transport for NSW
Danelle Kempton – Dananni Haulage
Jane Gillespie – Arup
Lyndal Denny – Women In Trucking Australia
Melissa Strong – Lindsay Australia Limited

Australasian rail events updates

After a national cabinet meeting on March 17, the Australian Commonwealth and state and territory governments announced restrictions on indoor gatherings of greater than 100 people from Wednesday, March 18. In New Zealand, the government has banned indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

Although these bans do not apply to essential activities and schools, universities, workplaces, supermarkets, or public transport, they have impacted upon industry gatherings. As a resource for the industry, Rail Express will provide up-to-date information on rail industry events which have been impacted.


Event  Original date  New date  Organiser  More info 
ALC Forum 2020  March 17-19, 2020  Cancelled Australian Logistics Council 


RTAA/RTSA Annual Dinner  March 26, 2020  Tbc  RTAA, RTSA 


RISSB Rail Safety Conference  March 31 – April 1, 2020  27-28 October, 2020  RISSB 


MEGAtrans  April 1-3, 2020  April 2021  Prime Creative Media 


BULK2020  April 1-3, 2020  April 2021  Prime Creative Media 


CORE2020  May 11-13, 2020  June 21 – 23, 2021  RTSA 


Australasian Industry Awards and Gala Dinner  July 2, 2020  November 19, 2020  Australasian Railway Association 


Inland Rail  September 9-10, 2020  5-6 May, 2021  Australasian Railway Association, Australian Logistics Council 
InnoTrans  September 22-25  27-30 April, 2021 Messe Berlin 

The following events have been cancelled:Australasian Railway Association events

  • Diversity in Rail Lunch – 19 March, Sydney
  • Understanding Rail Course – 21 and 22 April, Melbourne
  • Rail Industry Networking Dinner- 6 May, Perth
  • Women in Rail Lunch – 20 May, Melbourne
  • Insight into Rollingstock Engineering Course – 28 and 29 May, Sydney
  • Insight into Track Engineering Course – 3 June, Brisbane
  • Insight into Rollingstock Engineering Course – 4 and 5 June, Brisbane
  • Rail Accessibility Forum- 23 June, Brisbane
  • Future Leaders’ Workshop – 30 June, Melbourne
  • The Dare to Lead courses – Sydney and Melbourne

Sharing investigations – lessons for industry

In its monthly column, the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board discusses the Sharing Investigations Forums scheduled in March and September 2020.

One of the forums RISSB co-ordinates on behalf of the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand is the Sharing Investigations Forum. The aim of this forum is to share lessons from a deep dive into incidents involving rail transport operators.

The ATSB has attended part of each forum and provided an analysis of, and lessons from, a rail incident. Or at the most recent forum, from an aviation incident. Featuring high on the agenda has been a presentation from a university around incident investigation and systems thinking.

To date, two forums have been held – one in Melbourne in 2018 and the other in Brisbane in 2019. Both Sharing Investigations forums were fully booked, and feedback was phenomenal with two further forums planned for 2020 – Sydney on 30th March at John Holland, Pyrmont and the second in Perth, likely to be held in September 2020 at Fortescue Metals Group in Perth.

Organisations that have presented and discussed an incident and the ensuing investigation into that incident have included: MTM, TasRAIL, ARTC, QR, Arc Infrastructure and Aurizon.

While there were many lessons shared, there were several common but critical lessons for industry that emerged from the in-depth discussions.

These include:

  • The need for clear, accurate safety critical communication (including the need to proactively monitor and demonstrate this).
  • The need to support identification of local risks (where workers do not perceive the level of risk, or the changing risk profile over time on site).
  • The importance of leadership from senior management/senior executives (response to incident is to ensure safety before continuing operations).
  • The benefits of reinforcing positive behaviours (through providing a just and safe culture).
  • Clarity on each person’s role and responsibility (ambiguity leading to assumptions that something was done).

RISSB is gathering lessons from these forums and turning them into a series of key lessons for industry that will be presented at the 2020 RISSB Rail Safety Conference in Sydney on 31 March and 1 April 2020.

In relation to communications, RISSB has worked with industry
to develop and publish a Safety Critical Communications Guideline (January 2018) and has since developed and is offering a Safety Critical Communications Course.

For more information about RISSB’s 2020 Rail Safety Conference, please visit conference-2020/

To view RISSB’s 2020 training and events, please visit