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A Friday Note - 4 March 2016

Dear all,

With a long weekend and Easter around the corner I hope you are planning a break. Always worth getting out to try something different to add some spark.

Safety

Our recent safety blitz has revealed lots of issues across the department and with our contractors.  In some areas we are well behind where we should be and I am particularly concerned to see filing cabinets full of safety papers but not a proactive ‘on the ground’ approach in some areas. In other areas, however, I have seen a very strong safety culture and those working hard on safety are setting a standard we need to emulate, quickly, to close this gap. The reports from our facilities management, rail and road maintenance areas have been particularly thorough.

Some of our industry partners, like Palumbo Contractors, have responded brilliantly to the ‘fresh eyes’ approach. A range of others from the tier one players through to many smaller contractors have indicated a preference for safety that is real and designed and practiced to save life and limb.

Country Cabinet

This week the full Cabinet dedicated time in Port Augusta, Leigh Creek, Parachilna, Quorn, Hawker and Blinman. There were plenty of issues for our department encompassing roads, rail, infrastructure, airstrips, planning and building approvals. We were received with open arms and I had positive feedback on our change in approach to outback roads in particular and more generally. My thanks to our staff in regional SA for their strong commitment to these changes in approach. The community clearly respects your work.

Our department also received positive feedback from the trucking industry, with one industry leader remarking on more positive change in the last 13 months than in the last 13 years. Well done to all. 

Staff

Julienne TePohe has kept staff informed about recent executive changes.

I am also pleased to advise that we have been able to engage seven more train drivers and 10 more passenger service assistants to better handle the increased frequency of major events at Adelaide Oval and to relieve some of the load on our rail staff.

Megan Butler has been appointed as the Manager of the Chief Executive’s Office. Please continue to contact Megan for Cabinet/Parliamentary/Dept Coordination/FOI/Ministerial matters. 

Connected and Automated Vehicles

Find out more about the policy and potential of connected and automated vehicles at an upcoming lecture by intelligent transportation systems expert Prof Chris Hendrickson. The lecture will take place on Monday, 7 March 2016, at 3:00-4:30pm at Carnegie Mellon University Australia, Torrens Building, 220 Victoria Square. Contact ebolongaita@australia.cmu.edu to register.

Well Done

Tony Smith went above and beyond coming in at very short notice last weekend to assist police with urgently viewing and downloading CCTV footage from our network.  His responsiveness was much appreciated.  Well done.

Congratulations to Anna Bartel, from out technical services section who was recognised this week as the winner of the Centre for Pavement Engineering Education (CPEE) Annual Student Excellence Award for her study in the ‘fundamentals of road construction’.

Farewell

One of our train drivers, Roger Sallis retires today after a remarkable career on the railways spanning over 40 years.  Roger is believed to be the last driver in suburban service who qualified as a steam locomotive driver. His retirement marks the end of an era that has encompassed steam, diesel and on to our newest electric trains. Roger has a real passion for rail history and has written several books which you can find in our State library. I would like to acknowledge Roger’s long standing service to our railways and wish him a long and happy retirement.

Have a good weekend

Michael Deegan