CEO Monthly Message
Dr Brett Dale
WHEN THE MTA Queensland Board approved my appointment as Group Chief Executive in May 2016, the key performance indicators to achieve for the membership did not include ‘innovation’. I held the view that for the Association and the membership to be sustainable into the future, we had to adjust to e-commerce and innovations in the automotive chain.
In my first From the Desk of the CEO I said: ‘Fast changing technology and innovations are pervasive, requiring us to be ‘nimble’ with our policies and strategic actions to ensure long-term relevancy in service delivery and as an advocate to all levels of Government.’
And we’ve been ‘nimble’. At the 2016 November Annual President’s Ball, the concept of Carmageddon was unveiled ‘to explore and investigate the realm of implications that the automotive industry would experience in the era of digital disruption and technological transformation.’ Two Carmageddon Symposiums (March 2017 and July 2017) were held to provide the leadership and advance understanding of present and future disrupters to the value chain and to bridge the knowledge gap on the digital economy and the emerging technologies in this sector.
Significantly, the MTA Queensland Executive and Board, at its May 2017 meeting, recognised the evolution of innovation and technological change, amending the Strategic Plan with: ‘we will constantly challenge what we offer with the aim of exceeding the expectations of industry in everything we do’. Innovation was added to the core pillars of advocacy, services, training, and support. On reflection, I’m proud of our progress in the delivery of each of these pillars, particularly innovation as we started from ground zero.
As indicated in the February From the Desk of the CEO, the MTA Queensland will be a key Myriad Festival sponsor and exhibitor. We’ll have the exclusive brand ownership of the of Myriad Garage where the Association will be showcased as an industry leader in the automotive, transport and mobility space through a combination of program content and activation displays. The Myriad Garage incorporates the Carmageddon initiative showcasing start-ups, innovation and the next-generation of smart mobility vehicles.
We are working with Myriad on the program contents, speakers and panels. I assure members the Myriad Garage has something for your interest. Even a panel discussion: Are flying cars the way of the future? Potentially I’m the panel’s facilitator! I encourage members to attend. It’s from Wednesday 16 May to Friday 18 May at the RNA Show grounds.
As Group Chief Executive Officer, corporate governance of the Association’s processes, procedures and systems is a priority. In the lead up to the MTA Executive and Board meetings, I’ve been preoccupied to ensure that the group’s corporate governance arrangements were in order and complied with the MTA Queensland’s rules and Federal legislative and regulatory requirements. I assure Members that all our systems and processes conform to established standards.
I reported to the Board on progress of the key performance indicators that underpin the five pillars in the State Strategic Plan 2016-18. The quarterly report card, which is on the website for you to peruse, indicates that the corporate office is exceeding its milestones in every benchmark. Importantly, the corporate office functions as cohesive team, listening to and delivering for the membership and advocating the Association’s interests to a wide range of state and national stakeholders.
As Deputy Group Chief Executive Kellie Dewar says in Viewpoint, there has been an excellent response to the congratulatory letters to State Members of Parliament. These included an invitation to visit and speak with us at our corporate office. I’m looking forward to raising awareness of the impacts of a possible driverless car future and the need for extensive skill acquisition by existing technicians for the maintenance and repair requirements of hybrid and electric engines.
In the coming days I’ll be seeking appointments with State Ministers and Shadow Ministers with portfolios relevant to the motor trades. In particular, I’m keen to meet with the Minister for Innovation the Hon Kate Jones, the Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development the Hon Shannon Fentiman. I’ll be meeting Minister Fentiman informally at a lunch to which I’ve been invited.
As mentioned in previous From the Desk of the CEO, the Automotive Engineer’s Division (AED) has a priority issue which refers to the sharing of repair information in the automotive industry. I attended an AED meeting where ongoing concerns were expressed about restricted access to repair information limiting the ability of independent repairers to compete with authorised repairers. On behalf of the AED, I am closely monitoring developments.
By way of background, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommended, following its thorough new car retailing industry market study, that a statutory mandated framework for the transfer of vehicle repair and maintenance information from Original Equipment Manufacturers to independents repairers be introduced.
SKILLS AND TRAINING
The MTA Institute has as a core practice to adapt its curricula in line with technological change and digitisation so that apprentices and trainees have the skills demanded by automotive value chain employers. Change is constant.To emphasise the technical transformation underway, I met with Jobs Queensland for increased recognition of the emerging technologies that impact the motor trades and the skill sets required by business.
I’ve been in ongoing discussion with the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training Queensland to incorporate further automotive skills sets into the Queensland Subsidies List. I’ve been advocating for five additional Skills Sets that include: Advanced Body Repair; Advanced Body Repair Welding; Battery Electric Vehicle Inspection and Servicing; and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Inspection and Servicing. These are nationally recognised skills that include competencies that upskill the existing workforce in emerging technologies. I’ll be proposing these Skills Sets as a priority in out pre-budget submission to the Queensland Treasury for consideration in drafting the 2018-19 State Budget.
It’s nice to say that the MTA Queensland is being recognised by creditable media outlets as an authoritative source for the automotive value chain. I’ll mention one example. Queensland University Professor Michael Milford interviewed me for a print opinion piece entitled Driverless cars could create new jobs in a welcome boost to Australia’s motor industry.
It received significant media interest. As a consequence, the Brisbane ABC Breakfast Team had lengthy radio discussion with me about petrol prices, the take up of electric cars, and charging stations. Interviews were done also with the ABC national Talking Lifestyle Radio.
AND THE LAST THING
An unexpected twist arose from a meeting with the Brisbane Marketing Economic Development Board (the Board). Griffith University had been in discussion with the Board on possible partnerships for an emerging Skills and Knowledge precinct at the Freeway Office Park (this is where our corporate office is located). Arrangements were put in place for Deputy Group Chief Executive Kellie Dewar and I to meet with representatives of the Deputy Vice Chancellor on Industry Partnerships and Projects Office, at our corporate office.
We discussed possible collaboration between MTA Queensland and the University on the Skills and Knowledge precinct concept and the benefits that could be generated, particularly in the space of innovation and startups. Griffith University is a recognised leader in fostering mutually beneficial partnerships with industry, government and community.
The focus for the coming month will be on state and national stakeholder advocacy; finalising our Myriad Garage schedule; promoting the innovation hub to start-ups and driving MTA Queensland’s commercial interests to the best advantage of the membership.
Until April, as Henry Ford, the industrialist and the founder of the Ford motor company said, ‘execute ideas with enthusiasm . . . as it is the bottom of all progress’.
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