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It is an honour to be addressing you and representing the RTAA as your new president. David Bainbridge has been an outstanding and influential President over the past 7 years. David’s legacy has put us in great stead for the future and he will remain a valuable member contributing on the RTAA management committee.

It was an eventful week for the RTAA in Brisbane at AusRail Plus 2017 where we elected our new Office Bearers, participated in our highly acclaimed Yellow Tie Dinner, launched our Women in Rail Publication and coordinated an extensive suite of presentations at the RTAA Technical Stream.

There was only 1 vote difference that decided the result of the Presidential election. We would like to praise Jonathan Barnes for his hard work throughout the year and for being a competitive candidate for the Presidentship. We congratulate Jonathan on being re-elected as Vice President. The RTAA also congratulates Christina Young who is our first female Vice President since the RTAA was established 44 years ago. We would also like to welcome 6 new members on the RTAA management committee: Abbie Thomas, Annabelle Webb, Jarrod Wakefield, Nicola Chung, Orla O’Sullivan and Sanjee Sathianandan. I look forward to working with you all in the coming year.

The RTAA Strategic Plan has been through a review process and we are currently working on the draft action plans to support the 8 key focus areas that are the differentiators for the RTAA. These areas include;


Delivering a quality Field Day Exhibition event every 2 years


Technical Workshop Week every alternate 2 years


High Quality Technical and Networking events, inclusive of all within our industry


RTAA Dinner (a change from the "No-Tie" concept to be more inclusive)


Participation at AusRAIL (Leading the RTAA Technical Stream and RTAA Yellow Tie Dinner)


Frank Franklyn Young Rail Specialist Award - keeping the format in line with industry


Keeping our Membership informed through EnGauge Newsletter and social media


Increasing the appeal of the RTAA to be more diverse and inclusive within our industry

The RTAA has made some gains in this area, particularly in Perth via a networking event. It included working closely with the University of Western Australia’s Young Engineers club to provide an event that would be of interest to engineering students, but also focused on the rail industry. This breakfast event was very successful with rail industry interviewing several of the students for internships and employment post event. The RTAA will look to replicate this across major cities with equivalent University Clubs.

Over and above this, the Business Manager has been in contact with The Rail Manufacturing Corporate Research Centre. They partner with Universities and industry to innovate, research and develop opportunities within rail. They have 30 students that they would like to find rail mentors for, which aligns with our grass roots knowledge strategy. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for the RTAA to promote rail to the next generation.

In NSW the industry has seen a fantastic win with the Launch of the new Advanced Diploma in Rail Track Engineering course by Transport for NSW and Engineers Australia. This new course is set to help build capability in our industry by acting as a stepping stone for those with experience, but no formal qualifications and more importantly as a gateway for those new to the industry. The RTAA fully supports this initiative, with the President Thomas Kerr already volunteering as a mentor.