High profile industry figure announced as new Australasian Railway Association CEO

A well known CEO in the Australian airports sector is moving across to the rail industry after taking up the position of the new Chief Executive for the Australasian Railway Association. 

Australian Airports Association (AAA) CEO, Caroline Wilkie, will join the ARA in mid-February 2020 as its new CEO, replacing Danny Broad who will become ARA’s new Chairman. 

Ms Wilkie’s final day at AAA will be on Friday 13 December. The AAA Board will now begin the recruitment process for a new CEO.

AAA National Chairman, Guy Thompson, said that Ms Wilkie had transformed the AAA to create a vibrant organisation at the forefront of the issues that matter to the industry.

“Her significant policy focus has delivered new funding for regional airports and deepened airport engagement with our industry partners,” Mr Thompson said.

“Her work will have a lasting and important impact on our industry.”

Ms Wilkie said she was proud to have represented Australian airports over the last nine years.

“Our airports make such an important contribution to their communities and it has been incredibly rewarding to work with them to support their growth and success,” Ms Wilkie said.

“Our regional airports now have access to sustainable funding, while our major airports are investing in the nation’s growth and delivering a better deal for passengers.

“It’s been a great privilege to work with the AAA team, the Board and our members to advance the key issues facing our sector.”

Ms Wilkie will bring extensive policy experience to her new role at ARA, with a strong understanding of the nation-building impact of infrastructure investment and how critical transport networks are to connecting urban and regional communities.

“Whether you catch a passenger train, tram or light rail in our cities or work for a business that relies upon the rail freight network, the rail industry touches the lives of so many in our communities in both Australia and New Zealand,” Ms Wilkie said.

“Sustainable, efficient and safe rail networks are essential to drive our economies, increase productivity and shape the development of industries across our nation.

“Rail, as the backbone of our evolving freight and passenger transport networks, adds to the social, economic and competitive fabric of both Australia and New Zealand, while addressing the challenges of increasing congestion in our cities and growing the efficiency of our supply chains.

“There is already a strong focus on safety, skills development and the implementation of new technologies within the rail industry and I’m committed to leading these agendas and developing others on behalf of our members.”

Outgoing ARA CEO, Danny Broad, will remain with the ARA, taking up the position of Chairman. He replaces current Chairman, Bob Herbert AM, who has announced he will step down from the Board at the end of this year.

Mr Broad said Ms Wilkie has proven experience in leading a member association with a transport and infrastructure focus, and also the ability to foster a strong sense of industry collaboration.

“Under her leadership, Ms Wilkie significantly increased the size and scope of the AAA, expanding its industry engagement and stakeholder management as well as its events and education programs.

“She led the successful Protect Regional Airports campaign, culminating in the Federal Government’s announcement of a $100 million regional airport fund this year, and also oversaw a long-term engagement process with CASA ahead of changes to the Manual of Standards (MOS) Part 139.”

Ms Wilkie said, “The ARA is a strong advocate for its members and is the leading voice for the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand as a result of both Bob and Danny’s extensive work over the last four years.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with the ARA team, the ARA Board and Mr Broad.” 

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