Industry News

Premier industry conference comes full circle

Melbourne hosted the first of the joint CCAA/IQA conferences back in October 2006. The biennial conference has provided an important platform for policy debate on a range of issues that impact on Australia?s $7 billion per annum heavy construction materials industry. Since 2006, the IQA and CCAA have hosted a joint conference every two years, taking in Sydney (2008) and the Gold Coast (2010).

This time, the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre played host to the three and a half day conference. CMIC12 commenced on the evening of Wednesday, 19 September and concluded on the afternoon of Saturday, 22 September, with a site visit to Holcim?s Oaklands Junction Quarry.

The conference was attended by nearly 600 delegates from around Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa. A comprehensive program of plenary sessions, social events, competitions and an auction were compressed into three and a half days.

{{image2-a:r-w:250}}The theme for this year was Essential Industry for Australia?s Future. An impressive line-up of speakers delivered presentations on issues integral to the extractive industry, including sustainability, corporate governance and social licensing, leadership and teamwork and strategic planning.

Local speakers from across the industry ably supplemented the keynote speakers. The thorny issues of quarry approvals, community engagement, the safety culture, recruitment and alternative quarry products were all agenda topics.

To boot, there were over 60 exhibitors at CMIC12 in the first two and a half days, including platinum sponsors Caterpillar, Komatsu and CJD Equipment and gold plus sponsor Hitachi. Delegates were encouraged to visit all the booths to network and – most importantly – win some prizes!


CMIC12 commenced on the Wednesday evening with CJD Equipment, Volvo?s Australian distributor, staging the official welcome function. Delegates had an early opportunity to browse through the exhibitor stands as well as participate in a simulator competition organised by CJD.

Paul Torrington, the Hub Oceania vice president of Volvo Construction Equipment, announced that this year?s recipient of the Volvo Travel Award ? for the best individual contribution towards the advancement of environmental management in the quarrying industry ? was Peter Allitt, of Holcim, in Queensland. Peter will in 2013 participate in a customer trip to Sweden, where he will visit Volvo?s Stockholm operations.

{{image3-a:l-w:250}}Adam Wallis, of Volvo dealer Warrin Mining & Construction Equipment, in Pooraka, South Australia, was also interviewed on stage. Apart from being a Volvo dealer for over 30 years, Warrin Mining has been a participant in the V8 Supercars series and Wallis drove Warrin Mining?s Holden VX Commodore, also sponsored by Volvo CE, to victory in the 2009 V8 Touring Car National Series.

The conference proper got underway on Thursday morning, 20 September, when all-male tap dance troupe Raw Metal, adorned in construction gear, performed a range of dance moves, acrobatics and comedy in the opening ceremony. Master of Ceremonies George Donikian colourfully described the opening act as ?Chippendales on steroids?!

Following introductions by Ken Slattery, CEO of the CCAA, and Paul Sutton, IQA General Manager, the keynote speaker for the opening session was Kevin Gluskie, the chief executive of Hanson Australia and the CCAA chairman.

Gluskie focused on four key industry challenges: resources depletion, sustainability, community engagement and the ageing workforce. He said the industry must recognise that resources are now finite and ?our future options are more expensive by an order of magnitude ? It goes without saying that we must always get full value for our products.?

He urged the construction materials industry to work hard to connect with its neighbours and to be professional and transparent in its business conduct. Further, the industry, he said, has a role to educate and remind government and the community of its broader economic importance ? again estimated at $7 billion per annum. The industry also has to be proactive in educating young jobseekers about the industry?s workplace opportunities.

?The important point is that these are shared challenges that … we face together,? Gluskie explained. ?The closer and more cohesively we work together, the better the outcome will be and the stronger we will be.?

Other keynote speakers that morning included Business Council of Australia (BCA) chief executive Jennifer Westacott, Paul Clitheroe, director of ipac securities, Merrill Lynch economist Saul Eslake and Andrew Scott, Telstra?s emerging technology manager for mobiles, media and applications.

{{image4-a:r-w:250}}Westacott told delegates that high project costs and workplace productivity issues are putting at risk the future investment pipeline ? worth up to $921 billion. She explained there are currently $384 billion of projects under construction, with another $192 billion under consideration and $66 billion committed. Many of these projects are unprecedented in size, number and remoteness and cover a narrow sector base. The BCA argues these projects are vital for the key sectors and the whole economy because 30 per cent of economic activity in the next decade will be essential to national income and wealth.

They will also contribute to higher living standards, more demands for goods and services and higher wages. However, major geographical issues are having an impact on labour and labour mobility and resources and infrastructure project costs are very high. BCA has also highlighted the lack of robust data for infrastructure projects.

Westacott argued that the challenges for the construction materials industry and the nation were to build higher levels of community understanding and acceptance of projects, expand Australia?s capacity to deliver multiple capital projects, improve the efficiency of project delivery, provide adequate social and economic infrastructure, build the confidence of investors and encourage more supportive government institutions, policies and programs (including the need for one-stop shops at federal and state level).

She called for action to give states greater authority to assess and approve projects under Commonwealth environmental legislation and to streamline major development approvals and licensing arrangements, for amendments to the Fair Work Act to include employer-only agreements on greenfield projects, and for comprehensive tax reform, including a lower company tax rate over time.

Paul Clitheroe provided an entertaining presentation. He was critical of the media, politicians and business groups for talking down the economy when there has probably never been a better time to be an Australian ? ie we have not had to endure wars, depressions and high mortality, as previous generations have. Further, we have an ageing, healthy population and he recommended that we strike the word ?retirement? from the vernacular and encourage more people to work for as long as they can while they are fit and able. ?Is it such a bad thing,? he asked, ?that people are now living longer??

Clitheroe stated that with huge population growth in Australia, there was the demand for more construction materials. The challenge for the industry would be to not only meet that demand but to be prepared for the attitude of residents to approvals, not to mention the bureaucratic mind-set. He also warned of the lack of political leadership ? that the demands for new, lasting infrastructure will always be offset by demands for investment in aged and disability care, education and health, areas in which governments at all levels have been guilty of underinvestment.

He floated the idea of a ?rational community compact? that assists politicians to debate what is best for the nation. This would also entail persuading the community that if they want better services, care and infrastructure, then they must be prepared to pay more taxes and user-pays systems to cover the expenses. No longer could politicians promise the population a ?sugar hit? at election time with unsustainable, implausible promises.

{{image5-a:l-w:250}}Merrill Lynch Australia chief economist Saul Eslake painted a mixed outlook for the Australian residential property market. On a positive note, he told delegates he did not anticipate a US-style housing market collapse, pointing to Australia?s relatively low housing stock levels and the recent fall in new dwelling completions, as well as the distribution and structure of Australian household debt.

However, Australia?s relatively high house prices continue to impact on housing affordability and home ownership rates, and despite lower interest rates, Australians are still hesitant to take on more debt. He warned the shortage of housing would persist unless governments changed key policy settings.

Telstra?s Andrew Scott discussed the link between telecommunications and construction materials. At the most basic level, he argued, the link is all about connecting people at a distance. Innovations such as HDTV, e-learning and 3D audio are improving the communications landscape, particularly between capital cities and regional areas. In turn, these technologies and innovations have applications in quarrying and mining, eg fleet management systems, machine to machine connections, video surveillance, and self-driving facilities. Telstra is already collaborating with Trimble and Newman to put devices into construction vehicles that will keep track of where the vehicle is, how much fuel it is using and even how well it is being driven.

Other major speakers on the first day included IBISWorld chairman Phil Ruthven, on the forecast for the construction materials industry in 2013 and beyond, the Housing Industry Association?s Graham Wolfe and Garry Liddle, VicRoads chief executive, who spoke about the need to unlock productivity on current and future road systems.

The late afternoon saw concurrent sessions. Consultant Christopher Prowse discussed why quarry approvals are becoming more problematic and Dugald Gray, of Ecoroc, presented the survey work his company conducted at the request of the Queensland Government to determine which parts of the quarry sector were best equipped to meet the demand for rebuilding Queensland?s flood-damaged infrastructure. Dru Oxley, of Fulton Hogan, outlined how the industry could benefit from introducing quarry rotations for graduate engineers, and Caterpillar?s Steve Cousland discussed the effectiveness of sizing load and haul fleets.

Caterpillar Australia also used CMIC12 as a medium to launch its new K series aggregate handler to the Australian market, unveiling a 938K in the trade exhibition area during the lunch interval. Redesigned with engines that meet Stage IIIB/Tier 4 Interim emissions standards, the K series has an electronically controlled hydrostatic drive system, new optimised Z-bar loader linkage, refined operator?s station and a choice of couplers and buckets for best matching the machine to the application.

A Cat C6.6 ACERT engine powers the three new K series loaders and its rated speed setting of 1800 rpm contributes significantly to reduced fuel consumption, lowered sound levels, and reduced wear.


One of the highlights of CMIC in the past has been the Komatsu Dinner and once again delegates were not left disappointed. Dinner was held in the hallowed surrounds of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, home of the Melbourne Cricket Club ? and most importantly for Victorians ? the home of the AFL Grand Final. AFL legend Tim Watson was the MC while Darren Percival, the runner up of TV?s The Voice Australia, serenaded the crowd with some old favourites.

{{image6-a:r-w:250}}Day three of the conference ? Friday, 21 September ? began with presentations from Professor John Cole, the University of Queensland?s deputy vice chancellor in research and innovation, on the future for roads in a sustainable world, and Dr Nick Fleming, of Sinclair Knight Merz, on demystifying sustainability to promote business improvement.

Martin Isles, the health and safety director of the UK Mineral Products Association, provided two presentations: an outline of the UK concrete industry?s sustainable construction strategy, and (delivered as part of a concurrent session) the lessons from a fatal collision between a dump truck and a four-wheel drive vehicle at a coal mine in Pennyvenie, Scotland in 2007. Futureye?s Katherine Teh White also discussed the ways quarries can protect their social licence to operate while improving their community relations.

The mid-morning concurrent sessions saw presentations on a variety of topics. Safestart?s Cristian Sylvestre outlined the importance of human error prevention in improving an organisation?s safety culture. Louise Houlihan, of Cornwall Stoddart, briefed delegates on the current status of the harmonised OHS ?mirror? laws in most parts of Australia. Michael van Koeverden, of Engineered Material Solutions, discussed the development of high performance construction materials comprising coal combustion products. The CCAA?s Warren South outlined how concrete contributes to a sustainable construction industry.

The sessions after lunch saw presentations from keynote speakers in Ai Group CEO Innes Willox and former Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon. Willox discussed the challenges for the Australian business environment in 2012-13, including the likelihood of increased competition from China and other emerging Asian nations, particularly in the construction materials market.

Nixon drew on 40 years of public service to focus on 10 key lessons for effective leadership. She was followed by consultant Graeme Joy whose reflections on his experiences in twice kayaking and skiing the North Pole provided some insights into how businesses can encourage leadership diversity and manage talent within their ranks. Denis O?Donovan, of the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, also updated delegates on the current and future trends in construction employment.

{{image7-a:l-w:250}}The late afternoon concurrent sessions saw presentations on a range of technical topics and case studies. CCAA research manager Vute Sirivivatnanon presented on the identification of suitable manufactured sands for use in concrete pavements in accordance with Australian Standard AS2758.1. Andi Lusty, of Kayasand, discussed sand manufacturing from quarry surplus.

Rishabh Satsangi, of Hanson, reported on the results that occurred in using coal power station waste as a fine aggregate replacement in concrete, and Brian McGrath, of Boral Cement, discussed the reuse of spent oil catalyst in cement manufacture. Rob Bell, manager of Brisbane?s Mount Coot-tha Quarry, and Adebayo Bayooke, of Ausrocks, reported on the integrated project that has seen spoil and overburden from Brisbane City Council?s Legacy Tunnel project delivered via an underground tunnel and conveyor belt directly to the quarry. The spoil from the project is being used for remediation purposes within the quarry.


After completion of the plenary program, delegates dressed in their finery for the Caterpillar Gala Dinner on the Friday evening at the Palladium Ballroom, Crown Towers. Bill Roberts, Asia-Pacific manager for Caterpillar Australia, proudly presented the Caterpillar Continuous Improvement Award, which included $5000 for a study tour, to Todd Kalajzich, of Boral Dunmore Quarries, NSW. The award acknowledges the best individual contribution to continuously improving an Australian extractive business.

The CCAA also announced the winners of its national Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Awards, drawn from the pool of winners from its state EHS Awards over the last 12 months. The EHS Awards recognise outstanding examples of industry best practice across the cement, premixed concrete and extractive industries.

The National Environmental Innovation Award went to Hanson for its development of a new ?dewatering? process at its Golden Grove sand quarry near Adelaide. The National Health and Safety Innovation Award was presented to Boral for the development of an agitator stability system.

After a couple of days of some indifferent Melbourne weather, delegates who boarded the buses for the site visit to Holcim?s Oaklands Junction Quarry on Saturday morning, 22 September, were greeted by fantastic sunny, warm conditions. They returned to the Zinc Restaurant at Melbourne?s Federation Square on Saturday afternoon for lunch and the presentations of the IQA?s individual awards.

CMIC12 gave the IQA the opportunity to present five industry sponsored awards and seven individual awards over the three and a half days. The recipients were:

?    IQA Service Award (for individuals who have given outstanding service to the IQA and the industry) – Peter Mayo, Australian Institute of Quarrying Education Foundation (AIQEF) secretary, Queensland and David Lane, Holcim, WA.
?    IQA Honorary Fellowship Award ? John Malempre, Boral, Victoria.
?    Bradken Gold Hard Hat Award (for best individual contribution for advancement of OHS in the quarry industry) – Adrian Wolfe, Rocla Redcliffe, WA.
?    ESCO Young Members Award (for a young IQA member?s contribution to the extractive industry and the IQA) – Scott Lancaster, Chevron, WA.
?    Atlas Copco Award (for best technical paper presented at an IQA function, conference or printed in Quarry) ? Professor Jim Joy, director, Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, University of Queensland.
?    Caterpillar Continuous Improvement Award ? Todd Kalajzich, Boral Dunmore Quarries, NSW.
?    Rocktec Innovation Award (best individual contribution for excellence and innovation in the quarry industry) ? Michael Oppedisano, Boral, Port Melbourne, Victoria.
?    Volvo Travel Award – Peter Allitt, Holcim, Queensland.
?    Hap Seng Fellowship Award (the individual most recognised for information and leadership exchange with the Malaysian quarry industry) – Mike Cooper, managing director, Cooper Consulting, Queensland.
?    Alex Northover Award (the best portfolio of evidence submitted to a registered training organisation) – Brian Nicholas, Hanson, Tasmania.
?    The Ron Parrott Award (for the best conference exhibits) ? Atlas Copco (large) and Locker Group (small).

Over the course of the conference, delegates were encouraged to participate in a silent auction managed by the AIQEF. Despite lean economic times, delegates were not shy with their wallets. The AIQEF raised nearly $18,000, which will be redistributed to IQA education programs in 2013.

{{image8-a:r-w:250}}Over 30 items were donated by many of the exhibitors, including model mobile crusher units, drill rigs and wheel loaders, bottles of wine and bourbon, a Santini replica cycle kit and jersey, drill rods and bits, Parker pens, a bar fridge, jewellery, sports packs and an Apple iPad.


At the end of lunch on Saturday afternoon, the IQA took the opportunity in officially closing CMIC12 to encourage delegates to escape the Melbourne ?winter? and head to northern Queensland in September next year for the IQA?s 56th annual conference. For effect, the IQA?s Paul Sutton did a ?striptease? on stage, changing from his suit to T-shirt, shorts, sun hat and thongs ? and applying a dollop of zinc cream to his nose!

The IQA?s 56th annual conference will be held at the Jupiters Townsville from 18 to 21 September, 2013. The fifth CMIC conference is expected to return to Sydney in 2014.

Copies of the speakers? presentations are available on the CMIC12 website. With thanks to the CCAA and Gosh! PR for additional information.

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