Welcome to Brisbane for this year’s Construction Materials Industry Conference!
It’s fitting that Brisbane is the venue for two reasons. The first is that Brisbane is the third most populous city in Australia and as part of the southeast Queensland conurbation encompasses over three million people. It is also the nation’s most populous local government area and as the city and its surrounds, including the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, grow and expand, so will increased demand for more quarry reserves.
Indeed, it’s appropriate that the theme of CMIC14 is Building Productivity, as innovative, efficient and productive approaches will be critical in meeting the booming demand for aggregates delivery in Queensland and in other parts of Australia as the states seek to plug the hole left by the mining slowdown with new infrastructure projects.
The second reason Brisbane is a fitting venue is much of the city’s architecture and iconic landmarks are products of some of Queensland’s most iconic quarries, eg Mount Coot-tha, White’s Hill, Mount Gravatt and the “breakfast creek quarries” of Petrie and Brydens.
The Brisbane plains run along seams of jasper, greenstone, pillow lava, conglomerate, sandstone, shale, siltstone, mudstone, limestone, dolomite, rhyolite and basalt. Porphyry – or Brisbane Tuff – is also unique to the Brisbane region. This stone was in much of Brisbane’s early architecture and was employed in early kerbstones and gutters before the application of concrete.
Quarrying, whether as convict or blue-collar labour, played an instrumental role in the establishment of Queensland from 1824 and Brisbane’s formation as the capital.
Brisbane’s and southeast Queensland’s quarry reserves have also gained importance in recent years as the drive for economic growth has clashed with local community sensitivities. The Queensland Government has been aware of the importance of protecting untapped deposits in southeast Queensland from urban encroachment and has designated them as Key Resource Areas (KRAs).
By stipulating KRAs, the government can “call in” projects that are of strategic interest to the state.
I believe the State Government prefers not to interfere with local government decision-making but as it demonstrated with Barro’s Mount Cotton quarry earlier this year, it will overrule local government decisions when resources are necessary to drive the state’s growth.
The State Government will likely also take an interest in Boral’s quest for the proposed Gold Coast quarry at Reedy Creek. The minister seems prepared to let Boral and the Gold Coast City Council sort out their differences in the Planning and Environment Court for now.
However, given the Gold Coast’s meteoric growth in the last few decades, coupled with preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and the eventual closure of Boral’s West Burleigh quarry in the next decade, the government may yet have the casting vote.
The thorny issues of untapped quarry reserves, development applications, urban encroachment and strategic resource areas versus community interests are all topics that aren’t exclusive to Queensland. They’re also covered in an extensive feature in this issue that ties in with this magazine’s 30th anniversary.
Yes, incredibly, in 2014, Quarry celebrates 30 years of continuous publication, a remarkable milestone. Several industry stalwarts have kindly contributed to this feature with their views about how far they believe the industry has come in the life of this publication. Suffice to say, their views are fascinating and they make some thought-provoking observations and predictions about the industry’s direction for the next 30 years.
Sadly, I’m not joining you in Brisbane for CMIC14. As this issue goes to press, my wife and I are awaiting the birth of our first child. Nevertheless, Quarry personnel will be on the floor at CMIC14 and I encourage you to say “G’day” to Coleby Nicholson (publisher), Sam Veal (advertising sales manager) and Stephanie Chan (staff journalist). Feel free to chat with them about the magazine and make suggestions about how we can take this magazine from strength to strength in the next 30 years.