Plant & Equipment

Toowoomba meeting showcases growth, new talent

The art deco Empire Theatre, in Toowoomba, in Queensland’s southwest, hosted more than 450 delegates from across the nation and abroad, from 4 to 6 October.

{{image4-a:r-w:200}}According to IQA CEO Paul Sutton, the heritage-listed theatre complex provided a “welcome change away from the usual cold and uninviting convention centres”.

The theme of the conference – Driving Australia across the regions – was apt, given Toowoomba and the Darling Downs are hosting two major pieces of infrastructure – the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and the rail corridor of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project.

The Toowoomba Regional Council also sponsored the conference – the first time a local government authority has supported an IQA conference.

The platinum sponsors for the event were earthmoving plant and equipment suppliers Komatsu, Hitachi and Caterpillar, and there were 16 other major sponsors from within the extractive industry. Thirty-five companies also supported the trade exhibition over the three days.

The informal proceedings of the conference commenced on Wednesday 4 October, as approximately 100 delegates attended a presentation by John Hagan, the chief executive of Nexus Infrastructure, the consortium building the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. They then boarded buses to the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport where Master of Ceremonies Steve Davis interviewed Denis Wagner, managing director of the Wagner Group, and his personnel about the development of the 2.7km long runway and terminal in less than 20 months.{{image2-a:r-w:200}}

 Surprise visitors

Hitachi hosted the cocktail reception on the Wednesday evening. A surprise guest was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, who happily posed for ‘selfies’ with delegates and their partners.

There had been rumours about a ‘mystery speaker’ for the official opening session on Thursday morning, 5 October. Following opening remarks from Paul Antonio, the Lord Mayor of Toowoomba, the surprise presenter was revealed as Senator Pauline Hanson, Queensland senator and federal leader of the One Nation party.

Although Senator Hanson conceded that she did not know a lot about the quarrying industry, she said she was keen to learn more about the sector and act as an advocate in Canberra.

{{image5-a:r-w:200}}Paul Sutton said he was delighted with the participation of Mr Joyce and Senator Hanson, as it attracted considerable local media attention to the conference.

“This is my first IQA conference where we had Channels 7 and 9, ABC Radio and the local newspaper in attendance,” Sutton said. “It was fantastic press coverage for the quarrying industry!”

After a short break, the conference kicked off with high quality and insightful presentations from futurist Dr Luke van der Laan (on the futures of the Australian quarrying industry) and psychologist Lincoln Eldridge (on the behaviours of safety).

Further advice followed on dust management from toxicologist Craig Beyers and environmental compliance and auditing from associate environmental scientist Chris Jones. Nic McCormack, the construction readiness manager for the Inland Rail project, provided an overview of this landmark rail infrastructure project for industry members.

The plenary sessions for the day closed with industry consultants Steve Franklin and Paul Soden presenting on smart solutions for productivity gain and Paul Sutton outlining the challenges for the industry as it seeks to improve productivity, profitability, health and safety and corporate social responsibility. He also discussed the IQA’s new Quarry Academy.

On the evening of 5 October, delegates were transported to Toowoomba Picnic Point for the Komatsu Dinner. In addition to various awards presentations (outlined below), delegates were treated to a three-course meal and a string of classic hits from the 1930s to the present, courtesy of all-girl entertainers Back to Basics.

 Back to the future

The final day of the conference, on Friday 6 October, began as former President and Honorary Fellow Danny Duke provided a potted history of the first century of the Institute of Quarrying, which this year celebrates its centenary, and the IQA’s place in that 100-year time frame. More legends of the past and present were then introduced to the stage, as Fred Reid, Henry Wagner, Rodney O’Neil and Bruce Neumann enjoyed a ‘couch chat’ with MC Steve Davis about their time in the industry and what they believed the future holds for the sector.

{{image9-a:r-w:200}}Various sponsors had the opportunity to discuss new product innovations and services. The highlight of this session was Caterpillar Safety Services’ Jenny Krasny, who impressed with her presentation on the impact of cultural stigmas on safety behaviour.

The plenary sessions wrapped on Friday afternoon with four industry case studies, including the engagement of women in quarrying and the marketing of quarrying to young people. Generation Y presenters Aaron Savage and Ben Yong provided some fresh, exciting insights into the IQA’s work to make the industry more appealing and dynamic to teenagers and younger children. Women in Quarrying co-ordinators Tegan Smith and Anita Waihi also highlighted the vibrant contributions of younger and senior women to the industry through a series of videos.

 Night at the theatre

Festivities on the Friday evening began with Steve Davis and Danny Duke auctioning some items for the Australian Institute of Quarrying Education Foundation (AIQEF). Items up for grabs included a model Atlas Copco SmartROC T45 drill rig, a Sequel/Impact Drill and Blast on ground package worth $12,500, a framed and signed jersey of the Orica-Scott 2017 Tour de France cycling team, and an Android tablet. The four lots raised $13,685.

The AIQEF is also running an on-line auction, which commenced on 2 October and runs until 30 October. The 15 lots up for grabs include an Atlas Copco drill and shot on ground package, a training/operational consulting package, an aerial survey, a Lego Technic remote control model of a Volvo L350F wheel loader, and a gabion letterbox! Further details and online bids can be made at the AIQEF website.

{{image10-a:r-w:200}}The Caterpillar Gala Dinner was held on the back stage of the Empire Theatre. It was a black tie and glamorous evening gown affair, with complimentary masks handed out to the ladies. The dinner also saw the changeover in IQA President, with John Mitas completing his two-year term and the presidential medal handed over to his successor Clayton Hill.

Paul Sutton nominated the industry legends, the presentation by Gen Yers Ben Yong and Aaron Savage, and Luke van der Laan’s presentation as some of the highlights of the conference. He was also proud that most of the entertainment was sourced locally.

“The highlight of the conference for me,” outgoing President John Mitas said, “was the presentation from Tegan Smith and Anita Waihi on how the Women in Quarrying initiative started and how it is now very successful around Australia.”

Sutton and Mitas said IQA delegates could take away several key learnings from the conference.

“Foresight and strategic thinking are key capabilities for all leaders and managers,” Sutton said. “There is also a smarter way of managing risk in an organisation, and innovative practice is now a given for any business to survive change.”

“Lincoln Eldridge’s presentation on how to break the wall for those companies with mature safety management systems that have reached the curve with their safety performance was a key learning,” Mitas added.

IQA Awards

Toowoomba was also the setting for the announcement of the 2017 IQA annual sponsored and service awards for IQA members.

This year’s beneficiaries were:

  •  Metso Quarry Manager of the Year (> 10 FTE): Darren Essex (Holcim, NSW).
  • Metso Quarry Manager of the Year (< 10 FTE): Alasdair Webb (Holcim, NSW).
  • Retracom Quarry Operator of the Year: Peter McComb (Boral, Victoria).
  • President’s Medal: Jim Hankins (Rivergum Industries, NSW).
  • Trimble Loadrite Excellence in Innovation: Stephen Raines (Hanson, NSW).
  • Groundwork Plus Gold Environment Award: Braeside Quarry, Queensland for the use of recycled rubber as an explosive.
  • AIQEF Alex Northover Training Award: Chris Cooke (Hanson, NSW).
  • IQA Honorary Fellowships: Graham Smith (Raygill Quarry & Mining Supplies, Tasmania), Tony Ingram (Bowral, NSW).
  • IQA Gold Hard Hat: Boral Orange Grove, Western Australia for its RESET program.
  • IQA Supplier of the Year Award: Tegan Smith (Groundwork Plus).

Pictures from the event





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Quarry Gardens plan revived after decade in wilderness
Toowoomba – Resilient, vibrant, flourishing
Ambitious rail project could create new opportunities
The ‘devil’ in the detail
Why humans are the strongest link in the safety chain
The impact of cultural stigmas on safety
Environmental compliance and auditing in the quarrying industry
Marketing lessons for the extractive industry
Three quarries, one package deal
André Henare and Wagners: Linking university with industry
Wagner Group bids to build second Sydney airport
‘Can-do’ attitude proves the difference in airport project
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Private enterprise rallies behind road project

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