Plant & Equipment

Why quarrying is a good news story

When was the last time you picked up a newspaper, turned on a TV news channel or received a news flash on your electronic device that delivered a “good news” story? We seem to be fixated with bad news, gloom and doom and stories of despair. 
I concede that times may be tough and that there are many of your businesses, and our members, that are struggling in a “soft” economy. Our politicians don’t help by continually bickering with each other on issues that don’t impact directly on the future of the country.
I would like you to consider, just for a moment, the positives of the quarrying industry, our professional body and the many good things that are happening at the moment.
I must thank Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia for the following data. There are about 2200 quarries in Australia producing 150 million tonnes of product. The construction materials industry as a whole is worth $7 billion in revenue and contributes $11.7 billion to GDP. We are a significant industry in Australia and every building, road, bridge and driveway has some of our products in them. While some companies have reduced staff numbers recently, the quarrying industry still employs about 16,000 direct employees and two to three times this number work in companies that support our industry.
Over the past two years, membership of the IQA has increased by 20 per cent. The number of members under the age of 35 has increased from four per cent to 10 per cent of our total membership. In each of the past two years graduate numbers of those completing the Certificate III, Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Surface Extraction Operations have exceeded 100 in each year, measured by those being recognised at branch graduate dinners around the country. 
In August, the Sydney sub-branch celebrated 60 years since the first meeting of the Institute of Quarrying branch in Australia.
This month we gather in Townsville for our 56th annual conference. Support for this conference has been tremendous, with 350 delegates attending, a large number of local quarry employees joining us for happy hour on the Friday and wonderful support from our regular sponsors and some new ones.
There is much for the quarrying industry to be positive about. Financial times ebb and flow but the camaraderie among those that work in the quarrying industry, including suppliers, consultants and regulators, is so strong that the quarrying industry has survived through these difficult times and will continue to do so in the future.
Through difficult times over recent years the IQA has continued to prosper. This has been due to the fact we have stuck to our goals of providing education, networking opportunities and professional development to our members. These goals have been supported by our branch activities, Professional Development Program, Quarry Management Certification System and initiatives such as the Young Members’ Network.
The IQA is a “good news” story and we should all be very proud of our membership and contribution to our professional body.
Wayne Scott
Institute of Quarrying Australia

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