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Countering incorrect perceptions about the industry

With social media increasingly becoming a potent tool in raising opposition to quarrying applications, Clayton Hill outlines what the IQA is doing in its own use of social media to set the record straight and turn around false perceptions.

Having worked in the quarrying industry for nearly 20 years now, there have been occasions when I have reflected on the uniqueness of the industry and what really should be referred to as the “quarrying community”.

I have been in situations where people outside the industry have questioned its uniqueness and made statements suggesting that we are the same as the mining industry – or no different to other manufacturing or heavy industries in Australia or worldwide. This really couldn’t be further from the truth.

While I recognise I’m writing to the converted, it is concerning that much of the general population’s perception is of little difference between our industry and others. It’s regularly said that people’s perception is their reality; for the quarry industry, this is our challenge, to change this perception to match reality.

As the same issues continually surface year on year – eg significant opposition to development applications (even in government-designated or appropriately zoned areas), attraction and retention of skilled workers, additional requirements for environmental management to other industries or developments (often in situations where the quarry may provide the only conservation of habitat within an area) and a complex, varied legislative environment – these all add up to delays, additional costs to business and the consumer, and declining access to good quality quarry resources.

"Given our industry has many positives, why are we still challenged by the same issues?"

Our quarrying community has a diversity of professions and an ever evolving culture, with the growth of the Women in Quarrying network and new generations entering the industry. Fundamentally, the industry is a close group of people, across many disciplines, that are passionate about the extraction of quarry resources for the benefit of the broader community. Making big rocks into little rocks requires knowledge and skill and at times strength, persistence and endurance.

Like many industries, we have an ageing workforce, many of whom have worked in quarrying for a significant portion of their careers. Once you’re exposed to the industry and develop a passion for its process, people and other unique characteristics, you never want to leave!

So given there are many positives to our industry, why are we still being challenged by the same issues? Have we not learnt from the past? Has society’s expectations and the army of keyboard warriors stopped us from telling our success stories?

In past months, the IQA has had numerous speakers on social media at branch events and conferences; they have discussed the impact of social media on industry in general. A common thread from these presentations is the need to get correct information out to key stakeholders, including government, to counter “fake news” and ensure those attempting to turn perception into reality via these social media channels don’t get the air time they’re seeking, with no-one to correct them, and also take these negative discussions offline to a more personal viewpoint.

You may have noticed a shift in the IQA’s social media presence in recent months. This is no coincidence. We have identified the need to use these highly effective channels to get our message out to members and the community at large about the benefits of both the quarrying industry and IQA events and membership. So if you see a post from us on your favourite platform, please like, share and/or comment, to help us influence and communicate the true reality of an engaging, rewarding and important industry and community.











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clayton Hill
General Manager • Groundwork Plus

Clayton Hill is the principal operations consultant at Groundwork Plus, with over 12 years experience in the quarry industry in both the public and private sectors. 








Thursday, 23 May, 2019 11:18am
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