The Australian Institute of Quarrying Conference was held at the Twin Waters Resort, Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast during October, was well attended with around 600 delegates and partners attending.

Andrew Dronjak and myself attended on the Wednesday the Australian IOQ meeting which comprised delegates from all Branches around Australia. There were 24 attendees at this meeting.

Items discussed and issues facing the Australian IOQ had a lot in common with the New Zealand IOQ and our industry in general. There was considerable interest in the way that New Zealand was approaching issues, especially in the area of Industry Training.

As Brian Bouzaid was still in the UK, a report from New Zealand was presented at this meeting on behalf.

The technical papers presented at the Conference were of a high standard and were well attended by the delegates.

Evenings covered a wide variety of themes with a ?Beach Party? being held on the sand beside the resort lake, a ?Bush Party? set up in a bush clearing not far from the resort and a final formal gala night held inside a marquee that seated 600 people.

One highlight of the final night was the presentation of the Australian Diploma in Extractive Industries Management to Andrew Dronjak. Andrew is the first person residing outside of Australia to gain this qualification ? well done!

Fellow New Zealanders and including myself were made to feel very welcome. There were comments from more than one Australian Executive member regarding incorporating ideas into their Conference that had been picked up from NZ Conferences – including a trip to a working quarry site, and the intention to achieve a wider representation of industry personnel as attendees of the Conference.

The suppliers and trade representatives meeting, held at the end of the Conference, also expressed the view that they would like to see a wider range of people attending the Conference, especially the people who work at the quarry face and actually use their products on a day-to-day basis.

The visit to Bli Bli Quarry took place on Saturday morning with 4 busloads taking part. There was also a plane trip to the Burnett Dam project with Andrew taking the opportunity to visit this project.

Our monogrammed NZ IOQ shirts attracted considerable attention and included comments that maybe there is a commercial opportunity for NZ IOQ to produce a container load of shirts with the Australian monogram and for these to be marketed to the Australian members.

A number of Australian delegates requested that the NZ IOQ to forward early notification and registration forms for the NZ Waitangi Conference next year to the Australian Branch and even send personal notification and details to the members that have attended NZ Conferences in the past.

Overall it was a very professionally run and successful Conference, well worth attending. The efforts of the AIQ members that ensured we were made to feel very welcome was appreciated. I would recommend that the next Australian Conference (to be held in Adelaide) would be well worth attending.

Further information on the Australian IOQ and the Conference is available on www.quarry.com.au

Report by George Kelcher.