There have been changes at the Secretariat this year – as you know Allen Beasley headed overseas earlier this year and I came on board in March – and our Convention Queen, Megan Fox, decided to follow her partner to Sydney. Sarah Leavitt is settling in well and will learn much about the industry during the Convention.
I’d like to thank Bob Gration, Business Manager Steve Dobbie and Membership Officer Gisela Thaurer for their work on the Convention (with Convention Coordinators) as well as the seminars, lunches and dinners during the year. I would also like to thank APIA’s committees for their untiring contributions, and our Technical Policy guru Ian Haddow for his excellent contribution.
A great strength of APIA is its members with their tremendous commitment and enthusiasm. One result of this enthusiasm is the APIA Construction Safety Guidelines. The work was started by Ian Coady and completed by Jenny Thompson who visited all State regulators. The Guidelines have been praised by regulators and will provide a guide for projects anywhere in Australia.
Also, the APIA Code of Environmental Practice has been updated, to be launched at Convention. Thanks to Oleg Morozow for guiding this project and to the Hon Warren Entsch MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, for agreeing to launch the document.Article continues below…
The Research and Standards Committee chaired by Max Kimber is doing great work, tackling a wide range of subjects, including advances in the techniques of hydrostatic testing, improved coating materials for operating pipelines, control of fracture, assessment of pipeline damage caused by earth-moving machinery and improvements to safety for in-service welding. In May, a number of members of the RSC made presentations at the Joint Technical Meeting (JTM) which comprises APIA, the US-based Pipeline Research Council International and the European Pipeline Research Group. These presentations indicate that APIA has earned a place in the field of international pipeline research. Australia will host the next JTM in Canberra in April 2007, and Max is on the look-out for sponsors for this event.
APIA and the Regulatory Affairs Committee have spent much time and effort trying to improve the regulatory environment. We had a win – a good one – on legislation to amend Part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act. During drafting of the Bill specific guiding pricing principles had been omitted. The pricing principles provide an important model for pricing principles in industry-specific regimes. APIA appeared before a Senate Committee and lobbied the Treasurer’s office and his Parliamentary Secretary and, in spite of strong resistance from Treasury officials, managed to convince the Government to amend the legislation while it was being debated in the House of Representatives.
We have had less success, but haven’t given up yet, with the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission Review of the Gas Access Regime. Officials had tried to throw out the PC’s recommendations (which industry supports) and APIA, along with other industry associations is working on bringing the response back in line with the recommendations. Ministers have announced they will respond formally before the end of the year.
Another topic raised often is the need to encourage young people into the industry and to keep the ones we have. Craig Bonar and the Pipeline Operators Group already have an endorsed training program and Chris Lau and Andrew Cook are working on a construction training program.
We also need to provide new networking opportunities, so APIA is planning to hold a “young peoples’ forum” in Canberra. Ted Metcalfe and Brian O’Sullivan have a training program that will be discussed and the seminar will also provide an opportunity for the industry’s ‘youngsters’ to participate in presentations and debate about various industry issues. The group helping to organise this function comprises (so far): Susan Jacques, Ted Metcalfe, Paul Bilston and Kevin Lester. If you have any ideas, feel free to share them!
Again, welcome to the 2005 Convention, the main event of this great industry.