Two hundred and forty delegates enjoyed a fun-packed opening to the Australian Steel Institute's 2023 annual convention in Melbourne at a drinks reception at Old Melbourne Gaol on September 10.
Sponsored by Combilift, the function saw drinks and canapes served in the gaol where Australian bushranger Ned Kelly lived his final days.
Day 1 opened with an address by Federal Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic, followed by talks on economic challenges facing the industry, a panel discussion on the ASI's Choose Steel campaign to boost the use of steel in home renovations, and customer perspectives in construction.
Day 2 saw an address by Federal Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor followed by talks on leadership and people strategies and a panel exploring new pathways for young people in steel.
Australian-made steel had a key role to play in the shift to advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and low emissions, Federal Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic told the September 11 opening day of the ASI convention.
Australian-made steel was crucial to the economy, employing 140,000 people and generating $30b in annual revenue.
“I am the son of a metal worker and I know how important steel is to the nation". Husic said the government was looking to boost local jobs including steel jobs through its $15b National Reconstruction Fund.
Federal Industry and Science Minister, Ed Husic
The BlueScope-sponsored convention gala dinner at Melbourne's Plaza Ballroom on Monday night drew a very appreciative crowd.
The next day saw four young achievers – Aurecon structural engineer Shannon Kieran, Western Port BlueScope environmental advisor Olivia Fanke, Structural Challenge apprentice boilermaker Atilla Mustafa, and Vulcan internal sales representative Jonathan Rogers – share their work experiences in a well-received, one-hour session.
Left to right: Jonathan Rogers (Vulcan), Mark Cain (ASI), Atilla Mustafa (Structural Challenge), Olivia Fanke (BlueScope), and Shannon Kieran (Aurecon)
Exhibitors made the most of foot traffic during breaks at the ASI convention.
New exhibitor Baumann Sideloaders said the company received numerous requests for quotes and demos of its three tonne to 60 tonne sideloaders.
Australian representative Craig Armstrong-Fray said the convention was the first for the company. “We will definitely be back," he said.
ASI had three stands at the convention: one an official stand recognising the ASI’s 21st anniversary, the others promotional stands for the ASI’s new Careers Centre and Choose Steel campaign promoting the use of steel in home renovations.
Keeping steel jobs onshore is vital to the economy, Federal Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor told Day 2 of the convention.
O’Connor said the Federal Government had allocated $15b in its National Reconstruction Fund to building infrastructure locally, with locally made steel an important part of that plan. “Steel is the backbone of the construction industry,” he told the convention.
“Our government is committed to ensuring the Australian steel industry remains robust and active.” Part of that plan was a strong stance on anti-dumping, he said.
O’Connor welcomed the ASI’s focus on promoting careers in steel in the form of its the new ASI Careers Centre and its efforts to address gender imbalance, noting 50% of the ASI’s staff were women.
Federal Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O'Connor
The ASI’s 21st anniversary was celebrated at the convention with a colourful display. The main ASI stall in the exhibition hall featured two large wall panels imprinted with a timeline highlighting key ASI moments and 21st balloons. Delegates to the convention were offered a range of promotional collateral including the new-look Year in Review publication, copies of the steelAustralia magazine, information on the new ASI Careers Centre and Choose Steel campaigns, compliance solutions brochures and entry forms for the new ASI Sustainability awards.
The ASI wrapped up its annual convention in Melbourne on Tuesday September 12 with forums for roll formers, fabricators and the ACMA AGM and forum.
ASI chief executive Mark Cain said the convention’s Choose Steel theme was particularly relevant in times of uncertain global economic conditions and skills shortages, which the ASI is addressing through its strong focus on careers and training.