Held in Melbourne from 16 to 18 September, the 2018 Australian Steel Convention explored current developments and emerging trends in Australian steel. With over 250 people in attendance, the sessions sparked conversations and highlighted some of the most exciting, innovative projects currently underway within Australia's steel industry.
The two-day program focussed on equipping Australian steel with the information and the tools needed to navigate a changing landscape, qualify, differentiate, compete and win business, the Convention program was designed to deliver tangible value to all in attendance.
Day one of the Convention was officially opened by Tony Dixon (Chief Executive, Australian Steel Institute), followed by a message from Minister for Industry, Science and Technology the Hon Karen Andrews MP.
Minister Andrews began by recognising the important contribution that the steel industry makes to the Australian economy and highlighted how the Government is working to support steel. Just some of these initiatives include participation in the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity, anti-dumping measures designed to create a level playing field for Australian steel manufacturers, and the reduction of regulatory burdens to create a better business environment.
Following on from Minister Andrews, attendees had the opportunity to hear from Minister for Industry and Employment the Hon Ben Carroll MP. Minister Carroll detailed several recent and ongoing projects that the Victorian Government has undertaken, all of which have been designed to support and strengthen the local manufacturing industry.
With a program of more than 15 keynote speakers across the two days, just some of the topics covered during the course of the Convention included the economy and steel, how construction modellers are transforming the steel supply chain, the role and responsibility of design in compliance, the benefit of a verified steel supply chain, and leadership and transformation for a sustainable built environment.
Just of the highlights from the Convention's keynote speakers are outlined below.
Award winning Futurist and expert on all matters of the digital world, Chris Riddell took delegates on an incredible journey into the future of our blended world. Riddell delved into the patterns, megatrends and game changers that are playing out, and how technology is blending the physical and digital worlds in which we live.
Mark Vassella (Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, BlueScope) detailed BlueScope's strong performance over the last 12 months, and went on to detail some of the initiatives in which BlueScope has investedâ€”and will continue to investâ€”to help the company achieve such positive results.
Sanjeev Gupta (Executive Chairman, GFG Alliance) reflected on his first year in Australia, and provided the audience with a highly engaging overview of the GFG Alliance, as well as their plans for the future of the business in Australia.
Scott Thompson (Managing Director, Edelman (Victoria)) provided insights into the Edelman Trust Barometer. In 2018, trust in Australia continues to decline across all four key institutions: media, business, government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). However, in a world where media confusion is causing a churn of trust, voices of authority, including experts and CEOs, are regaining credibility. Businesses and employers are also far more trusted.
Simon Coburn (Head of Sales â€“ Vehicle Systems, Rheinmetall Defence Australia) presented on Rheinmetall's role in the Land 400 Phase 2 Project. Coburn delighted attendees with details of how modern armoured vehicles are designed and built, from active protection systems, through to quenched and tempered steel.
Lindsay Le Compte (Executive Director, Australian Constructors Association) facilitated a fascinating panel discussion that delved into issues such as the long-term reliability of the construction industry pipeline, the construction industry supply chain, the NSW Government Action Plan: A Ten Point Commitment to the Construction Sector, the Victorian outlook and overview and the fear and anxiety that exists for construction contractors, particularly when it comes to risk allocation.
Panellists included Jim Betts (Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure NSW), Anthea Andriotis (A/Executive Director, Advanced Manufacturing Employment Investment and Trade, Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources), and David Fisher (General Manager Construction â€“ Southern Region, Fulton Hogan).
Sponsored by Bisalloy Steels, the inaugural Women In Steel Breakfast delivered some interesting insights from the panel about their journey in the steel industry, what it's like to work in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and how the steel industry has evolved over the years.
The panel expertly fielded a range of audience questions, on topics as diverse as the attributes required to make workplaces more attractive to women, and how to encourage more women to enter traditionally male-dominated industries at a younger age.
Pannellists included Sally Eagleton (General Manager Marketing, Liberty), Lisa Dent (Manager, Marketing and Market Development, BlueScope), Caszandra Ferguson (WA Sales Manager, Bisalloy) and Amber Prendergast (Account Manager, BlueScope Distribution).
Tennant Reed (Principal National Adviser â€“ Public Policy, Australian Industry Group), facilitated a fascinating panel discussion that delved into issues such as the energy trilemma: reliability, affordability and emissions reduction. The panel discussed the lack of government policy in relation to Australia's energy sector, as well as the factors that players within Australia's steel supply chain need to consider when procuring power. Panel members also highlighted just how important renewable energy sources will be moving forward.
Panellists included Clare Savage (Deputy Chair, Energy Security Board), Ross Garnaut (President of SIMEC, Zen Energy), Ben Skinner (General Manager Policy, Australian Energy Council), and Ben Eade (Executive Director, Manufacturing Australia).
The Convention opened on Sunday evening with a 'Meet & Greet' reception, very kindly sponsored by the GFG Alliance. The night's festivities provided those in attendance with the opportunity to chat informally, and compare notes ahead of the commencement of the exciting convention program. Those who attended were treated to an exciting fire twirling display, as well as live music.
Delegates were treated to the steel event of the year at the memorable Convention Dinner. Drinks flowed and a three course meal was served. Unlike previous years, award presentations did not take place. Instead, guests were treated to entertainment, laughs and a few surprises, including special guest, comedian Jimeoin.
During the Convention Dinner, Peter Smaller (Executive Chairman, Southern Steel Group) was presented with an ASI Life Time Achievement Award for his long standing and impressive contribution to the Australian steel industry. The ASI would like to congratulate Peterâ€”he is a deserving recipient of this award.
The ASI would like to thank all the 2018 Australian Steel Convention speakers and panel members, as well as our Master of Ceremonies Tracey Spicer. Our thanks also go to all our sponsors, without which the 2018 Australian Steel Convention would not have been possible, particularly Platinum Sponsors, BlueScope and Liberty; Gold Sponsor, PDC; Gala Dinner Sponsor, Toll; the Women in Steel Breakfast Sponsor, Bisalloy Steels; and our Meet and Greet Sponsor, the GFG Alliance.