2014 Sustainability in Public Works Conference Reviewed

  • 1.  2014 Sustainability in Public Works Conference Reviewed

    Posted 14 September 2014 01:37
    With everything finalised and put away, it is timely to review IPWEA's 2014 Sustainability in Public Works Conference, which was held at the Twin Towns Resort in Tweed Heads/ Coolangatta from 27 to 29 July 2014. 191 people registered to attend the conference. They came from all states of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They worked in local councils, contractors, suppliers, consultants; universities and state agencies. 80 technical papers were presented in four concurrent streams, and six poster papers were displayed. There were 14 trade exhibits with a wide variety of services and products on display. The major conference sponsor was Fulton Hogan. The conference began on the Sunday afternoon with welcomes by Tweed Shire Mayor Barry Longland and IPWEA National President Michael Kahler. They were followed by Professor Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in WA, who gave a thought-provoking and encouraging opening address. He presented data showing some surprising global sustainability trends, with investment in fossil fuel power, power consumption and both per capita car use and oil consumptions having peaked in the last ten years. Peter argued that those, and other trends, show that economic growth is decoupling from fossil fuel use. The two keynote speakers, who presented at the start of the Monday and Tuesday, were Professor Rob Adams, Design Director at the City of Melbourne, and local government financial management expert, John Comrie. Rob Adams has worked at the City of Melbourne for the 30 years, leading efforts that have revitalised the city's heart. Especially impressive was a series of slides showing the growth in the number of cafes in the city centre from 6 to 600 over the past 30 years! The 80 technical presentations were of a very high standard. They were grouped into common themes for each session, including sustainable roads, sustainable communities, asset management, climate change resilience, water infrastructure, sustainability rating developments and case studies, sustainability planning, energy and carbon reduction, water sensitive urban design, street lighting, and stormwater, wetlands and flood management. In a special double session on energy efficient street lighting, there were four papers on the topic presented, including the launch of IPWEA's new Towards More Sustainable Street Lighting Practice Note (now available for free download at ). These were followed by a panel discussion about the latest developments in street lighting and where it is headed. Another conference highlight was the inaugural Sustainable Solutions in Public Works Awards. 36 entries were received and assessed by the judging panel. The awards were presented at the conference diner in a very professional awards ceremony compered by master compere Gerry Gannon. Canberra's new water supply dam won the Sustainable Infrastructure category and also the overall Winner Awards. The awards were presented to Kirilly Dickson of ACTEW Water by IPWEA President Michael Kahler. The Cotter Dam project will be one of the first in Australia to be certified under ISCA's new infrastructure sustainability rating scheme. Orange City Council won the Sustainable Communities category award for its 50-year water supply strategy, which was developed in response to the severe water shortage during the last drought that threatened the local economy and many local jobs. The award was accepted by Council's Chris Devitt. The winner of the Climate Change Resilience category award was the Climate Change Adaptation Best Practice Guidelines developed by City of Canada Bay Council in Sydney and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. Another significant conference outcome was the list of five Priority Actions for sustainability, which were identified from ideas in presentations and the facilitated discussion in the final plenary session of the conference, which were subsequently distilled and ranked to obtain the five Priority Actions. The list of Priority Actions has been emailed to all conference delegates and posted to this Forum. On the day after the conference there was a small, but successful, post-conference technical tour. This visited wastewater, energy and coastal protection projects in Tweed Shire and the just-opened Gold Coast Light Rail in Surfers Paradise. The conference was organised by a committee comprising Stephen Lees, Chris Champion and Ross Moody (IPWEA), Professor John Martin (ACELG) and Associate Professor Carol Boyle (University of Auckland). Our fabulous conference MC was Gerry Gannon. The conference management company was East Coast Conferences. IPWEA thanks everyone involved for their help in making the conference so successful and so enjoyable. ------------------------------------------- Dr Stephen Lees Director Sustainability IPWEA <> (m) 0412 264 187 -------------------------------------------