President’s Message

On 15 and 16 February this year, the APIA Board hunkered down to a serious and in-depth review of the Association, its role and its future. Overall, the Board found that the secretariat is responsive to the members’ comments and requirements. The Board also reviewed the member survey, which provided a very positive view from the members, with some suggestions that the secretariat will consider or introduce over coming months.

The Board found that the Association is generally on track, particularly in its responsiveness to the members’ requirements. The Strategic Plan was reviewed in detail and streamlined. When the new Strategic Plan is released you will see four clear objectives:

  • Maintain a viable Association with an active membership;
  • Be the advocate for the industry;
  • Maintain research and development and knowledge-transfer programs that assist the efficient and safe construction, operation and maintenance of pipelines; and,
  • Assist the industry to maintain its leadership in the management of environment, health and safety.

This supports the Association’s vision, which is to lead the sustainable growth in pipeline infrastructure for Australasia’s energy future.

Of course, this is what the Association has endeavoured to do over the past several decades; however, it is important to review that focus from time-to-time to ensure that the industry’s representative body remains relevant to the members and to those who deal with the industry.

The secretariat is also responding to the ideas that have come from the member survey undertaken last year. This survey was revealing in that participants were very enthusiastic about the work of the Association and very positive in regard to the Association’s responsiveness to member needs. While there were many comments along the lines of “don’t change for change’s sake”, this really means that there is support for the way APIA has introduced new initiatives and adapted to change.

The combination of the survey and the comprehensive review by the Board has provided the APIA secretariat with clear direction and renewed focus for the future.

Members will also be pleased to note that the consultation with members on the strategic direction will be formalised. Approximately 12 months out from the next formal review by the Board – in 2015 – the secretariat will again call on a group of members to offer their insights to the future and ideas for the Association.

It should also be remembered that part of looking to the future is remembering – and revering – the past. In its series of interviews with pipeline industry legends, this edition of The Australian Pipeliner features an article about the magazine’s founder, Barry Wood.

APIA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright is enthusiastic about the experienced and committed members of the industry who have ensured that APIA is a strong and influential organisation, and is effusive in her praise of Barry’s contribution. I agree with Cheryl that this magazine is Barry’s legacy to the pipeline industry. What a tremendous achievement. The article can be found on page 48 in this edition.

Sadder news though is the pressure on our manufacturing sector. At the time of writing, the two coating plants, Bredero Shaw and APC Socotherm, have closed; Orrcon has closed its pipe-making facility; OneSteel Pipe Divisions has ceased manufacturing and BlueScope Pipeline Steel is considering its future. These companies have provided high-quality steel linepipe over many, many years. Importantly, they have provided the expertise that has kept this industry ahead of the rest of the world. We need to keep these experts.

While Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has lauded “the golden age of gas”, he should be aware that transportation of this vital product will be challenged in the future if Australia does not maintain its home-grown expertise.

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