We finished 2013 on a high, with record numbers at APIA Christmas Dinner events around Australia, but it is important that we capitalise on this momentum. We have already started 2014 strongly with record attendance at the Brisbane dinner in February.
We also held our first Board meeting for the year while we were in Brisbane. This included a session on risk and strategy planning, which reviewed our performance against the strategic plan and considered the areas of focus for the coming year. As part of the review, we decided to set a number of key performance indicators to measure future performance against the strategic plan. A review of the risk register was also completed and a number of areas determined on which to focus the strategy in 2014.
As mentioned, building membership value, measuring that performance and adopting some specific initiatives will be the key areas of focus. Policy development will also receive increased attention and members should expect some positive announcements in the future.
Coal seam gas (CSG) development in Queensland has reached a stage where major projects are approaching completion and the focus is beginning to turn south into New South Wales and Victoria. We have a number of issues to address as this process develops.
NSW and Victoria are still coming to terms with how to move forward with CSG against the sentiment being whipped up by protestors, often based on false or misleading information. We also face some reports that pipeline capacity is not sufficient to meet demand and gaining access to existing pipelines is a problem. Both of these reports are not accurate and we need to ensure the correct messages get out there.
Landholder relationships is another major challenge for new gas projects in NSW and Victoria. APIA can play its part to ensure it helps improve how local communities view gas projects.
In the meantime, we are looking to build on the good work completed in 2013. We have certainly improved the visibility of the Association on issues facing the gas market. We want to make sure that APIA is positioned to be part of the debate on gas projects into the future and we are looking forward to some positive developments in that area in 2014.