Association News, Australia, CICA, Safety

CICA President’s Report: Perth hosting the CICA National Conference and Exhibition

CICA CEO Brandon Hitch provides an association wide update, as well as a hint of what to expect from CICA’s upcoming national conference. 

The 2023 CICA National Conference and Crane Display is being held in Perth this year from Thursday 26 – Saturday 28 October.  Registrations are currently open, and early bird pricing is finishing at the end of July.  The CICA Conference features renowned experts and thought leaders from our industry. Listening to their presentations, participating in Q&A sessions, and engaging in discussions can provide valuable insights and practical advice. You’ll gain new perspectives, learn from their experiences, and be able to apply this knowledge to your own business endeavours.

It also provides a platform to network and connect with like-minded individuals, potential clients, customers and suppliers. Building relationships and expanding your professional network can lead to new business opportunities, collaborations, partnerships, and valuable contacts.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘The Next Generation’ and will address some of the issues the crane industry in Australia currently faces that impact its operations and growth. Some of these key issues are:

Skilled Labour Shortage

Finding skilled and experienced crane operators remains a significant challenge for the industry. The demand for cranes has been increasing in various sectors, such as construction and infrastructure, while the supply of qualified operators remains limited. This shortage of skilled labour is something that CICA is working hard to ameliorate, with initiatives to attract talent to the existing traineeships and presenting at schools and attending trade shows.

Project Pipelines

The 2023 Albanese Government Federal Budget was not hugely beneficial to the crane industry. The Albanese government has overhauled the instant asset write-off scheme, decreasing the amount businesses can claim for new equipment down to $20,000, and it has been restricted to businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10m.

More than 700 infrastructure projects set up by the former government also face possible cancellation as the federal Minister for Infrastructure has ordered a three-month investigation into the projects promised by the former Coalition Federal Government.  As an announcement from Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King states, “This process will allow all levels of government time to consider the projects that are actual priorities and assess their cost and deliverability in the current climate.” 

The level of infrastructure investment and government policies play a significant role in driving the demand for cranes. Fluctuations in government spending on infrastructure projects and changes in policies related to construction and development have a marked impact on our crane industry, with the delay in delivery times a concern, many crane companies order cranes in anticipation of fulfilling infrastructure project needs.  A stable and supportive policy environment will be essential for the industry’s growth and stability and CICA will continue to advocate for this.

Cost pressures 

Wages, equipment maintenance and insurance premiums for crane operations can be substantial. Accidents or damage to property can result in significant financial liabilities, so while rising costs can put additional financial pressure on crane companies, particularly smaller operators who may struggle – it is important to ensure that adequate crane maintenance and insurance coverage is upheld.

When payments are not received on time, it can disrupt cash flow and create financial strain. This can impact your ability to pay bills, purchase materials, and cover expenses. Chasing payments requires investing time and effort in following up with clients, sending reminders, making phone calls and potentially engaging in legal processes. This can divert your attention from other important aspects of your crane business, such as bidding on new projects or managing ongoing work.

While chasing payments can be challenging, ensuring you are compensated for your work is important. Consider implementing strategies such as setting up regular payment milestones, requesting upfront deposits, or using construction-specific payment tools and platforms to streamline the payment process and minimise potential inconveniences.

Addressing these issues requires a collaborative effort among industry stakeholders, government bodies and training institutions. Promoting safety, investing in training programs, attracting and retaining skilled labour, maintaining the crane fleet, managing finances and ensuring a favourable policy environment are key factors for the sustainable growth of the crane industry in Australia.  

READ MORE: Safety with CICA: managing fatigue.

READ MORE: CICA Member Profile: Paul Heeks.

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