Chairman of the Western Australian branch of The Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA), Anthony Grosser, examines the key issues facing WA over the coming year.
Anthony Grosser has been the CICA WA Chairman for seven years. During his tenure, the role of CICA has evolved. The requirements from members has steadily increased as they keep pace with the demands from the industries, they are servicing.
“As a council, we’ve been focused on introducing initiatives designed to engage all levels of the membership. A key focus has been the creation of a more social atmosphere around the regular meetings as opposed to sterile environments in a ‘back room location.’
“We’ve hosted meetings at members facilities for example, and these have been really popular. Liebherr hosted a meeting last year, releasing a new machine, and Tadano and Terex have also been hosts. We are mixing it up a little and trying to make meetings more informative,” Grosser said.
“To achieve this, we’re inviting speakers who will educate our members. This especially applies to the smaller companies who might not have time to consider the topics during their busy, day to day business activities. We’re inviting the likes of insurance companies, finance brokers and sales specialists who the smaller members don’t necessarily get a chance to speak to. For example, our next meeting will see Mrs Libby Mettam, Shadow Transport Minister attend and speak to us about what the Liberal government will do, if elected, to assist the crane sector in WA. You don’t get that kind of opportunity every day,” he said.
2020 will see a strong focus on addressing the ageing demographic across the crane sector in WA, Grosser says.
“We’ll see a major focus on training, the upskilling of our existing work force where possible and attracting more youth into the industry. Our members have identified the work force and skilled labour matters as their highest risk and the hardest issues to tackle, especially in WA. We’re planning a number of initiatives in terms of attracting more youth into the industry, but it’s just a bit too early to provide the full details. As soon as we can, we’ll be making some major announcements,” he said.
According to Grosser, CICA WA is in a strong position when it comes to interacting with the various authorities, government departments and industry groups involved with the crane sector.
“We have very workable road rules and great relationships with authorities like Main Roads, Work Safe and the Mines Department. When it comes to issues around cranes, we are the first point of contact and with our policies and procedures in place, we’re focused on maintaining, developing and improving the relationships with the various authorities wherever we can,” he said.
Western Australia will be hosting The CICA Annual Conference and Exhibition this year. Grosser is excited about the prospect and The Next Generation theme.
“The Next Generation (theme) will encompass topics designed to prepare the industry for what we think will be a generational change. I’ve touched on the traineeship and apprenticeship programs which are providing frameworks for this change. We’re also seeing sons taking over the family business from their fathers and older business owners selling up. The conference will examine how the industry might look in 20 years,” Grosser said.
Topics will focus on helping members manage this transitional period says Grosser.
“Today, OH&S requirements have greatly increased leading to high levels of safety compliance and safety initiatives being introduced across the industry. Existing and new initiatives will be explored during the conference.
“Discussions will also focus on what businesses need to do in 2020 to remain relevant and still be in business for the next 20 years. We are in the middle of a major transitional period, both locally and globally, and the conference will provide a great environment to examine the future. We will look at the next generation of cranes including robotic and remote-control operations, we will also examine how cranes are becoming more complex and what new engine emission targets might mean to the sector,” Grosser said.
“We’ve changed venues for this year and moved the event to Elizabeth Quay, an exciting new waterfront precinct on the banks of the Swan River. We’re going to use a similar template to the Melbourne conference with the exhibition under the same roof as the conference sessions. We’re also working on hosting a high-profile event during the conference,” he said.
Grosser explains why Tadano is the Platinum sponsor for this year’s conference.
“Tadano has not been elevated to the position of Platinum Sponsor before, but we thought it was appropriate this year. Given last year’s purchase of Demag and with the conference being held in Perth, a large and key market for Tadano, it made sense. The sponsorship is all part of our continued investment and development of the industry in Australia and it’s also a show of strength and stability in the Tadano brand,” he said.
Grosser goes on to discuss the Western Australian economy and how various markets are performing.
“The WA economy is seeing a lot of demand from the resources sector, particularly in the North West of the state. There has been a return of investment in large scale projects in the region and we haven’t seen this in a number of years.
“We had the ‘once in a generation’ boom which was simply out of control and unsustainable. I’d say the crane sector has been fairly steady over the last few years but now we are getting back to being busy and we are seeing a lot of cranes headed to the North West as a result,” he said.
“There are a couple of lithium plants being constructed in the South and the local construction market has remained steady throughout. Local confidence appears to be very high and all indicators point to a positive year. This confidence is reflected in the CICA WA membership which remains solid and our meetings are always well attended,” said Grosser.
Ensuring members receive the right level of service and developing a sense of community within the industry, are also key roles for CICA Grosser says.
“We have CICA Life Member, Allan McPherson as our consultant and he’s helping members with a range of issues. He’s always answering questions ranging from Main Roads enquiries to registration, lifting or site compliance issues. ‘Macca’ has been in the industry for 55 years and there isn’t anything he doesn’t know. He really is our go-to-guy for everything
“Developing a sense of community within the crane industry is also important. We had a Family Fun Day at the end of last year which over 150 people attended. As the chairman, I’ve always encouraged the networking side of the association. It’s important that people talk to each other and learn from each other, so we’ve developed a strong focus on networking. This year, we’re planning some major social events to bring the members together and we’re booking interesting speakers and venues. All in all, I’d say CICA is in a good place and doing really well in Western Australia,” he said.