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Surviving, Thriving and Inspiring in Cairns

This year saw more than 250 delegates travel north for the first combined Queensland and North Queensland Conference.  With Brisbane shining through Ozwater’22, we thought it only necessary to share the great hospitality, scenery and good times North Queensland could provide for our members.

With a theme of Surviving, Thriving and Inspiring, it allowed our delegates to embrace SHARED experiences, CONNECTED membership, and INSPIRED individuals.  

Having the opportunity to involve myself in the pre-conference site tours, I was able to connect back with the first people’s culture through the SHARED experience of a local tribal ecologist and sacred knowledge holder, who took us through a tour of the Flecker Botanical Gardens (read more about this tour in Amie Aldred’s story in this issue of Source).  

The second site tour of the day took us to Cairns Regional Council’s Materials Recovery Facility, where we CONNECTED with one of our member’s operational sites to see firsthand how the recycling facility works. The technology used to sort paper, plastic, glass and aluminium has increased its recycling recovery rate by more than 25% in 6 months.  Whilst now “water” related, as an engineer it was great to see other technologies in use, particular in that region and the benefit it has in reducing waste.

The conference kicked off on the Thursday and truly commenced the INSPIRED individuals element, with 41 presentations on topics ranging from water policy and planning, climate change, risk management in operational and delivery, water security in regional towns, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait involvement in the water sector.  A truly diverse range of topics, but each linked to the theme, demonstrating that through adversity the water community is strong and connected.

Personally, it was great to get out of Brissy, and connect with “new” water colleagues that we would not normally meet.  And if we continue to select tropical venues like Cairns in the future, I am sure any combined conferences will be as successful as this one.

You can read more about some of the presentations from the conference and our winner of the Best Paper Award here. View photos from the event here.