Nigel Pittaway | Melbourne
The inaugural Civil Security (CIVSEC) conference was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 31 and June 1, drawing together subject matter experts from across government, academia and industry to address issues in Australia and around the world.
The event is organised by the Aerospace Maritime and Defence Foundation (AMDA) and is intended to complement their portfolio of Defence-related conferences and exhibitions, including the Avalon Air Show and the maritime ‘Pacific’ and ‘Land’ series. CIVSEC however differs from the others in that it is a conference-based event.
"The conference had been developed in response to a lack of forums available around the world to discuss civil security problems."
In his welcoming address on the opening day, the chairman of CIVSEC 2016, Vice Admiral (Ret.) Chris Barrie, told delegates that the conference had been developed in response to a lack of conferences available around the world to discuss civil security problems.
“CIVSEC is designed as a forum for stakeholders and experts to meet and identify our challenges and formulate responses,” he said. “It is presented on a pro-bono basis and delegates are not charged registration or admission fees to attend.”
The conference was opened with a high-level strategic summit, titled ‘Protecting Our Communities Against Threat – Safety, Security and Sovereignty in the 21st Century, with presentations by a range of subject matter experts, including Professor Greg Barton, chair in Global Islamic Politics at Deakin University, David Irvine, former director general of ASIO and ASPI’s Peter Jennings.
Following the summit, CIVSEC then broke into a number of conference streams, dealing with subjects which included disaster and emergency relief management, border and transport security and cyber security.
An exhibitors' area was provided in the Conference Centre for civil security companies to network and display their products. Although fairly modest this year, Barrie said that the intent is to grow the exhibitors area for future events, with the next one to be held sometime in 2018. A spokesman for AMDA said that the inaugural 2016 conference attracted in the region of 1000 delegate registrations across the two days of the event.
A report from the CIVSEC 2016 conference will appear in the July issue of ADM.