• This year’s conference attracted over 300 delegates.
David Jones
    This year’s conference attracted over 300 delegates. David Jones

Held once again in Canberra’s historic Hyatt hotel, ADM’s seventh annual Defence Estate and Base Services Summit on September 19 was the largest to date, attracting in excess of 300 delegates.

The formal and overarching theme for the 2018 event was ‘legislation, collaboration and innovation driving the future of the defence estate’, with other key themes including ABCC compliance, environmental management, indigenous engagement, Defence and industry collaboration, a range of best practice case studies and a look at the future of the ADF’s ranges around the country.

Delegates from across the construction, infrastructure and service industries heard from a range of speakers, with recurrent topics discussed including the amount of construction work required at Defence bases across Australia and the difficulties of achieving the desired outcomes for Defence during a period of time when the industry is already running hot with a series of multi-billion dollar civil transport infrastructure projects about to kick off.

The welcome address was once again delivered by Deputy Secretary, Estate and Infrastructure Group (E&IG) Steve Grzeskowiak, who noted that there was a lot going on in Defence, with programs to expand training areas, a growing investment program, and new information systems in the pipeline. However, he stressed the importance of maintaining an enduring partnership with industry.

“Defence does not do this alone,” Grzeskowiak said. “We do this with industry (and) we need to keep working together productively and looking at new ways of doing business.”

The keynote address was delivered by KPMG partner Brendan Lyon, who canvassed Defence infrastructure’s contribution to the national infrastructure sector, asking where the infrastructure market in Australia was currently sitting, what Defence was contributing to that position, and what future trends will bring to the sector.

The afternoon session kicked off with a presentation from Brigadier Matt Galton, Director General Capital Facilities Infrastructure, who provided delegates with an insight into E&IG’s Local Industry Capability Plan process.

The summit concluded on a serious note with presentations on managing the per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) issue during construction activities on Defence sites, delivered by Andrew Thomas, National PFAS technical manager for Enviropacific. Luke McLeod, Assistant Secretary PFAS Investigation & Management Branch (PFASIM), wrapped up proceedings with an overview of what the next steps might look like in that space.

A comprehensive view of the 2018 DEBSS will appear in the November issue of ADM.

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