This year has been very busy for many on the Geoconferences Committee particularly because of the forthcoming 4IAS. There still are a few weeks to go, yet I’m sure that, even although there is still some very hard work to be done, the Conference will be a big success. Registrations are running at a high level and the organisation for the conference program and excursions is well advanced with most components in place and running to plan.
Geoconferences continues to be active in its major role of promoting new developments in geoscience through linking academia with industry to benefit WA. The involvement in 4IAS is a clear example of this role.
Our ongoing activity of assisting young geoscientists develop their knowledge and skills through conference attendance has continued with several scholarships to support conference travel approved by the J H Lord Travel Grant Subcommittee.
Geoconferences is again pleased to be able to sponsor the 2001 Australian Student Mineral Venture – West Region. This is an important program that raises the profile of the mining sector with some of our secondary school students, encouraging them to consider a career in the minerals industry.
The Special Speakers program provides financial support for internationally recognised scientists to visit Perth and present a lecture which is open to the wider community. Dr Ken Eriksson visited late last year. Dr David McKay will be talking later this month with his visits coinciding with the 4IAS.
I congratulate WMC for making their Kalgoorlie ’97 Funds available for 4IAS Industry Grants. This is commended in these difficult times for many of our colleagues.
I would like to thank Dr Phil Playford, who has resigned from the committee, for his long-standing contribution to Geoconferences. Phil has kindly offered to provide further support on an ad hoc basis.
A final note is to recognise the major contribution by Assoc. Prof. Mark Barley and his organising team for the 4IAS. The effort over the past year by a large number of people has been outstanding, and unfortunately these efforts are often largely unrecognised. I trust that, despite this, those concerned will derive some pleasure, on reflection, for a job well done. The 4IAS organising committee comprises Mark Barley, John Bunting, Kevin Cassidy, Peter Cawood, Jan Dunphy, Andrew Goss, Susan Ho, Jon Hronsky, Carl Knox-Robinson, Kirsty McPhee, Jocelyn Thomson, Martin van Kranendonk, Wally Witt and Stephen Wyche. Many others are involved in the programme subcommittee and as excursions leaders.
On behalf of the Committee I would like to recognise the amazing contribution of our secretary Susan Ho, for keeping the activities of Geoconferences on track and ensuring Committee members are well informed throughout the year. John Bunting, as the new Treasurer, has also made a considerable personal commitment, particularly in addressing the issues associated with GST and BAS both for Geoconferences and 4IAS.
We must now begin to look ahead to next year and perhaps build on the major promotion of the J H Lord Travel Grants Scheme, encouraging more young researchers to broaden their experiences and at the same time promote the opportunities to carry out first-class geoscience studies in Western Australia.