AIG PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2012 – 2013
Annual General Meeting 14th May 2013, Brisbane
The past year was busy, demanding, challenging and successful for our Institute. It was a year that saw the AIG continue to grow, continue to provide services to members, and continue to look ahead to the challenges and opportunities presented by a growing and increasingly diverse membership.
Highlights of the year included:
- Continuing membership growth: membership continued to grow at over 10% and was approaching 2700 at the end of 2012.
- Continuing growth of the RPGeo Program: membership of the AIG RPGeo Program continued to grow at around 15% last year.
- Release of the JORC Code 2012 Edition in December.
- The 34th International Geological Congress (IGC) in Brisbane in August. This was the biggest geoscience event of the year and attracted 6012 delegates from 112 countries. The technical program included 3232 oral presentations, 24 workshops and 29 field trips. It was a huge event and highly successful. The AIG, through its membership of the Australian Geoscience Council, was one of the organizations that provided seed funding for the IGC, and AIG members in Brisbane were part of the extensive volunteer community that played a critical role in the success of the Congress.
During 2012 AIG Council, state branches and subcommittees, were active with programs of new initiatives and ongoing activities, including:
- Organising numerous technical events – conferences, seminars, workshops – in locations around Australia.
- Supporting students through the national AIG Bursary Program and through state-based student support initiatives such as travel scholarships and student career events.
- Improving communication with members with the introduction of regular national and state AIG e-updates, and through the development of the AIG LinkedIn site.
- Designing and developing the online membership application facility.
- Representing AIG on several national and international boards and committees, including the:
- JORC Committee
- VALMIN Committee
- Australian Geoscience Council
- Teacher Earth Science Advisory Board (TESEP)
- National Rock Garden Committee
- GSA Geotourism Committee
- IUGS Global Professionalism Task Group Canada-Australia Foreign Qualification Review Roundtable
While the past year was busy, there is still much to do. In the 2011 President’s report to members the then President, Martin Robinson, said “I believe our Institute will continue to flourish only as long as it deserves the support of its members, as long as it continues to remain relevant to them…”. Maintaining relevance to our members remains a focus of the Institute, and many of our planned future activities are aimed at providing relevant services and professional development opportunities. Objectives for the coming year include:
- Improving our knowledge of members’ professional interests and fields of practice. This year the invoice for annual membership fees will be accompanied by a tick-a- box survey about fields of practice; the survey will also accompany online renewal and both hard copy and online membership applications. We encourage members to complete the survey so the AIG can continue to develop services and training opportunities that are relevant to members’ interests.
- Developing technical specialist groups in fields of geoscience practice. This has been an aim of the AIG for the last few years but while there has been some interest from members, there has been little progress to date. We will continue to offer support for initiatives to develop specialist groups, and encourage members to contact AIG councillors with ideas and proposals.
- Strengthening ties and reciprocal arrangements with professional organisations in other regions to facilitate employment of AIG members in overseas regulatory environments.
- Providing additional administrative support to AIG Council, its subcommittees, and the state branch committees. If the AIG is to meet its objective of maintaining and improving relevant services to a growing membership it will need to provide more support to the network of volunteers who keep the Institute running. To meet this need the AIG will seek to appoint a part-time Executive Officer in 2013.
It is good to report that the AIG finished 2012 in a healthy financial position. This is largely due to the efforts of the state branch committees whose volunteers regularly organize events that are both technically and financially successful. The Federal AIG funds are also healthier than 12 months ago, thanks to a return on our seed funding of the IGC, and these funds can be used to develop new initiatives and also provide reserves during a downturn.
While events-related income has boosted the AIG financial reserves, AIG membership fees have remained low. As AIG Council considers that ongoing and increasing administration costs should be funded by membership income, rather than the ad hoc proceeds of events, there will be a small increase of $15 in membership fees from the 1st July 2013, in order to meet the increasing overheads of running the Institute and help finance the position of Executive Officer. This is something we do reluctantly, but in the interests of maintaining and improving services to members in the coming years.
We also recognize that the employment situation for many members is increasingly insecure and in the 2013-14 membership year AIG will offer a twelve month deferral of membership fees to members who are experiencing financial hardship.
The AIG is supported by a vibrant network of enthusiastic and committed people who contribute large amounts of their time and a lot of effort to the running of the Institute. This network is Australia-wide and largely maintained through email, web, and telephone communication. There are few opportunities to say thank you in person, so I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of all those who provide the support and drive that is critical to the continuing growth of the AIG. Thank you to councillors and committee members, AIG members, education donors and sponsors and secretariat staff for your contributions over the past year.
This is also the chance to say thank you to those councillors who are stepping down from AIG Council this year – Rick Rogerson, Graham Jeffress, and Rodney Fraser. Rodney has been a Victorian state representative on Council for over four years, keeping AIG Council in touch with issues affecting local members. Graham has served as a councillor for more than ten years, including four years as Company Secretary, four years as Federal Treasurer, and three years as AIG liaison with the JORC Committee. Rick has served on AIG Council for more years than he cares to remember, including two years as AIG President, four years as Federal Treasurer, and several years as Chair of the Complaints Committee. It has been a pleasure to work with Rick, Graham and Rodney over the years. They will be missed from Council, so it is pleasing to report that Rick will be staying on as Chair of the Complaints Committee and Graham will continue as AIG JORC liaison, and AIG will continue to benefit from their skills and experience.