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From underground, an industry comes into the light

2 min read

You have to sympathise with the Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT), an industry association made up largely of engineers dealing with underground water and sewer infrastructure, it’s a vital job, but it’s hard to make it glamorous.

Nevertheless, the recent Trenchless Australasia 2009 Conference and Exhibition in Melbourne showcased the more stylish side of the industry and showed that anything is possible.

The ASTT is a not-for-profit industry association that promotes the practise and science of trenchless technology, i.e. installing or repairing underground infrastructure without digging a trench. The industry is growing as increased urbanisation and environmental concerns mean more utilities are turning to this highly sustainable approach.

As with many associations, the ASTT likes to get together once every year or two to discuss the latest developments, see the latest equipment, and catch up with old friends and have a great time.

Australia and New Zealand have played a key role in the development of the industry over the years. As a result, that the Australasian conference is always a key event in the international calendar. The sheer quality of the event, combined with the appeal of Australia and a strong overseas marketing campaign, make the event a vital international destination, attracting delegates and exhibitors from Canada, China, Germany, Kuwait, Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand, UK and the United States.

The latest event played on Melbourne’s reputation as a sporting capital, taking place at Melbourne Park (home of the Australian Open) in the week leading up to the AFL Grand Final.

More than 700 delegates, exhibitors, speakers and visitors attended the event, including international keynote speakers from the UK, USA and Singapore; streamed technical sessions; and an exhibition of machinery and equipment covering more than 2,000 square metres.

The Gala Dinner took place at the MCG, and delegates ate in the Member’s Dining Room while enjoying spectacular views of the ground just days before the biggest game of the year. Hawthorn legend Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico entertained footy fans and non-fans alike, as well as baffling the international contingent!

Delegates also enjoyed a gangster themed cruise on the Yarra. Playing on Melbourne’s underworld reputation, attendees dressed as characters from The Godfather, Underbelly and The Sopranos.

ASTT Chairman Trevor Gosatti echoed the view of many delegates in saying it was the best ASTT event yet, recognising the work of Great Southern Press who organised and promoted the event in partnership with the association.

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