So, we come to the end of 2020.

For many, this has been the most unusual and challenging year of their lives. And so it has been for AORA and for parts of our industry.

A year which started with boundless hope and energy has been characterised by isolation, lockdown, and “on the run” decision making in an unprecedented environment. For all that, it has turned out to be a year of real achievements.

AORA has taken the opportunity to reboot many things: we have a new Strategic Plan in place, a widely recognised and respected report into the economic contribution of the industry, and two further documents – an industry capacity study and 10-year industry strategy - soon to launch. For the first time in a long time, governments are starting to speak our language.

2021 will see an enormous focus on utilising these documents to advocate a better way for governments at every level. Unashamedly, we will be working towards a regulatory and operating environment to allow our industry to invest and employ more, to grow, and to become more profitable.

Our main service to members – live events to deliver networking and information sharing – disappeared along with COVID-19. It was tough pushing back our national conference (now to be held in June 2021), but just as hard to defer local events which have been the lifeblood of our membership.

We have learned from this, with a much greater focus on virtual events such as webinars. As we roll out a wide range of face-to-face events next year, expect to see many of these also offered virtually.

We will also continue to offer webinars to our members, starting in January, given how popular they have been this year.

And we will also deliver many of the projects in the first year of our new Strategic Plan, including a more flexible membership structure with greater member benefits.

For now, I’d also like to note the achievements of our industry this year. Many AORA members are operating at record throughputs, employing and investing more than ever, and delivering amazing economic and environmental benefits to our community as they do so. These are signs of a confident industry on the up, and with even better times on the near horizon.

Thank you to all our AORA members for supporting each other, and AORA, through this interesting year.

From the entire AORA team, I wish you and your families a joyous Christmas, and a successful and healthy 2021.

Peter Olah
National Executive Officer