On behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Geotechnical societies, we thank all delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors who attended the ANZ 2023 Conference. The conference aimed to reconnect people in a post-COVID world, develop the next generation of geotechnical leaders through plenary and session presentations, and stimulate technical discussions.
Our profession plays a crucial role in helping society achieve a safe, prosperous, and sustainable future. Recent droughts drove a surge in dam design and construction to ensure communities have access to drinking water. Likewise, recent rainfall triggered extensive slope failures impacting roads, rail, and urban infrastructure. The transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources drove significant construction in solar, wind, and pumped hydro, all of which encompassed substantial geotechnical components. Other emerging technologies such as hydrogen, waste-to-energy, geothermal, and more demanded geotechnical expertise. The digital age had fully embraced us, offering nearly limitless possibilities for technology use. AI had already been used to predict future rail maintenance and landslide susceptibility. Automation was becoming commonplace in various sectors, enhancing work efficiency. Structural health monitoring, instrumentation, autonomous vehicles, and digital construction monitoring were just a few examples of how technology was transforming our field. Biogeo-technologies were being actively researched, hinting at a promising future. Unsaturated soil mechanics had been adopted in some regions to reduce construction costs, though not without the need to manage associated risks. Stochastic methods were increasingly prevalent as we tackled decision-making in the face of uncertainty. The need for continually educating our professionals was paramount, whether through universities or businesses. This was underscored by the fact that certain traditional skills, such as engineering geology, groundwater studies, geophysics, and laboratory testing, had waned in academia, which had only become more apparent when the need for dam construction expertise resurfaced after a 30-year hiatus. Rapidly reacquiring these skills had been a pressing concern.
Cairns proudly served as the first regional center in Australia to host the ANZ conference. It was selected for its excellent transport connections, numerous activities for partners and families, and its geologically diverse landscape, covering a wide range of interests. We hope that all attendees had the opportunity to explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, the Kuranda Range, the Atherton Tablelands, and the Cape York Peninsula. Additionally, there were exceptional wining and dining experiences to be had.
Our profession continues to chart an exciting path forward. We sincerely appreciated your participation and support at ANZ 2023 where we engaged in philosophical discussions, celebrated luminaries, and enjoyed each other’s company.
Dr Richard Kelly
Chair Organising Committee
Dr David Lacey
Secretary Organising Committee
Professor Robert May
Technical Committee Lead