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Cairns is the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north, renowned for its relaxed, tropical climate and laid back ambiance.
On behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Geotechnical societies we welcome you to the ANZ2023 conference. ANZ2023 is a regional conference of the ISSMGE and is held on a 4 year cycle in between the ICSMGE conferences. The aims of this conference are to reconnect people post-covid, help develop the next generation of geotechnical leaders through plenary and session presentations and to stimulate technical discussion.
Our profession will play a key role helping society achieve a safe, prosperous and sustainable future. Recent droughts have driven a boom in dam design and construction aimed at ensuring communities have drinking water. Recent rainfall has triggered extensive slope failures which has impacted roads, rail and urban infrastructure. The energy transformation from fossil fuels to something different is driving large scale solar, wind and pumped hydro construction all of which have substantial geotechnical components. Other technologies such as hydrogen, waste to energy, geothermal etc all will require geotechnical input. The digital age is well and truly upon us and the possibilities of using technology are almost endless. AI has been used to predict future rail maintenance and landslide susceptibility. Various automations are being developed by everyone to make their work more efficient. Structural health monitoring, instrumentation, autonomous vehicles will all require digital input along with construction monitoring, intelligent compaction and so on. Biogeo-technologies are being researched and may become practical into the future. Unsaturated soil mechanics has been adopted in some places to reduce construction costs but comes with risks that need to be understood. Stochastic methods more generally are becoming increasingly common as we grapple with the age old problem of making decisions in the face of uncertainty. Teaching our people new skills will be key which begs the question to what extent should it be done through universities or businesses? Teaching old skills such as engineering geology, groundwater, geophysics and laboratory testing has disappeared from universities to a large extent. This has only become acutely apparent now we are building dams again and our profession lacks skilled people having not built any dams for 30 years. How do we regain these skills quickly?
Cairns is the first regional centre in Australia to be awarded the ANZ conference. Cairns was chosen because it has good transport connections, has many activities for partners and families and its geology covers most areas of interest. We hope you get the chance to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef, the Kuranda Range and perhaps the Atherton tablelands and Cape York peninsula. There is also fine wining and dining to be had.
Our profession has an exciting future. We look forward to seeing you all in July 2023, getting philosophical, celebrating luminaries and enjoying each others company.
Dr Richard Kelly
Chair Organising Committee
Dr David Lacey
Secretary Organising Committee
Professor Robert May
Technical Committee Lead