The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia – Queensland Annual Conference (IPWEAQ) was one of the first conferences held in the Cairns Convention Centre since reopening in May after a full refurbishment.
IPWEAQ is the peak body representing those who engineer solutions for Queensland communities. Who better to review the rejuvenated space than 430 engineers, technical officers, supervisors, fleet managers and operational managers.
With the $176 million Cairns Convention Centre project now focusing on the extension, and still underway on the exterior of the building, the refreshed internal areas were a delight for conference organisers. New roof sheeting, air conditioning and lighting complemented the refurbished public spaces, setting the scene perfectly for an event to inform, connect, represent and lead.
“It is state-of-the-art, contemporary and genuinely beautiful. The bright colours and stunning carpets suit the tropical oasis that is Cairns,” offered conference organiser, Monica Robertson.
“Cairns Convention Centre includes new audio-visual options as standard, which are usually an additional cost, something extremely appreciated as a not-for-profit. For example, the lecterns have a screen on the platform itself (rather than a foldback monitor on the ground), which adds an extra level of professionalism to a conference. The venue offered above and beyond service to match their fantastic venue.”
At least 20 more conferences, valued at over $28 million, will be staged at the Cairns Convention Centre before the expansion opens, late in 2022. All benefitting from the new look and feel of the existing refurbished footprint, and unperturbed by the expansion stage already underway. It will deliver an additional 10,500 square metres that will include a large undercover, tropically planted entry forecourt, an expanded main entry lobby, a 410-seat plenary lecture space, three 120-seat meeting rooms, exhibition space for up to 30 display booths, a 500-seat rooftop banquet space and sky terrace with spectacular views over Trinity Inlet.
Rainforestation Nature Park hosted the annual social function “Tropical Night”, on day two. Under the canopy of the World Heritage listed, Wet Tropics Rainforest, delegates were welcomed by the Pamagirri Dancers Cultural Performance, dined on roving canapés and food stations, and mingled with the likes of dingoes, kangaroos, snakes and koalas with wildlife interactions a part of the event package. A twilight ride aboard a World War II-era six-wheel-drive, amphibious military truck, affectionally known as an Army Duck surprised delegates whilst they explored the venue.
In the days prior, local Aboriginal artwork was displayed in the Cairns Convention Centre, culminating in an auction at Rainforestation. Each year, IPWEAQ conducts a raffle or auction for their President’s Charity. Although a registered charity and not-for-profit themselves, the IPWEAQ President nominates a charity for members to support during their term. From 2019-2021, President Craig Murrell, selected Rural Aid, and during his presidency, they raised over $18,000.
Rainforestation Nature Park Event Sales Manager, Kate Moore was impressed by the connection delegates had to the artwork. “The artist profile was provided with each piece. Interestingly the printed profiles themselves became so popular with the delegates that I had trouble keeping up with copies on the night.”
Kate continued, “The delegates were so pleased to have the artist profile provided, and conveyed they felt more connected to the artwork and appreciated a local artist being featured in our venue.” Several large purchases were made on the night from the Indigenous Art Gallery on site, more than any other event so far.
Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is the natural place to meet; seamlessly combining brand new spaces, and ancient cultures. Organisers and delegates are invited to embrace the spirit of this place, where stories are shared, and memories are created.
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