A full industry agenda for 2021
By Hamish Duff, President, ARCIA
Wednesday, 10 March, 2021
ARCIA kicked off 2021 with our planning days. Of course, with COVID-19 still affecting interstate travel, we chose online meetings over four days in February. It is much better for everyone to gather in one place, turn off the phones and focus for two days, but at least with the aid of modern conference calls the team was able to get through its usual program.
On the agenda for 2021 were events, training, our response to the bushfire royal commission, public safety mobile broadband, membership and many other topics. The online format meant that Ian Miller had to spend a huge amount of time preparing for the meetings and the effort was appreciated by all that attended the virtual planning sessions.
ARCIA, in conjunction with the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Disaster Management & Public Safety and other industry bodies, made detailed submissions to the bushfire royal commission, the central theme being that communications networks should be treated as part of critical systems infrastructure. Having read the recommendations of the royal commission, ARCIA spent the first planning session in a general discussion about how some of identified issues reported to the royal commission could be solved. The committee agreed to propose there should be a national allocation of VHF High Band channels for fire ground communications; full details of ARCIA’s response will be published separately.
The ARCIA committee also spent a session further refining the proposed Professional Development plan and how to deliver it. Considering the success of previous short courses and with the encouragement of the committee, ARCIA will add new content to be ready mid-2021. We believe that the content will be valuable to a wide industry audience and that the Association can run training days in a financially sustainable fashion. If you have suggestions for training content please let us know; we do want training to be relevant to the needs of industry. In line with that we are now working on a curriculum for a radio trades qualification which will be managed and presented in conjunction with ARCIA.
To coincide with training, events are now being planned for Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, commencing in June. Keep an eye on the events calendar on the ARCIA website for details. The major event for 2021 will be the annual Gala Dinner, which is now set down for 20 October in conjunction with Comms Connect. Given it will be nearly two years since the last major event for our industry we are expecting that lots of people will want to gather to celebrate what we hope will be the revitalisation.
During the latter part of 2020, the DITRDC conducted an enquiry on the potential for the federal government to provide grants as part of the 5G Innovation Initiative. On behalf of our industry, ARCIA responded and pointed out that it is our members who will be supporting the private 5G/LTE systems. We can now report that the grant process will be proceeding. If you or your clients have opportunities for 5G systems then this could be the opportunity to lodge a grant application and maybe get the system recognised as a trial network. If you need help, contact ARCIA. Grant details are available at https://www.business.gov.au/A5GII.
At the end of 2020 the committee decided to recommence the annual fees after a 6-month COVID holiday. I would like to thank all the ARCIA members and corporate partners for your support, the vast majority of whom paid the required fees.
Please keep an eye on the ARCIA calendar for the events we have planned for 2021; we hope the worst of the pandemic is behind us and we can return to normal.
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