President’s Report to 2023

by | 20th March 2023 | Branch News, RINA News

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Australia Division President’s Report – March 2023

Gordon MacDonald handed on the presidency of the Australian Division to me at the 2022 AGM and I would like to thank him for his continuing interest and involvement during the past year. Similarly, I would like to thank all who have supported me during this time: Secretary, Treasurer, Council Members, Section Committees, ANA Editors, IMC organisers, subcommittees, etc – it’s quite a list! Although she has indicated a need to step back from the role, I would particularly like to thank Belinda Tayler for agreeing to take on the Vice Presidency and heading up our Improvement Committee during the year. And of course huge congratulations to Rob Gehling for his award of AO in the Australia Day Honours. I look forward to everyone’s involvement again during the coming year – the support of all of you is essential to the success of the Australian Division and the whole of RINA as a respected worldwide professional organisation.

During the year our Division achieved the following:

  • An extremely successful International Maritime Conference in Sydney: well organised, good presenters, and a significant boost to our coffers – what more could we ask!
  • A very successful visit around the country by our new Chief Executive Chris Boyd – he was most impressed, thank you all.
  • The reinstatement of the Walter Atkinson Award and the selection of a most worthy winner – I’m looking forward to some great papers in 2023 to be reviewed for this year’s award.
  • The achievement of some clarity on the Victorian engineering registration requirements, although this is an ongoing project, hopefully culminating with RINA being able to provide accreditation to you as we have been doing now for some years for the Queensland registration requirements.
  • Our attendance at various maritime events including Fremantle Maritime Day (where our Section’s Lego models of Titanic and Nuyina were a real draw card), the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, and AOG Energy – we need to do more of these events.
  • Our attendance at SA’s Le Fevre High School’s Maritime Careers event – we really need to do more of these.
  • Our continued engagement with Engineers Australia – at various levels we have had some moves forwards and backwards – very much a work in progress.
  • Some very positive new engagement with Head of Navy Engineering – several key follow-ups to be pursued in the next couple of months.
  • Continued engagement with those that are actually teaching Naval Architecture in Australia: Australian Maritime College and UNSW Canberra.
  • Continued engagement with AMSA, particularly through the Domestic Commercial Vessel sub-committee.
  • Continued engagement with Standards Australia, on their maritime standards development projects.
  • Continued engagement with RINA international Board, Council and Committees – it is the involvement of Australia and Singapore that are particularly influential in providing a real international input to our organisation – please keep it up!
  • A very successful year financially for the Division with a significant boost to our funds from IMC – we have set up a finance sub-committee and engaged a financial advisor to ensure that these funds are working well for us and we can now consider if/how/when we can best make use of them.

As you can see from the above, we have many ongoing projects to keep us focussed over the coming year as known and new challenges arise, but where should we best focus? The Improvement Committee will provide us with guidance here and I do not want to deflect from their considered priorities, but my own opinion is that these should be among our priority areas:

  • Making maximum use of RINA’s “Digital Transformation” as we see it rolled out from HQ
    in the next few months.
  • Developing and supporting STEM activities in schools wherever and whenever we can, including in support of the initiatives of AMC, EA & UNSW Canberra. We all know that many more naval architects will be required in the coming years, particularly with AUKUS and the still awaited Defence Strategic Review – this is where they will come from!
  • And finally, the one that I highlighted last May and in which we have made little progress: Succession Planning! We are working remarkably successfully in so many areas but what happens when the incumbents can or do not want to continue in their various positions key to our success


If we don’t have real succession plans in place by this time next year I will consider it a significant failure of my term as President – please all consider how you can help me turn this around.

Jim Black, President – RINA Australian Division
James M Black CEng FRINA

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