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Delegates welcome return of AALARA conference with enthusiasm

Delegates welcome return of AALARA conference with enthusiasm
May 18, 2022

Returning as an in-person event, the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association’s Conference and Trade Show has brought delegates together over three days, with social events and a program that plots a positive course for the future of the industry.

Returning to the Gold Coast and being held at the Sea World Resort Conference Centre from Monday 16th to Wednesday 18th May, ‘AALARA’ has attracted more than 250 attendees who have learnt from industry leaders and innovators and shared their experiences of survival through the COVID-19 pandemic and their expectations moving forward.

Dominating conference proceedings, the issue of the current insurance crisis impacting the industry was considered at an invite-only Forum on the Monday of the conference and during an introduction to the conference on Tuesday morning.

AALARA President Shane McGrath updated delegates on the Association’s strategy to continue to move for the creation of an industry-owned Discretionary Mutual Fund (DMF) for the attractions industry in the wake of the Federal Government’s recent decision that it is not willing to support an industry DMF.

The conference also saw an industry safety session with the newly formed AALARA Operation of Inflatables Sub Committee reporting on its activities and potential developments in the licencing and registration of landborne inflatable devices.

With the event being AALARA’s first multi-day conference since 2019, there has been an energy surrounding the Conference, summed up by keynote speaker Michael Croaker, Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ Head of Entertainment.

Croaker told Australasian Leisure Management “I think it's terrific to the conference back.

“After that two year break you can feel that there's an energy here because people have been separated from each other's company for so long.

“I found when I was doing the keynote here, that the energy in the room was really focused and strong. And then talking with people afterward made me get a real good sense that there's been a desire and a need for people to find their tribe and community again.

“You can't underestimate the power of community and first person contact so for me, that's been the great success of AALARA this year.”

The AALARA Conference also welcomed Ken Whiting, Chairman of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), AALARA’s fraternal organisation who explained the rise of his business, Whiting’s Foods and its operations on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in California, USA.

In a keynote presentation, Whiting also shared global and IAAPA perspective on the recovery and resurgence of the global attractions industry.

At the Association’s AGM, a special resolution saw Shane McGrath voted to remain in post as AALARA President for an additional year to continue his leadership role in advocating for a DMF.

As proposer and AALARA Board member Greg Yong advised “Shane has been the figurehead of our campaign and it is important for AALARA that he continue in his role.”

The AGM also saw new board elected, with Matt George, General Manager, Jamberoo Action Park; Chelsea Mannix, Chief People Officer at Funlab; and Ros Pullen, General Manager, Raging Waters Sydney becoming Directors of AALARA.

The new directors replaced outgoing postholders Greg O’Neill, Phil Durkin and James Kemp.

Images: Speakers at the AALARA Aquatics Panel (top from left): Matt George, General Manager, Jamberoo Action Park; Nathan Klassen, Operations Manager, Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast and Warner Bros. Movie World; and Ros Pullen, General Manager, Raging Waters Sydney; Ardent Leisure Theme Parks Chief Executive Grey Yong welcomes AALARA delegates to Dreamworld (middle) and Nigel Benton Publisher Australasian Leisure Management with Sea World's Sponge Bob and Patrick (below).

Related Articles

14th May 2022 - Protesting insurance crisis operators halt rides at regional shows across NSW and Queensland

4th May 2022 - Fearing for the future of the amusement and attractions industry AALARA and the Showmen’s Guilds announce stop work campaign

3rd May 2022 - AALARA updates operators with latest safety guidance

27th April 2022 - Federal Government unwilling to back AALARA’s call for an industry Discretionary Mutual Fund

14th March 2022 - AALARA launches 2022 Conference program

4th February 2022 - AALARA sets up Safe Operation of Inflatables Sub Committee

24th January 2022 - AALARA announces May dates and Gold Coast venue for 2022 Conference

25th October 2021 - AALARA urges members to respond to Australian Small Business Ombudsman’s insurance crisis interim report

28th September 2021 - AALARA President defends Adventure World in enforcing ride weight restrictions

2nd August 2021 - AALARA works through solution to insurance market challenges

21st June 2021 - Small Business Ombudsman launches review of AALARA’s Discretionary Mutual Fund proposal

22nd April 2021 - AALARA’s first Roadshow event addresses key industry issues with update on moves to establish discretionary mutual fund

25th February 2021 - AALARA to replace single annual conference with one-day events in Sydney, Melbourne and on the Gold Coast

30th December 2020 - AALARA releases ‘urgent request for the survival of our industry’

11th January 2022 - Royal Life Saving issues reminder on waterborne inflatable safety

16th December 2021 - Five children dead after inflatable jumping castle blown into air at Tasmanian school

21st April 2021 - Ardent Leisure promotes Greg Yong as Theme Park Division Chief Executive

13th April 2022 - Hal McEvoy to retire from his role as IAAPA President and Chief Executive

11th March 2022 - IAAPA Expo Asia 2022 in Hong Kong cancelled due to COVID

28th February 2022 - Media report suggests further delay to completion of Sea World’s new precinct

26th January 2021 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ Michael Croaker launches Park Life podcast


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