Waste Management Review speaks with Cory McCarrick, Waste Expo Australia Event Director ahead of the 2020 event.
COVID-19 has had flow on effects for every sector of the industry, with no business immune to social and economic challenges. Social distancing regulations have also forced a re-think of traditional approaches to work and gatherings.
While the long-term impacts of COVID-19 are yet to be fully understood, the waste sector is committed to keeping its essential service running.
It is in this environment that Waste Expo Australia forges ahead, driven by a belief that providing a platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing will help industry better understand its collective challenges.
With new COVID-19 cases slowing down in Australia, Cory McCarrick, Waste Expo Australia Event Director, says progressing cautiously, yet optimistically, with the event is the best option for industry.
He says the health and safety of exhibitors, visitors and staff is Waste Expo Australia’s number one priority.
“We are working closely with the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and government to ensure that Waste Expo Australia has the highest health protection activities, public health messaging, hygiene and medical control measures in place,” he says.
Cory highlights that the very purpose of Waste Expo Australia is to bring industry together, to share knowledge and to do business.
“This has always been important. However, the opportunity to collaborate, share ideas with industry peers and hear from industry leaders during the current climate will help the industry get through the COVID-19 situation quicker and be better prepared for the future,” he says.
“Many Australians are working from home and self-isolating, and Waste Expo Australia may be the first opportunity to see industry peers and to have a drink at one of our networking events. I’m sure everyone is looking forward to that.”
As one of the most comprehensive free-to-attend conferences for the waste management, resource recovery and wastewater sector, last year’s Waste Expo Australia saw a record number of delegates.
“Our team work exceptionally hard to improve Waste Expo Australia every year, and we were very proud to be announced as finalists for Australia’s best trade show at the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia’s annual Awards for Excellence last December,” Cory says.
The 2020 event is set to build on that momentum, with the program to cover a broader range of topics, sessions and speakers than previous years.
Cory says the team have been working hard to raise the bar for the 2020 event.
He says visitors can expect to find more in-depth streams covering policy and waste strategy, the circular economy, organics and health and safety.
“We will also continue to work closely with various industry associations and stakeholders to ensure that we’re offering the most relevant information and attracting the right people to the event.
“Some of our partners will be hosting co-located workshop and networking events too,” he says.
Cory says exhibitors and attendees can be confident that Waste Expo Australia’s Waste Summit program, as well as various co-located industry events, will deliver a highly qualified audience. He adds that the event will also provide networking opportunities to generate new business leads and strengthen relationships.
“The Waste Summit conference program is designed to deliver highly engaging, informative and educational talks, and will evolve again in 2020 to feature additional streams, new topics and more speakers,” he says.
“Many of our partners will be hosting their own industry events at Waste Expo Australia 2020 including workshops, networking events and the annual Victorian Waste Management Association dinner.”
Cory adds that the team are also working with various state-based associations to increase Waste Expo Australia’s interstate attendance and ensure the conference is the country’s leading national event.
“We cover the industry’s most pressing issues, which change every year depending on what’s happening in the industry. National Sword was a hot topic in previous events, and undoubtedly, COVID-19 will be featured heavily in 2020,” he says.
According to Cory, the Waste Expo Australia team is currently in the process of organising their 2020 speaker program.
“We pride ourselves in the research we do with our industry to find out what they want to see at the Waste Summit and who they feel they will learn from,” he says.
“We look for industry experts that have a powerful story to tell and deliver the necessary learnings and experience that our delegates can take back to the workplace and start implementing straight away.”
Last year’s event offered 35 hours of free, engaging and educational sessions, Cory says, with more than 100 speakers. “Many businesses have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and suppliers are relying on our event to generate the leads they need to support their businesses,” he says.
“From an exhibitor’s point of view, it’s the opportunity to network and build relationships with the largest gathering of waste management and resource recovery professionals in the country.”
Waste Expo Australia is set to return to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 21-22 October.