It was great to see a good contingent from the Australian marine industry in Singapore. Pictured (from left): BIA's Andrew Scott and Adam Smith, with Hillary Buckman, Darren Vaux, Maryanne Edwards and Joe Lynch.

The BIA attended the inaugural ICOMIA Boating Industry Conference in Singapore last week with a major theme being Sustainability. The event was led by ICOMIA President Darren Vaux, ICOMIA CEO Joe Lynch and Asian Regional Representative Su Lin Chea.

Our President Adam Smith and I represented the BIA, and I had the opportunity being on the Advocacy Panel to talk about some of the key activities being delivered in Australia to that theme. Joe Lynch led the panel which also included Kenta Inaba, Coast Corporation / SYL Japan Co’ Ltd and Peter Craven, Marinas Indonesia Investment Group.

I had the pleasure of joining the other panellists and to respond to a range of questions from Joe and questions from the floor.

Notwithstanding the overview each of us provided to Joe and the key priorities for our Businesses, one of the first questions was on the topic of Propelling Our Future/ Decarbonisation Report. I was able to state that the Australian marine industry generates turnover of $9.64 billion, employed more than 30,000 people, and that the BIA is committed to ensuring policy makers make informed decisions in collaboration with industry and not in tension or conflict with an industry that matters.

For this reason, BIA has so far provided briefs to more than 20 government Ministers and departments across the nation. In one example BIA partnered with the Queensland Government to deliver in-person briefings to industry in multiple strategic locations from the Gold Coast to Cairns. I mentioned that our next major opportunity is the upcoming 55th Sydney International Boat Show where BIA will be hosting a Propelling Our Future Forum with key stakeholders from across government.

We then moved into several other topics, including what have we all done about campaigning to our regulators and stakeholders on boating access and infrastructure which are critical issues with governments across the ICOMIA membership. Joe asked BIA about its work in the area of commercial marinas.


I was able to make the point that BIA has worked long and hard over many years to secure government support in the marina sector. The strategic goal for this work is to achieve: sustainable rents based upon percentage of turnover; security of tenure including appropriate length of terms and ability to re-negotiate; and incentivising private investment in public infrastructure such as helping deliver a ‘Destination’ approach. I also made the point that we have a focus on the maintenance and delivery of BIA Policy Guides to promote consistent and positive policy settings regarding commercial marina leasing across multiple jurisdictions and various levels of government.

Joe asked the panel what is being done to support the broader issues of Sustainability in boating and response to Climate Change.

I responded that sustainability is a broad subject with many areas of immediate and emerging relevance to boating in Australia. I said it was also an opportunity to highlight the value of ICOMIA and the BIA role in the ICOMIA Sustainability Committee where we hold the Vice Chair role.

Such a committee provides invaluable opportunities to learn and share information in advocacy areas such as offshore windfarms, marine mammals, marine pests, antifouling and responsible boating. The sharing of information in areas such as marine mammals for example has direct links to our work on marine parks where BIA often partners with other advocacy groups in Australia such as the Australian Fishing Tackle Association to ensure the voice of recreational boating and boat-based fishing is heard when governments consider new controls on access and fishing. On this subject BIA has been working over recent times on behalf of industry and the boating public in jurisdictions including Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia.

Further to the Sustainability theme, BIA is engaged across various States, covering resilience and adaption to Climate Change. For example, marine infrastructure resilience and adaption to flooding impacts from extreme weather, dredging works to respond to siltation arising from flood and surge events, including pre-approvals for dredging works in key locations in NSW; while in 2020 we introduced a commitment to phase out single use plastics; and in 2023 we introduced the BIA Sustainability in Boating Award.

Finally, I made the point that BIA is working to support members and the boating public by encouraging governments, particularly the Queensland Government, to seize opportunities for boating to benefit from the infrastructure works resulting from Brisbane hosting the Olympic Games in 2032. In this area we are liaising with the State Government to seize the opportunity for significant legacy infrastructure, particularly related to the Olympic Sailing Regatta on Moreton Bay and visiting vessels berthing in Southeast Queensland and the Brisbane River.

Our aim is to see infrastructure built that not only enables successful delivery of an outstanding Olympics but results in an ongoing benefit to the boating public whether they be powerboaters, sailors, paddlers or people with physical ability needs. We have an opportunity to deliver world-class facilities for generations to come, to enjoy the waterways at Brisbane’s doorstep. We need government to step up.

Overall the ICOMIA event in Singapore was a great success and it was good for Australia to have a presence. In fact, I must acknowledge a number of identities from the marine industry in Australia that were also attending the conference including Hillary Buckman, Ocean Media; MaryAnne Edwards, Marine Business Leader, Business Growth specialist; and Duncan Curnow, National Sales and Marketing Director, QMC.

BIA is certainly looking forward to the next ICOMIA event in the Asia Pacific to benefit from the information sharing, networking and collaboration on key issue management in support of our industry and boating.

See you on the water.

Andrew Scott, CEO