With an eye to recent developments around the world, the purpose of the Forum was to bring together marine industries, service providers, government agencies, and research providers to consider how we can better utilise marine observations, modelling, and computational and information systems to enhance the social, economic and environmental benefits of Australia’s vast and valuable marine estate.
The meeting was attended by 123 invited participants from 50 organisations, with good representation from all ‘four pillars’ of the Forum’s stakeholder base.
“The Forum for Operational Oceanography will be very important for IMOS in the next stage of our development” says IMOS Director, Tim Moltmann. “We’ve done the hard yards in establishing and maintaining the system. It makes sense for our research community to be working more closely with the relevant government agencies and service providers towards a common goal of improving the safety and efficiency of marine industries. The Minister made it very clear that’s what the government expects. So the Forum is well-positioned to be a key enabler, helping high-quality marine science to deliver socio-economic benefits for Australia.”
The meeting was sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Industry and Science, and The Honourable Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry and Science addressed the Forum on the morning of the second day. The Minister stressed the importance of the ocean to Australia, and commended the participants for coming together with a focus on bringing science, government services and industry application together with the aim of increasing ocean benefits to our island nation.
At the conclusion of the meeting there was overwhelming support for the Australian Forum for Operational Oceanography to continue. Feedback about the first meeting was very positive, and participants did not want it to be a one-off event.
In terms of practical next steps, it was agreed that the participant list and all of the presentations would be made available. The Steering Committee responsible for organising the meeting will conclude its work by the end of August 2015. A new leadership team for the enduring Australian Forum for Operational Oceanography will need to evolve, taking the interests and capacities of all participants and other potential stakeholders into account.
The full details of the inaugural meeting can be found on the conference website.
Sincere thanks go to the Department of Industry and Science for their sponsorship and attendance, the keynote speakers, other international speakers, and all of the participants.