From the President's\u00a0desk\r\nChris Frangos, ASTT President.\r\n\r\nWelcome to 2018! On behalf of the ASTT, I would like to wish everyone a healthy and prosperous 2018. The year between our flagship No-Dig Under event is traditionally slower than normal; however, it does not feel like it this year. The ASTT has planned a full year of events and projects to continue to promote the great work of our small but dynamic industry.\r\n\r\nSome of the initiatives planned for 2018 include:\r\n\r\n \tContinuing the current format of Technical Forums, which will be run in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington throughout 2018\r\n \tTrialling an ASTT Technical Forum in Perth and Brisbane\r\n \tConsidering the possibility of awarding ASTT Awards annually\r\n \tInvestigating the potential of running one or two best practice courses at the Water New Zealand Conference or at an Australian trenchless event\r\n \tSupporting the Trenchless Technology stream at the Water New Zealand Conference.\r\n\r\nAdditionally, the ASTT will start to introduce member services in 2018 to provide greater value to members. The first initiative currently being investigated is the introduction of discounted and industry specific insurance services for association members.\r\n\r\nMore information on this potential service will be provided in future editions of my report and in Trenchless Australasia.\r\n\r\nStrategic planning\r\n\r\nOur most important task this year will be the development of the 2030 strategic plan. As we approach the end of the current strategic plan that has served the society well for almost 10 years, it is time to embark on a new planning cycle that presents an enormous opportunity for the ASTT.\r\n\r\nThe planning is designed to improve the association\u2019s value proposition to its members, increasing engagement across all sectors of the membership by improving representation and to ultimately position the ASTT to continue to grow over the next decade.\r\n\r\nThe process is expected to run throughout 2018, before it is launched to members in 2019. The development of the strategy will consult with members through widely-run structured workshops (where feasible) and involve as much of the membership and stakeholder groups as possible.\r\n\r\nThe main objective of the new strategic plan is to develop a vision that is ultimately owned by all members. The plan will outline a range of deliverables and key performance indicators that provide transparency and accountable management of the ASTT over the next decade.\r\n\r\nConstruction\r\n\r\nOn the work front, the outlook for the year is positive across much of the country. In Victoria, infrastructure projects will continue to provide opportunities for green fields projects, particularly in the transport sector; however, the growth of Melbourne and the surrounding areas are also providing opportunities for new water, gas and electricity infrastructure, many of which will use trenchless methods.\r\n\r\nMelbourne is currently the fastest growing capital city in Australia, with the population expected to reach five million by mid-2018 as the result of an average growth rate of 3.83 per cent over last seven years. The need to build new and upgrade existing infrastructure is greater than ever, driving investment across most industries.