When the only complaint is the golf drinks cart was too slow, you know you’ve just had a ripper of an event!

For the first time in 10 years, FTMA Australia took their conference out of Queensland, returning to where it all started in Victoria.

FTMA isn’t keen on holding events in capital cities, so we decided to take the conference to the city of Geelong in Regional Victoria and what a great choice that was.

The conference was held at the newly refurbished Geelong Arts Centre which was only opened in August 2023. When we booked the conference, we had to take a punt on the venue as it wasn’t opened or even finished. Not only did the venue meet all expectations but the catering took it to another level.

In fact, all the venues FTMA used for our conference, including 1915 in the old Federal Mill, the Geelong Arts Centre and the GMHBA Stadium, aka The Cattery all delivered outstanding food, exceptional service and venues that met all our needs.

Red Activities Day

The FTMA Conference is not just about learning, as we place a huge emphasis on networking, which we believe is the key to success for any conference.

The Red Activities Day, sponsored by Principal Partner Pryda saw over 100 delegates participate in golfing, fishing, horse riding or enjoying a taste of the Bellarine Peninsula with a winery tour.

The day finished with our Official Icebreaker where sponsors Pryda, Vekta & Meyer Timber put on a wonderful welcome for conference delegates.

Delegates were treated to a woodchop demonstration as part of Meyer Timber Sports and got to taste Anther’s quality Gin and fine wines on offer courtesy of Vekta Automation.

For the past four conferences, the Green Machine had won the FTMA Conference Golf Tournament, however, this year the victory belonged to the Red Devils made up of Peter Ward (DWTT), Peter Robinson (Pryda), Stuart Toakley (Australian Panel Products) and Malcolm Johnston (Dindas).

Looking Outside the Triangle

The conference theme was Looking Outside the Triangle and our first speaker made everyone sit up straight and focus.

Robert Pradolin of Housing All Australians talked about the homelessness situation in Australia and showed a compelling short 2-minute video which had delegates in tears and shocked. (Under Cover | Trailer)

When people think of homeless people they don’t think of their mums, their aunty or their sisters, but sadly women over the age of 55 are increasingly becoming homeless.

Furthermore, Robert touched on the role that private business has in addressing our homelessness. We must not sit back and wait for governments to take the lead, we, as industry, must step up and help find a solution.

Putting together the program for a conference is very daunting. It’s hard to create a program that caters for fabricators, and supplier, but we achieved that, as the feedback to the program has been outstanding.

We had Tim Woods presenting on the latest housing and timber markets, we were joined by an esteemed panel consisting of Karl-Heinz Weiss, Tim Newman and Nick Hewson talk about the threats to our market share, and where housing in Australia was headed.

It’s not an FTMA event without the fast-talking Dr Alastair Woodard who presented on the great opportunities if we create the Advanced Timber Framing Collective to look at what our sector needs to move forward, such as revising AS1684.

Delegates were treated to a masterclass on the new IR laws by Brenda Garrard-Forster from HRAnywhere who also outlined ways in which you can avoid workplace injuries and how to handle Workcover claims.

FTMA launched the new Frame & Truss Safety Council which you can read more about in today’s newsletter, and we had Petru Tiglar from Cyberfly provide tips on how to avoid a cyber attack and the steps you should take to minimise disruption.

Finally, we had our keynote speaker Tim Jarvis OAM, sponsored by MiTek. Tim spoke about leadership through adversity, and you could have heard a pin drop during his presentation.

FTMA Art Exhibit

FTMA often challenges people’s way of thinking, and our conference was no different. We didn’t have room for our traditional trade exhibition, so we thought outside the triangle and decided to host an art exhibition. We asked our delegates to produce a piece of art that reflected their business and wow, did they deliver.

The art exhibition had twenty-one pieces of art, which was carefully curated by The Gordon Institute’s past art students. All the art will be put into a book and sent to all fabricators in Australia for display in their reception area.

I’d like to thank our partners for their input into the art exhibition which was simply brilliant.

Our Art Exhibit was featured in the latest edition of Timber & Forestry eNews, and you can read more here.

FTMA National Conference Dinner

The 2024 FTMA National Conference Dinner had a theme of Disco Cats, and wow, did we get some great outfits.

This was the first year we introduced a number of new awards, which you can read about in today’s newsletter, and the emotion in the room as we celebrated the award recipients was like nothing I have experienced before at an industry event.

Men didn’t hold back their emotions, and everyone celebrated the individuals and businesses recognised.

We finished with our first ever after party which saw delegates dance away the night whilst continuing the first-class networking, which goes hand in hand with all FTMA Events.

Read more about the different awards:

George Prothero: A Pillar of Excellence in the Timber Frame and Truss Industry

Championing Mental Health Awareness: AAA Advanced Trusses Wins Prestigious Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Award

Celebrating Community Excellence: Big River Group Breakwater Wins the 2024 FTMA Community Award

Recognising the Cornerstones of Our Industry: The Value of Long-Term Employees

FTMA Delegates Raising Close to $9,000 for Backpack Bed For Homeless!

At the 2024 FTMA National Conference Dinner we held our Charity Silent Auction, which this year raised funds for the impressive Backpack Bed for Homeless, Australia and raised just shy of $9,000.

They are a national charity that provides Backpack Beds to street sleeping homeless people. The Backpack Bed is a portable emergency bed that is waterproof and fire retardant. It keeps people warm, safe, and dry.

Whilst the timber sector supplies frames and trusses for 75% of Aussie homes, there is a housing crisis for those that don’t even have basic shelter – this charity is their best hope for survival!

Thanks to all that placed a bid in the silent auction or have donated online!


These events do not happen without the amazing support from our annual partners and conference sponsors. We encourage you all to support those, who consistently support your industry and welcome you to visit 2024 FTMA Partners – Google Drive and download their brochures, videos or contact sheets.

We sincerely thank all delegates for their attendance. This was the first time we had more fabricator representatives than suppliers with 154 fabricator representatives in attendance.

The next conference will be in 2026 and in 2025 we will hold our State Seminars. The hardest thing is going to be topping this event in 2026!

Our Principal Partners