We have received the sad news of the death of Australian crane veteran Bob Parker who finally succumbed to cancer Wednesday 6th May, after a long illness, he was 83.
Parker spent a lifetime in the crane industry, starting out as a rigger with Maros Constructions, becoming a crane operator, a job estimator and then manager of the company’s Queensland operations. He later moved to the crane division of Brambles.
He was a key player in the formation of a crane hire association of Queensland and was on the organising committee for the first national crane conference, held at the Broadbeach Hotel on the Gold Coast in 1979 which saw the launch of Crane Industry Council of Australia – CICA - as a national crane rental association. He served as the state and national president of the association and sat on various committees over the years.
His contribution to the industry was recognised in 1994 when he was named an CICA honorary Life Member. Then in 1999 he received the Con Popov memorial award which recognises an outstanding contribution by an individual to the crane industry over a considerable time period.
In his acceptance speech for that award he was asked for his views on the crane industry and where it should be heading. His points included: His belief that the industry “failed to mature sufficiently to benefit from the changing climate of self-regulation in the late 1980s and 1990s, covering areas such as safety, employment and the general business climate, leaving responsible players with a dilemma of how to respond to rate cutters and overloaders.”
He said that with states finally showing a willingness to investigate and prosecute, rather than maintain the previous hands off approach until a serious accident occurred, meant that the days of the rate cutters and overloaders were numbered. However he also believed that while the industry had become more efficient and cost effective, its safety record was not particularly good and was costly to the individuals and companies involved, as well as to the community at large.
He thought that “the industry should support moves to shake out the ‘corner cutters’, rather than hide from such measures and that crane associations needed to consider who they represent, and help raise the profile of the crane hire industry, otherwise crane users would seek safer, more productive alternatives.
He leaves behind his wife of 55 years Betty who said: “he loved cranes, but his love of family always shone through”, also his children Jody and Samantha and six grandchildren.