Members of the AMPOL National Distributors Association (ANDA) gathered in Queenstown New Zealand this week to discuss the contemporary issues facing fuel wholesale and fuel transport businesses. These businesses have a unique relationship with ACAPMA given that a number were the businesses that founded ACAPMA’s predecessor (the Australian Petroleum Agents and Distributors Association – APADA) in Victoria in 1976 – prior to its incorporation as a national entity in 1977.

This year’s theme was ‘Powering through Connection’ and the conference kicked off with a welcome reception hosted by the New Sunrise Group on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on Monday 20 May 2024.

The first day of the conference saw delegates gather to discuss contemporary issues affecting the industry. After being treated to a traditional Māori welcome, delegates received a presentation from Naomi Frauenfelder (CEO of Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds) about how this national initiative was working to improve the mental well- being of those working in the transport and logistics industry.

Brent Merrick (EGM of International and New Business, AMPOL) provided a perspective on how the global supply-demand balance was evolving and what that meant for the Australian market over the near term. Vincent Cardinale (Acting CEO of New Sunrise Group) who discussed the current trends in the convenience side of the industry and Lindis Jones (CEO of Zed Energy) who provided a perspective on the changing nature of the P&C market in New Zealand.

The afternoon session saw presentations from Sarah Simpson (CEO of ANDA and Manager, Simpsons Fuels) about an initiative being advanced by the ANDA that utilises AI technology to train personnel in fire suppression. Rob Watson (National Sales Manager, AMPOL) discussed the ongoing nature of AMPOL’s long commitment to the vital relationship with the Distributors and Mark McKenzie (CEO, ACAPMA) provided a perspective on the recent changes in Australian Industrial Relations Laws and global progress in respect of the transition to low carbon mobility.

Will Brown and Brock Feeney of the AMPOL Red Bull Racing team joined delegates for the conference dinner at the end of Day 1, providing a welcome opportunity for delegates to catch up in a relaxed setting.

Day 2 saw the conference move out of the ‘classroom’ and onto the raceway with all delegates travelling to the Highlands Racetrack. The day provided the opportunity for delegates to compete in go-carts and the Subaru WRX slalom while also getting the opportunity to experience the electrifying speed of the electric Porsche Taycan – a vehicle that can accelerate from 0-100kmh in just 2.4 seconds (Which compares with 3.4 seconds for a V8 Supercar).



There were also a select few who enjoyed a hot lap around the circuit in the AMPOL Red Bull Racing Team Camaro that was used by Shane Van Gisbergen in the 2023 Season.

Delegates enjoyed a range of activities around Queenstown on the final day of the conference before coming together at the end of the day for the Conference Dinner which incorporate an address from Mountaineer Mark Ingliss.

Mark lost both legs due to frostbite after being stranded atop of Queensland’s Mount Cook for 13 days at just 23 years of age. But that tragedy didn’t stop him, and he has since become the only double amputee to stand on the Summit of Mount Everest while simultaneously carving out a career as a scientist, business innovator, wine maker, Paralympian and a philanthropist.

But the real highlight of the event was the recognition of some of people and businesses that have helped make the Australian Fuel Industry what it is today.

John H Jones was recognised for his 50 years of unwavering contribution to the Australian Fuel Industry and was inducted into the AMPOL Distributors 50-year club. Peter Moran (Regional Development Business Manager, AMPOL) was recognised during the Conference Dinner for his 25 years of outstanding support to the industry.

A spotlight was also shone on David Hunt and Family (Hunts Fuels in South Australia), Neville Purtill and Family (The Purtill Group in NSW) and Neville Power and Family (Crokers Fuel & Oils in North Queensland) for the outstanding contributions that these businesses have made to the industry and the communities in which they operate. Special mention was made of Crokers who have chalked up 100 years of operation.

“All in all, this was an outstanding event. It provided an opportunity for me to connect with many of the businesses who keep Regional Australia moving (to steal a quote from the Purtill Group) – a number of whom were also directly responsible for the establishment of the Association over 48 years ago”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie

“A special thank you to Sarah Simpson (Simpsons Fuels) and Sarah Mrotek (Adelaide Fuels) who pulled the event together in partnership with Rob Watson of AMPOL – it was a privilege to be invited to participate again this year”, concluded Mark.