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Dear Colleagues

I am pleased to advise that our 2024 Higher Education HR/IR Conference, “Harmonising Change: Together towards tomorrow”, will be held in Cairns from 16-17 May 2024.

Early Bird Registration closes on Monday 15 April 2024 and Full Registration closes on Monday 29 April, 2024.

For any queries about the conference, please contact:

Henry Wong
Conference Manager
Australian Higher Education Industrial Association

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Click on a speaker profile to see their full bio

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Disclaimer: This conference program is confirmed at the date of marketing. However, AHEIA reserves the right to make changes to this program at any time as circumstances dictate. Speakers and topics were confirmed at the time of publishing; however, circumstances beyond the control of organisers may necessitate substitution, alternation or cancellations of the speakers and/or topic. Every effort will be made to ensure any unavoidable changes provide a program of equivalent standard and value.

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Wednesday 15th May 2024

Registration opens and welcome activities (evening).

Thursday 16th May 2024

Conference (day), Gala Dinner and Awards (evening).

Friday 17th May 2024

Conference (day), Closing drinks (late afternoon).

Saturday 18th May 2024 (AHEIA Members Event)

AHEIA will host a very special networking day for our members. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to network with your peers from across the Higher Education Sector in a truly spectacular location - a pontoon on the outer reef of the Great Barrier Reef.

View the conference program

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Conference Venue and Accommodation

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“Experience the warmth of genuine Australian hospitality at Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns. The hotel sits between Marlin Marina and the Coral Sea, in the heart of the city's waterside dining precinct. Laze by the pool, relax in tropical gardens and take in panoramic Trinity Inlet views. The hotel is steps from the city's Reef Fleet Terminal – where boats depart daily for the Great Barrier Reef – and close to World Heritage-listed rainforests.”

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Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns, Australia:  Images courtesy of the hotel.

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Enjoy the comfort, space and facilities of one of Cairns largest hotels. Everything you need is right here — eateries for every craving, endless outdoor entertainment choices and a comfortable warmer climate place to relax.

Located approximately a 15-minute drive by road from Cairns Airport, Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns boasts 255 spacious and inviting guestrooms and suites. All rooms are serene spaces with a private outdoor area and expansive floor-to-ceiling windows framing water, mountain, garden or city vistas.

It’s only an hour by boat to the Great Barrier Reef – tourist vessels depart daily from Marlin Marina, only steps from the hotel’s lobby – and day-trip tours collect visitors from the front door to embark on excursions into the rainforest.

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Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns is delighted to offer delegates of AHEIA's Higher Education HR Conference 2024 a discounted accommodation rate of AUD $295, including breakfast (single occupancy only, additional guest $25 per person), wifi and applicable taxes.

To access to this special group accommodation rate, please use the link below and book online to secure your room booking.

Reservation policy

No prepayment is required, however all reservations must be guaranteed with a credit card or form of e-payment. All rooms are subject to hotel availability.

Cancellation policy: Room/s cancelled after 18:00 local hotel time on 09 May 2024 will be subject to 100% of stay room charge, plus applicable Service Charge, Tax and Fees.

Pre and post conference room rate

Should any guest wish to arrive early or have a longer stay at the hotel, the special room rate shall, subject to availability, also be available for the three (3) nights prior to and/or following the above two dates. Outside of these dates, the best rates available will apply.

Arrival and departure times

  • Check-in: 2pm
  • Check-out: 11am

Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns

Pierpoint Road Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia

Phone: (617) 4052 7500



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About Cairns

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Welcome to Cairns & Great Barrier Reef!

The jewel of Tropical North Queensland invites you to pack an additional suitcase and spend a few extra days exploring this magnificent region!

Your adventure, tucked between two World Heritage-listed natural playgrounds - the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest offers an incredible selection of activities in one of the most unique and diverse regions in Australia!

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef offers visitors an incredibly diverse must-do list of eco-certified touring experiences, local breweries and distilleries, fresh local produce and a relaxed, tropical lifestyle only found in the tropical north.

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Images courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

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Tropical North Queensland is closer than you think – and it’s really easy to get to. Cairns is the main airport hub, with lots of domestic and international flights arriving daily. You can catch the Spirit of Queensland train from Brisbane to Cairns five days a week and there are regular buses running up and down the coast. Driving is also a great option so you can hire a car, four-wheel drive or campervan and hit the road. 

It’s easy to fly right into the heart of Tropical North Queensland. A range of domestic and international airlines service Cairns Airport, including  Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Air New Zealand and Singapore Air, as well as small local airlines Skytrans, Alliance Airlines and Air North.

Direct flights arrive from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin, plus a number of major regional centres. It won’t take you long to get here – most domestic flights are only three to four hours.

International destinations include Auckland, Port Moresby, Tokyo, Osaka, Bali and Singapore. From here, you can connect with almost anywhere in the world.

Cairns Airport is just outside of the city and is easily accessible from Cairns, Port Douglas and Palm Cove.

Find rail, bus and car options here.

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View on Google Maps.

Cairns Airport

For information, please visit Cairns Airport.

Transport to and from Cairns Airport

Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns is located in the heart of Cairns beside Marlin Marina in the heart of the city’s dynamic waterside dining precinct. The compact city is easy to explore on foot while taxis, Ubers and buses are also practical ways to get around.

The travel time between Cairns Airport to the Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns is approximate fifteen (15) minutes.

Cairns Airport provides a range of transport options for travellers catering for all needs:


Each terminal has its own sheltered taxi rank at the front of each terminal building, simply follow the signage in the terminal. You cannot pre-book for fares from the Terminals however taxis are always available, and the rank is monitored 24/7 by the Cairns Taxis Booking call centre. There are free intercom call buttons at the start of each taxi rank which connect directly to the call centre should you require additional assistance.

The company operates a fleet of 137 government licensed taxi vehicles comprising sedans and station wagons for up to four passengers, maxi taxis for up to 10 passengers as well as wheelchair capable vehicles.

Cairns Shuttle Bus Service

Exemplar Coaches and Limousines offers scheduled Seat-in-Coach services from Cairns Airport to/from Port Douglas, Cairns CBD and Palm Cove. Simply visit the Exemplar Transfer Desk in Domestic Arrivals or International Arrivals to book. Alternatively, you can book online direct or call Exemplar Coaches on (07) 4213 3333, 7 days per week from 9am - 5pm.

Cairns Airport Car Rentals

An extensive choice of car hire options is available for both international and domestic travellers. The below six car hire companies are located on site and have car hire counters located in the Arrivals Hall of both T1 and T2.

Returning a vehicle to the Airport? Car rental return car parks are located at both terminals, click here to view on the map.

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Whether you prefer an international hotel in the city, a beachside resort, a retreat in the rainforest, or a tropical island escape, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef has an accommodation option to suit.

Only a 10-minute drive from Cairns Airport, the city centre boasts over 8,000 accommodation rooms including four and five-star hotels and resorts. Those seeking apartment life will enjoy the diversity of self-contained apartments boasting incredible views of the city, water and mountains. The city also features a range of hostels and motels all within walking distance of the marina, local restaurants, bars and night spots.

Click here for places to stay and scroll down to the ‘Stay’ section.

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Get wet on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving the largest coral reef system in the world, luxuriate on a palm-fringed island on golden sands or venture into the lush, green rainforest of the Wet Tropics with an indigenous guide to learn about bush medicines and native foods. Take a bird’s eye view of the world’s oldest living rainforest from a glass gondola, or if adventure is what you're looking for, take a leap Skydiving or Bungee Jumping, float over the Tablelands in a Hot Air Balloon, jump on a jetboat or rocket down the rapids white water rafting!

In the evening, enjoy a leisurely walk along the 2.5km Cairns Esplanade, or start your morning with a power walk on one of the four, challenging Arrow tracks. Those looking to truly immerse themselves in nature can explore some of the region’s hiking and walking trails.

Experience Australia’s unique wildlife up close and personal. Breakfast with Koalas, hand feed kangaroos, pose with a python or get the adrenalin pumping watching Australia’s very own dinosaur – the crocodile – launch out of the water during a feeding demonstration.

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May is one of the most beautiful months in terms of weather in Cairns. At this time of the year, the wet season is long over but temperatures are still warm and comfortable with low humidity.

Typically, May temperatures reach about 27 degrees at the height of the day. At night, they drop down to about 20 degrees.

For more information about weather closer to the conference, please visit:

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