Convention brings in dollars
PEACE and well-being are the main topics at a convention this week at Ivory's Rock Conference Centre where 3000 guests have been welcomed from 61 countries including North and South America, Britain, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
Self-styled ambassador for peace Prem Rawat, also known as Maharaji, is the keynote speaker at the convention, dubbed Amaroo 2012.
"I am not a politician, but I am a human being who holds very close to his heart the fundamental possibility of peace - peace is in the heart of human beings, not in the mind of human beings," Mr Rawat told an audience in Brussels last year.
While the convention at Ivory's Rock is for invited guests only, Mr Rawat is regularly invited to speak at public events.
Conference centre spokeswoman Lee Barnasson said the Ipswich region would benefit from the $2 million spent on the convention.
"There will also be substantial indirect benefits through spending by delegates staying in the region," Ms Barnasson said.
"There has been a very enthusiastic worldwide response. We are thrilled that so many people are making the effort to take the long trip down-under during these uncertain times.
"Preparations have been under way for months and SES volunteers erected more than 1000 tents for guest accommodation."
More than 2000 people are being accommodated onsite at the Peak Crossing centre.
Facilities manager Terry Martin said the logistics of creating a village for a week were challenging.
"We rely on the terrific support of all our suppliers and contractors to help us do it successfully," Mr Martin said.
The convention from September 10-14 is hosted by Words of Peace Global and Ivory's Rock Foundation.
Ipswich City Council tourism chairman Councillor David Pahlke toured the centre recently.
"I think the conference centre is one of these sleeper resorts - you never know so much about it," Cr Pahlke said.
"I think we underestimate the dollars it can bring into this area. There are enormous spin-offs for the region."
This convention will be the 12th at Ivory's Rock since 1992.
The last big conference at the 700ha site was held in 2007.