CEO Update- May Briefing
During the first two weeks of May I met with over 50 organisations in London. Discussions covered; the snap UK General Election, Brexit, the British Australian Fintech Forum held in April, preplanning for the Australian British Infrastructure Investment Catalyst in September, and other ground work on building and maintaining relationships with key entities of value to the Australian British relationship.
Following the private conversations I held across the two weeks, my observation was that the Conservatives are likely to win the upcoming General Election with a majority of somewhere upwards of 50 seats. I note with interest that since then, opinion polls, which have not been as reliable in their predictions of actual outcomes in the UK recently, have shown a marked closing of the gap. The latest YouGov result shows a 42%-39% race between the Tories and Labour, much closer than the 20% margin at the beginning of the campaign.
The election will be held next Thursday, the 8th of June, and results will become apparent during the day on Friday Australian time.
British Australian Fintech Forum, April
The Chamber hosted a very successful delegation to the UK which on this occasion spent time looking at the fintech ecosystem that is well developed in the UK. The format was fast-paced and included presentations from both countries. From the Australian side there were presentations from Greg Medcraft, Chairman of ASIC and Peter Hiom, Deputy CEO of the ASX. On the UK side views came from influential individuals like Imran Gulamhuseinwala, EY’s Global Head of Fintech and the newly appointed trustee of Open Banking in the UK and visits to organisations including Amazon Web Services, Level 39 and StartupBootcamp. The seven winners of the supported places also had the opportunity to mix with digital only banks, regulators, and investors from the UK ecosystem. We look forward to furthering this valuable engagement between Australian and UK fintech groups in the Chamber’s next delegation to London in 2018.
Australian British Infrastructure Investment Catalyst, September
The Chamber’s planning for the Australian British Infrastructure Investment Catalyst programme continues at pace. Whilst in London I met with a variety of key stakeholders including Sir David Higgins, Chair of HS2 and a Director of Gatwick Airport; Keith Howells, Chairman of Mott MacDonald, and Mark Bew, Chairman of the BIM Infrastructure Taskforce. In addition, I met with several key Australian investors in infrastructure in the UK including Lendlease, Australian Super and Macquarie.
The event in September will focus on some of the key issues facing both countries, including housing affordability; rail and faster rail operations; technology as an underpinning focus for smart cities, integrated transport solutions and developing asset lifecycle planning; renewable technology and market reforms; as well as additional site visits including the Construction Catapult and the Jaguar Land Rover Autonomous vehicle programme in Coventry.
For further information on the delegation, please follow the link here. To register your interest and secure your place on this year’s delegation, please contact Helen Maclean for a registration form.
Building a better-connected Australia
Australia has long been a significant investor in the UK. It is our second favourite destination for foreign investment and our second largest source. The Chamber is building closer ties with the High Commission, Austrade and the Agent-Generals representing Australia in the UK as well as with the newly renamed Australia UK Chamber of Commerce. If you are planning a visit to London, I encourage you to inform the Chamber so that we can introduce you to these valuable resources.
In addition, we are delighted to continue to develop our already well established relationship with the Department for International Trade (DIT- which is the successor to UKT&I).
Visas and Immigration
There has been much talk since the Government announced the changes to the visa regime, particularly concerning 457 visas. The Chamber is keen to receive your feedback as part of our submission to Government on these changes.
The feedback thus far has centred on challenges such as the two-year timeframes, difficulty in securing talent for the long term, including the removal of the Permanent Residency options, and challenges to smaller businesses in being able to embark on investing in Australia with the increased checks and balances in the process.
Your feedback would be most welcome. Please forward your views to email@example.com
The domestic programme of events continues to maintain our variety and strength through its breadth of discussions, variety of offerings and quality of both speakers and attendees. Please ensure you are up to date with our event programme by subscribing to our newsletter and by purchasing your tickets to upcoming events through www.britishchamber.com/events.