Annual General Meeting: 11 April 2015

Date posted: August 17, 2016


I would like to welcome you all to the Chamber’s 15th Annual General Meeting. This important milestone marks the Chamber’s past successes and the beginning of the next 15 years or more of its continuing endeavour towards its vision: Commerce with no barriers.

Before the establishment of the Chamber, the Australian business interests at the grass roots level, have no direct relationships and have never have direct dialogues with one of the largest local business groups in the Philippines. Fifteen years ago, my interests as a Filipino Australian business owner and professional were not represented. Now and in the past 15 years, because of the Chamber, the Australian business interests at the grass roots level are now affiliated and have direct dialogues with members of key business groups in the Philippines: the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Management Association of the Philippines; Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Australia New Zealand Chamber of
Commerce and Industry; Makati Business Council; and. Cebu Business Council, just to name a few.

More significantly, our members are part of the large business chamber family: the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (with 92 local chambers); the Australian Chamber of Commerce Industry; and, the International Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In the past 15 years, the Chamber represented its members at all levels of government both in Australia and in the Philippines. Our Chamber members, and even non-members have, more than ever, easy access to business groups and large market here and in the Philippines.

As a member of the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Round Table for 8 years, we continue to collaborate and work in partnership with about 10 international chambers of commerce and business councils in enhancing the lives and businesses of Queensland’s multi-cultural community.

The Chamber plans to continue its role as a vibrant, organic and positive chamber of commerce. Our reputation and our track record in “getting things done” will ensure our members’ interests will continue to be represented and advanced; our objectives met; and our vision, to be the norm: Commerce with no barriers.

2015 is a year to embrace this: we can do better for our members, for Australia, for the Philippines and for all the communities we operate our businesses and in which we live. And we will not stop here, if we’ve done a good job as a Chamber in the past 15 years, we know we can do a better job in the next 15 years. Under my leadership and our future leaders and board members, I’ll leave this short message for today: let’s be audacious, let’s be ambitious, as life is short and we only have one shot in life, to leave a set of footsteps for our future generation that they can be proud of.

2014 and Q1 2015 – a year in review In 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 our Chamber was very active in the following events:

In May, our Members met with Ambassador Bill Tweddell, Australian Ambassador to

the Philippines and with Anthony Weymouth, Australian Senior Trade Commissioner to

the Philippines at the Brisbane’s Austrade Office;

• In September, we hosted a Brisbane seminar on Connecting Filipino Skilled Workers and Oil and Gas Employers. Participating and supporting this event were drilling, engineering and recruitment companies that are based in Australia and PNG;
• In November, I facilitated two meetings in the Philippines for two Australian companies who are service providers to the oil and gas industry (AWT International and Maa Kuthari Global):

o With Anthony Weymouth, held at Austrade Office, Australian Embassy in Manila;
o With high level officials with TESDA led by:

• In February 2015, I attended a “Boardroom Lunch and Learn” Meeting at ANZ Port Moresby HQ hosted by the Mark Barker, CEO and Managing Director of ANZ PNG to meet some business identities in PNG such as Total SA, Talisman Energy, InterOil and RedEye to name a few.
• In March 2015, I met with Derek Brown, the new Economic Counsellor with the Australian High Commission in PNG, in Port Moresby to discuss the potential for the Chamber to play a role in enhancing a tripartite business and trade with PNG, Philippines and Australia. So watch this space.

2015 and beyond

The plan for 2015 and beyond is for the Chamber to continue with our work and projects, for example,
• continue work with TESDA in looking at a putting in place a project management qualification framework to qualify and certify course providers of project management courses in the Philippines that are internationally recognised. This will make Filipino project managers and project practitioners doing the course as internationally competitive;
• more educational series that are aligned with the Chamber’s strategic objectives;
• participate in APEC activities: outcome of the APEC Summit in the Philippines in April 2015 (‘Build a more inclusive economies’) and contribute to the PNG APEC Summit in 2018;
• continue to facilitate biennial trade mission, one due in 2015;
• continue collaborating with all levels of government in the Philippines and Australia to

advance multilateral business and trade;

• continue to participate in Queensland Trade, Austrade and Asia Development Bank events.

I thank everyone for their continuing support. Being a member of the Chamber is key step in connecting and expanding not only your business network but also your reach in the general community. Be counted, participate and let’s make the future exciting and productive for all!

With this note, I table this report.

Connie da Cunha

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