December 2017 – From AustCham President, Brenton Mauriello

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Brenton Mauriello, AustCham President

Dear AustCham members…

As the year draws to a close I want to thank you all for your continued membership and support of AustCham during our 40th anniversary. As one of the oldest Australian Chambers of Commerce, we have a great legacy to live up to and an even brighter future, particularity when you consider the commitment of our members, staff, directors and our friends at the Australian Embassy and the Australian Alumni.

In 2017, your Chamber focused on increasing our advocacy with the Board of Trade and various Thai Government agencies. Our forums, hosted by various Ministers and the President of the BoT, are proof of the healthy relations we have with the Thai government and business organisations and the value we bring to policy making. We have also sought to increase our engagement with our Eastern Seaboard, Phuket and Chiang Mai members. The tyranny of distance sometimes works against members looking to benefit from AustCham’s networking events, and so we have established tailored membership rates and committed the chamber to holding more functions in each location. Our winner of this year’s President,s Award, Trevor Dick, has for many years represented the Eastern Seaboard and we look forward to engaging more with our members outside Bangkok.

A special thanks must go to the Australian Embassy and His Excellency Paul Robilliard and his team. We engaged extensively with the Embassy all through 2017 and this will continue in 2018. We have coordinated our efforts to bring about improved outcomes for ‘brand Australia’. As we move into 2018, we are also keen to expand our relationships with other Australia-Thailand groups such as the Australian Alumni, ANZWG, Thailand Tigers and others. As discussed with the Australian Foreign Minister Ms Julia Bishop during her trip to Thailand, it is by bringing together all Australians that we can maximise positive outcomes. With similar intent, AustCham, the BCCT and AMCHAM have also sought to coordinate efforts where we have interests in common. Under a common banner, the Combined Chambers of Thailand (CCT) will work more closely on issues such as governance, transparency, administrative barriers, customs and the like. We are confident that by combining our efforts we will have greater impact at Thai ministerial level.

I urge you to let us know where the Chamber is lacking or could do better, and please do get involved. We have several committees such as advocacy, membership, events and alumni that rely on members’ help. We run an efficient Chamber and, in my view the team achieves way beyond expectations with the resources at their disposal, so it’s only by members giving their time and knowledge that we can hope to be even better. Can you spare a few hours?

While on the running of the Chamber, I want to thank our staff and particularly Brendan, our Executive Director, who has done a great job since joining us. The team has delivered more events and services to our members while maintaining a tight grip on our limited resources – well done all.  Also, a thank you to the Directors of the Board. They give their time freely for the betterment of the entire Australian-Thai business community; no small ask from time-poor people with their own businesses to run. As President, I assure you that all Directors are engaged and contribute fully to the Chamber, and their support and commitment has been a source of strength in 2017.

I must also extend our thanks to our 2017 sponsors. Our platinum sponsor, Blackmores; our gold sponsors, Minor, Bluescope and Servecorp, as well as all our other silver and bronze sponsors provide the financial foundation on which our Chamber is able to function. Please do support these businesses in any way you can!

So, as we look to the new year, I wish you all the success you deserve and I hope that your businesses grow and prosper. While we have some headwinds in 2018 with political uncertainty and, of course, a turbulent economy, I am confident that we are looking at a better year. Stay safe and well,  have a merry Xmas and a happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you at the Great Australian Bash on 20th January 2018!.

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