News & Insights

April Bulletin: Message from our CEO

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April Bulletin: Message from the Chamber CEO

I hope that this finds those in our network and their families well and safe during this difficult period. For both individuals and business, the immediate and secondary effects caused by the spread of COVID-19 represent a set of significant challenges on an uncertain timeframe.

As I wrote to all Members last month, it’s our priority to be as responsive and helpful as possible to our membership and community to support them during this unprecedented time.

Like many Chambers and associations much of our work has historically focussed on in-person events and connections to deliver networking and content outcomes. Like many of you, we have rapidly put in place measures to adapt to the new environment we find ourselves in.

The Chamber team is now working from home and continues to be a full-time resource for Members via phone, video conference and email. We encourage Members to reach out to us regarding connections and conversations they would like to have across the network.

We have reformatted our immediate programme to continue to provide Members with relevant and helpful content. In April and May, we will deliver a series of webinars focussed on COVID-19, its impact on business and how organisations can respond.

Our first webinar will be a Crisis Management Masterclass this Thursday 9th April with Allen Briggs, CEO of Crisis Shield followed by our webinar on 17th April on the public health, economic and policy implications of the pandemic with Alexander Downer, Sir Robert Lechler and Ian Stewart. These webinars will be free for Members and we’d love you to attend.

Equally, we will deliver initiatives in new formats, online and written, including our first Impact 2020 instalment which will now launch as part of our new Business Insight Report series.

We continue to engage with the British and Australian Governments on the forthcoming negotiations for the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement with virtual consultations including via our Trade Policy Committee.

Perhaps most important to us is that we have a comprehensive grasp of how this crisis is impacting each of our Members and how we can support them in the short and long term. The team and myself have now reached out directly to each Member and have spoken with many of you to understand your specific needs over the weeks and months ahead. We are still in process with these conversations, yet it is already clear that while Members are at different points in the impact curve and experiencing the crisis to different degrees of severity, no one is unaffected.

Most immediately, our focus is connecting Members and individuals with similar challenges, complementary learnings and mutual opportunities with one another. A key priority is also to gather insights to understand the impacts of the crisis on each of our Members, their outlook and what future ecosystem and support measures they will require to survive and thrive. Further to this, we are in dialogue with the Australian and British Governments on these insights and needs of our bilateral business community.

What has been wonderful to see is the different ways in which many of our Members are lending their efforts to this health crisis working across the response chain from prevention to therapeutics to vaccine development.

Thank you for your continued support of the Chamber. It’s our top priority to look after our community over this challenging time and provide a platform for Members to engage with one another. We believe the best way to get through this crisis is to do so together with mutual solidarity, help and advice.

The team and I look forward to continuing to speak with you on this and how we can best support you.

Catherine Woo

CEO, Australia-UK Chamber of Commerce

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