New tax treaty with Germany enters into force

Media Release from
Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance

The Turnbull Government is pleased to announce that instruments of ratification were exchanged between Australia and Germany on Wednesday 7 December 2016, bringing the new Australia-Germany tax treaty into force.

The treaty, which was signed on 12 November 2015, replaces the existing Australia-Germany tax treaty which was signed in 1972.

It modernises the arrangements between Australia and Germany in line with changes to commercial practices, domestic tax systems and recent treaty policies and practices in both countries.

Importantly, the new treaty aligns with recent OECD tax treaty developments, including new provisions recommended by the OECD/G20 that are intended to minimise tax avoidance opportunities and create a more certain business environment for taxpayers.

It will also enhance the exchange of information and assistance in the collection of outstanding tax debts between our tax officials, with these provisions of the new treaty now in effect. This is consistent with both Governments’ support for ongoing OECD and G20 initiatives aimed at improving tax transparency and tax system integrity.

This new treaty is a significant step for Australia, and will further reduce tax barriers to investment and the cost to Australian business of foreign capital and of accessing foreign technology.

Some of the treaty’s new rules will enter into effect as soon as 1 January 2017, including those relating to withholding tax rates on non-resident income; and with respect to certain pensions first paid from 1 January 2017.

The finalisation of the new tax treaty with Germany was a centrepiece recommendation of the Australia‑Germany Advisory Group, co-chaired by Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann.

A copy of the new treaty is available on the Treasury website.

Christmas Networking Dinner Munich

On December 15 the German Australian Business Council invited members and friends to a joint Christmas Networking Dinner together with the Munich based Anglo Bavarian Club (ABC). As in previous years it was an ideal opportunity to meet new people and discuss the 2016 events as well as the basics for 2017. There was a fantastic buffet and everybody enjoyed the pre-Christmas atmosphere.

One highlight was the chorus of all participants singing two Christmas songs conducted by Hamish Douglas, the chairman of the ABC.

Some impressions from the event below.

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Visit of Australian Finance Minister Cormann in Germany

German Australian Business Council board members Evangelos Kotsopoulos and Claas de Boer participated in two events organised around the visit to Germany of the Minister for Finance of Australia, the Hon Mathias Cormann.

At a luncheon in Frankfurt, hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Germany H.E. Mrs. Lynette Wood as well as AusTrade, Minister Cormann addressed a diverse group of business leaders. The group included representatives from German and Australian companies such as Volkswagen, SAP, Deka, Macquarie Bank and Sonic Healthcare. A lively discussion followed which touched upon various matters concerning the relationship between the two countries.

Later in the same week, during a speech in the offices of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Berlin, Minister Cormann stressed that it is good to be on friendly terms with each other – as Germany and Australia are -, but that this is not enough in today’s world. Rather, the bilateral relations have to be put on a deeper foundation. This foundation has been established. Recent past has shown that trade and commerce between Australia and Germany has improved and the future will show that the established foundation will be the basis for further improvement. Minister Cormann as well State Minister Prof. Maria Boehmer, who both co-chaired the Australia Germany Advisory Group, enthusiastically agreed that the path of deepening the ties between the countries has to be and will be followed in the future.

The German Australian Business Council is convinced that the enthusiasm of German as well as Australian politicians will deepen and support the growth in bilateral trade and commerce to the benefit of the peoples of the two nations.

German Australian Business Council at Down Under Fair in Stuttgart

On November 25, 2016 GOstralia!-GOzealand! held the Career, Studies and Research in Australia and New Zealand Fair in Stuttgart. The fair was in cooperation with Austrade, Education New Zealand and Baden-Württemberg International. The German Australian Business Council also supported. German Australian Business Council Board Members Melanie Töpfer and Evangelos Kotsopoulos were part of the speakers and shared their experiences with the attendees, Board Member Eberhard Goihl was responsible for the German Australian Business Council booth which was beside the stands of main universities of Australia and New Zealand.

It was a big opportunity to make German Australian Business Council available to a big group of young people.

The feedback was overwhelming.

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Destination NSW is seeking a new Business Development/Marketing Manager in Frankfurt

Destination NSW is recruiting a new Business Development/Marketing Manager for their Frankfurt am Main office.

Further information regarding the position, including how to apply can be found here.

Melbourne Cup Business Networking Dinner in Frankfurt

On 1 November 2016, over 50 of our German Australian Business Council members and friends gathered at the Mantis Roofgarden in Frankfurt for a touch of the Melbourne Spring Carnival. Guests enjoyed an Aussie-style BBQ buffet while listening to a presentation on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Dr Frank Fuchs. This was followed by a presentation by Susanne Stellberg from Visit Victoria and a delayed telecast of the race.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Wood from Clifford Chance LLP who was the lucky winner of our sweepstake, which included a return Emirates flight to Melbourne, two Victoria Racing Club passes to the AAMI Victoria Derby Day and Emirates Melbourne Cup Day 2017, and a night’s accommodation at the Fraser Place Melbourne.

Other stylish winners included Uli Hein from Thai Airways for his rebel outfit in the Best Dressed Gentleman category, kindly sponsored by Bob’s Fine Wines; and Bri Connelly from Deutsche Flugsicherung for her elegant hat in the Best Dressed Lady category, kindly sponsored by the Australien Wine Store.

The German Australian Business Council expresses our appreciation to our generous sponsors and partners for the successful evening: Aesop, Australien Wine Store, Bob’s Fine Wines, Emirates, Fraser Place Melbourne, Victoria Racing Club, and Visit Victoria.

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(L-R) Dietrich Klusemann, Irene Klusemann, Hon Andre Haermeyer

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Speaker Frank Fuchs

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(L-R) Susanne Muller and Kirsten Laupp

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Susanne Stellberg from Visit Victoria

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Guests networking

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Grand prize winner Elizabeth Wood

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Best Dressed Gentleman Uli Hein

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Best Dressed Lady Bri Connelly

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Council Chair Sabine Pittrof with Catherine Stephen

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Excellent spread by Mantis Roofgarden

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP visits Berlin

At the occasion of the Minister Julie Bishop´s state visit to Germany, the Australian Embassy in Berlin hosted an evening reception on 6 September which was attended by several GABC members. The Minister led an Australian Government delegation to attend the first German-Australian “2+2” consultations. This new format brings together the two country´s respective Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence and was attended by Minister Julie Bishop, the Australian Minister for Defence, The Hon Marise Payne, and their German counterparts Federal Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

In her speech to the evening reception´s guests, Minister Julie Bishop also announced the program of the 2017 Australia now initiative. This year-long series of predominantly cultural events seeks to highlight Australia´s creativity and power of innovation. Dubbed a “celebration of Australia´s culture in Germany”, the program will raise Australia´s profile in Germany and highlight the country´s cultural richness and diversity.

Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister of Australia, attends a reception at the Australian Embassy. Berlin, 06.09.2016. Copyright: Adam Berry/photothek.net

Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister of Australia, with Board members of the German Australian Business Council, Sabine Pittrof and Evangelos Kotsopoulos. 

 

Sonic Healthcare expands in Germany and invests into innovation

GABC corporate member Sonic Healthcare has announced two acquisitions in Germany, further expanding in the country´s clinical lab market and also continuing a focus on innovative technology.

Through the acquisition of Munich-based Staber Laboratory Group, Sonic gains around 1,000 new staff in 17 laboratory sites across the country. Founded in 1982, the Staber Group operates three well-established hub laboratories in Munich, Dresden and Kassel as well as regional, specialty and hospital labs.

In a separate move, Sonic increased its stake in GLP systems, an innovative technology company headquartered in Hamburg, to 80%. With ongoing support from Sonic Healthcare laboratories, GLP systems has developed a cutting-edge laboratory automation technology which has now reached the stage of international commercialization. This technology includes a modular track system with a revolutionary single-tube transport system on intelligent “cars” which dynamically transport patient specimen to and from diagnostic instruments, storage modules and work areas.

Sonic Healthcare laboratories in Hamburg, Berlin and Sydney acted as co-development and beta-sites for the evaluation of this technology which has meanwhile been installed in several external customer labs as well, including in the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Sonic Healthcare is the leading clinical laboratory group in Germany and employs over 5,500 staff in 40 laboratory sites. It offers referring physicians, hospitals and other customers the full spectrum of clinical diagnostics services ranging from routine blood testing to a complex and innovative genetics portfolio.

Intenational Meeting of ABIE groups in Prague

Representatives of nine organisations belonging to the international ABIE (Australian Business in Europe) network met in Prague on 21st and 22nd October 2016. Hosted by ABIE Czech Republic in the marvellous surroundings of the Grandhotel Bohemia, delegates listened to member reports, resolved on governance and participation issues, and discussed potential policy topics that could warrant input from business groups.  The meeting was also presented with a draft of the common umbrella website soon to go live. The meeting provided an excellent forum for the ABIE representatives to get to know each other after delegate changes in almost every affiliated organisation. A lot of momentum was created and possibilities for leveraging off each other and joint activities were discussed. Many thanks are due to the representatives of ABIE Czech Republic as the host and the EABC (European Australian Business Council) as the current coordinator for their splendid organisation of the meeting.

Siemens High Voltage Factory Tour in Berlin on 13th of October 2016

“Same, same but not the same”

While last year a group of members and friends of the German Australian Business Council joined a tour through the Siemens Medium Voltage factory, this year was all about High Voltage.
The tour took part on the 13th of October 2016 in the “Siemens Schaltwerk Berlin”, which is located in the Berlin district of Siemensstadt, were Siemens was once founded. This location is the biggest Siemens production location in Germany. After successful registration at the front entrance everyone was warmly welcomed in the information centre by the German Australian Business Council board members Simone Wienhausen and Sabine Pittrof.
After a short small talk the tour guide invited everyone into a separate room, where he gave a presentation about the history of Siemens and its importance for the whole Siemens group. He focused on the most important inventions and the different fields in which Siemens is currently operating. He proceeded to explain the need for different levels of current as well as the products produced in Berlin and their use within Medium and High voltage.
The tour started with an introduction to the Siemens products in the show room, where our tour guide already had to answer a lot questions regarding the products shown such as Vacuum interrupters, surge arresters and switching devices starting from vacuum circuit breaker to the high voltage gas insulated switching device.
On the way to the High Voltage Factory a highly appreciated shortcut was taken through the Medium Voltage Factory where some of the products were explained. The tour was continued through the High Voltage Training Centre for GIS (Gas Insulated Switchgear) where we had the chance to get close to one of the very big devices. After visiting the part of the factory where the housing of the High Voltage products are produced our guide took the group to the assembly lines, where the large switchgear is put together and tested. For most, one the highlights was one part of the High Voltage test lab ( called “Parabelhalle”) with its massive test equipment which are up to 20 meters high.
We wish to gratefully acknowledge that the tour was made possible by Siemens Schaltwerk and are looking forward to the next tour.