EU – Australia Framework Agreement

The EU – Australia Framework Agreement was signed by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, on the 7th of August, 2017, in Manila, The Philippines.

Marking the beginning of a new era of strategic cooperation between the European Union and Australia, the EU – Australia Framework Agreement will enable the European Union and Australia to further address challenges dealing with foreign and security policy, sustainable development, climate change, and economic and trade matters.

Closer links between leaders across government, business and civil society will thus be encouraged. The EU – Australia Framework Agreement will guide future engagement between the European Union and Australia, accompanying work towards launching negotiations for a comprehensive EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

 

Reference:

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/30843/eu-australia-sign-framework-agreement-closer-cooperation_en

 

German Australian Business Council Board Members at the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee

We are presenting on Monday to the trade sub-committee of the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. Taking part will be board members Robert Harrison, Sabine Pittrof and Andre Haermeyer together with Jens Rintze from Squire Patton Boggs. We’re looking forward to discussing the implications of a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and Australia. A livestream is available here http://www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/Watch_Parliament. 

 

Bayerisches Wirtschaftsgespräch mit Bundeskanzlerin Dr. Angela Merkel

Yesterday German Australian Business Council Board Members Eberhard Goihl and Robert Harrison were invited to listen to a speech of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel in Munich. It was very interesting to be provided with first hand information on both business and social policy as well as impressions of the G20 meeting in Hamburg.

See the article below for further information:

https://www.vbw-bayern.de/vbw/Aktionsfelder/Wirtschaft-und-Gesellschaft/Politischer-Dialog/R%C3%BCckblick-39.-Bayerisches-Wirtschaftsgespr%C3%A4ch-mit-Bundeskanzlerin-Dr.-Angela-Merkel.jsp

Breakfast Briefing with German Honorary Consul

Members and friends of the German Australian Business Council gathered in Frankfurt on 7 July 2017 for a breakfast briefing with German Honorary Consul Prof. Michael Rosemann. Prof. Rosemann shared with attendees the various German initiatives that take place in Brisbane such as German week and David meets Goliath. He also captivated his audience with fascinating stories about how the universities help businesses transition to a digitalized world and adapting to a different mindset by thinking in a “bigger box”.

It was a great event to start the work day with attendees taking away a lot of food for thought.

Dinner with Australian Finance Minister

Business Council Chair, Sabine Pittrof, was invited to a dinner with Sen. The Hon. Mathias Cormann in Frankfurt on 3rd July 2017. The evening was organized by Federal MP Volkmar Klein, who chairs the German Australian New Zealand parliamentary group. Mr Klein had invited a number of companies from his electorate with business dealings in Australia. In addition, there were some German bank representatives that are active in Australia. Attendees enjoyed listening to the various success stories in an informal atmosphere. It was a great networking opportunity and may also result in additional members for the German Australian Business Council.

The photo shows Volkmar Klein and delegates from the Siegen-Wittgenstein electorate with Minister Cormann with Business Council Chair kindly invited to join the photo.

Frankfurt Summer Networking Event at feinform

The German Australian Business Council’s special summer networking event revolved around art, design and beauty. For the first time, GABC expanded its scope by venturing into New Zealand territory. The event took place in our member Rena Jarosewitsch’s jewellery gallery, atelier and shop in Frankfurt, called feinform.

It was indeed a pleasant, inspiring and much appreciated evening. GABC members and friends eagerly listened to Rena’s fascinating story, taking her all the way to New Zealand where she worked over a decade as a glass artist. Back in Germany, Rena switched careers to specialise in jewellery design: two distinct crafts with overlapping traits such as work with light and reflections. Rena has featured in various exhibitions around the world. Guests learnt about the craft of jewellery design whilst admiring Rena’s own beautiful collection, as well as those of her other national and international colleagues. It was also a perfect opportunity to discuss and network while enjoying a glass of delicious Australian wine. An all-round successful evening!

feinform

Rena Jarosewitsch

http://www.galerie-feinform.de

Weckmarkt 3, 60322 Frankfurt am Main

r.jarosewitsch@feinform.de

+49 (0)69 29 22 88

Australian Indigenous Art Exhibition

Sculpture Park Wesenberg, Künstler Bei Wu, Mecklenburg
Germany
Opening: Saturday June 24th

13:45 Welcoming drinks
14:00 Opening speeches 
14:30 Concert / A concert to celebrate the inauguration of the Australian Indigenous Art Centre
15:30 Viewing of the exhibition & cocktail

Download exhibition catalogue

With the support of the Australian Embassies in Paris & Berlin
and in collaboration with the programme of Australia now Germany 2017

Exhibition: 25 June – 31 October 2017

Tuesdays to sundays: 10:00 am –  4:00 pm

Vacant position – Marketing and Member Relations Manager (Aust-UK Chamber of Commerce)

The Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce is looking for someone to take on the role of Marketing and Member Relations Manager, an exciting position at the forefront of the Chamber’s community and activities. They’ll need to be a committed, adaptable and proactive individual with experience in marketing, strong people skills and a demonstrable understanding of Australia.

Further details can be found at the following address:

Visa Programme for Skilled Workers

Summary prepared by Jarmila Zaricka (Board Member, German Australian Business Council):

In April 2017, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the abolition of the temporary foreign skilled worker scheme (referred to as ‘457’) that was introduced in 1996.

The ‘457’ visa programme allowed skilled foreigners to work in Australia for up to four years.

Under this programme, 96,000 foreigners of the country’s 12 million labour force work in Australia.

The majority of the workers are from India, Great Britain and China – in the IT, scientific and hospitality sectors.

The motivation for abolishing the ‘457’ visa programme has been expressed as the aim to give priority to Australian workers for Australian jobs.

Australia’s unemployment rate sits today at 5.9%. The OECD average represents 6.2%.

The ‘457’ visa programme is foreseen to be replaced with new visas specifically targeting skills shortages outside the main cities. In addition, under the planned new scheme, English language requirements for migrants would be boosted. Requirements for previous work experience would also be introduced. Details are yet to be revealed.

Current holders of ‘457’ visas would be unaffected by the changes and could continue to work in Australia under the conditions of that visa.

References:

https://www.ft.com/content/05cfee60-23f2-11e7-a34a-538b4cb30025?mhq5j=e1

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/18/turnbull-government-scraps-visas-for-skilled-foreigners-in-bid-to-put-australians-first.html

2017 Australian Federal Budget

Summary prepared by Jarmila Zaricka (Board Member, German Australian Business Council):

Presented on the 9th of May, 2017, by Scott Morrison MP, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, the main elements of the 2017 Australian Federal Budget focus on a significant increase in infrastructure spending, investment in education, contribution to the easing of pressure on Australians’ costs of living, rise in taxes for major banks, revision of and further investment into healthcare, increase in defence spending, and also tightening rules on foreign investments.

Despite additional borrowing and debt, it is expected that spending in areas that will enhance productivity, generate jobs and increase the sentiments of business confidence will contribute to the budget returning to balance in 2020-21.

The underlying cash balance is projected to improve from a forecast deficit of $29.4 billion in 2017-18 to a targeted surplus of $7.4 billion in 2020-21.

Given that the global economic outlook is improving, growth in Australia is foreseen to rebound to three per cent over the next two years. The growth is expected to be supported by household consumption, non-mining business investment and exports. As a result, wage growth is also expected to increase from approximately two per cent to above three per cent over the next four years.

Highlights:

Foreigners and Foreign Investment

Harsher rules on foreign investment in residential real estate will be introduced: removal of main residence capital gains tax exemption and tightening compliance.

All future foreign investors who fail to occupy or lease their property for at least six months each year will be subjected to a foreign investment levy of $5,000.

Developers will be prevented from selling more than 50% of new developments to foreign investors.

The Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law for multi-national companies not paying their share of taxes will be toughened. It will extend to structures involving foreign partnerships or trusts. Aggressive structuring methods using hybrids will also be strongly targeted.

Such measures are estimated to provide a gain of $2.1 billion.

Moreover, stricter residency rules for new migrants to access Australian pensions will apply.

Healthcare

Over the next four years, an investment of $10 billion is planned into Australia’s health care.

Hospitals will benefit from an additional $2.8 billion over four years.

$2.2 billion will be dedicated to the reversal of the recent Medicare and Pharmaceutical benefits measures with a new Medicare Guarantee Bill. These measures comprise of, for instance, the lifting of the freeze on the indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the removal of bulk billing for diagnostic imaging and pathology services.

Health research, including research into children’s cancer, will also benefit from an investment of $1.4 billion over the next fours years.

Infrastructure

Aiming to generate a multiplier effect on economic growth in a low growth environment, $75 billion will be spent on infrastructure funding and financing over the next ten years.

This includes Sydney’s second airport, the Western Sydney Airport; the Brisbane to Melbourne inland rail; and underground systems in Perth and other major cities.

Significant roadwork – such as the upgrade of the Bruce Highway, the road from Pine Rivers to Caloundra, or access to the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia – is also foreseen.

The Commonwealth further intends to develop the Snowy Hydro Company by proposing to acquire a larger share from the New South Wales and Victoria governments to support that.

Education

The extra funding of $18.6 billion over the next ten years will be dedicated to education in all public and non-government schools, in accordance with the Gonski-based ‘true needs’ standard.

Increased support shall also be delivered to veterans’ mental heath, victims of violence and abuse and to the pursuit of closing the gap for Indigenous Australians.

In Higher Education, however, students will be asked to contribute more to their own costs.

Cost of Living

A new set of agreements to address supply of accommodation as well as to help people save for their first home will be put into place. To decrease housing prices, the Commonwealth will work with States and Territories to generate offer by developing more residences. In parallel, significant tax concessions (same advantages as for Superannuation) will apply to people’s first home deposit savings. Under the new scheme, The First Home Super Savers Scheme, most first home savers will be able to accelerate their savings by at least 30%.

Furthermore, $375 million will be allocated to fighting homelessness.

The recently announced new energy security plan aims to provide reliable and affordable energy for domestic use. $90 million has been allocated to securing gas resources for Australians. In addition to $3 billion that has already been provided to support new emissions technologies, a further $37 million is foreseen for new energy infrastructure for South Australia.

Such investments are among those aimed to ease pressures on the general rising cost of living.

Pensioners

Pensioner concession cards will be restored to those who were impacted by the recent pension assets test – thus regaining access to state and territory based concessions.

Defence

The commitment to increase defence spending to two per cent of GDP will be met in 2020-21, three years ahead of schedule.

A further $300 million will be dedicated to the fight against terrorism, organized crime and child exploitation.

Regarding illegal immigration, Operation Sovereign Borders will continue to be funded to deliver on its objectives of ‘stopping the boats’.

Small Businesses

In addition to recent legislated tax cuts, small businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million will be able to write off expenditure up to $20,000 for a further year.

Furthermore, the Commonwealth will work with states and territories to reduce red tape costs for small businesses.

Bank Taxes

Starting on the 1st of July, 2017, a point levy on banks’ liabilities will be introduced. It will only be applicable to Australia’s five largest banks with assessed liabilities of $100 billion or more, excluding Superannuation funds or insurance companies. This measure will secure $6.2 billion over the Budget.

Also, tighter rules regarding breach of conduct will be introduced, resulting in bigger fines for banks in breach: from $50 million for small banks to $200 million for large banks.

References:

http://www.budget.gov.au/2017-18/content/speech/html/speech.htm

http://www.pwc.com.au/press-room/2017/federal-budget.html