Annual Sponsor

We are pleased to welcome the Commonwealth Bank’s continuing support for our activities in Germany.
They have agreed to renew their annual sponsorship agreement in 2015.

Christmas Drinks in Berlin

Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin

The German Australian Business Council invites you to join us for Christmas Drinks in Berlin on Monday, 15 December 2014 from 6:30 pm and we hope that you can join us for Glühwein and dinner at the Christmas Market “Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt”. Please contact Susanne Schnack at for more details or RSVPs.

Australian German Working Group

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the formation of a joint working group during the Chancellor’s visit to Sydney in connection with the B20 Summit. Membership of the group is currently being finalized and it will be around five people on each side, with representatives from business. We understand that the group will be looking for input on the relationship between the Federal Republic and the Commonwealth of Australia and we shall be looking for ideas in the near future.

Christmas Networking Event Frankfurt

Restaurant Alma, Frankfurt

This year’s Christmas Networking took place at the cosy Alma`s Restaurant in Frankfurt. Around 30 members and friends of the German Australian Business Council e.V came together to enjoy the yummie Portuguese three course dinner. Sabine Pittrof, chair of our association, gave a brief review of the year 2014 and an outlook for 2015. Fellow Board Member David Campbell, Consul-General in Frankfurt and Senior Trade & Investment Commissioner, Western Europe for Austrade, gave an overview of Australia’s business targets for the next years, focusing in particular on free trade agreements. All participants enjoyed the networking event and it lasted till late evening until the restaurant had to close to not upset the neighbours.

B20 Business

Turkey has now taken over the chairmanship of the G20 group of leading industrial companies and in conjunction with this the Turkish chambers of commerce organized a meeting in Istanbul recently to continue the B20 process involving business. Both Australia and Germany are members of the G20 and the GABC has been invited to submit members to the working groups. Anyone interested in this work is invited to get in touch.

Australian Economic Update, UK

Australian Economic Update Australian Business in the UK held their regular Australian economic update on 27 November 2014 at BHP Hilton’s spectacular offices overlooking London’s Victoria station with a great view down the Thames over the Houses of Parliament. Present by the Commonwealth Bank’s Chief Economist, Michael Blythe, the update touched on a number of the issues facing the Australian economy. The Australian government is rightly proud of its 23 years of continuous economic growth, which was even sustained during the global financial crisis. There is a general worry, however, that much of this growth is based in the resources sector, Michael attempted to dispel the myth that the current boom may lead to a bust as it has done in the past. Liquified natural gas is coming on tap which has required significant capital investment in the past few years, but the returns have not been generated as the gas is only now being delivered. Australia will soon be one of the world’s major exporters – and hopefully importers will continue to pay a good price. Australia has a rising population, driven mostly by immigration from around the world. One feature of the Australian economy compared to the German economy is the importance of the construction industry. Capital expenditure in the mining sector is decreasing, but remains strong in the residential sector as new houses are built. There is a risk that the residential building sector may be overheating and it appears that the Reserve Bank may even be preparing to control the supply of mortgages for domestic property. This would be a break from its previous policy position of not using such macroeconomic tools. Michael emphasized the need for more spending on infrastructure – this will require the Federal government to take initiatives and he confirmed in a question that the senate continues to block aspects of the 2014 budget, including the treasurer’s proposals to „recycle“ infrastructure assets by selling existing assets to investors and using the returns to invest in new infrastructure. Consumer expenditure is rising, but affected by job worries. Unemployment is currently around 6% and the Australian Bureau of Statistics is forecasting a small increase whilst other indicators suggest that the number may have plateaued. Education and tourism remain important factors in the economy. The number of visitors from China has risen to around 750,000 whilst the number from Japan and the UK has declined over the past ten years. Visas to attend educational establishments are still rising, driven at least partly by the rise in the Asian middle class. Dr. Robert Harrison

Letter from the Chair

Dear Members and Friends of our Association,

as many of you will know we have recently completed the registration of our association’s change of name and I am pleased to report that the German Australian Business Council e.V. is now registered.
Earlier on this year, we adopted a refreshed Strategy and Mission Statement which better reflects the two-way, bilateral nature of our organisation and our overall ambition to provide you – our members and friends – with deep and enduring business connectivity between Germany and Australia. At the same time, a proposal was put forward to amend the name of the organisation to more precisely reflect a specific focus on two-way relationships between Australia and Germany. The Special General Meeting held in August then resolved to change the name of the association from Australian Business in Europe (Germany) e.V. to German Australian Business Council e.V.
As the German Australian Business Council e.V. we will continue to appeal to and provide a resource to German businesses, with an interest or presence in Australia and Australian businesses with an interest or presence in Germany, as well as business professionals of any nationality with an interest in bilateral relations between the two economies.
At the same time, we will of course continue to be part of the international Australian Business in Europe (ABIE) network. It is interesting to note that the core economies in mainland Europe, Germany and France, increasingly are taking a leading role in the international ABIE network as many of the participating organisations start to reflect on and refresh their objectives. Although several participating entities are considering a more bilateral approach for their respective organisiations, it was recently resolved that the name “Australian Business in Europe” be kept as an international brand which each organisation can use in addition to their own brand. A refresh of the ABIE logo is currently under way.
In Germany, we are currently completing the usual tasks associated with the change in an association’s name; Over the next few weeks, this will include changes to our website and our branding.
We look forward to continued and reinvigorated association with you in the coming years

Sabine Pittrof (Chair of the board)

Melbourne Cup event in Frankfurt

Adina Apartment Hotel, Frankfurt Neue Oper

The 2014 Frankfurt Melbourne Cup Event was a night of fun and lively competition. The highlight being Protectionist, a German born and bred horse winning the 2014 Emirates Melbourne Cup. We could not have asked for a better Australia – German link for the focus of the evening.

The German Australian Business Council was fortunate to be able to partner with the Adina Apartment Hotel Frankfurt and Tourism Victoria to make this a truly memorable event. While the highlight was the Melbourne Cup race and sweep and the Business Card draw, the Antique Horse Racing machine, with inspired race calling by Dirk Löb from the Adina Apartment Hotels, was the true focus of the evening for many of the guests. We were also entertained by a fashion parade highlighting a young Frankfurt fashion designer, an exhibition by Glow Shoes and tastings of some top Australian wines courtesy of German Australian Business Council Members Karin & Olaf Czirr from the Australien Wine Store and Bob Gogan from Gogan Wine Imports. This was a particularly popular networking point throughout the evening.

Special congratulations got to Sabine Höfferling from PPI Aktiengesellschaft, the winner of the business card draw; a trip for two to the 2015 Melbourne Cup Carnival including return airfares with Emirates, four nights accommodation at an Adina property in Melbourne and Members passes to Derby Day and Melbourne Cup Day courtesy of the Victoria Racing Club.

Fourth Australian German Science Circle

Australian Embassy, Berlin

The fourth Australia-German Science Circle was held on a pleasant September evening in the meeting room at the Australian Embassy in Berlin. Attended by ABIE Board Members, Elisabeth Opie, Class de Boer and Rob Harrison, the event focussed on science collaboration around the world. Professor Debbie Terry, Senior Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland focussed on how important collaboration has become in the scientific world. Australia and Germany are leaders, with many of their researchers being on papers with non-local co-authors.  Growing tripartite arrangements involving Asian-based scientists were also discussed.

Professor Terry did not really dive into the commercialisation aspects of science, except to mention one interesting statistic: in Germany, the ratio of academic researchers to technologists and scientists working in industry is 2:4; in Australia the ratio is 5:2 – almost a complete reversal. This shows the potential for increase in Australian industry science-based structure while achieving high return on investment, and indeed is being encouraged by the Australian government. There is clearly a long way to go, and targeted international teaming up of scientists would certainly help meet the challenges ahead for mutual benefit – scientifically and commercially.

The evening finished off with the usual round of drinks in the Atrium.

New logo for new name introduces new era

To distinguish the newly named German Australian Business Council from its predecessor a new logo has been designed. The design was created by design agency Creative Republic based in Frankfurt and reflects the two-way nature of the newly refurbished organization to enhance business and cultural relationships between Australia and Germany.
The colours red, blue and yellow encompass both countries and the star represents the bright future the organization aims towards.