AusCham’s Farewell Apéro for Australian Ambassador, Zurich, 23rd of September 2020

The Australian Swiss Chamber of Commerce is pleased to invite German Australian Business Council Members and Friends to a farewell reception for Australian Ambassador to Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Lynette Wood, in Zurich on Wednesday, the 23rd of September, 2020.

For more information and bookings: click HERE

Battery Value Chain Webinar, September 2020

On 3 September 2020, we were pleased to present an online event with the Government of Western Australia European Office and the Australian Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) on the battery value chain from Australia to Germany.

Elisabeth Opie, Deputy Board Chair, German Australian Business Council welcomed all participants and Mike Deeks, Western Australian Agent General UK, Europe and Israel set the context with an overview of the Western Australian critical raw minerals ecosystem and the government’s strategy and support for businesses looking to invest and trade with Western Australia. This was followed by four leading Australian and European speakers across research and industry providing different perspectives across the battery value chain.

Dr Jacques Eksteen, FBICRC Chief Operating Officer and Research Director kicked off with an overview of Western Australia’s battery minerals industry which has been rapidly transitioning from an exporter of mineral concentrates to a producer of battery chemicals such as lithium hydroxide and nickel sulphate. The FBICRC has also been establishing research relationships with German research institutes such as the Fraunhofer and Helmholtz.

Dr Jeffrey Wilson, Perth USAsia Centre Research Director then spoke about the governance of the extremely complex battery value chain, which is insecure and faces major challenges for social and environmental sustainability. Australia is well placed as a secure and sustainable battery partner though it needs to move along the value chain towards mid-stream activities and build greater resilience by focusing on processing technologies and connecting with broader energy transition plans and international partners.

Our first industry speaker, Samantha McGahan, Australian Vanadium (AVL)/VSUN Energy Business Development Manager shared about AVL’s Gabanintha project, which has been awarded Major Project Status by the Australian Federal Government and Lead Agency Status by the Western Australian State Government and its proven capability to produce high-purity V2O5 for vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) and production of electrolytes. Its dedicated subsidiary VSUN Energy was set up in 2016 to grow the VRFB market in Australia.

Benoit Lemaignan, Verkor Co-Founder and CEO then introduced Verkor’s first Gigafactory, supported by EIT InnoEnergy, Schneider Electric, and GROUPE IDEC, which is scheduled to begin in 2023 with a capacity of 16GWh of battery cells and set to increase to 50GWh.

Thank you to all partners, speakers and participants for joining us.

For those who missed the session, the full video recording can be accessed Here

Recording access code: P6CVB=$q

Australian Embassy and Australian Mission to EU event: Toward a Global Hydrogen Market Webinar, 14th of September, 2020

The Australian Embassy Berlin together with the Australian Mission to the EU are pleased to extend an invitation to Business Council Members and Friends to the following event:


Toward a Global Hydrogen Market

14th of September, 2020 at 9:30 am CEST/ 5.30pm AEST


 The panel of experts will discuss hydrogen’s role in the global energy transition, and opportunities for growth and energy cooperation between Australia, Germany and the EU.

The panelist discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A.
The expert panel includes:
– Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist
– Prof Dr Veronika Grimm, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
– EU speaker to be confirmed
The webinar will be moderated by Frédéric Simon, News Editor, Euractiv; with an introduction from HE Lynette Wood, Australian Ambassador to Germany.

Bookings can be made via the following link


AHK Webinar: Industry Focus: Energy Efficiency, 18th of August 2020

German Australian Business Council Members are invited to take part in a webinar organised by the AHK in Sydney.

Industry Focus: Energy Efficiency

18th of August, 2020

8am (German Time)

For more information and registration:

KAS and Uni of Melbourne Law School: Reforming Tax Sharing in the Federation, Online, 11th of August, 2020

GABC Members and Friends are invited to a webinar presented by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the University of Melbourne Law School on the topic of “Reforming Tax Sharing in the Federation”

Guest Speaker will be Prof. Dr. Rudolph Mellinghoff, President of the Federal Supreme Finance Court of Germany since 1 November 2011. Prior to this appointment, Prof. Mellinghoff was a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany between 2001 and 2011.

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, the 11th of August between 9am and 10.30am CEST (5pm and 6.30pm AEST). Registrations and further information can be found HERE

Australia- UK Chamber of Commerce Leaders in Conversation Event with Ita Buttrose, Online, 22nd of July 2020

German Australian Business Council Members are invited to attend the Leaders in Conversation Online event featuring Ita Buttrose AC OBE on the 22nd of July. This event is being held by the Australia- United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce, a member of the ABIE Network.

To register, please click  HERE

bayme vbm Business Excellence Day 2020, Online Event, 22nd of July

GABC members and friends are invited to join the bayme vbm Business Excellence Day Online event on the 22nd of July, 2020. This event focuses on the integration of artificial intelligence into industry and will feature a variety of exciting speakers.

The event is in German.

For more information and registration, click HERE

ABIE Business Leaders Forum, June 2020

It made for fascinating listening. Four top business leaders from four hugely successful global companies, all sharing their very different stories of navigating the unprecedented COVID 19 crisis.

Two saw their businesses expand. Two saw their businesses severely impacted, and see their struggle continuing. Two are based in Australia. Two are based in Europe. All are members of the ABIE Network.

It was ABIE’S first Business Leaders Roundtable, held on Wednesday June 24, 2020. Titled ‘Unlocking European-Australian Potential’, the speakers shared their insights gleaned from the crisis and how they managed the challenges of doing business over the past months.
It was a Zoom webinar which attracted 100 participants from companies in Europe and Australia across a wide range of sectors and included representatives from the Embassies, Austrade and bi-lateral Chambers of Commerce.

Sharing their experiences were Bernard Tabary, ABIE France President, and CEO International of Keolis; Jon Acarregui Bilbao, Country Manager, Nufarm, Spain; Kjell Kloosterziel, Director, Schiphol International in the Netherlands; and Evangelos Kotsopoulos, CEO, Sonic Healthcare, Germany and Continental Europe and GABC Board member.

Jason Collins, CEO of the European Australian Business Council, and part of the ABIE Group network, joined from Canberra to moderate the round table. “Now more than ever governments and businesses need to be working intensively to manage the pandemic and to identify the enablers for our economies to move forward again. The roundtable session has brought together leading Australian and European companies who are each confronting the challenges of mobility in different ways – in the healthcare, aviation, public transport, and agrifood sectors.

Evangelos Kosopoulos opened by describing Australia-based Sonic Healthcare as a medical diagnostics company which runs large laboratories in 8 countries, employing 37 000. He explained that the company was the first laboratory in Europe to test for the virus in late January. Capacity was then ramped up fast as the world struggled to find COVID 19 tests. He said that by late February the company was “in the eye of the storm”. To date the company has tested many millions of people around the world. The group was the first in Europe to set up testing through nasal swabs, followed by molecular diagnosis. “It was an avalanche of testing”, said Evangelos. “We had a large part of our staff working around the clock.’ “On a lighter note, our testing helped Germany’s soccer league, Bundesliga, to go back to competitive play as the first professional sports league in the world”.

It has been an inverse experience for Kjell Kloosterziel whose company runs airports around the world including in Brisbane and Tasmania. Speaking from the Netherlands, he said air travel had been hit very hard. Despite this, most airports were kept open. The main challenge
was cash management with cash being generated through bond issues. “It was very hard on our staff”, he said. So far the company has not been forced to let anyone go. An optimist, he thought he could see the first signs of recovery. “This is a marathon – not a sprint though”, he warned. ‘It will be 3 to 5 years before we reach the level of pre-Covid. But we must focus on recovery.”

Keolis, a public transport and mobility solutions company with a global reach, had a 6.5 billion euro turnover last year, and carried 3.4 billion passengers a year. Then, with lock down, public transport ground to a halt. Bernard Tabary pointed out three lessons could be drawn from the crisis.

Humility. “We had nine deaths, and had to lay off and furlough staff”.
Vigilance. “New spikes show that the crisis is far from over.”
Agility. Learn how to plan with the unpredictable “It is not so much planning, as agility that we need.”

The next step for Keolis? “Making public transport acceptable”.

Bernard praised the Australian Government’s handling of the pandemic. “What I’ve seen in Australia has been excellent preparation and solid governance, a coming together of State and Federal Governments in a positive way.”

The crisis saw business soaring for Nufarm, an Australian giant in the agricultural business operating in 100 countries. Demand grew by 100% a day. “Not one part of our business was hit by COVID 19”, said Jon Acarregui Bilbao. “Demand kept coming, but for different products, mirroring the consumers’ changing eating habits because of the virus. “We had huge demand for everything containing Vitamin C – oranges, lemons, strawberries and fresh fruit and vegetables. We had complete freedom to supply throughout the EU, despite the lockdown.
“Our biggest challenge was to set up home working.”

The exchange ended with valuable insights into COVID from Evangelos, who explained that uncertainty in testing was typically not the result of the test itself, but often of the way the swab was taken. He said it was an unpleasant test and had to be correctly done by well trained
staff. Another problem was that the viral load changed, so timing of the test was critical. Testing too early, or testing too late gave a misleading result.” He warned against quick home tests being sold on the internet, saying their quality was appalling. Describing “antibody passports” as nonsense, he explained that scientists were not sure yet that having COVID 19 anti-bodies gave immunity.

Summing up the wide-ranging discussion, while some could be seen as winners in this crisis, and others losers, all agreed that managing cash in troubled times was vital to the viability of their business.

In her closing remarks and vote of thanks, Maya Joshi, the current Chair of the ABIE Group, which comprises 16 organisations in Europe and Australia, noted how the sudden confinement had forced the group to come up with innovative solutions to keep in contact with its members through a series of webinars. These have opened up the network and facilitated interaction with a wide range of people and companies. Today’s Business Leaders Roundtable will hopefully be the first of a series.

A Diplomatic Perspective of 2020 to Date and Looking Ahead for Australian-German Business Relations, H.E. Lynette Wood, Australian Ambassador to Germany- Online Event, June 2020

On the 18th of June, the Australian Ambassador to Germany H.E. Lynette Wood gave an update on the diplomatic relations between Germany and Australia, highlighting the importance of both countries to work together to overcome the economic challenges arising from COVID-19 in the next 12 to 18 months.

While physical borders remain shut, the Australian and German business communities are communicating more and collaborating across an even broader range of issues. Key areas of cooperation between Australia and Germany include the ongoing AU-EU FTA negotiations, advocating for global trade and rules-based international organizations like WTO and WHO, skills and vocational training, research cooperation, and economic collaboration in sectors like MedTech, clean energy, AgTech.

We thank Ambassador Wood for her update and the lively Q&A session with our members and friends.

Austrade offers webinar series on digital advanced manufacturing, July 2020

Austrade is offering a series of webinars on digital advanced manufacturing throughout the month of July in lieu of their delegation to the Hannover Messe 2020.


For more information on the events and registration, please go to