News 14 February 2020

Chief Executive Update 14 February

I’m delighted to write my first update to you as Chief Executive of the Victorian Chamber. It's an honour to be in the role, and I do commend and thank Mark Stone AM for his tremendous legacy.

With a very capable and engaged Board chaired by our new President Karyn Sobels, we are excited about the next chapter of the organisation.

During the past two weeks I have been understanding the priorities facing our members, meeting with many of you to hear your stories and to hear directly what your business needs to succeed.

Many of our members faced an incredibly difficult start to the year, as the devastating bushfires raged across our state. The Chamber set up a 12-month $500,000 support package for members in bushfire affected areas and visited members to hear in their own words what is needed to get through this challenging time. We are also really pleased to be the official administrator of the $50,000 Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grants, available to eligible businesses who suffered damage in the Victorian bushfires.

Just as we all hoped the imminent threat of bushfires was over, Coronavirus took hold and rocked our economy, with thousands of Victorian businesses bracing themselves for the impact of the China travel ban, disruption to China’s manufacturing sector and slowdown in two-way trade. We watch media reports of the global impact of the virus every day, and for at least the next few months we expect Victorian business to continue to be disrupted. Please get in touch with our team if you are concerned with how your business is tracking.

I was pleased to be able to represent the diverse interests of members in media interviews on the Commonwealth Review of the Retirement Income System. I outlined our strong support for Australia’s superannuation system and the objective of improving retirement incomes, especially for women, but cautioned on the impact of Victorian Government recommendations on jobs and wage growth. We canvassed a cross-section of our member base to learn how some of the recommendations would affect their business. Quite simply, business is not able to fund additional Superannuation contributions beyond the agreed 12%, without offsets from Government.

By listening to you, the Chamber demonstrated a credible and evidence-based position for business. This will be a fundamental part of our platform and approach into the future, and I look forward to engaging with you. Over the next few months, I will meet many of you and hear firsthand more about your business needs and what initiatives you need to help your business grow.

We also launched the Digital Opportunities Roadshow with the Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, the Hon. Adem Somyurek, and are pleased to be delivering this initiative to small businesses across regional areas of Victoria with funding provided by Small Business Victoria.

If you haven’t recently done so, I would encourage you to review our website as there are many tools and services that the Victorian Chamber can provide to help you manage and run your business more effectively.

I look forward to meeting those of you who plan to come to the Victorian Chamber’s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix Breakfast - always a sell-out and a great day. With Damon Hill as our key speaker early reservations are a must for this popular event.

Media Contact

All media enquiries may be directed to the Media and Communications Manager

03 8662 5310

0423 883 945

For all other enquiries please contact the Victorian Chamber on 03 8662 5333

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