High-level taskforce urges deeper business engagement with Asia

The Business Council of Australia and Asia Society Australia today announced the formation of an Asia Taskforce of senior leaders from the business, education and government sectors to examine how Australian companies and organisations can increase their presence and position in Asia to ensure our continued prosperity and deliver progress for future generations. 

It will be chaired by Mark van Dyck, Managing Director (Asia-Pacific), Compass Group, and co-led by Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, Philipp Ivanov, CEO Asia Society Australia, and Andrew Parker, Asia Practice Leader and Partner at PwC.

Over the next 12 months the taskforce will examine how Australia can build and enhance its position with the powerhouse Asian economies in our proximity, diversify our economic partners, and prepare for a more strategically and economically competitive region.

The taskforce will meet for the first time next month with the aim of delivering a series of policy recommendations to government.

Chairman of the Asia Taskforce chairman, Mark van Dyck, said:

“The job of the taskforce will be to look at practical ways for Australian companies to build sustainable and successful businesses in Asia. Much good work has gone into addressing why Australia needs to engage with Asia. We want to focus on specifically how we can do that, for instance by identifying successful business models and the leadership skills necessary to deliver results.”

Jennifer Westacott said:

“Over the past two decades Australia’s economic growth has been built in large part on trade and investment with Asia, just as it will be into the future. But that’s no reason for complacency.  Governments of both persuasions have built strong international frameworks for co-operation and communication in the Asian region. Business has a key role to play supporting that work.

“Making sure Australia is well placed take advantage of new and emerging markets the region will help Australian businesses expand, grow and create new jobs at home. We’re proud to participate in this project, charting a course for Australian business into the future.”

Welcoming the initiative, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said:

“Asia continues to present huge opportunities for Australian businesses, helped by the trade agreements our government is delivering with Indonesia as well as with all three major North Asian economies - China, Japan and South Korea.

“We’ll continue to work hard to open new doors for our exporters and I welcome this commitment from the business community to examine how Australian businesses can better take advantage of these opportunities to access fast growing markets right across Asia.”