It has been another busy year for the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) team in Australia and I think we can be pleased with our achievements, particularly given all the change that took place within the network during the year (including a change in Consul General and Director General for Trade and Investment!)
It has been good to see the continued success of British companies that are well-established in the Australian marketplace. It has also been great to see relatively new companies like Murphy Pipe & Civil winning a A$250 million contract with QGC. We will look to be even more proactive in the year ahead to help British companies learn about and take advantage of opportunities in Australia. We will also look to maintain - or improve on - the quality of the support we provide to British business: the UKTI Australian network was one of the best performers globally in terms of the quality of service we provided and our customer satisfaction ratings in the surveys carried out with British companies we worked with in the past year. However, we are acutely aware there is no room for complacency.
The investment team helped 48 Australian companies invest in, or expand their operations in the UK over the past year (30% above the 2012/13 target). Some of the major Australian investments/announcements in the year included:
- The Industry Fund Management group were part of the Manchester Airport consortium that bought Stansted Airport;
- The Westfield Group opened the extension of the Shepherds Bush shopping centre and announced the £1 billion redevelopment of the Croydon shopping centre;
- Wolf Minerals secured funding for the £104 million project to re-start tungsten and tin mining at the Hemerdon mine in South West Devon; and
- Slater & Gordon’s acquisition of the UK law firm, Russell, Jones & Walker.
Some of the highlights of the year included:
- The Bond Skyfall launch events in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane promoting “Business is GREAT”. I still get many business contacts – six months afterwards – speaking about these events which were great vehicles for highlighting the dynamism and innovation of creative Britain;
- The initiative taken to promote opportunities for UK companies to work with Australian companies in China or with Chinese companies in the infrastructure field here in Australia;
- The support we have given to the British presence at major events such as CeBIT and the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference (AOG); and
- The series of webinars that we organised helped nearly 500 British companies to gain a better understanding of the Australian market, and the feedback we received about them has been very positive
Looking forward to the year ahead.
There will be increasing expectations on us – in common with the rest of the global UK Trade & Investment network – to deliver more given the importance of our work to the recovery of the UK economy. We need to be constantly thinking of new and creative ways of getting our message out about the opportunities that exist for strengthening UK-Australian business links.
Some of my priorities for the network include:
- Improving our outreach to a broader range of British companies, both in the UK and Australia;
- Developing deeper relationships with the leading UK companies operating in Australia, and helping them to achieve their business goals
- Continuing to develop our relationships with major investors in the UK and
- Spreading the word not only about the success and importance of the UK/Australia economic relationship but also about the opportunities that exist for strengthening it
I have enjoyed meeting a broad cross-section of the business community in my time so far in the job and look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming months.
Consul General and Director General of UK Trade & Investment Australia and New Zealand