December 2020 Message from AmCham CEO

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December 2020

As we head towards December 31st, we reflect on what has surely been the most unusual year of our lives. Over the course of the past 12 months, the corona virus has claimed over a million lives globally, brought countries to a standstill, and exacerbated some societal divides. As keen as we are to see the end of 2020, we should not miss an opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved together despite the challenges we faced. In 2020, AmCham and its members created access to opportunities through:

  • Networking: Creating over throughout the year that allowed small and large groups in Australia and America to connect and discuss business opportunities;
  • Advocacy: Following through on our annual to Canberra despite the Parliamentary ban on visitors – all meetings with Ministers, Shadow Ministers and Department Secretaries were held via Zoom;
  • Access: Expanding the exclusive to include a range of members across the country, offering access to leaders such as Jeffrey Bleich, Guy Kawasaki, David Petraeus, and Shemara Wikramanayake;
  • Visibility: Launching , a six-part television show on SkyNews featuring the work of many AmCham member companies; and
  • Information: Pivoting to online events and creating several new and very popular such as Live From America, The Commercialisation of Space and The Future Of Everything.

We welcomed a dynamic new Chairman, , and Vice Chairman, ;


We appointed Chairs of our across the country:

  • NSW
    Chair- Robert Le Busque, Regional Vice President, Verizon Business Group- Asia Pacific
    Vice Chair- Robyn Denholm, Chair, Tesla
  • VIC
    Chair- Jeanne Johns, CEO and Managing Director, Incitec Pivot
    Vice Chair- Nick Nichola, Managing Partner, K&L Gates
  • SA
    Chair- Hon Christopher Pyne, Founder, Pyne and Partners
  • WA
    Chair- Mrs Gina Rinehart, Executive Chairman, Hancock Prospecting Group
  • QLD
    Chair- Karl Morris, CEO and Managing Director, Ord Minnett

We enhanced the value proposition to such an extent that reached an all-time high;


We supported members who were struggling due to ;


We farewelled one amazing board member, , and welcomed another, ;


We launched the ground breaking study, , in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin that found a significant percentage of the Australian GDP is a result of American trade and investment;


We inaugurated a new focus on the commercialisation of space, with dozens of companies joining our new on Space;


We reimagined in a new webinar series for corporates to rebuild after the pandemic;


We expanded the through Zoom to allow participants across the country to learn from over 50 corporate titans, thought leaders and government officials;


We established partnerships with several other organisations in the United States that will act as force multipliers for the work of AmCham and its members;


We began holding webinars, featuring top voices from the United States focusing on issues important to Australia;


We launched a from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute highlighting the connections between Silicon Valley and Australia, along with opportunities for future business;


We featured our members in the SkyNews television series ;


We established a CEO Regulatory Reform Task Force with support from PwC; the group will communicate its findings to Government in the beginning of 2021; and


We pledged to ‘’ and increase veteran employment within the civilian workforce.


For all of these reasons and more, I will look back on 2020 as a year not only of devastating disease, dislocation, and disruption, but also as a year when opportunity and innovation allowed AmCham members to reassess, regroup and rebuild.


From all of us at the Chamber, we wish you a restful and regenerative holiday break, and we will see you early in 2021, ready to offer even more access to opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

April Palmerlee, Chief Executive Officer

American Chamber of Commerce in Australia


I’m delighted to welcome these new members and here are links to their websites:

Network News

AmCham is pleased to announce our newly elected Governors. AmCham has over 100 Governors across the country who are senior executives from AmCham member companies selected for their considerable experience and expertise.


We would like to especially welcome Karl Morris who is now the Chair of the QLD Council of Governors. Karl Morris is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Ord Minnett Ltd. He joined Ords in 1990 as an adviser after initially starting in the stockbroking industry as a scrip clerk in 1987. He is a Commerce graduate of Griffith University and holds diplomas from the Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association of Australia, FINSIA and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


He was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) on Australia Day 2019, for distinguished service to the financial and stockbroking sectors, and to the community through a range of organisations.


Karl is Chairman of the Brisbane Broncos Ltd, Chair of Bravehearts Foundation Fund and Chair of the Mary MacKillop Brisbane Catholic School Access Fund. His other Board memberships include Australian Catholic University Senate, J.P. Morgan Australia Advisory Council, Archdiocese of Brisbane Catholic Foundation and National Vice Patron of Bravehearts. He is a Master Member (and former Chair 2012-2018) of the Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association of Australia, and former Chairman of QSuper (2013-2019). He also sits on the Investment Committees of the Catholic Archdioceses of Brisbane and Sydney.


Karl Morris

QLD Chair

CEO and Managing Director

Ord Minnett



Khoa Dao



ConocoPhillips Australia Operations



Stephen Loosley


Senior Fellow

Australian Strategic Policy Institute



Warwick Smith



Ord Minnett



Preeti Bajaj



Adecco Australia



Tara Brady


Market Unit Lead,

Australia and New Zealand




Paul Chase



Leidos Australia



David Whiteley


Global Head of External Relations

IFM Investors


Network News
Member Spotlight

David Larkin AM

CEO, Hancock Agriculture


DAVID LARKIN AM is the CEO of Hancock Agriculture, which oversees both the S. Kidman & Co Pty Ltd business, one of Australia’s largest beef producers which includes 101,000 square kilometres and the existing cattle and feedlot interests of Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd. The herd is currently at over 330,000 head.


Previously running his own vertically-integrated beef business using a service kill out of the Northern Cooperative Meat Co at Casino, NSW to supply his award-winning Atron beef grass fed and grain fed brand programs, David sold his Atron business to Thomas Foods International in May 2016. He has since worked in a senior executive role with TFI, primarily representing the company in trade access issues.


In addition to his own business, David spent six years as Chairman of the Australian Meat Industry Council. During his term as AMIC chair he played important roles in developing trade access agreements and removing trade barriers for Australian beef in emerging markets like China, as well as the US, Japan and Korea.


David was awarded AMIC’s Distinguished Australian of the Year award in 2009, and received an AM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2017.


An innovative and strategic leader in the Australian agribusiness industry, David’s success can be attributed to his deep knowledge and leadership in the Australian beef industry and involvement in Australian export and Foreign Trade Policy formulation – underpinned with instinctive entrepreneurial skills. With an ability to constantly innovate and integrate the beef supply chain, ahead of the dynamic requirements of the international markets.


David’s vision as CEO of Hancock Agriculture is to be the best Australian Agricultural Business and to have the World’s largest full blood and pure bred wagyu herd.


Childhood dream job?

I had two, a lawyer or a butcher. So I became a butcher. Never did I expect to be CEO of Hancock Agriculture.


Driving force in life?

I think the answer to that is to ensure and drive in-line with shareholders and the Chairman. To be the best I can be. And for us to be recognised as the best Agri business in Australia.


Who do you admire?

Mrs Rinehart. She is an inspirational Australian who is self-made, self-driven and wants the best for anything she is involved in.


Dream dinner companion?

I have two: Mrs Rinehart, of course and Geoffrey Robertson. Geoffrey was a lawyer and hosted the tv show called Hypothetical and is now an international human rights lawyer.


Best advice ever received?

Came in the forms of sayings.

“You can’t eat the soup when it first boils on the stove, sometimes you have to let it cool a bit”

“Think ahead”

“You can only speak with the tongue that you have”


What is the most rewarding part of job?

Being part of being able to drive and grow the best agricultural business in Australia.


Favourite movie?

Bohemian Rhapsody.

Company Spotlight

Incitec Pivot Limited joins Climate Leaders Coalition


Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) has become a founding member of the Climate Leaders Coalition, joining other leading businesses to help drive progress in creating a low carbon future for Australia.


An initiative of the B Team Australasia, the Coalition will see founding CEO members collaborate and problem solve some of Australia’s most difficult decarbonising challenges.


IPL Managing Director & CEO Jeanne Johns said she was proud to be a founding CEO member and be working alongside CEOs from some of Australia’s largest resources and industrial companies.


“The Climate Leaders Coalition is an important initiative that will drive collaboration between CEOs and help us share and learn from each other as we progress our own business initiatives to reduce emissions,” Ms Johns said.


“The Coalition will help play a role towards a low emissions future for Australia, while also ensuring long term economic sustainability.”


“At Incitec Pivot, we are committed to ensuring our business is competitive in a low carbon future.”


In November, IPL announced its commitment to a medium term 5% absolute reduction in its global emissions by 2026 and to the continued investigation of new and emerging technologies for greater reductions in the medium to long term.


Click to

Network News

The Relationship Between Security Maturity and Business Enablement



In March 2020, AT&T Cybersecurity, in partnership with industry analyst firm, the Enterprise Security Group, completed a research survey of 500 cybersecurity and IT professionals who are directly involved with their organisations cybersecurity strategies, controls, and operations.


This research project was intended to parallel the National Institute of Standards and Technology cybersecurity framenero by assessing organisations’ postures across the five foundational cybersecurity functions of the CSF: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.


Read the report ...


National Mining & Related Industries Day address by Mrs Gina Rinehart

Hancock Prospecting


Mrs Gina Rinehart as Founder and Patron of National Mining & Related Industries Day addressed attendees on 22 November 2020.

Watch the video address ...

A New Public Museum in Sydney

The University of Sydney


The new museum of art, science, history and ancient cultures is now open to the public in 2020. Entry is free and the museum features 18 new exhibitions across four floors of galleries, engaging public events and a hands-on learning programs for students.


Find out

Change in Service Alert

US Consulate - Sydney


Effective November 23, the US Consulate General in Sydney will resume limited appointments for notarial services, in addition to the passport, citizenship, and loss of nationality services already offered. All visitors to the Consulate age 2 and older must wear a mask. Appointment availability will be strictly limited due to physical distancing requirements in our office and public waiting room. Each applicant requires their own appointment.


The Consulate is also accepting mail-in passport applications (using forms DS-82 and DS-5504). If you are eligible for a mail-in service, the Consulate asks that you please mail your application to the address in the link below and leave appointments for those who require them.


Click to find out more...


Aspen Medical, Docta ink $1.3bn Indonesia healthcare deal

Aspen Medical


Canberra-based Aspen Medical and Sydney's Docta last month, formally signed the agreement with the West Javan government, adding more than 6000 beds to the province of 50 million people.


Two Australian companies have secured a A$1.3 billion deal to build and operate 650 healthcare clinics and 23 hospitals across Indonesia's most populous province.


Read more ...

Employee Share Schemes - Incentivising key personnel during COVID-19



This year is certainly unforgettable. Some organisations have flourished, whilst others have struggled to make ends meet. Owners worried about cash flow, but wanting to retain key staff have had to look for alternatives to keep staff motivated and focussed on the future growth prospects of their organisation.


This lateral thinking has seen a significant uplift in queries relating to Employee Share Schemes (ESS). Constructing the correct ESS for your organisation can mean a win-win for owners and staff alike, as long as owners consider the tax implications in advance.


BDO Associate Director,, outlines the benefits of setting up an ESS and three of the most effective alternatives to incentivising staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst reducing the complexity involved.


and download their guide that includes case studies that demonstrate how the structure implementation of ESS options can help grow your organisation.

CMU-A’s Downer-Rann Scholarships Now Open

Carnegie Mellon University Australia


Australians with an undergraduate degree can gain crucial public policy and information technology skills to further their career thanks to a lucrative scholarship available from the Adelaide campus of one of the world’s most renowned universities.


Applications are now open for Carnegie Mellon University Australia’s Downer-Rann Scholarships. Named after the two Australian leaders responsible for bringing Carnegie Mellon University (CMU-A) to Australia, the scholarships are available for those wanting to enrol in a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management, a Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics, and a Master of Science in Information Technology Management.


Find out more ...

Equinix Extends Digital Edge with New Data Centre in Perth



The A$76.6 million first phase of PE3 is targeted to open in Q4 2021. When it opens, the new facility will provide access to more than 1,045 companies, including 215 networks and 395 cloud providers, who utilize Platform Equinix in Australia to address the rising demand from digital leaders who want all the necessary digital infrastructure building blocks on one platform.


Perth is increasingly becoming a strategic part of Australia's internet infrastructure due to its proximity to Southeast Asia and direct connectivity via two subsea cable links, the Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) and Indigo Cable. Both cables terminate directly inside the Equinix Perth campus, reducing the time it takes for data to move between Singapore and Australia by 50%.


Read more ...

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