February 2021 Message from AmCham CEO

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February 2021

The positivity and optimism in the business community at the start of 2021 is noticeable. And with the inauguration of a new US president, US-Australia economic and security relations are poised to continue to thrive, creating many business openings and connections for AmCham members. Building on initial discussions between American and Australian leaders, AmCham will produce research, curate events, and facilitate introductions for its members to access the opportunities. Some of the recent discussions of note have included:

  • US President Joe Biden has told Prime Minister Scott Morrison he is eager to visit Australia in his new role. The pair reportedly discussed reducing global emissions, the growing challenge of China and the military coup in Myanmar. Mr Biden told Mr Morrison it would be a “high priority” for his administration to work with allies and partners within the Indo-Pacific region. The President indicated he sees the Australia-US relationship as providing the anchor for peace and security in our region, according to the Prime Minister.
  • New US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Marise Payne discussed cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, including through multilateral organisations and mechanisms like the Quad, as well as climate change, COVID-19, global health security, promoting human rights, rule of law, and regional security.
  • In a call from new US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, the two agreed our “unbreakable alliance” should focus on the Indo-Pacific.
  • And US Climate Envoy John Kerry spoke early on with Energy Minister Angus Taylor. Mr Taylor and Mr Kerry agreed to establish a joint working group to collaborate on technologies that will reduce emissions. They also agreed on the need to enhance international collaboration on technology R&D in order to reduce the cost of new technologies to parity with existing approaches, as well as the need to encourage increased private-sector investment in technology R&D.

The US Government has awarded two Australian companies major contracts to expand their business in the United States.

  • Lynas Rare Earths received US$30 million to build a facility in Texas to process minerals used in missiles, electronics, wind turbines, and other goods. This is the second contract awarded to Lynas. While China is the world’s largest producer of rare earth minerals, the United States is trying to increase its own supply to ensure consistent availability as Beijing has threatened to cease exports of the minerals to the United States in the past.
  • Digital diagnostics company Ellume received US$232 million to accelerate domestic US production of its COVID-19 home test, the first rapid self-test for COVID-19 detection authorised by the US FDA for both asymptomatic and symptomatic use without a prescription.

American Australian Association President and former US Ambassador to Australia John Berry (Ret) believes there are several areas for Australian businesses to achieve results in the United States: climate action innovations to support zero-emission vehicles, medical innovations, the commercial space industry, and infrastructure.


The AmCham teams across the country are working hard to bring you the best year ever of events, research, networking and information. Please be an active participant – whether you are current members or occasional guests. You will get the most value out of your AmCham connections by speaking with our staff, keeping us informed about your needs and challenges, and building connections.


And now, in keeping with our optimistic outlook for 2021, for some good news headlines you may have missed, with thanks to our friends at Mehlman Castagnetti:

The AmCham staff around the country and I look forward to working with you and your organisations to maximise the opportunities in the year ahead. Working together we can grow the economy and create jobs. I look forward to a positive and prosperous 2021 with you.


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:

Member Spotlight

Kristie Young Joins AmCham as Perth-based General Manager


Kristie Young, AmCham's newest GM, has over 20 years of experience in the industry. She is a respected member of the mining and business community with strong connections across industry, academia, government not-for-profits and service providers. Her unique background across technical engineering, business development, marketing, strategy, growth, commercial, consultancy, account management, diversity & inclusion, advisory, governance, education and HR provides a unique mix of skills that sees her well placed to effect real change in the Australian business landscape.


Kristie is currently non-executive director with ASX-listed companies Lithium Australia and Primero Group. She sits on the Wesley College Board, the Board of the Petroleum Club of WA, is a Perth UQ EAIT Alumni Ambassador, and a member of the CMEWA Diversity & Inclusion Reference Group.


Kristie holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) Hons from the University of Queensland, a Post Graduate Diploma of Education (Mathematics & IT) from the University of Western Australia, a CertIV HR from the Australian HR Institute and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Member Spotlight

Anne Harris

Managing Director| Pfizer Australia and New Zealand


Anne Harris is the Managing Director of Pfizer Australia and New Zealand. She has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 25 years with extensive leadership, strategic and operational expertise across a wide range of therapeutic areas in medicines and vaccines. She has had leading roles in diverse markets with a variety of market access models, such as EU, Canada, Japan, China and Korea requiring a broad understanding of global pricing policy negotiations with governments. Anne is deeply committed to working collaboratively across the health sector to build greater understanding of the vital role of medicines in improving the health of Australians.


As Pfizer ANZ Managing Director, Anne is responsible for bringing forward Pfizer’s pipeline of innovative medicines to patients in Australia and New Zealand.


Most recently, she was Pfizer Vaccines Lead for Developed Asia, working to ensure that meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines are available through National Immunisation Programs, including immunisation for indigenous and high-risk populations.


She is also deeply passionate about diversity and has dedicated her career to building workplaces that result in an inclusive, creative and thriving workforce.


Anne graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Microbiology. She also holds a Diploma of Human Resources from Monash University.


Most rewarding part about your job?

My role affords me the opportunity to work with a talented, fun and diverse group of colleagues who make a real difference to the lives of our patients and to the broader community we serve.


Proudest moment so far?

When Pfizer and its partner BioNTech brought the first breakthrough vaccine for COVID-19, Comirnaty™, to Australia. COVID-19 is the greatest public health challenge the world has faced in more than a century. I’m proud that the TGA has approved Comirnaty ™ after meeting its high standards for safety, quality and efficacy. I hope that this first COVID-19 vaccine will help lead us out of this devastating pandemic which has impacted so many lives and livelihoods.


Best advice you ever received?

A mentor stressed to me that the most important capabilities a leader must have are: bone-deep self-confidence – being confident in owning your voice, as well as your vulnerabilities; flexibility and adaptability, which is critical in a world where the pace of change is only increasing; and the principle of ‘If you do not ask, you do not get.’


If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?

I’d be an expert in languages. Being a master of languages would be a source of endless fascination. To master different languages is to have a path to a deeper understanding of others, in terms of individual and collective perspectives and cultures.


What is the first holiday destination you are looking to visit once we can safely travel again?

There are too many to choose from. My top three are: New Zealand – the most likely destination to happen first and which I love for its beautiful natural landscape. Morocco, which has always intrigued me as its culture merges African, Arab and other influences. And a perennial favourite, Italy, for its stunning food, architecture, people, language, design and history.

Company Spotlight

Meet Navy’s Newest Trusted Partner for Australian OPVs



The Royal Australian Navy is introducing a new class of Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), responsible for maritime border patrol, constabulary missions and response duties for humanitarian and disaster relief. With advanced sensors and command and communication systems, the Arafura Class OPVs will operate alongside Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force vessels.


Raytheon Australia has recently been selected as the Capability Life Cycle Manager for the OPVs. In this role, Raytheon Australia will be involved in the implementation of the Royal Australian Navy’s Plan Galileo, a nationally integrated sustainment environment that consistently provides affordable, reliable and fit-for-purpose systems and ships to the Royal Australian Navy.


This long-term, national initiative focuses on maritime sustainment as a whole-of-life concept and ensures the sustainment needs of a new vessel are considered during the initial design phase. Plan Galileo will deliver a new approach to integrated capability life cycle management, improving productivity and promoting collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the maritime domain.


“As the OPV Capability Life Cycle Manager, Raytheon Australia will be leveraging our experience in complex program management for Australia’s defence to provide specialist services to support the planning, assurance and optimisation of the through life sustainment of the Arafura Class OPVs,” said Managing Director Michael Ward.


“We will also support the development of an Australian supply chain for the OPVs, ensuring a sovereign industrial capability is formed as each of the OPVs progress from acquisition to sustainment,” he said.


“This will not be a traditional maritime sustainment role, rather this is the first step towards a nationally integrated sustainment environment for Australia and the implementation of the Royal Australian Navy’s Plan Galileo,” Ward said.


Raytheon Australia will drive and maximise opportunities for Australian industry when delivering services under the new contract, making domestic sourcing recommendations and promoting local industry development.


Network News

Support for Perth’s Bushfire Communities

BHP, Chevron and Rio Tinto


AmCham Members in Western Australia’s mining and resources sector have so far contributed more than $5 million to support Perth residents impacted by the recent bushfires.



BHP will donate $2 million to the 2021 Wooroloo and Perth Hills Bushfire Appeal to support those in need.


Chevron Australia has announced a $1.2 million donation to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund in support of bush fire relief and recovery efforts in Perth’s north-east.


Iron ore giant Rio Tinto has announced it will donate $2 million to aid the recovery initiatives.


Donate to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund

Chief Executive Officer Succession



Lendlease Chairman Michael Ullmer last week announced Steve McCann will retire as Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director and the Board’s decision to appoint Tony Lombardo, currently Chief Executive Officer Asia Lendlease, as Mr McCann’s successor.


Mr McCann will retire from the Lendlease Board on May 31, 2021 following a 16-year career with the Group including more than 12 years as Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. Mr Lombardo will commence his new role when Mr McCann retires from Lendlease.


New Data Privacy Tool Ensures Anonymous COVID-19 Data Remains Secure and Private



Developed as a collaboration among CSIRO’s Data61, the digital specialist arm of Australia’s national science agency, the NSW Government, the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and several other groups, the privacy tool assesses the risks to an individual’s data within any dataset; allowing targeted and effective protection mechanisms to be put in place.


Traditionally, such assessments are undertaken by leading data and privacy experts who can now rely on computer models to validate this work.


Since 2020, CSIRO has explored ways of enhancing the tool in collaboration with the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC).


Known as Personal Information Factor (PIF) tool, the software uses a sophisticated data analytics algorithm to identify the risks that sensitive, de-identified and personal information within a dataset can be re-identified and matched to its owner.


The early version of the tool is already being used by the NSW Government to analyse datasets tracking the spread of COVID-19 in the state since March 2020 and apply appropriate levels of protection before this data is released as open data.


New Partnership Providing Cultural Immersion for 3Mers



3M has formed a new partnership with grassroots organisation Red Dust to support healthy lifestyles of Aboriginal youth living in remote Northern Territory communities.


A $70,000 grant from 3M is supporting Red Dust’s Healthy Living Program, a high impact school-based health and wellbeing program facilitated by role models from community, sport, music and art with a focus on nutrition, physical activity, resilience and cultural strength.


While the program is normally delivered to remote Northern Territory communities by teams of educators and role models, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the suspension of community visits. Instead, Red Dust is using 3M’s grant to produce high-quality video content on wellbeing and healthy lifestyle topics, which is distributed to schools via its online channel, Red Dust TV.


Australia’s Sentient ViDAR System Secures Contract For Test and Development By Lockheed Martin For Rotary ISR Capability

Lockheed Martin



An Australian-developed innovative intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system has been selected by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, to undergo a testing and development program.


Melbourne’s Sentient Vision Systems (Sentient) has been awarded a contract to further test and develop the ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging) system that could see the cutting-edge Australian capability integrated with the sensor suites on the MH-60R Seahawk.


Lockheed Martin will work with Sentient to further evolve the capability of the ViDAR system, which is a persistent wide area motion imaging (WAMI) system that is designed to autonomously detect, geo-locate, track and classify objects over vast areas of terrain below an aircraft or UAS.


Joe North, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand congratulated Sentient on the development of the cutting-edge ViDAR system as an illustration of the strength and resilience of Australia’s sovereign defence industry capability which underpins the company’s approach to growing Australian sovereign industrial capability:


“Lockheed Martin Australia’s approach of incubating innovation and growing SME capability is helping to create the conditions and the opportunities to build both capability and operational resilience needed for companies like Sentient to be able to compete on the world stage, and in this case with the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter.”


Coronavirus Travel and other Restrictions



Due to the spread of COVID-19, many jurisdictions around the world have expanded their travel restrictions and quarantine measures, and many have implemented extension policies and other concessions. Fragomen are tracking these policies. There have been updates from Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia.


Access additional insights for COVID-19-related immigration news

Palo Alto Networks Earns 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2021 Corporate Equality Index

Palo Alto Networks


The global cybersecurity leader, proudly announced that for the second consecutive year it has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) and achieved designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.


The Corporate Equality Index is the nation's foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. Even during a year that entailed a primarily remote workforce, Palo Alto Networks' top marks highlight the company's continued commitment to foster an inclusive and diverse culture in which everyone is inspired to do their best work and feel a sense of belonging from anywhere.


"We are SO proud to be recognised as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation," said Liane Hornsey, chief people officer at Palo Alto Networks. "Inclusion is one of our core company values, and as the leader in cybersecurity, we are committed to bringing together the best and the most diverse teams to solve the world's toughest cybersecurity challenges. This exciting milestone represents our progress in continuing to build an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive by being their authentic self and all voices are heard and valued."


Short Survey for AmCham Members

Aspen Medical



AmCham member, Canberra-based Aspen Medical, has been at the forefront of the national and international response to COVID-19. Aspen Medical is conducting a short survey (five questions) into industry attitudes towards investing in cost-effective wearable technology designed to limit costly shut downs and ensure confidence in the safety of the workplace.


Thomas Global Gains CAAC Approval for Boeing 737/757/767 Plug-and-Play LCD Flight Displays

Thomas Global Systems



Thomas Global Systems has received Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for its TFD-7000 Series plug-and-play LCD flight displays for Boeing 737/757/767 cathode ray tube (CRT) equipped aircraft.


CAAC certification is the latest in a growing number of TFD-7000 Series regulatory approvals, including from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA), Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).

The TFD-7000 retrofit innovation captures all the benefits of LCD technology in a proven, drop-in solution with growth capacity for emerging airspace requirements while avoiding a major flight deck modification with its associated aircraft downtime and crew retraining costs.


The Only Mattress and Pillow Company Recognised by NASA



AmCham welcomes new member TEMPUR - the only mattress and pillow company recognised by NASA.


The TEMPUR story begins in the late 1960s when NASA scientists and engineers were asked to develop a material to absorb the G-force pressure astronauts endure during lift-off and landing. They invented a viscoelastic material, with both high-energy absorption and soft, pressure-relieving properties. In 1991 they created and launched the world’s first viscoelastic mattress and pillow.


TEMPUR has dedicated thirty years continually evolving TEMPUR® Material as the perfect balance of comfort and support, ensuring it remains light years ahead of subsequent memory foams and other materials. They know this because the formula behind their Material is still a closely guarded trade secret. No one else can reproduce it.


Investing in Australia: Key Foreign Investment Changes

Hall Chadwick Melbourne


Australia has long welcomed foreign investment to support economic growth and innovation. Ease of doing business, sound governance and strong institutions have been the hallmarks of Australia’s foreign investment attractiveness. With foreign investment flows almost halving through the global economic crisis of 2020, international investors are evaluating the effectiveness of an economy’s COVID-19 response position to buffer investment decisions. The Australian Federal Government has taken a proactive position to preserve and protect Australia’s attractiveness to foreign investors.


From 1 January 2021, Australia has a revamped foreign investment framework (the Foreign Investment Review Board “FIRB” regime) to facilitate foreign investment while balancing Australia’s national security. The new regime affects both existing and new foreign investors.


The Hon Craig Laundy Appointed as Co-Chairman

Cornerstone Group Australia


Good government relations should never be one-sided.


Former Federal Liberal Party Minister has bolstered the bipartisan offering of Cornerstone Group Australia by stepping into the role of Co-Chairman on 1 February 2021, complementing former Federal Labor Party Minister Simon Crean on the Advisory Board.


In his first term as part of the Abbott government, Mr Laundy was Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Chair of the House Economics Committee and a member of the select committee for Public Accounts and Audit.


During his second term in government under Prime Minister Turnbull, Mr Laundy was Minister for Small and Family Business, Industrial Relations & Deregulation and Assistant Minister for Industry Innovation and Science.


“I am absolutely delighted to be joining a firm with such a strong reputation and to be contributing to Cornerstone’s expansion,” Mr Laundy said.


Survey on Engaging in Networking and Social Media Activities for Business



Pappyon aims to deliver a socially interactive business networking platform that will enable people in business to connect, build trust and create opportunity through shared experiences and effective, business related engagement.


Pappyon have designed a survey to learn about how you engage in networking and social media activities for business. To thank you for your time, opinions and insights, they are offering all respondents the chance to WIN one of 5 x $500 Amazon vouchers or one of 5 x Apple Air Pod Pros. The survey takes 7-8 minutes.


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