PICTURE: Chair, Paula Conboy - Australian Energy Regulator
The last 18 months have been among the most challenging for the energy sector since the National Electricity Market was established nearly 20 years ago, according to the head of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
AER Chair Paula Conboy was addressing CACC members at a recent function hosted by RBC Capital Markets in Sydney where she shone some light on the often complex industry and explained how the AER was now adjusting the sector’s regulatory framework to ensure it is “fit for the future.”
She talked about the role of the AER and how it regulates the market and reports to government, industry and consumers on the status of the energy sector.
The AER monitors the wholesale electricity and gas markets to ensure energy companies comply with the legislation and rules, taking enforcement action where needed, regulates retail energy markets around the country (with the exception of Victoria), and provides retail price comparisons for consumers through its Energy Made Easy website to help them find the best energy solutions for their needs.
Ms. Conboy is known for her determination to help consumers get a better deal when it comes to their household energy bills.
“Our work is guided by our energy objectives which are to promote economic efficiency in the long-term interests of consumers. The energy objectives include a number of variables – price, quality, safety, reliability and security of supply – we focus on these variables and these alone,” she said.
PICTURE: Dominic Hudson (RBC Capital Markets), Paula Conboy (AER), Brian Hansen (CACC)
She said competition and consumer choice lead to better outcomes for everyone rather than overly prescriptive regulation and an incentive approach to the market yields more efficient outcomes. “Competition where possible, regulation where necessary,” she told the audience.
Rapid evolution in the industry like new business models for selling energy, a tightening of supply and soaring energy bills were a concern, prompting the organisation to look at where the lines should be drawn and how the AER can best ensure the monopoly components are regulated effectively.
Ms. Conboy touched on ring-fencing, tariff reform and improving tools to assess efficient forecasts in setting revenues.
She reviewed the various guidelines the AER had established in the last two years with the audience, including a consumer engagement guideline for network service providers to implement consumer engagement strategies that are effective for all stakeholders.
The AER will be consulting widely with the sector on areas where the regulatory framework may need to evolve, examining which services they will regulate and the broad nature of its current regulatory arrangements. [note that the CCP is already established and forms part of our revenue determination processes. We hold public forums, release issues papers and call for submissions to most of our reviews – be they guidelines or revenue resets]
Ms Conboy said the regulatory framework was resilient and would be able to accommodate changes and emerging issues.
Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” And such was the collective attitude of those who attended the CACC’s recent Melbourne Mixer, hosted by Piper Alderman in Melbourne on Tuesday, 30 May.
The Melbourne Mixer brought together those who had expressed a keen interest in championing the CACC’s mission in the Melbourne market.
On the night, Brian Hansen, CACC Director and President welcomed the group of approximately 25 Melburnians by sharing highlights of the CACC’s history as well as the vision for the organisation. “In particular, the importance of building and, fostering business opportunities between Australia and Canada, from the Melbourne perspective,” Brian said.
Also welcoming the group was Melbourne-based CACC Director, Mike McGrath. “In establishing the CACC’s presence in Melbourne, we, as a non profit organisation have faced and overcome a number of challenges. The presence of all of you here tonight is testimony to the CACC’s future success in the Melbourne market.
Having arrived from Canada just hours before the gathering were special guests StopConcussions’s Co-Founder and Ambassador Kerry Goulet along with Toni Mill, StopConcussions’s Logistics & Player Relations.
The evening was rounded out by Melissa Wharton, CACC’s General Manager, Secretariat, “Since our call out for volunteers at our event last December, we received considerable interest from a number of people Melbourne, who have really propelled the Board’s approval of the Melbourne branch. And, I am just delighted to personally meet this great group of local leaders who are committed to supporting the work of the CACC in Melbourne,” she said.
The next step in the evolution of the CACC’s presence in Melbourne will see the Melbourne Committee formally coming together in July. “I look forward to sharing news about the great progress of the Melbourne Committee in the months to come,” said Melissa.
The latest CACC event, Starting Up Down Under: Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Success Stories was held in April at the BlueChilli offices in Sydney’s CBD. The event showcased the journeys of four Canadian Entrepreneurs, Sarah Mak (Managing Director, The Story Boxes and Co-founder, FolkTale), Ronald Tucker (CEO, BitTrade Australia), Luther Poier (CFO, BlueChilli) and Jeff Downs (CEO, Redback Conferencing).
The evening started with a warm welcome from Ms. Angela J. Bogdan, Consul General of Canada in Sydney, who spoke of the robust nature of the Canadian-Australian relationship on several fronts and the important work of the CACC.
With 100 registered attendees, the panelists started the discussion by recapping their stories of how they arrived in Australia. On being a Canadian living in Australia, Jeff said, “Part of the fabric of your life is loving the place you are from, from a distance and the opportunity to experience a different kind of life”. The Navy, travel, working holiday visas and post-graduate study, all played a part in getting our entrepreneurs to Australia. However, not all of them had a history of starting their own businesses, with Sarah describing herself as an “accidental entrepreneur”.
Many valuable lessons about startups were shared including Ronald’s analogy of “staying on the bicycle”. He cites that we can be our own worst enemy and that we need to keep moving forward. “We want to see our dreams come to life immediately”, he said. He explains that, like Uber and the Internet, we all need to have patience to allow the environment to evolve and mature in order to find success.
A common theme was around continuous learning. Whether it was Sarah encouraging people to challenge their assumptions or Luther highlighting that everyone follows their own journey - “[taking] learning and doing something with it is one of the most important things.”
Networking and building relationships were other important lessons of the evening – both here and in Canada. Ronald worked with Chambers in Australia and Canada to grow his BitTrade business and Sarah has leveraged the support and community offered by Luther’s BlueChilli and her association with the CACC to ramp up her newest venture, FolkTales.
The audience contributed with their own questions, including how to get ideas for a start up. Luther encouraged people to look at the industries that they work in and to find problems that need solving. Jeff urged attendees to be honest with themselves about whether an idea is commercially viable. “You don’t have to be the first, you just have to be the best”, said Jeff.
To wrap up, moderator Chris Warwick (Principal, Beachhead Management), took the opportunity to give away tickets to the upcoming Hungry Jack’s Ice Hockey Classic game in Sydney. The tour, with one game in Sydney and one in Melbourne, will support the StopConcussions Foundation and Brain Injury Australia. A 4-on-4 Fantasy Day is also available for those wishing to take to the ice with Darryl Sittler for a once-in-a-life-time ice hockey game. For more details, please contact Toni Miil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the first time, the CACC used their twitter handle, @CACCLive, to capture live tweets from the event – check out the thoughts of some of our attendees.
Canadians: want to build your brand in Australia? Data is key to building your presence, but don’t forget about authenticity and value for your customers, urged the group account director of a Sydney-based advertising agency.
Dan Clark was speaking at a seminar organised by the CACC’s SME Group and hosted by his firm, The Hallway, one of Australia’s most awarded advertising agencies.
“One of the things The Hallway emphasises is the power of data and taking data-centric approaches to help brands better understand their customers,” Clark told the 30 entrepreneurs and SME owners in attendance.
“Data can be a scary word for some people, but it can be as simple as the customer information you already have and how that info might relate to your next customer and the next. You don’t have to be a data scientist who does algorithms for fun on the weekend to understand how it works.
“Understanding your data will ultimately help to inform your creativity and in turn allow you to provide content that is more relevant to your customers,” he added.
Clark noted Australia had more liberal data privacy laws than Canada and that it was easier for Canadian brands to move from their more regulated environment to Australia than for Australians to open conversations with Canadian customers, where customers must give explicit consent for brands to liaise with them.
Clark emphasised the need for brands to provide valuable content and to refrain from pushing out endless marketing promotions which can quickly turn off customers. He also touched on the challenges of social media, explaining how brands needed it to build conversations with their customers, but also noting they should be more considered about which channels were best for their initiatives.
Clark was joined by James Gaskell, managing director at Flight Network, and one of the agency’s clients. They discussed the branding exercise that Flight Network was currently undertaking with The Hallway as the online travel company (second biggest in Canada after Expedia) prepared to launch in Australia later this year.
Gaskell said it was important for Canadian brands to do their homework when it came to understanding the similarities and differences between Canada and Australia, to better understand the Australian market. It can even come down to small, micro-societal norms like the different ways Canadians and Australians spell words and even how they write dates, he noted.
“On the travel front, while Canadians and Australians share many characteristics, like big geographical areas to navigate, there are important differences,” said Gaskell.
“In Canada, travel is on a different scale. We have proximity to the USA so it’s a North American mentality we’re dealing with and bigger volumes. That’s not the case in Australia with a smaller population and no big neighbour nearby. With fewer holidays from work, Canadians tend to focus on the short-haul, like going to the States for a three-day weekend. Australians, with more time off and the challenges of having to go seven hours to get to an overseas destination, tend to be away for longer. “It’s a different experience that we are trying to address,” he said.
Flight Network’s point of difference from other online travel companies like Expedia and BYOjet is its mobile-first approach. Gaskell explained how Flight Network is using technology to improve the travel booking experience and how travel is moving increasingly mobile, with more customers using their smart phones to book their holidays.
“This was something Flight Network was poised to take advantage of in Australia as Australians have always been early adopters when it comes to mobile phone use,” he said.
“The Hallway had also advocated starting with mobile as it is an effective way to spend media dollars instead of using traditional TV and radio advertising for Flight Network’s launch,” added Clark.
Brad Bennett, The Hallway’s head of technology, also spoke at the seminar, discussing how brands can work with agencies for better outcomes. He also highlighted two other clients (UNSW and Google) where The Hallway had recently undertaken successful brand-building exercises that drove business results.
Clark and Gaskell promised to take part in another seminar later in 2017 to discuss the results of Flight Network’s launch into the Australian market.
The SME Group’s Co-Chair Michael Bacina, a partner with commercial law firm Piper Alderman, emceed the seminar and spoke about the CACC’s work with Australian and Canadian SMEs to date, noting upcoming roundtables and other events.
The CACC’s SME Group launched in October 2016 and has enjoyed strong growth among Australian and Canadian small-to-medium enterprises. Its regular roundtables provide valuable business learning, networking and mentorship opportunities for members.
Questions for this roundtable’s speakers? They can be reached via LinkedIn:
Congratulations to one of our Corporate Sponsors Altus Group
on their recent acquisition of EstateMaster
On March 1, 2017, Canadian-based Altus Group Limited, a global provider of commercial real estate services, software and data solutions, acquired Australian-based EstateMaster, a property development feasibility and management software provider.
“The acquisition of EstateMaster broadens our product offerings with software solutions complementary to our ARGUS Developer product, while adding market share in our growth regions, including Australia and the Middle East,” said Robert Courteau, Chief Executive Officer of Altus Group. “Their established track record of growth, combined with their impressive team and solid industry reputation will add value to our growth initiatives.”
Altus Group is a publicly-traded company (TSX: AIF) headquartered in Toronto, Canada with approximately 2,300 employees with offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Altus Group’s businesses, Altus Analytics and Altus Expert Services, embody decades of experience, a range of expertise, and technology-enabled capabilities that empower clients to analyze, gain insight and recognize value on their real estate investments.
EstateMaster is a property development feasibility and management software provider to over 1,000 firms predominately in the real estate developer community. With a leading market position in Australia and the Middle East, the EstateMaster Development Feasibility software is the accepted market standard for the production of feasibility reports in the Australian property markets, including all national banks, professional associations and government bodies.
“This union represents a very exciting opportunity to offer greater value to our combined client base that depend on our established software solutions to help make informed decisions,” added Martin Hill, Founder and CEO of EstateMaster. “Joining Altus Group will strengthen our ability to offer solutions that address a broad set of requirements across various customer segments, while leveraging Altus Group’s extensive expertise and resources.”
PWC Melbourne was the setting for a lunch hosted last month by the CACC in honour of the Canadian High Commissioner, Paul Maddison, and the new Canadian Consul General to Sydney, Angela Bogdan.
The 55 guests came from various backgrounds including the financial services sector, technology and professional services. A number of start-ups were also represented.
Mike McGrath, Managing Partner and CMO with PWC, welcomed Mr. Maddison and Ms. Bogdan.
High Commissioner Paul Maddison spoke about the role that our trade commissioners play in identifying bilateral trade opportunities, introducing potential partners, and being enablers to their successes, all with the view of increasing Canada’s economic prosperity. He described the locally engaged trade commissioners as experts across their sectors who have developed deep networks that are available for Canadian businesses and investors to tap into.
Mr. Maddison also spoke broadly about shared Canadian and Australian national interests and values, and suggested that “the world needs more Canada and Australia, especially in terms of positively shaping the global narrative.”
Ms Bogdan spoke about the connections and shared history between Canada and Australia, trade and investment issues, the initiatives the Trudeau Government is currently undertaking in Canada as well as what Donald Trump’s surprise election win in the United States might mean for both countries.
Both speakers touched on the importance of networks such as the CACC in ensuring communication flows that were dynamic, so that opportunities would not be missed, but seized upon.
The lunch also served as an opportunity for the CACC to further engage the business community in Melbourne and for guests to learn more about the chamber’s mission to promote stronger business ties between Canada and Australia. Brian Hansen gave a brief account of the chamber’s goals and objectives, and highlighted the new SME membership initiative the CACC started in late 2016 to help SMEs owners wishing to set up shop in either Canada or Australia.
Mr. Hansen also noted the chamber is currently looking to expand its presence in Melbourne but emphasised that this would only succeed if people were prepared to become involved and assist with activities. Anyone interested in being part of this Melbourne development should contact Melissa Wharton at email@example.com.
The inaugural CACC SME Roundtable hosted by Google kicked off on 17th November discussing how SMEs can benefit from digital marketing. CACC Director, Doug Carmichael and Google's Managing Director of Asia, SMB, Kevin O'Kane opened the discussion with various presenters from Google and the CACC SME Committee.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Pictured: CACC President, Brian Hansen & Consul and Sr. Trade Commissioner, Marc-André Hawkes)
Mr Hansen thanked all the sponsors for their support of the CACC, including new sponsor, Bank of Nova Scotia which was represented by Scott Jindrich and Jay Hipolito.
She talked about how the Trudeau government “was religious about living up to its promises, including the plan to get 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada quickly and safely, and how an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women was building a spirit of reconciliation as Canada’s 150th birthday approached.”
She urged Australian businesses looking to get a foothold in Canada or take their business to the next level to read the government’s party platform and mandate papers as they were being followed religiously, and to think about how Canadian companies might take advantage of Australian free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region through their location in Australia.
She praised the CACC’s new SME enterprise, saying it parallels the work of the Canadian government, noting there was a recent delegation of 50 government leaders to successful SMEs led by women. “It’s not just about SMEs, you need to think about SMEs run by successful women entrepreneurs,” she said.
Frank Sinatra’s ‘Come Fly with Me’ could have been the theme song at the latest Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce breakfast on 7 June at Sydney’s Doltone House in the city.
A crowd of over 70 business and government professionals turned out to celebrate the recent launch of the redesigned Boeing 777 aircraft on Air Canada’s daily flights from Sydney to Vancouver. They also learned about the new flights between Brisbane and Vancouver on Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the latest infrastructure projects at Sydney Airport.
Duncan Bureau, Vice-President of Global Sales, said Air Canada is investing heavily in new planes and will have one of the youngest fleets in the skies by 2020, when it will also be the eighth largest airline in the world. They are also refurbishing 18 planes in their Boeing 777 fleet, including the one that services Vancouver-bound travellers from Sydney.
With screen shots of a refurbished Boeing 777 playing behind him, Bureau described how the daily direct service flight between Sydney and Vancouver now features an upgraded international business class service that is the same as that offered on the carrier’s flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.
The front end of the plane now has 40 executive pods arranged so that every passenger has direct access to the aisle. Business class passengers can enjoy a state-of-the art entertainment screen with hundreds of hours of top-rated entertainment and noise-cancelling headsets, headrest with head and neck massage/lumbar support and massage function, gourmet cuisine and fine wines, a plush duvet and pillow, complimentary skin care products and ambient lighting among other features.
There is also a new premium economy service on the route featuring 24 seats with greater recline and a larger seat (compared to economy class) plus premium cuisine, complimentary wine and spirits, USB ports for charging and a next generation entertainment system.
Kerrie Mather, CEO and Managing Director of Sydney Airport, praised the strong relationship between Air Canada and the airport, noting the Vancouver-Sydney route had been running for almost 16 years. She remarked that Canada was one of Sydney’s largest and fastest growing markets, with over 110,000 Australians visiting Canada in 2015.
She also discussed the ‘economic engine’ that is Sydney Airport. Over 40 million passengers a year pass through its terminals, connecting on to more than 90 international, domestic and regional destinations. “The airport contributes $30.8 billion in economic activity a year, equivalent to 6.4 per cent of the NSW economy. A major employer for the state, Sydney Airport generates more than 300,000 jobs in NSW with 29,000 jobs at the airport itself,” she said.
The airport is currently undergoing more improvement projects than at any time since the 2000 Olympics. More than 150 projects and $1.3 billion will be spent on services and facilities over the next five years to improve the customer experience.
The latest phase of the improvements program in T1, the international terminal, includes enhancements to gate lounges, immigration and security areas, new navigational signage, and upgraded food and beverage areas with a Marketplace teeming with street food style fare and a City View precinct premium dining hub featuring a variety of restaurants.
Retail is being revamped with the arrival of several prestige brands like Kate Spade, Tiffany & Co. and Hugo Boss. A new airport hotel is due to open in 2017 and there is also a five-year, $500 million road investment program being undertaken with the NSW Government to improve roadways around the airport to decrease traffic congestion.
Mather said staff and partners were aiming for a seamless, world-class airport experience for everyone coming, visiting or leaving Sydney Airport.
Robert McDougall, Acting Consul-General for Canada, spoke about how the “growing aerial connection between Canada and Australia reinforces and builds on a long-running and wide-ranging economic relationship based on a shared past and common set of values.”
He reported that bilateral commerce is strong and growing rapidly, driven mainly by strong two-way investment and a growing services exchange.
Air Canada’s flights from Sydney and Brisbane will particularly support the growing trade in services between the two nations, he said. In 2014, Canadian services exports to Australia totaled roughly A$1.6 billion, an almost 5 per cent increase compared to 2013.
During the same year, Australian services exports to Canada amounted to A$965 million, up by 2.6 per cent year over year. Australia is Canada’s eighth largest services export partner.
McDougall said Canadian companies, across many sectors, were flourishing in NSW and many Australian companies were doing well in Canada. Despite the recent resources downturn, there are still strong connections between Queensland and Canada. He also highlighted the growing links between Canadian and Australian universities and several partnerships that are underway.
He congratulated Air Canada for its continued expansion into Australia and for offering new and improved services. “This move should yield major benefits not only to the company and its passengers of all nationalities, but also to the important relationship between our two prosperous and go-ahead economies.”
Brisbane is the second Australian destination for Air Canada. The Brisbane-Vancouver service is the first direct flight between Queensland and Canada. Currently three flights a week, it will go daily later this month.
Responding to a question from the audience, Bureau noted the Dreamliner would be able to carry more freight than the Boeing 767, an area of business that Air Canada wanted to grow in Australia.
“Air Canada staff take pride in flying the Air Canada logo and maple leaf brand – it was not something to be taken lightly,” said Bureau. He also said when people see an Air Canada plane they feel like they are ‘home’, which is a sentiment the airline was encouraging.
Air Canada’s services from Australia are timed to optimise connectivity to and from the airline’s North American network, which includes direct services to 64 Canadian cities and 52 destinations in the United States.
Under a previous brand name, Air Canada has been operating in the Australian market since 1949. Air Canada itself was the first airline to offer a daily, non-stop service between Canada and Australia, beginning in 2007, with a same plane, one-stop service from Toronto to Sydney and non-stop service from Vancouver to Sydney.
Visit the CACC JOB BANK:
A free job employment search platform
The CACC Job Bank was created to better connect employers with skilled individuals on a working holiday visa. You can view jobs and post employment opportunities for FREE through the CACC Job Bank.
Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce - Sydney Head Office
T: +61 (02) 9238 2109
© Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce
Legal & Privacy Disclaimer