Category Archives: Featured News

List of organisations and charities dedicated to bushfire relief

Red Cross supporting woman with burnt house in the background

Canberra Business Chamber wishes to express our sincere condolences to all those affected by the devastating bushfires in recent months.

If your business is in an impacted area, the Chamber is able to offer its members desk space to work from, free of charge. Give us a call on 02 6247 4199 to arrange. If any members are able to offer support for fellow members, please let us know and we will facilitate.

If you are in a position to contribute, we have compiled a list of various organisations and charities assisting during the crisis:


[Image credit: Red Cross via ABC News]

National Employment Standards Update – Family and Domestic Violence Leave

The National Employment Standards (NES) have now been updated to include Family and Domestic Violence Leave.  As you may know, this entitlement was inserted into modern awards last year.  This entitlement has now been extended to all employees.

What is the scope of the entitlement?

Family and Domestic Violence means behaviour that is violent, threatening or abusive in nature which seeks to coerce, control or cause harm and fear.  It is at the hands of a close relative of the employee, which includes spouses, partners, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings.  It also extends to an employee’s current or former spouse or partner’s children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings or a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

What is the entitlement?

  1. five days unpaid leave to apply to all employees (including casuals);
  2. will be available in full at the commencement of each 12 month period rather than accruing progressively during a period of service;
  3. will not accumulate from year to year;
  4. will be available in full to part-time and casual employees (i.e. not pro-rated); and
  5. employees will not be required to have accessed any other available leave (such as annual leave or personal leave) as a pre-condition to accessing the new entitlement.

The clause also requires employees to give notice of the leave as soon as practicable and advise the employer of the period/expected period of leave. If requested by the employer, the employee may be required to give evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that the leave is taken for its specified purpose.

Fair Work Information Statement

Given the changes, it is a good opportunity to remind all employers that they are required to provide the Fair Work Information Statement to all new employees.  The most recent Statement may be found here and includes the new minimum wage rates for employees not covered by an award, effective from 1 July 2019.

Contact our Workplace Relations team if you have any questions.

Fair Work Commission Hands Down Annual Wage Review Decision

On 30 May 2019, the Fair Work Commission handed down their 2019 annual wage review decision.

While your Chamber, through the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, argued for a 1.8% increase, which would have seen award wages keep pace with inflation, the Commission did not agree.

It was announced that there would be a 3% increase to the minimum wage which will come into effect on 1 July 2019. This wage increase will bring the national minimum wage up to $740.00 per week and $19.49 per hour.

This decision will increase the wages of around 2.2 million employees on award wages. It is not just the less than 2% of employees who are on the minimum wage who will receive a wage rise. It will cost Australian employers an additional $3.1 billion per year.

This wage increase will affect all Modern awards, and we will be sending out updated wage sheets and the applicable Awards to our members.

To ensure that you receive the most accurate information, please email us the name of the Award/s that apply to your business to

Chief Minister’s ‘State of the Territory’ Business Address Speech

TRANSCRIPT:‘State of the Territory’ Business Address delivered by Chief Minister Andrew Barr on 9 May 2019

We gather at a time of uncertainty in the national and international political and economic outlook.

Between the coming federal election, ongoing tensions in the international trade arena, signs that housing markets in some parts of Australia are deflating, and the big structural shifts occurring in key sectors like financial services, energy and retail, there is a lot happening.

Here in the ACT we have been fortunate to experience considerably more political and economic stability.

Strong population growth and ongoing investment is contributing to continued economic growth above our long-run average; our housing market is relatively steady and we continue to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

A little under a month from now, I will hand down the 2019 ACT Budget. This will emphasise that while we are not immune to the risks on the horizon, the ACT’s economic fundamentals are strong and we are well placed to face any challenges that lie ahead.

It’s been one of the more interesting Budgets I’ve prepared in my time as Treasurer, in the shadow of the federal election.

A change of government would significantly benefit the ACT, as Labor has committed their support for major projects such as Stage 2 of light rail to Woden, new hospital infrastructure and upgrades, and better community facilities.

Because Canberra is growing, we need to keep building for the future by investing today.

Having a federal Government that wants to be an active participant in this work would be far preferable to one that consistently talks this community down as ‘the Canberra bubble’.

Beyond the economic frame, we are well advanced on delivering the big agenda we promised Canberrans at the last election.

A few weeks ago, we started services on the first stage of Canberra’s light rail network, linking the CBD to our fastest growing region.

More than 77,000 trips were taken on Light Rail during the first week of operation, adding to the 290,000 journeys taken on the new bus network over the same period.

This shows there is strong appetite in this community for faster, cleaner and better connected public transport that provides a real alternative to the car.

For the sake of clarity, those figures represent journeys taken. The overall number of boardings numbered just over 500,000.

With Stage 1 up and running, we are now turning our focus to Stage 2, which I’ll say a little more about in a moment.

We are on track to buy renewable electricity equivalent to 100 per cent of our electricity needs by 2020.

Nine of the ten supported renewable electricity generators have started delivery to the ACT, with the final generator to start on the first of October.

While the federal government has spent six years studiously avoiding action on climate change, we’ve spent that time getting on with the job of transitioning Canberra to a cleaner future.

Work is well underway on revitalising our town centres, with the ACT Government’s investments in better public spaces, community facilities and connectivity in Woden, Tuggeranong, Belconnen, Gungahlin and the City being matched by major new private sector investment.

Our tourism sector is booming thanks to the arrival of direct international flights and more new investment from overseas and interstate. We are experiencing very strong overnight domestic visitation along with record breaking international visitor nights. Our overnight visitors are also spending record amounts in our destination, putting us firmly on track to meet our target of $2.5 billion by December 2020.

And, of course, we are delivering a record pipeline of major infrastructure investments that generate work for local companies and more good jobs, including the major expansion of the Canberra Hospital through the SPIRE Centre, new and expanded schools, and new roads to better connect our growing regions.

All of these initiatives are about ensuring Canberra keeps getting even better as we grow.

More than 420,000 people now live in the ACT and that figure is projected to grow to exceed 500,000 people by 2030.

Canberra is the hub and service centre for a region of about 800,000 people – including communities throughout southern New South Wales.

Managing that growth effectively means meeting the needs of a bigger community – for services, transport, housing and infrastructure – while protecting the special character of our regions and suburbs that makes Canberra such a great place to live.

More diversity means more room to grow

One of the reasons Canberra has been experiencing such strong population growth in the past few years is the strength of our labour market and the quality of the jobs on offer here.

We have seen significant growth in Canberra’s private sector, more than 60 per cent of working Canberrans are now employed outside of the public service.

In the last four years, more than 3,000 new businesses have started up in the ACT.

With our economy becoming more diverse all the time, there are more opportunities for continued growth in good jobs and business activity than could ever be provided by the narrower base of the public service.

Our service export sectors are the stand out success stories here, in line with the Government’s strategy to grow our engagement with the world and find new markets for the ACT’s products.

On a per capita basis the ACT is now Australia’s leader in services exports. Although we are home to 1.7 per cent of Australia’s population, we account for 2.5 per cent of this country’s service exports.

The international education sector is now worth almost $1 billion annually to the Canberra economy, having grown by more than 100 per cent over the past five years.

Our tourism sector is currently the second fastest growing in Australia (just behind Tasmania) and we are experiencing near record high domestic visitor numbers and record international visitor numbers.

Recently we have seen jobs in the tourism sector growing at an annual rate of 7 per cent, which is triple the rate of jobs growth across the ACT economy as a whole.

We’re not resting on our achievements here.

Having achieved direct flights into Asia and the Middle East, we are now focused on securing direct flights to China and New Zealand, as well as increasing domestic travel routes.

In education, we are working with the University of New South Wales to explore a major new campus for their Canberra operations, which would add another significant Group of 8 facility to the ACT’s already-strong knowledge network.

Our knowledge ecosystem is another of the ACT’s strengths as we look to create more room for economic growth through diversification.

We have clear competitive advantages in sectors like defence, cyber security, ICT, eGovernment, space, agri-tech, health, sport science and renewable energy.

This is evidenced in the success of a number of innovative Canberra businesses such as Reposit Power, Seeing Machines, Liquid Instruments, InstaClustr and IE Asia Pacific.

Late last year, Bruce-based InstaClustr completed a $20.8 million capital raising in the United States after being supported initially by the CBR Innovation Network and through venture capital arrangements underpinned by the ACT Government.

Early this year, Lyneham-based Liquid Instruments completed an $11 million capital raising; and Seeing Machines recently moved into a new office building on Canberra Avenue to accommodate many of its now 300-strong workforce.

The ACT Government will continue backing this kind of innovation because it is a key part of our strategy for securing Canberra’s future economic growth.

That is why I am pleased to announce that next month’s budget will include ongoing funding for the Innovation Network to keep expanding its good work over the next four years.

This important investment comes on top of the funding currently being delivered through the Priority Investment Program – another great initiative aimed at unlocking opportunities for Canberra businesses and encouraging commercialisation.

Better connections to channel growth where it works

Pursuing a more diverse economy that has more room to expand and is more resilient to outside shocks is a big part of our plan to get Canberra’s growth right.

It will also allow us to continue to provide support to those people in our community in need. Last month, we passed a major milestone in the largest public housing renewal program in the ACT’s history, with 1,000 new public houses now complete.

We have also been able to invest a further $100 million to build 200 new public housing dwellings over the next five years and renew an additional 1,000 dwellings.

A strong economy is fundamental to delivering a decent quality of life for all Canberrans. Having a good, secure job, the ability to meet your family’s needs, and being able to plan for the future with confidence are the basics for a good life.

But these are not the only things that matter.

When we talk about economic growth, we must not forget to ask the question: why? To what end do we pursue economic growth?

We must always have an eye to the kind of society we want to create. There is a lot more to living a good life than what is in your bank account or the value of your home.

Quality of life and everything that a quality life entails must also be considered.

Our wellbeing – both as individuals and as a community – is also determined by things like our environment, our connection to place and others, and the quality of our services and our institutions.

We must pursue economic growth with purpose.

That is why we are focused on improving Canberra’s connectivity so that our city keeps moving and remains liveable as we grow.

I want to thank Canberrans for their patience while we have delivered Stage 1 of light rail and the new bus network which provides a faster, 7-day-a-week, citywide public transport system for the first time.

We understand that nobody likes being stuck in traffic during roadworks, and adjusting to a new service when you were used to the old one takes time. But the changes we are delivering through these big investments today will help Canberra avoid the congestion and bottlenecks that are a standard feature of big cities elsewhere.

We can grow and remain liveable, with short commutes and lots of options to get around – but to do so, we have to make these investments now.

That brings me to stage 2 of light rail, which will link the city with the Woden Town Centre.

This is the logical next step to deliver a north-south spine for the future light rail network, and will make a huge difference for congestion on the main southern approaches to the city like Adelaide Avenue as the Woden region continues to grow.

Many of you would be aware that getting light rail from the City to Woden presents a range of challenges that were not present in Stage 1, particularly securing agreement from the National Capital Authority and the Federal Parliament for a route through the Parliamentary Triangle.

This is what it is.

Every major infrastructure project has challenges, and we will work through those with the Australian Government and Parliament because we are determined to deliver this vital transport link.

These discussions may also take on a different tenor if there is a change of Government, given federal Labor has shown their strong support for the project by committing $200 million towards it.

One of the steps we will take to expedite the approvals process is to now focus our efforts on a route via State Circle.

The NCA has been clear with us that the Barton route would struggle to be supported; last year’s Parliamentary inquiry also clearly pointed to the State Circle route as an alternative which aligns with the original National Capital Plan and has the best chance of bi-partisan parliamentary support.

We will shortly lodge a referral for approval of the State Circle route under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and we are optimistic that this change will mean we can get on with delivering Stage 2 of light rail sooner.

While work continues on securing approval from the Commonwealth for the new route, I can announce that next month’s ACT Budget will include funding for work to begin on improving the Woden Bus Interchange and layover facilities to integrate with a new stage two light rail terminus.

We have seen with Light Rail Stage 1 how good integrated public transport infrastructure can enliven and enhance communities.

Stage 2 of light rail to Woden is an important long-term infrastructure project for Canberra, it is the next major transport investment priority for our government, and it is central to our plan to deliver the city-wide light rail network Canberra will need to meet our future growth.

Growing sustainably to protect what’s special to Canberrans

Most Canberrans don’t know this, but even as we’ve been growing, our city still has one of the lowest population densities of any major city in Australia. Continually building outwards may have been ok when the city’s fringes only extended as far as Belconnen and Woden, but we can’t go on like that forever.

Canberrans value the unique bush and rural settings that surround our city, from the Yass Valley countryside to our north, the Namadgi National Park in the south, Tidbinbilla and the Lower Cotter Catchment to our west, and Kowen Forest in the east.

We are also fortunate to have significant nature reserves like the Bullen Range, the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Mulligans Flat, and the Black Mountain and Mount Majura nature reserves spread throughout the ACT.

If we simply keep growing outwards the way we have in the past, urban sprawl will significantly eat into these unique bush and grasslands environments over the next twenty years.

A commitment to balancing growth with protecting and expanding Canberra’s green spaces underpins our updated ACT Planning Strategy, released late last year.

Under the strategy we will deliver up to 70 per cent of new housing supply through appropriate infill locations around our town centres and transport corridors, with the remaining 30 per cent to be met through new suburban development.

This approach strikes the right balance between meeting Canberrans’ needs as we grow, and protecting what makes our city unique.

In addition to being more environmentally sustainable, sensibly limiting Canberra’s ongoing sprawl outwards is also more fiscally responsible. Greater urban sprawl requires significant investment in new infrastructure and amenities, increasing the costs to Canberrans.

You may not be aware that Kowen Forest/the Kowen Plateau was previously included in the long term residential settlement strategy for the ACT.

However, having considered this in the context of Canberra’s overall growth, we do not believe it makes sense to pursue development there given the importance of the forest as a natural buffer and recreation zone.

Our Government will instead seek to protect and maintain Kowen Forest in its current state, and we have removed the forest from the ACT Government’s future land development planning.

It is a special place that should be preserved for future generations, and we want to protect it from development.

Similarly, we have called for the removal of the “phantom highway”, Monash Drive, from the Territory Plan – because we cannot countenance ever building a four-lane highway between our northern suburbs and Mount Ainslie. To do so would cut off Canberrans from the surrounding bushland that makes our city special – so we will keep fighting the NCA to reverse this absurd proposal.

These are just two examples of the way we will preserve and protect Canberra’s unique bush setting and green spaces while our city continues to grow.


Canberra isn’t like other cities – and we don’t want it to be. We want it to be better.

Better connected, and more sustainable. More liveable, with great local services close to home.

Better planned, and more thoughtfully delivered – by government, business and the community working in partnership to achieve the things we all value.

Canberra’s grow is an opportunity, as long as we get it right.

We’re optimistic that this is possible and we’ve got a clear plan to achieve it. We hope you’ll continue working with us and alongside us to deliver it.

Thank you.


Click here to download

2019 Federal Budget Summary

3 April 2019

2019 Federal Budget Summary

ACT Region-Specific Budget Announcements

  • An additional $50m in priority funding for regional infrastructure in the ACT, consisting of $30m for the Kings Highway corridor, and $20m for the duplication of William Slim Drive, with funding commencing in 2021-22 and the balance paid in 2022-23.
  • The Commonwealth will divest surplus ACT land owned by the Dept. of Finance over two years from 2019-20 – no funding details provided due to commercial-in-confidence.
  • $13.5m to expand intensive care at Canberra Hospital.
  • A net increase of 2,997 full-time equivalent non-military staff in the Australian Public Service, up from 244,306 to 247,302 in 2019-20.
  • Further decentralisation of up to 191 APS staff from Comcare, Indigenous Business Australia, the Australian Financial Security Authority, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the Department of Infrastructure and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Budget Key Features for Business

  • SME instant asset write-off threshold increased from $25,000 to $30,000 from 2 April 2019 to 30 June 2019, and access expanded to businesses with an annual turnover less than $50m, up from $10m (around 3.4m businesses now eligible).
  • SME company tax rate cuts brought forward, dropping from 27.5% to 25% by 2021-22 – five years earlier than Applies to all businesses with an annual turnover less than $50m.
  • $1b in funding to the ATO to target tax avoidance by multinationals, big business and high wealth individuals.
  • $57.5m in funding through to 2022-23 to assist small businesses with tax disputes.
  • Personal income tax cuts/reforms to assist consumption growth:
    • from 1 July 2019, taxes reduced by up to $1,080 for single earners & $2,160 for dual income families earning up to $126,000
    • in 2022-23, the top tax threshold of 19% bracket will rise from $41,000 to $45,000p.a., and the low income tax offset will increase from $645 to $700
    • in 2024-25, the 32.5% tax rate will fall to 30%
  • $525m over five years to improve skills, including 80,000 new apprenticeships in skills shortage areas, with incentive payments to employers increased to up to $8,000; $132.4m to establish a National Skills Commission and a National Careers Institute; $67.5m to trial 10 national training hubs to boost education in regions with high youth unemployment; and $62.4m to boost numeracy, literacy and digital skills.
  • $206m in funding for the Building Better Regions Fund, boosting investment in regional infrastructure.
  • $60m in funding over three years to the Export Market Development Grant Scheme to assist SME exporters.
  • $50m over three years, combined with State/Territory and industry co-payments, to enhance iconic tourism infrastructure.
  • $15m in additional funding for the Drought Communities Program, to assist drought-affected businesses.

Economic Context for Budget

  • Global economic growth strengthened in 2017 and into 2018 reaching 7%, but has moderated since late 2018, and is forecast to be 3.5% from 2019 through to 2021.
  • In Australia, the forecast 3.0% growth rate in 2018-19 and 2019-20 is not likely to be achieved, with growth now expected to reach 2.25% in 2019-20, increasing to 2.75% through to 2021.
  • The unemployment rate remains on track to decline from 5.4% to 5.0% this year, and remain at that level until 2021.
  • Inflation is forecast to increase from 1.5% this year to 2.25% in 2019-20, then 2.5% by 2020-21.
  • Wage growth will be lower than the previous Budget forecast, increasing slightly from 5% in 2018-19 to 2.75% in 2019-20, then accelerating to 3.25% by 2020-21.
  • Low unemployment and rising wages growth should lead to increased household consumption; coupled with robust non-mining business investment growth, a resurgence in mining investment, a lower dollar and the resilience of Australia’s major trading partners, the economic outlook is generally positive despite housing market risks and international trade uncertainty.
  • Accordingly, the underlying cash balance is expected to increase from a deficit of $4.2b this year back to a surplus of $7.1b in 2019-20 and $11.0b in 2021-22, with the longer term goal being to eliminate Commonwealth net debt by 2030.


Canberra Business Chamber welcomes a Budget that emphasises the fundamental business principles of getting back into the black and investing in growth. With an economy that is largely driven by our small businesses, the 2019-20 Federal Budget provides much-needed assistance in the form of SME-targeted tax measures such as the increased asset write-off, as well as additional funding for exporters, and an increased focus on meeting skills shortages.

At the same time, the Chamber feels that the $58m increase in funding to support small businesses seeking assistance in disputes with the Australian Taxation Office, will be dwarfed by the billion dollar injection to the ATO’s scrutiny of tax avoidance, the burden of which often falls largely upon those least able to bear it: small businesses.

While the Budget provides ACT consumers with some tax relief that in turn should flow on to local businesses, the Territory gets only a tiny slice of the $25 billion in infrastructure spending, with only $50m over two years for road upgrades – important institutions in the Capital, a source of national pride as well as local tourism, miss out on necessary funds. There are also disturbing signs that the Commonwealth will continue its plan to decentralise the Public Service, which, if carried out, will have a significant negative impact on the ACT’s economy.

Canberra Business Chamber will continue to monitor the impacts of these measures, and put forward business concerns to the Federal Government in coming months.

CBC Kindred Organisations:

Master Builders Association

Australian Hotels Association

Chartered Business Accountants

Australian Institute of Company Directors

Time to Question Cyber Security Readiness

17 October 2018

Time to Question Cyber Security Readiness

By Robyn Hendry, Canberra Business Chamber CEO

Despite more than one-third of ACT companies having faced a data privacy or cyber-security attack in the past two years, just over half of our local businesses have a plan in place to respond to an incident.

Canberra Business Chamber has recently conducted what is possibly Australia’s first survey of local business cyber-awareness.

It found that while firms have directly experienced cyber threats, many are ill-equipped to take practical steps to minimise risks and protect their own and customer information.

Between 70 per cent and 77 per cent of respondents have taken basic cyber-protection steps, including loading the latest software updates, backing up business data at least weekly, and ensuring password access to company devices.

Even more have firewalls on their computer systems, change the default factory passwords on devices, and control access to business devices and data.

“This basic level of awareness is very positive”, says Lyndal Thorburn, Chair of the Chamber’s Innovation Taskforce. “This, and the high response rate to our survey in a relatively short time, shows that cyber-security is on the minds of local businesses. This is a good sign that cyber-hygiene is uppermost in locals’ minds at the moment.”

Room for improvement

However, the survey also revealed that while local businesses are getting the basics right, there is room for improvement when it comes to taking more proactive steps in cyber protection. For example, only 45 per cent of respondents had a secure website and had changed the default passwords on their business routers.

Other risks identified included how companies control if, or how, staff can download software and apps onto their business-owned devices and access Wi-Fi while travelling.

The survey also showed that local businesses are very interested in enhancing their skills in this area and are willing to seek advice from service providers. Three-quarters of respondents are already using third-party suppliers for backup, organisation-specific software and client data.

Over the next 12 months, the Chamber will be developing a set of ‘FAQs’ companies can use to improve their basic cyber-hygiene and a list of trusted third-party suppliers businesses can look to for expert advice on reducing cyber risks.

These steps will help local businesses meet the requirements of larger customers, including government and defence, when supplying them with services.

The Chamber plans to run the survey annually to collect timeline data. This year’s survey is still live and can be accessed here.

The changing face of employment in Canberra

By Robyn Hendry  13 September 2018

In recent weeks our city, and nation, have been focused on the changing fortunes of those governing Australia. While the drama has been both disturbing and fascinating to watch unfold, there is a more profound shift taking place in employment in Canberra that it is time to pay attention to.

For much of its history, Canberra has been viewed as a ‘government’ town, with our workforce and local economy very much dictated by highs and lows in public sector employment.

In the past, the uncertainty created by something like a Prime Ministerial leadership spill or calling of a Federal election would significantly impact on local business confidence.

However, hard work to diversify our economy has created a new reality in which the ACT’s fortunes are no longer so tightly tied to the fluctuations of the Commonwealth workforce.

Unemployment in the ACT is currently the lowest in the country, standing at 3.6 per cent according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force figures.

When we consider that the Territory also has one of Australia’s highest population growth rates, it must be concluded that jobs are being created.

What may surprise many is where they are being created.

Of the 225,700 people employed in the ACT, 144,000 or 63.8 per cent are employed by the private sector. As of the May quarter 2018, only 81,700 or 36.2 per cent of Canberrans reported as a public sector employee. (Source: ABS Labour Force Australia).

For many years, when arguing against the stereotype of Canberra being a public service city, the ACT has proudly pointed out that more than half of the local workforce was employed by private businesses.

However, these latest figures show we have moved far from that position.

So, whatever happens on the Hill, the important change in employment to keep track of is not simply who is in power, but how Canberra businesses are forging a new destiny for our city and protecting us against seismic shifts in the political landscape.

Robyn Hendry is the Chief Executive Officer of Canberra Business Chamber.

Read Full RIOT ACT article here

Cybersecurity: Only as safe as our weakest link

Around the globe, countries and corporations are focused on cybersecurity. Canberra is home to some of the most innovative, advanced and successful cybersecurity firms in the world.

Yet the issue with cybersecurity is that any organisation, no matter how much they have invested in protection, is only as safe as its weakest link.

While the privacy debate raged on electronic healthcare records over the past few months, a number of commentators pointed out that breaches of patient information are most likely to happen at an individual level – such as the hack or robbery of a general practice’s files.

Indeed, most recent highly publicised examples of data loss were caused by hackers gaining access to sensitive information through electronic connections between small companies supplying goods and services to those that held the data repositories.

Collaboration and cooperation have been a cornerstone of doing business in Australia forever, and it needs to continue safely. When it comes to business it is a universal truth that ‘no man is an island’. At the very least, businesses will have customers with whom they communicate and connect.

Enhancing the “cyber-hygiene” of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – that ability to safely connect with customers and suppliers – is the current focus of the Canberra Business Chamber’s Innovation Taskforce. Chaired by Dr Lyndal Thorburn, the Taskforce is reviewing public checklists suitable for use by Canberra’s SMEs to check how they perform against accepted standards.

“The Taskforce is reviewing existing materials and assessing its applicability to use by our local businesses,” Dr Thorburn explained. “The aim is to develop a page on the Chamber’s website where companies can go to locate these resources, and also to identify local trusted providers of cyber goods and services. We would welcome approaches by local companies interested in being listed.”

One such provider is Canberra-based Cogito Group. Cogito Group is a world-leader when it comes to cybersecurity and when launching a new product earlier this year, Managing Director Richard Brown highlighted the need to look beyond the potential big targets of cybercriminals.

“Our goal is to create products that are affordable and effective for businesses of all sizes and types. We have designed Jellyfish to bring together disparate security capability in the enterprise, but to also allow such capability to finally be realised in much smaller organisations that until now, could not afford them.

“If we are going to keep information safe, particularly sensitive data that can impact on national security or the financial wellbeing of an organisation, then every player in the supply chain – from the cleaning company, to the small contractor, to the organisation itself – has a role to play.”

A key recommendation of Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report is for companies to review third-party efficacy testing of security technologies to help reduce the risk of supply chain attacks.

With cost perhaps one of the greatest barriers to small businesses fortifying their cyber defences, in its ACT Budget Submission this year, Canberra Business Chamber called on the Government to incentivise investment in cybersecurity.

With so much valuable and personal information now stored and shared electronically, just one gap in security can have disastrous consequences. Cybersecurity is everyone’s problem and it requires everyone to treat it seriously.

Full article here:

Singapore trade mission boosts Canberra’s business, investment and tourism

Singapore session – Around 60 business, tourism and trade leaders attended a successful trade mission to Singapore.  Photos: Canberra Business Chamber.

A delegation of Canberra’s business, tourism and industry leaders have taken part in a successful trade mission to Singapore.

The three-day mission – from July 4 to 7 – involved more than 60 entrepreneurs and business people and focussed on developing new trade and investment opportunities with Singapore, with a key focus on tourism, hospitality and growing exports.

The goal of the mission – supported by the ACT Government, Canberra Business Chamber and Austrade – was to leverage networking and collaboration opportunities between the ACT and Singapore as well as strengthen business, trade and tourism relationships.

The high-level delegation was spearheaded by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr along with senior ACT Government staff, political leaders, representatives from VisitCanberra and Canberra Business Chamber CEO Robyn Hendry.

The delegation also met with Australia’s High Commissioner in Singapore to discuss trade and export markets and held various targeted workshops and business-related seminars, including with AustCham Singapore and Enterprise Singapore.

One of the major streams of the mission focused on tourism and hospitality to promote the Canberra region as a vibrant business and leisure destination for visitors.

More than 20 local tourism operators took part including representatives from the National Zoo & Aquarium, Tidbinbilla, National Gallery of Australia (NGA), Blue Sky Adventure Tours and innovative start-up business Go Boats, based at Kingston Foreshore.

Canberra region Tourism Leaders Forum Chair David Marshall said the highly successful trade mission reinforced the strong relationships with Singapore, especially from a tourism perspective.

“It was a very worthwhile mission and a great way to re-establish contacts and reinforce the world-class tourism products we have in Canberra, especially with new [tourism] products coming on board all the time,” said Mr Marshall, who was joined by leaders from the Canberra Convention Bureau and local wineries.

The tourism operators participated in an intensive two-day workshop involving around 30 different travel agencies in Singapore. There were several presentations made by the ACT delegation to showcase the region’s newest and innovative tourism ventures.

The trip also provided opportunities to build on Canberra’s international flights with leaders from Canberra International Airport and the Chief Minister holding high-level talks.

“We now have two of the world’s best airlines flying into Canberra – Singapore Airline and Qatar Airways – we’re blessed with those connections so now we just need to work on connections via New Zealand into America and directly into China,” said Mr Marshall, who mentioned the Chief Minister was heading to Hong Kong and South Korea this week to pursue these negotiations.

Ms Hendry recently told 2CC since Canberra now has direct daily flights to Singapore, there was no better opportunity to promote the region and sell it overseas.

“We have seen Canberra’s exports increase by about eight per cent – and we have a strong market overseas,” said Ms Henry. “We’ve got to get over there [Singapore and Asia] to tell people.”

The ACT was also thanked for its strong support and engagement with Singapore as there have been several “trade missions” over the past 18 months, which is “extraordinary”, Mr Marshall said.

“That’s why the ACT has got a far greater share of the [international] business – as we’re very committed to promoting the whole Canberra region,” he said.

Meetings were also held with the arts community with several engagements occurring with Screen Canberra and the Canberra Innovation Network with similar Singapore arts-based bodies.

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An inclusive and diverse workforce is good for business



The ACT has the highest labour force participation and the lowest unemployment rate for people with a disability in Australia. While these are statistics to be proud of, there is still a need to educate more businesses on the benefits of employing people with a disability and create more employment opportunities.

Canberra Business Chamber, the ACT Inclusion Council and the ACT Government have partnered and developed the Inclusion in Employment Project.

The project helps businesses who have employed people with a disability share their positive experiences with businesses seeking new employees who may not have considered people with a disability for the job.

This engagement is designed to ensure Canberra businesses understand employing a person with a disability is good business.

People with a disability offer employers a diverse range of skills, talents and qualifications. Research has demonstrated that workers with a disability have higher rates of retention, better attendance and fewer occupational health and safety incidents than those without a disability.

For businesses, filling positions with the right person is a key to success. A person with a disability may be perfect for the job but be overlooked.

Like all employees, people with a disability bring a range of skills, talents and abilities to the workplace. Many people with a disability hold tertiary or trade qualifications.

When 61 per cent of Canberra businesses report they are finding it difficult to attract required workers, this is a talented pool of potential employees that must not be discounted simply due to a lack of understanding.

The Inclusion in Employment Project aims to address questions employers may have and educate them on the services and support structures in place for businesses that employ people with a disability.

Studies have shown employees and customers are more loyal to organisations that demonstrate they value diversity and inclusion and that their workforce reflects the community as a whole.

A report from the Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with Deloitte Australia found people with a disability are three times more likely to avoid an organisation and twice as likely to dissuade others because of an organisation’s negative diversity reputation.

In addition, evidence of inclusion is increasingly being taken into consideration when awarding contracts and tenders.

It is not just individual businesses that benefit from employment of people with a disability. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers paper, almost $50 billion could be added to Australia’s economy by 2050 if Australia stepped up into the top eight OECD countries in the employment of people with a disability.

Local businesses have been quick to get involved and four Canberra companies are already employing through this project. These are: Capital Chemist Charnwood, Eric Martin and Associates, Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers and Gungahlin Lakes Golf and Community Club.

Employing a person with a disability is good business. To find out more about the Inclusion Employment Project please watch or visit

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New National Guidelines in the Management of Work Related Psychological Health and Safety


Australian workplaces spend close to $6 billion annually in lost productivity due to poor psychological safety.

Safe work Australia has published national guidelines to support building a psychologically healthy and safe work environment. This Guide describes a systematic practical approach to managing work-related psychological health and safety.

Most elements of this systematic approach are required under work health and safety (WHS)[1] or workers’ compensation laws in all Australian jurisdictions. This Guide also highlights the importance of positive psychological work health and safety and how this can lead to a reduction in both psychological and physical injuries.

Click here to view: Media Release & Safe Work Guidelines