Canberra’s Business Chamber has been around for more than 70 years, and our local business community has been around for more than a century, well before Canberra itself was created.
The modern Canberra Business Chamber was formed in 2014 by the merger of two pre-existing bodies, the Canberra Business Council and the ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACT CCI).
The Business Council had been formed in 1979, and the ACT CCI was the latest name of the peak business and industry body that had existed since at least 1949.
Unfortunately the records and history of the ACT’s business community are patchy and incomplete, but the National Library of Australia indicates that the first organisation was the ACT Employers Association, which began publishing wages guidelines, newsletters, trader directories and other material for its members in 1949; other sources suggest it may in fact have begun as early as 1943. In subsequent years its name changed to the ACT Employers Federation (which is traded under in the 1960s and 1970s), and then to the Confederation of ACT Industry (in the 1980s and 1990s). In more recent years, it also used the trading name ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Confederation was one of the original founding members of the national Confederation of Australian Industry in 1977, which in turned merged with the Australian Chamber of Commerce in 1992 to form the modern-day peak national voice of business, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
Well before it was chosen to be the seat of the federal government, the Limestone Plains district around Canberra was already home to a number of private agricultural enterprises, including Duntroon Estate and Duntroon Dairy.
Large scale private sector activity in the non-agricultural sphere began with the construction of the first commercial buildings in both Kingston and Manuka in 1925.
Chamber Chairs and CEOs
Canberra Business Chamber Chairs
2018-current: Archie Tsiromokis
2014-2018: Glenn Keys
Canberra Business Chamber CEOs
2018-current: Michael Schaper
2014-2018: Robyn Hendry
Canberra Business Council Chairs
2013-2014: Michelle Melbourne
2010 – 2013: Brand Hoff
2003 – 2010: Craig Sloan
2000 – 2003: Elizabeth Whitelaw
1994 – 1998: Denis Page
1993 – 1994: George Snow
1991 – 1993: John Hindmarsh
1989 – 1991: George Snow
1997 – 1989: Robin Schall
Canberra Business Council CEOs
2007 -2014: Chris Faulks
2003 – 2007: John Miller
2002 -2003: Helen Leayr
? – 2002: Dale Budd
1990-1997: Ossie Kleinig
Confederation/ACT Chamber Chairs
?-2014: Julian Barrington-Smith
1985-1996: Bill Cleary
Confederation/ACT Chamber Executive Directors/CEOs
1997 – 2013: Christopher Peters
 National Library of Australia “ACT Employers Federation”; “Annual Report – Confederation of ACT Industry” [online] https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/639491 (accessed 06 September 2019).
 WE Cleary, undated, “Some Memories of the Confederation of ACT Industry” Canberra
 Nick Swain (2019) “Was Kingston Canberra’s First Shopping Centre?” Canberra Times, 8th June [online] https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6196962/where-was-canberras-first-shopping-centre/ (accessed 06 September 2019).
 ABS (2002) Small Business in Australia 2001, Cat.No.1321.0, Table 4.1, p.33
 ABS (2002) Small Business in Australia 2001, Cat.No.1321.0, Table 2.1, p.11
 ABS (2012) Counts of Australian Businesses, Including Entries and Exits, June 2007 to June 2011, Cat.No.8165.0, Table 4, p.15)