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Business Envoy

Global insights - Dispatches from Australia's global diplomatic network

From Adelaide: Australian business innovation: the COVID-19 ‘Pivot'

Some Australian exporters were able to “pivot” quickly to respond to COVID-19 challenges, particularly in the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), demonstrating high levels of innovation and resilience. Access to global supply chains underpinned by a network of free trade agreements that reduce or eliminate trade barriers for Australian businesses has also been a strong enabler.

With assistance from the Australian Government's overseas network to source input materials, Detmold Group, a South Australian packaging company, converted its manufacturing capabilities to produce respirator and surgical masks for SA Health and the Federal Government's National Medical Stockpile. Other examples of companies ’pivoting' include distillery companies producing hand sanitiser for the Australian market and food producers capitalising on Australia's safe, clean and green reputation to market their products to Asia's health conscious middle class.

The Detmold Medical team. Image credit: Detmold

From Santiago: promoting Indigenous dialogue and engagement in mining

Indigenous Women in Mining leader Florence Drummond visited Chile in March 2020 as part of an Australian Government initiative to promote the economic empowerment of indigenous women in the mining sector. Accompanying Florence on the visit were Indigenous policy-maker Christina Coleman and entrepreneur Jaynaya Winmar. The visit reinforced the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's work in promoting dialogue and consultation with civil society groups in the mining sector to improve outcomes and ensure social licence to operate. More opportunities exist to leverage interest in the private sector to learn more about Australia's experience with Indigenous community engagement. Chile's Mining Ministry published a video on their meeting with Ms Drummond on twitter.

Florence Drummond at the Australian Embassy in Santiago.
Florence Drummond at the Australian Embassy in Santiago. Image credit: DFAT

From Canberra: submissions welcome to inform review of free trade agreement with China

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is conducting a post-implementation review (PIR) of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), in accordance with the Australian Government Guide to Regulation. The PIR will consider a number of matters, including the impacts of ChAFTA on businesses and other groups in the community and whether ChAFTA has delivered a net benefit to the Australian community in the five years since its entry into force. The Department welcomes submissions from businesses and interested stakeholders. Submissions may be lodged to chinafta@dfat.gov.au.

From Adelaide: on track in implementation of renewable energy

South Australia is on track to become an Australian and global leader in the implementation of renewable energy technologies – driven by over $20 billion in proposed new commercial investments, many internationally funded. Numerous large-scale solar and solar hybrid projects are planned for the state, including UK GFG Alliance's Cultana Solar Farm, French Neoen's Goyder South Project and Spanish Iberdrola's Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park. The increase in renewable energy capacity is supported by investments in grid-scale storage, led by the Hornsdale Power Reserve, home of the Tesla “big battery”, the largest lithium-ion battery in the world. South Australia is also leveraging small-scale renewable energy generation with its Home Battery Scheme and working with Tesla to create the state's Virtual Power Plant (VPP), developing a network of up to 50,000 home solar systems aggregated to form the world's largest virtual power plant.

Harvesting solar energy in South Australia. Image credit: istock

From Canberra: media visit to Indonesia explores trade and investment opportunities

Australian media representatives participated in a visit to Indonesia in February 2020 supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The visit's objective was to help develop a deeper understanding of the bilateral trade and investment relationship, including in relation to the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) among the Australian public. The journalists interviewed policy makers, Australian and Indonesian business people working in Indonesia, and explored the potential for new market opportunities under IA-CEPA. The ABC's Landline segment, one highlight resulting from the media reporting from the visit, can be viewed here: www.abc.net.au/landline/tearing-down-the-tariffs:-what-the-australia/11…

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