France-Australia Business Forum, 2 July 2018

Bernard Tabary, Jason Collins and Jean Barbizet

On the occasion of the visit of the EABC delegation to Paris, led by Australian Minister of Finance, Mathias Cormann, and in the presence of the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on Monday 2 July 2018, ABIE representatives attended the Business Forum organized by MEDEF International.

Proceedings were opened by Herve Guillou, Chairman and CEO of Naval Group and Chairman of the France-Australia Business Council of MEDEF International, who welcomed guests and stressed the importance of the relationship between France and Australia.

The Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, then gave an informative speech where he placed trade between the two countries at 9 billion AUD, with over 500 French companies working in France.

Dr John McVeigh, Australian Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, reiterated Australia’s focus on the future and the similarity of its values with France.  He indicated that Australia is currently working on a 75billion AUD 10-year plan infrastructure plan, tax reform agenda, 1.1 billion AUD plan for innovation and research, a National health growth plan and, of course, investment in the defense sector and that as such, opportunities abound.

The meeting was an important occasion, not just for a welcome discussion on trade and business opportunities between the two countries, but also because a letter of intent was signed by Pierre Jaffre, Airbus President for Asia Pacific, and Professor Ian Jacobs, representing the Group of Eight, which will allow researchers to work together and develop experience.

Bernard Tabary, CEO International at Keolis and ABIE President was invited to open the infrastructure and transport sectorial discussion. He reflected on his positive experience working in Australia and highlighted that solid economic fundamentals and growth fuel general optimism.  Healthy governance at all levels both in government itself and within private companies and high level transparency and there is a great openness towards innovation.

He referred to Austrade, Business France and supportive Embassy and staff on both sides as great resources, as well as ABIE France, which helps foster relationships.

Gram Bradley. Chairman of HSBC Bank Australian and Chairman of Infrastructure NSW, then spoke on the challenges of building infrastructure that is ahead of demand in a country with 26 years of economic growth and a 2% population growth.  In Australia most infrastructure  is the responsibility of the State Governments, with Federal Government assistance, with telecoms, power and airports mostly privatized.

Pascal Tuerquetil, CEO Groupe Muller, and Brett Wickham, Managing Director of Acconia, provided insight on the energy sector. Christophe Fourtet, Co-Founder of SigFox and Stephanie Fahey, CEO of Austrade discussed innovation

This was followed by a Q&A session after which guests had the opportunity to network.  The next MEDEF International delegation to Australia is planned for November 2018.