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I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF)


The ANZLF brings business and government together to help Australia and New Zealand prosper. The Forum enables discussion between senior business and government leaders about ways to improve business and trade between Australia and New Zealand. The ANZLF is the only high-level and broad-based bilateral Australia-New Zealand business forum that engages closely with governments on both sides of the Tasman. 

The annual centrepiece for the ANZLF is a trans-Tasman conference attended by senior business and government leaders to discuss key challenges and opportunities and establish defined outcomes to be advocated for by invited attendees. The Forum was held on 13 September in Auckland, New Zealand. It was pleasing to see significant involvement from both the Australian and New Zealand government leaders and over 300 business leaders in attendance. 

The Forum covered many topics, but here are some of the key points:

  • Australia AND New Zealand continue to work together to align to a Single Economic Model (SEM) which helps businesses to operate in both counties with less legislative or administrative challenges. This has been in place for 15 years and continues to be a key focus for all stakeholders.
    • The continued progression of digitalisation presents opportunities for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to operate across the Tasman. Both government and business leaders agreed that more work can be done to help SMEs improve their use of digital capabilities.
    • Stakeholders also agreed that the future or work in terms of how, where and when work occurs is continuing to evolve and we should be cognisant that our historic view of work in the work place (or more colloquially, the Monday to Friday 9-5) is an outdated model of thinking.

  • Innovation was a key topic. It was recognised that there are key innovation activities occurring across the Tasman. To promote innovation, the following ideas were presented:
    • Building stronger relationships between innovation, science and tech to identify trans-Tasman collaboration opportunities.
    • Showcasing innovation and growth and demonstrating the positive impact on companies through growth and innovation awards.
    • Examining opportunities to accelerate building the trans-Tasman innovative ecosystem with a pilot program focusing on health technology.
    • Promoting investment to fund innovation or innovative businesses with a view to driving job creation, increased output and economic growth.
  • The Forum also covered the increasingly complex political environment and the impacts of political activities outside of Australia and New Zealand. Political forces such as the US and China have the potential to impact our business environments as well as our future as a society. The discussions focused on ideas for partnering and changing the corporate behaviour models and how these should align to public expectation of good corporate activity.
  • The Forum also focused on indigenous business and discussed ideas to innovate and maximise the opportunities of the trans-Tasman markets. The opportunity to help indigenous businesses and community to grow and develop to improve economic conditions for these communities.

Chris Howard,
ABSIA Director and President.