MEDIA STATEMENT

November 11, 2021

Business leaders on the border will meet with Business Council of Australia chief executive officer Jennifer Westacott on Friday, in a virtual roundtable organised by Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines.

The meeting will bring together business leaders from the Albury Wodonga community, including Mayor Kevin Poulton and Business Wodonga president Brett Drinnin, to discuss the Living on Borrowed Time discussion paper recently released by the Business Council of Australia.

The meeting will also discuss the specific challenges and opportunities for businesses on the border, and what support is needed for the region to thrive. Representatives of major employers like Vitasoy, as well as innovative start-ups will be present.

On the request of Dr Haines, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has also recorded a video message for the event.

“This event is important for business leaders in our region to hear from someone like Jennifer Westacott, who is a leader for business across the country, but equally for the BCA to hear directly from regional businesses about their challenges and opportunities,” Dr Haines said.

“Our region has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with the border closure, lockdowns in two states and different sets of restrictions. Now as we look to the future, I thought it was important to set up this meeting, to share knowledge, insights and lessons, and to ensure our businesses’ needs are heard.”

“Like the BCA, I want to help create a bright future for business, and this roundtable will help to understand what they face, to celebrate their successes, and to explore the opportunities especially for regional and rural areas such as ours” she said.

Dr Haines instigated the roundtable after a meeting with Ms Westacott earlier this year.

“The BCA has been having these conversations across the nation because you can’t build a strong Australia without stronger regions. We’re here to listen, find new ideas to put Australia into the fast lane, hear firsthand the things that are working now and where there are opportunities to do more,” Ms Westacott said.

“These discussions will bring together community leaders to find a path that secures our economic future by increasing growth, creating new industries and new well-paid jobs while continuing to get the most out of our traditional economic strengths.”

The BCA is conducting meetings with key stakeholders across the country to consult on the paper and get feedback from the business community.

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