Chief Executive Update 15 June 2022

15 June 2022

As the recent Federal Election demonstrated, climate is a major focus for many Australians as well as business. Next Tuesday June 21 the Victorian Chamber will present our Why Sustainability is Good for Business breakfast at Crown. It comes as the Centre for Economics and Business Research released its ARCADIS Sustainability Cities Index today and Melbourne’s ranking dropped to #60 from its previous ranking at 56.

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We’ve assembled an expert panel led by Arcadis Global Cities Director John Batten (coming all the way from New York!), the City of Melbourne’s urban design legend Rob Adams, CEO of Infrastructure Sustainability Council, Ainsley Simpson and former CEO of Sustainability Victoria, Claire Ferres Miles, to discuss how business can leverage sustainability to its advantage. Tickets to this not-to-be-missed event are still available – secure yours here.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Chamber recently conducted an important survey on Female Participation in the Workforce. You can see the full results here, the overwhelming response shows that this is clearly an issue that many people are passionate about.

The survey found the extent of unpaid work in a woman’s life is a major hurdle, with up to 55 per cent of respondents spending up to seven hours a week on unpaid work related to their employment. Other barriers include a lack of access to expertise in many areas and 70 per cent would like to see more female leaders in positions of power. The Chamber is committed to playing a leadership role to ensure women have access to leadership positions in business and we look forward to making some exciting announcements soon.

Just in case you didn’t catch the news this morning, the Fair Work Commission announced a 5.2 per cent increase in minimum wages and a 4.6 per cent increase in award wages. While we supported a 3 per cent increase to account for the rising costs of living, these bigger than expected increases will place further pressure on businesses already facing a number of challenges including surging energy prices, supply chain bottlenecks and acute labour shortages.

As the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has stated, many award-reliant businesses were severely impacted by the pandemic and are only just starting to recover. Small businesses in particular will feel the impact of what amounts to a $7.9 billion a year wage increase for Australian business and will put jobs at risk rather than create them.

In the wake of the sharemarket correction, and CPI increases, it is going to make for an interesting time ahead.

Regional Victoria is playing a vital role in our economic recovery and the long weekend was another opportunity to get around the state and enjoy all Victoria has to offer. It also provided a much-needed boost for businesses who are still facing challenges and that’s why we are undertaking a series of Regional Policy and Advocacy Roundtable meetings over the coming months.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to reconnect in person with our regional members as we hit the road with our Policy Team visiting Shepparton (July 7), Wodonga (July 8), Traralgon (July 28), Colac, Warrnambool and Mildura to hear their priorities and insights and help develop the Victorian Chamber’s regional advocacy platform for the State Election in November.

All members within these regions are encouraged to attend and can register via victorianchamber.com.au/events/. We hope to soon be able to also announce dates for roundtables in Horsham, Swan Hill, Ballarat, Geelong, Echuca, Wangaratta and Bairnsdale.

On Friday July 22 we will also host our exclusive Regional Business Lunch in Bendigo with the Minister for Transport Infrastructure and the Suburban Rail Loop, Jacinta Allan. In the Victorian Chamber’s first major regional event post-pandemic, the Minister will address issues faced by regional businesses, and the extensive pipeline of transport infrastructure projects to support Victoria’s economic recovery. More details can be found online.

I hope to see you at one of these events.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

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