Reflections on a decade bring a new digital direction for the Victorian Chamber

01 July 2015

As you read this last edition of Business Excellence in its current format, it marks a new direction in the way the Victorian Chamber will chronicle the challenges and successes of businesses.

Mark Stone

Mark Stone AM

Chief Executive, Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

As you read this last edition of Business Excellence in its current format, it marks a new direction in the way the Victorian Chamber will chronicle the challenges and successes of businesses. 

Collaborating with members to put Victoria first

Championing and supporting business in Victoria has always been at the heart of our organisation. The Victorian Chamber has convened taskforces to provide decision-makers with evidence-based policy recommendations relating to specific industries. Examples of our taskforces include: International Engagement, Transport, Higher Education, Small Business, Export and Trade Facilitation, Workforce Participation Policy, Workplace Privacy, and Agribusiness.

This is just one of the channels through which we engage with members to feed their input into our policies. Because we connect with our members regularly through our membership consultants, policy team and at events and briefings, we hear in their own words how a policy decision will benefit them or make it harder for them to conduct their normal business activities.

Overcoming hurdles towards our common goal

One of the longest-standing priorities of the Victorian Chamber is to eliminate payroll tax in Victoria. It is a tall order to ask any Government to dissolve a lucrative revenue stream and we don’t expect it to happen immediately. However, our objective is to make it happen by 2030. We have already achieved significant triumphs with Victoria’s payroll tax threshold lifted to $700,000 by 2022-23 and the regional payroll tax rate cut to 1.21 per cent over the same period, cementing regional Victoria’s status as the most attractive place in Australia to do business.

We can chalk these wins up to our bipartisan approach to advocacy, where we adopt a sensible course of action and work closely with governments and oppositions of all political persuasions, from the Bracks and Brumby era, through the Baillieu and Napthine years and now in the second term of Premier Daniel Andrews.

But the wins we have achieved are not enough for thousands of businesses. For example, when a decision is made to install new public holidays, we speak on behalf of thousands of Victorian businesses footing a $852 million bill to pay their staff not to come to work. Of course, there are many other factors shaping the operating environment: global competition, new digital technology and platforms, more entrepreneurs starting their own businesses and innovation in business to stay ahead of the curve.

Exec Team
Victorian Chamber Executive team members

Our commitment to evolution and improvement

To succeed in this continually changing landscape, you have to change the way you do business.

Victorian Chamber brands under one umbrella and aligned more closely with our interstate counterparts, increasing our presence within the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Combining forces with other chambers has also achieved a greater influence on national policies at the Federal level, as evidenced in this year’s Federal Election campaigns with pro-business policies announced by both major parties.

The sale of our former building in East Melbourne and move to Collins street in 2015 sparked a change in our work culture, enabling different business units to work more collaboratively in an open-plan environment, improving products and outcomes for our members.

Mental Health is one of our top priorities at the Victorian Chamber, and to ensure it remains a priority for business, in 2016 we launched a suite of mental health training and consulting services that further strengthen the wide range of OHS services we are renowned for delivering across the state.

Assistance with global trade
Staff are always ready to help

Showcasing the best of business

Victorian Chamber events have become firm fixtures on the business calendar. Our events are a unique opportunity for businesses of all sizes to learn from some of the brightest leaders in Australia while also connecting with their peers. Examples include events with Andrew Liveris, global Chief Executive of Dow Chemicals, John Borghetti while he was heading up Virgin Australia, the annual Pitcher Partners and VCCI Grand Final Lunch and many other top tier speakers. In addition, our Business After Dark networking series and Fast Forward speed networking has made it even easier for our members to connect with each other.

Catering to our members’ needs has driven a ten per cent increase on our member base in recent years. Our 92 per cent retention rate also signals that we are delivering services and events that members want, need and use.

Successfully relaunching the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce in 2013 was a major milestone, uniting leading businesses across the city and state and enabling a tailored approach to these premium memberships.

Furthermore, a formal partnership with the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) in 2012, merging five existing tourism organisations, created a peak body for the sector with an effective voice representing all Victorian tourism businesses. The visitor economy is a thriving sector and VTIC delivers an excellent conference and the industry’s annual Victorian Tourism Awards each year. Providing these two headline events for the industry each year has brought members together and energised them to advocate on behalf of their sector and connect with their peers to learn how to grow their businesses.

The Victorian Chamber supports the success of all business in Victoria and is proud to have established an ongoing partnership with Kinaway, the leading Victorian organisation dedicated to supporting Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners.

Making it easier to do business in Victoria

With avenues to businesses of all sizes and sectors, we know the common barriers they face and have set about making it easier for businesses to navigate complex processes and regulatory environments.

The Victorian Chamber provides valuable export assistance to business, through issuing carnets and certificates of origin, one of the critical documents that exporters need to be able to verify that their goods originated in Australia and essential as part of the application for preferential tariffs under some Free Trade Agreements. This service is so valuable to Victorian businesses that it has not only grown by 100 per cent over the past years, but the Victorian Chamber processes more export documents than any other licensed provider in the country.

And since 2017, we have offered a new product to members, Workplace Assured, a Workplace Relations service designed to give businesses peace of mind that they are managing and complying with employment relations obligations. Commitment to improve the business environment of the future, not just today, is also key to our continued success.

Apprenticeship Support Australia has supported thousands of apprentices and employers through the Chamber movement nationally, and the Victorian Chamber’s internship program has been tremendously popular with employers and interns with over 400 young people participating. When businesses report that one of the top challenges they face is finding the right people, there is nothing more important than equipping workers with the skills they need to succeed.

International trade services available
Discussions overcome hurdles towards our common goal

Forward-thinking in a new digital direction

The Victorian Chamber is adapting just like our members, and from now on will engage with you through our new online content hub (launching later this year) and across all our social media channels.

We look forward to moving to this new format, bringing thought leadership, member stories and important news for Victorian business under one platform, easily accessible anywhere, anytime.

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