President’s Report to the Annual General Meeting of the Australia Thailand Business Council (ATBC)
Monday 12 December 2022 – ZOOM Meeting
As we emerge from the worst of the Covid 19 epidemic and related lockdowns and general restrictions on events and gatherings, ATBC is starting to see the way ahead with a revised business model. Your Board has continued to evolve an ongoing Zoom based platform allowing us to communicate across widely spaced locations regardless of restrictions. Our website and imaging, strategic partnerships, generous sponsor Kingsgate Consolidated, and the efforts of a dedicated Board have all helped us to cope. Congratulations to Kingsgate on their success in finally reactivating of their gold mining activities at Chatree Thailand from December 2021 after 6 years. It will again be the largest Australian investor and one of the largest foreign employers in Thailand.
Contacts and information and ease of communicating through virtual meetings will be a key part of how business councils like ours can succeed. It will never be as good as meeting people in person (as we have continued to do in Perth) and are mindful of a need to deliver interesting face to face events and networking as soon as we can.
The ATBC Board over the past 12 months has comprised President and Treasurer, Doug Blunt, Vice President Dale Foody (who succeeded Jamie Gibson from 1 July 22), Secretary and Public Officer, Peter Siripol in Canberra, and Board Member Glen Robinson in Sydney. Chris Moor continues in Perth and Daniel Weeks (Brisbane) and Charn Saralertsophon (Bangkok) give us a wide and valuable coverage to help new investors and traders. Jamie Gibson has continued to succeed in his business interests since stepping down from ATBC and Daniel Weeks joined us representing Kingsgate with a background of successful connections in Australia and Thailand. We remind everyone that ATBC is now linked with the ASEAN Business Alliance in WA, the JTSI arm of the WA government and with many like organisations and their sponsors. We are delighted to have the continuing support of Khun Krirkrai Jirapaet in Bangkok as an Honorary Advisor to our Board.
Ambassador HE Busadee Santipitaks of Thailand in Canberra and Australian Ambassador to Thailand HE Dr Angela McDonald PSM have also been great supporters. ATBC Secretary Peter Siripol and myself recently farewelled Ambassador Busadee upon the recent completion of her term. We were able brief the new Australian ambassador to Thailand before she took up duty after the recent Australian election. APEC meetings held in Bangkok recently were a big success.
In my joint role as Treasurer of ATBC I mention that on our financial side there were again virtually no office expense charges for the year, thanks to our generous sponsor Kingsgate Consolidated and voluntary contributions of time by our executives. This has meant that we have had minimal compliance and admin costs. Together with colleagues in Sydney and region, Mr Peter Siripol, who is based in Canberra ACT continues as our local representative and Public Officer there and has been a very valuable contributor to the Council throughout the year.
Member subscriptions from established members were not called for during the year 2021/22 as ATBC finances remained healthy and expenses very low. We need to keep our finances stable as we are funded only by member subscriptions and generous sponsors with an interest in Thai – Australian business relationships. As we expand activity, we will likely be asking all current and past members to review their level of membership and actively engage in face to face and hybrid events. As will be seen from the Statement of Financial Position, the ATBC reports a good financial position as at 30/6/22. Cash balances currently total A$15,492 approx.
ATBC has continued to rebuild over the course of the past year, with several contacts for assistance received, resulting in a continual flow of referrals from us to Thai Government agencies such as Thai Trade and especially to the Thai Board of Investment. In line with our strategy, we have continued to build up our website as a go-to referral source and we will continue our monthly newsletter. We have also learned that several high-level visits from Thailand are planned in 2023, and we hope that ATBC will play a part in making them successful.
I am pleased to give some examples of our major activities which include but are not limited to:
- Fairly regular working contact with the Thai Board of Investment & Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham Bangkok) including virtual events which are available to ATBC members. See ATBC website for further details.
- Personal Introductions to BOI of intending investors by Glen Robinson, Dale Foody and Doug Blunt
- Attendances at Thai National Day celebrations
- Re-development of our website as a basis for our focussed core activities, which has been relaunched including:
- An Exchange rate feed AUD/THB with our member Dollarsmart.
- Updates from the Thai Board of Investment are regularly published.
- Weekly updates on international affairs are also regularly published in conjunction with Australian Institute of International Affairs.
Most of all ATBC is about connecting businesses with Our website is developing as a reference for the public and for the use of members. For Bangkok activities, Thailand based AustCham’s e-magazine Advance also remains available to all members via our website at: https://www.aust-thai.org.au.
Members are encouraged to connect with Austcham Bangkok and AIIA webinars as advertised for a constant flow of information on what is happening in Thailand, across ASEAN and world affairs – all of which affects business.
In conclusion, I think 2021/22 has been a pleasing one for the Council as closed borders and meeting restrictions ease. We encourage anybody with an interest in doing business in Thailand to get in touch..