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Australia…land of opportunity?

Last night leading business people David Hutton, (Lend Lease), Greg Hywood (Fairfax Media Limited) and Alex Malley (CPA Australia), shared insights and a few home truths about opportunity in Australia – Do we take it for granted? Is it a blessing or a curse? – at Business Events Sydney’s 2013 Ambassador Dinner and Investiture.

Expertly guided by Jenny Brockie, host of Insight on SBS, the panel navigated the topic sharing candid thoughts about Australia’s current economic, social and political climate.  

“From the role of social media to the need to shift the ‘Asian century’ to the ‘Australasian century’, skilled migration and public policy and economic reform, discussion bounced between panelists before questions related to climate change and green energy were fielded from the audience, ” said Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney.  

“Answering the big question – the three panelists agreed that Australia was inherently lucky and we needed to rise to the challenge, not rely on our good fortune, and chase opportunities with a global mindset.”  

Mr Malley summed up the panel’s conclusion with his observation of the differences between emerging economies such as China and that of Australia, stating that, since World War II, Australia as a nation has begun to ‘rest on its laurels’.  

“Most Australians under 35 who are qualified and employed haven’t really ‘suffered’ hardship like the generations before them. Often, if the difficulty of challenge isn’t there to overcome, the personal motivation to reach a higher level isn’t as fierce,” Mr Malley said.  

Mr Malley also expressed that savvy Australian organisations and industries have an opportunity to act in advisory capacity in disciplines and fields that we excel in. This, he stated, was the key to success in an age where Asia is no longer “watching and learning”, but is “watching, learning and doing.”  

Mr Hutton added that, with its focus on sustainability, technology and infrastructure, the Australian business events industry has many exciting opportunities to lead on the global stage.  

Mr Hywood suggested that, in order to excel on the world stage, Australia should focus on becoming more ‘open’, embracing international arrivals.  

“This is a land of opportunity. We’ve somehow got ourselves into a position where we seem to be resisting people who want to come to this country. I believe this is a country that can afford to be open, and afford to embrace,” he said.  

Mr Malley also commented “I think we should speak to more and more people we’ve lost from Australia who are high achievers globally – who see us perhaps as a group that had opportunities to move on more quickly and take the challenges…but didn’t see the chances to seize them.”  

The panel discussion was just one of many highlights in an evening that celebrated BESydney’s Ambassadors and Future Leaders, a highly skilled group of research and industry leaders who, across the years of their involvement with BESydney, have assisted the bureau in securing a total of 63 business events for NSW that have helped generate close to $400 million in economic impact for the state.

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