Australian Financial Review 2016 Business Summit

By Linda Parker

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the AFR Business Summit in Melbourne, witnessing a range of high profile business leaders from around the globe. Aiming to inspire, they discussed the importance of taking risks to create growth in the economy, and the role Government needs to play in that.

One of the most inspiring stories we took away from the event was from the co-founder of Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes, who from humble beginnings is now a billionaire after taking a risk and following a vision, with nothing but a credit card to support the process. I found it fascinating and somewhat disappointing to hear that their success came from listing the company on NASDAQ (at $21 per share), not the Australian Stock Exchange. This is a sad reflection of Australia’s lack of investment in technology and a reminder that Government needs to engage with emerging leaders and support innovation, rather than just focusing on past opportunities, namely the resources sector, which has inevitably moved into its cycle of operational maintenance and productivity gains, and will no doubt take an upward swing in the future when the next wave of global infrastructure development opportunities come to light…IMG_0853 The other key message was the tax reform needed to support business investment and innovation. With one of the highest company tax rates in the global economy, many Australian businesses are penalised for achieving growth. Treasurer Scott Morrison spoke, but was incredibly evasive in his response to questions around this topic and whether the Government are planning to take a calculated risk to promote growth in our economy.

Walking away from the summit somewhat uninspired, the only thing left for us to do was support the local economy and invest in Melbourne’s fabulous retail and dining experiences… someone had to right?

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