AKBC E-newsletter March Edition

Dear AKBC members,

It’s been an extremely busy month in both Korean and Australian politics, bookended by Korea electing their next President and the Morrison Government handing down its final budget ahead of an election which is expected to be called in the coming days.

Leading a return of the conservatives to power after five years, Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party won the presidential election on March 9 – he will be inaugurated on May 10 and remain in office until 2027. Mr Yoon (48.56%) edged out the ruling liberal Democratic Party’s Lee Jae-myung (47.83%) in what is the narrowest margin in Korean election history (0.73%).

The result reflects how divided Korea is by ideology, gender, region and generation. President-elect Yoon sought to tackle this head on, pledging to prioritise “national unity” during his acceptance speech. Cooperation and compromise will be critical for Mr Yoon to introduce his new agenda, with the Democratic Party still controlling the National Assembly.

In Australia, the Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down the 2022-23 Federal Budget on March 29. The Morrison Government has targeted voters in must-win electorates with a multi-billion-dollar budget package aimed at easing cost-of-living pressures. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will outline his alternative Budget plan on Thursday night, with both sides of politics braced for the election to be called.

Closer to home, it’s been pedal to the metal at the AKBC as well. Earlier this month, we were thrilled to welcome the Australia-Korea Business Council of Western Australia (AKBCWA) into the fold, creating a single, unified and stronger voice to promote trade and investment interests between Australia and Korea. The merger will enable a truly national and representative body to better serve our members’ interests, and we look forward to building on the AKBCWA’s strong legacy of advocacy and events for Western Australian members.

As we continue to push on into the next phase of living with COVID-19, it’s been exciting to be able to reconnect with many of our members and stakeholders face-to-face. This included the first of our series of ‘Australia-Korea Women in Leadership Lunches’ in Sydney on March 24 – you’ll find a feature on this event later in this newsletter.

We also delivered our increasingly popular Korean cultural training program to Investment NSW’s Going Global Korea cohort. This saw the AKBC assist 18 Australian businesses enhance their understanding of the Korean business culture as they prepare to enter the market for the first time.

I’m extremely excited about some of the big events we are planning in the coming months on your behalf. In early-June, the AKBC is sending a delegation to Korea led by our Chair, the Hon Simon Crean. And from November 29–30, we will be hosting the 43rd AKBC-KABC Joint Meeting in Australia – pencil that into your diaries now, as it’s definitely not one to miss!

In other exciting member news, the AKBC extends our congratulations to GS Engineering and Construction, who are part of the Regionerate Rail consortium selected by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to deliver the $5 billion Inland Rail Gowrie to Kagaru section. And with Hanwha Defense one of two shortlisted tenderers for the Department of Defence’s LAND 400 Phase 3 project, worth up to $27 billion, we’re hoping for a favourable decision on their part in the coming weeks.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to farewell Eunji Palmer who will be leaving the AKBC after 12 months as our Project Officer. On behalf of the Executive Committee and our members, I want to thank Eunji for all her hard work and wish her the very best in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Liz Griffin

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Australia Korea Business Council
PO Box 24430
Melbourne, Vic 3001 Australia
Liz Griffin – Executive Director

The Australia-Korea Business Council is the leading national body committed to strengthening the Australia-Korea economic relationship.