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Newsletter 12/2018

A Message from Team Australia | Updates from the Consul General


Dear ABCD members

I met some of you at my welcome lunch in October, and have connected with many more of you since starting in my new role as Consul General-Dubai and General Manager-Middle East, Africa and Turkey in September.  I appreciate the warm welcome I have received and am impressed by the diversity and professionalism of the Australian business community here.

It is my pleasure to share with you the Austrade 2017–18 Annual Report, which was tabled in parliament on 24 October, and is now available on our website.  This report shows the depth and breadth of the work we do as an organisation through our network of 84 international locations and 10 locations in Australia, complemented by a further 28 TradeStart offices. 

Here in the UAE, the last quarter of 2018 has been a busy one for my team and I.  Here are just some of the highlights.

The sixth MENA Connection Seminars took place from 29 October to 9 November 2018 across six Australian capital cities where I was joined by Australian Ambassadors from Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and Jordan, as well as Austrade’s Trade & Investment Commissioners from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.  Through a series of seminars organised in collaboration with the Australia-Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) and meetings and roundtables organised with other stakeholders, we connected with more than 500 representatives across government, industry and academia to share insights about the region from a business standpoint to counter the negative perceptions perpetuated by the region’s geo-politics.  Australian Commissioner-General for Expo 2020 Dubai, Justin McGowan, also joined the program to discuss business opportunities during the world expo. 

Austrade has been supporting Justin and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the Expo through various activities.  Besides the industry outreach during MENA Connection Seminars, Austrade and the Expo taskforce have also collaborated on a visit from the Expo 2020 team to Australia; organised a webinar where Richard McGuire, VP of procurement for Expo 2020 spoke directly with Australian companies about upcoming tenders in event management; and promoted the innovation impact grant program called Expo Live to Australian innovators via a webinar and ongoing awareness raising campaigns through social media channels.  More than five companies have won contracts to date, and although Expo is unable to release the exact value of these contracts they have confirmed it is worth over US$50 million.  So far 93 applications have been received from Australia for Expo Live and with the application deadline extended to 31 December I am confident of crossing the 100 mark.      

On the education front, we worked with IDP Education to deliver the first UAE Student Counsellors Workshop, focused on helping counsellors and principals guide students towards the skills and courses they need to succeed. The workshop 'Preparing students for jobs of the future' included a professional development session presented by Dr Jenny Chesters from the University of Melbourne and positioned Australian education institutions as providers of education that delivered on these required skills.

Naïla Mazzucco, joined my team as Counsellor (Commercial) and Trade Commissioner to Abu Dhabi and will be leading our services and technology and defence initiatives.  She is progressing our work on identifying quality leads in fintech and blockchain, and assisting Australian firms to access commercial opportunities in the key MEA markets of UAE, Bahrain and Kenya.  She is also scoping the UAE market potential for Australian cyber security solutions with applications to financial institutions and other relevant corporate entities.  In collaboration with the regional Defence Attachés, she will focus on developing the Defence and Security Business Plan under the national Defence Export Strategy to build upon the Government’s defence industry policy.

In the next newsletter, I will share plans for what is shaping up to be an exciting first quarter of 2019.

The entire Austrade team and I look forward to continuing to work with you in 2019 and I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a happy, safe New Year.       


Ian Halliday


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