Message from Vera Chute
President, Fiji Australia Business Council
Let me take this great opportunity to welcome the year 2024 and wish everyone a very happy new year. May this new year bring all the joy, peace, health, wealth and happiness to you and your families.
Reflecting on 2023, we began the year with energy and excitement as we welcomed members and non-members at a Breakfast that FABC organized where the representatives of the incoming new Government were invited as special guest speakers. The event garnered tremendous interest and we had a record number of participants – over 200.
At the Australia Day Breakfast, the coalition government conveyed their commitment to developing a much deeper and meaningful engagement with Australia. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Biman Prasad; and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for External Trade, Cooperatives and SMEs, Hon. Manoa Kamikamica, talked about new opportunities and the diversification of the Fiji economy.
The momentum continued throughout the year with FABC’s active involvement in the 2023-2024 budget submission and the Economic Forum where we endeavored to represent the voices and the concerns of our members and advance the interests of Fiji-Australia bilateral relations. This was followed by a Post Budget Brunch in July that we organised and co-hosted with the Fiji Commerce Employers Federation (FCEF) as well as the Fiji New Zealand Business Business Council (FNZBC) where Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Biman Prasad was the guest speaker. Then there was our premier annual joint business forum with our sister council, the Australia Fiji Business Council (AFBC), which was held in Sydney from 30 August to 1 September.
In 2023, FABC sponsored 20 Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) students. APTC provided its learning support and work skills facilitators who delivered the strengthening of basic literacy and numeracy training to 20 students. These students were sponsored by FABC and were identified from APTC’s Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion partner institutions, like the Fiji Vocational Technical Training Centre for Persons with Disability, Marist Champagnat Institute and Chevalier Training Centre.
2024 starts with a targeted plan to engage our members and the community as a whole through strengthened partnerships, improved communications and engagement with all our stakeholders. The Executive Committee has numerous events with plenty of opportunities to network and connect in store for 2024, with not only the Speed Networking Dinner, the Breakfast Event and the Post Budget Seminar coming up in February, March and July consecutively, but also the upcoming 2024 Joint Business Forum to be held in Fiji in the third quarter of the year.
Once again on behalf of the FABC Executive Committee, I wish all our members and partners a strong start to 2024.