Date posted: May 28, 2015

We are feeling the first bites of cold in sunny NSW – a few frosts and fogs – but at least the rain has eased! Each season brings its own special events and winter in NSW has become synonymous with VIVID Sydney – and we are right in the middle of it now! Surrounded by lights, music and ideas, this festival is evidence of what a small team of entrepreneurs and innovators can achieve with support and community engagement.

The statistics around VIVID are amazing – VIVID commenced in 2009 with 160,000 visitors, attendance has increased as follows:
2010 – 200,000; 2011 – 350,000; 2012 – 550,000; 2013 – 850,000; 2014 – 1.43 million (that’s more than the population of Adelaide!)

Having commenced in just Circular Quay and The Rocks, there are now colourful Vivid precinct’s in Campbell’s Cove, Central Park, Chatswood, City and surrounds, Darling Harbour, Harbour Lights (all the waterways of the harbour via ferries and many other boats), Martin Place, Pyrmont & Star City, Opera House, Sydney University, and Walsh Bay.

In 2013, there were 17,000 visitors from overseas, interstate and intrastate. In 2014 those numbers jumped to 19,500 international visitors, including 9,700 from China. Overall, visitation increased 79% from 2013. The NSW government has been promoting VIVID overseas very strongly and this year is expected to realise even bigger growth in visitation, so there are real benefits to our economy.

But for most of us, it is 18 nights of colour and conviviality, so I hope you will enjoy the fun – see you there!

The Morning After

The morning after Joe Hockey delivered the 2105 budget, one of our adviser members – Grant Thornton – hosted a fabulous breakfast for some 400 people to help us to understand the implications of these changes. The panel of speakers included:

  • Hans Kunnen – Senior Economist, St George Bank
  • Trevor Sykes – Journalist, Editor and leading finance writer
  • Robert Qant – outgoing National CEO, Grant Thornton
  • The Hin. Rob Stokes, MP – Member for Pittwater and Minister for Environment, Hertitage and Central Coast

There was some lively commentary and some valuable interaction from the audience members. The consensus from that group seemed to be that the budget held some benefits for some business sectors, but that there was little of note for the mid-size business. The indicators against which this opinion was measured included:

International Expansion – Export Market development grants (EMDGs) currently focus on the smaller players, supporting companies with $50m or less in turnover.

Managing Talent to Support Growth – 6.6% fewer subclass primary visas were granted in 2014-15 than in the previous year due to cumbersome visa processing requirements. This is negatively impacting mid-sized business’ ability to access the skilled talent from around the globe that they need to grow.

Tax Relief – The 30% company income tax rate places an undue burden on businesses with big labour costs, particularly the mid-size sector.

Access to Finance – Mid-size businesses struggle to access finance from lenders due to a perception.

The Overall Business Perspective

The peak body for business in our state (NSW Business Chamber) has long been lobbying governments of both persuasions to improve conditions for business, and they believe their efforts have been rewarded with the 2015 budget – from both parties. See the articles below.

Member News

Major expansion for Plasdene Glass-Pak in the South and West of Australia
Plasdene Glass-Pak, a privately-owned, leading supplier of glass and plastic bottles, jars, containers and closures today announced the acquisition of West Australian-based Silverlock Packaging in a transaction that expands the national company’s geographic coverage, product offering and team of packaging-solution salesforce. The merged entity will increase the size of Plasdene Glass-Pak by more than fifty percent, making it arguably the largest independent, family-owned packaging distribution business in Australia.