G’Day from Australia: Council Delegation Mixes Business and Fun
The Bay Area Council-United Airlines Australia Delegation – led by California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot, Council Chair and Hanson Bridgett Managing Partner Kristina Lawson, and Council CEO Jim Wunderman, returned recently from an extremely productive weeklong trip that highlighted the strong economic and other connections between the Bay Area and California and the land Down Under. A group of 28 business and civic leaders from the Bay Area and Southern California participated. The trip built on a report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute that identified economic synergies between Australia and the Bay Area. The trip also coincided with the start of the Women’s World Cup, which Australia is hosting, and delegates were treated to a tour of the Fox Sports studios, where they met men’s soccer legend Alexi Lalas.
With a focus on advanced technologies for water, including desalination (Sydney Water), clean tech and renewable energy (including Sustainable Aviation Fuels), the group met with leaders in clean tech (EV charging company Tritium), sustainable buildings (Lendlease), AI and robotics R&D (University of Technology Sydney), and sustainable aviation fuels (CSIRO, the Australian government’s national research agency.) A luncheon BBQ panel discussion hosted by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane Adrian Schrinner, along with the Brisbane region’s Council of Mayors (SEQ), focused on Queensland’s climate disaster management capabilities and how Brisbane will deliver a climate-positive 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In Sydney, the Committee for Sydney and the American Consulate briefed the delegation on the region’s energy, construction, transportation and labor challenges, and shared key economic, trade and demographic data. A roundtable on climate change was hosted by The Honorable Anoulack Chanthivong, Minister for Industry & Trade at The Mint. On the last day, students from the 49ers Foundation STEM Leadership Institute who joined the delegation, gave impressive presentations on their research projects – intelligence surveillance systems and applied AI in the drug development process. In between these high-level exchanges, delegates saw koala bears and kangaroos, took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Fox Sports FIFA facility, and criss-crossed Sydney Harbor on ferries to the Taronga Wildlife Retreat and Manly and Bondi Beaches.
An important Asia-Pacific partner for the United States and California, Australia offers an array of trade and investment opportunities for Bay Area companies, which a delegation from the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia in Australia will pursue in a reciprocal delegation to the Bay Area in September.