The Matthews Steer team was delighted to welcome a socially-distanced in-person capacity crowd to their information-packed Success Stories breakfast on November 12, which featured presentations from Human Resources guru Shanyn Payne, climate and energy policy expert Tennant Reed, and Matthews Steer Government Grants expert Gary Twomey.
The implications of COP26 for Australian businesses
Reed, from Australian Industry Group, opened proceedings with insights around electricity and gas prices and their implications for business energy use, and shared his predictions for the future of energy in Australia.
Reed said in spite of the compromise around the commitment to end coal power, COP 26 – the Global Climate Change Conference – in Glasgow had been a success. “The core job (COP 26) had, was inspiring emissions reduction ambition from countries around the world. Not every country has embraced this ambition but a heck of a lot – all of the major economies – have, and the job of the next year in the lead up to COP 27 next year is universalising that increase in ambition.”
Reed said that outcome would result in some uncomfortable conversations for the Federal Government in the coming weeks. “We’re committed to net zero by 2050 at the national level as well as all the states, but we’re going to be asked to raise our ambition for what we do this decade. Japan’s committed to 46% reductions by the end of the decade, the United States to roughly 50% UK to more than 60%, European Union to 55%. (Australia) will face some pressure to match that.”
Government grant support for Australian manufacturing businesses
Matthews Steer partner and head of Government Grant Advisory, Gary Twomey, provided an overview of the federal and state business funding landscape, with particular focus on the AusIndustry R&D Tax Incentive Program, Austrade Export Market Development Grant Program, and AusIndustry Entrepreneurs Programme.
Twomey emphasised that government grants were designed to stimulate business growth and innovation, not to support business as usual. “The climate issue and the net zero required by 2050, and the reductions required by 2030, they’re going to put enormous burdens on business to achieve those targets, and there will be major funding programs announced at federal and state level to support businesses to integrate new equipment and processes to help achieve those targets.
“My view is whoever wins the Federal election, there will be a range of climate change-related grant programs focused on energy efficiency, and these grants will provide a major opportunity for manufacturers adjust to new parameters.”
Emphasising the importance of preparation and strategy when applying for government funding, Twomey said: “The key thing is that these grant programs require strategic planning,” he said. “If you’re putting in an application you need to have a project that you’re planning to start in the next six to 12 months, because you have to allow the application process to go through, and they won’t award you any grant funding until the grant agreement is signed.
Culture is king for Australian employees
Guest speaker at the November Success Stories Breakfast was Shanyn Payne, founder of Start Up HR and former Global Human Resources Director for Afterpay Limited. Payne spoke about her role as custodian of Afterpay’s award winning culture, highlighting the delicate balance between ensuring people feel valued, and creating a clear expectation of high performance. “There are many case studies that show you that highly engaged workforces do have much better commercial outcomes,” said Payne.
“Retention comes back to culture. They’ll often come for the money, but they’ll stay for the culture. Money is a hygiene practice; people need to feel they are being paid fairly, and that your benchmarks are right, but they’ll stay for great leadership. I always put a lot of effort into making sure leaders within a business are the best they can possibly be because people will stay if they’ve got someone they feel they can learn from and who they feel valued by.”
Dubbed the ‘Freedom From Lockdown Breakfast’ by Matthews Steer CEO Ken Matthews, the networking event attracted almost 150 clients, contacts and colleagues who relished the opportunity to reconnect in person after months in lockdown. Event partners included Westpac, Danaher Moulton and AI Group.
Quarterly networking events, Matthews Steer’s Success Stories Breakfasts provide our clients and contacts with the opportunity to learn from the origin stories of some of Melbourne’s most successful business people. Recent Success Stories Breakfasts have included the likes of John Grisold from Chocolatier, Steve and Mike Plarre from Ferguson Plarre, and our most recent guest, HR guru Shanyn Payne, from Start Up HR.