“Dear Austcham Members and Friends,
“Hooray, we have kicked 2020 to the kerb! What a disastrous year for so many. Not only because of the horrendous impact on our businesses but, on a personal level, so many people are suffering the fallout from this virus. From family illness due to Covid, to being separated from family and friends for extended periods – the tyranny of being an expat.
However, I have been heartened by the Australian-Thai community response as we come together to provide support where we can and chart a way through this. We saw that ‘mateship’ when we rallied to support the bushfire victims a year ago, yes that was exactly a year ago. Australians and Thais raised over A$60,000 to support those who lost everything to the tornado of bush fires that ravaged Australia. It’s with that in mind that we shall continue to support each other during these difficult times.
Along with the Advance Australia Council, AustCham will remain at the forefront of these community efforts. Where we can, Directors, who give their time freely, and the Executive team will continue to hold networking and business support functions. It’s imperative that we remain on the front foot and not be beaten back by the longevity of this pandemic. As in 1997, when we experienced the economic devastation of the Tom Yung Goong crisis, it will be those who reach out, lend a hand, provide business and job opportunities to others in our network of friends and AustCham colleagues who will be remembered well beyond the Covid pandemic. We all need to reach deep, ask if we can do more to support our extended community, no matter how small that contribution might seem!
On the business front, your chamber continues to engage the Thai Government on multiple levels. Along with our Foreign Chamber Alliance partners and their respective Embassies, we are focused on enhancing transparency, governance and anti-corruption activities with multiple ministries and departments. It’s often behind-the-scenes work, and progress can seem glacial, but we are making an impact and 2021 holds some promise! The Thai Customs Department is now meeting Chamber representatives on a regular basis; we remain intensely active at the Board of Trade; and there has been some movement on the ease of securing Visas. Yes there is more to be done, however, I believe that the challenges wrought by Covid have provided impetus for change. Let’s see how far we can go with this. If you have any issues please tell the Chamber, we will always try to assist – it’s your Chamber so do use it.
We have much planned for 2021. Your Board is fully engaged and focused, and we shall secure practical outcomes that assist you during 2021. Despite the uncertainty, we should remain positive, forward looking and determined to bring about a better 2021 together.”