Trans-Tasman leaders lay path for strengthened partnership backed with new initiatives

The 14th Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) has concluded in Sydney with strengthened trans-Tasman commitments in multiple fields including the digital economy, supply chain resiliency, innovation and science, tourism, infrastructure, health technology, indigenous business,  climate change, and labour/skill shortages.

The Forum is the centrepiece for the ANZLF, a business-led initiative steered by the Australian and New Zealand Co-Chairs, Pip Marlow (CEO ANZ and ASEAN Salesforce) and Greg Lowe ONZM (CEO Beca Group). 

In 2023 Australia and New Zealand will mark 40 years of our ground-breaking Closer Economic Relations (CER) trade agreement, and 80 years of opening diplomatic missions in each other’s country. 

“I am proud this year’s Forum was a great success, demonstrated by the attendance of both Prime Ministers and one of the largest collections of Ministers ever. There is a strong commitment to accelerate joint initiatives that help us emerge stronger together from the pandemic and better able to adapt to global headwinds.

“This forum saw a record delegation of Indigenous Australian and Māori business leaders - notably during NAIDOC week. There are significant opportunities for both countries to make an impact together in areas like business, tourism, technology, climate adaptation, among others.

“The Trans-Tasman Innovation and Growth Awards last night showcasing some great entrepreneurs in both countries was a highlight, recognising innovative solutions to address mental health, microbial contamination, toxin free cleaning products and making data more accessible, usable and shareable for communities, said Greg Lowe, New Zealand Co-Chair of ANZLF.

“Our amazing Emerging Leaders group had a big impact. It is great to have them on board, we welcome the fresh perspective and diversity that they bring to the ANZLF.

“It is a tribute to both government and business that CER was a ground-breaking and comprehensive agreement that enabled such a prosperous relationship between Australia and New Zealand. But as we heard throughout this forum it is time to lift our gaze, to define this “special” relationship in the context of a new era.

“The relationship is not only grounded in its incredible history, but a relationship that has a vision for the future. This Forum is designed to bring business and government leaders together to help create and deliver on that vision, said Pip Marlow, Australian Co-Chair of ANZLF.

Commitments discussed at the Forum included:

Digital economy

  • Establishing a Digital Economy Agreement between Australia and New Zealand. There was universal agreement that the nearly 40 year old Closer Economic Relations trade agreement must be modernised.
  • Accelerate the development of a trans-Tasman digital Identity framework.

Indigenous Business

  • Agreement to pursue closer trans-Tasman collaboration on Indigenous business through the Australia Aotearoa NZ Indigenous Cooperation Agreement and IPETCA the Indigenous Peoples Economic Trade & Cooperation Arrangement including, and not limited to, trade, innovation and technology, tourism and women's economic empowerment.

Pacific Engagement

  • Reaffirm commitment to supporting a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and resilient South Pacific with numerous recommendations for action in partnership with the region.

Labour and the Future of Work

  • Priorities to address the common challenge of labour shortages and skill gaps.

Supply Chain resiliency

  • Rolling out technology initiatives to strengthen supply chain resilience, improve port efficiency and promote the continued growth of e-commerce.

Climate Change

  • Address decarbonisation, climate resilience and clean energy innovation, requiring G2G, B2B and B2G collaboration towards emission reduction targets. The ANZLF welcomed the launch of ongoing collaboration between the New Zealand Business Council of Sustainable Business and Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia on Net Zero Goals.

Trans-Tasman border

  • Ministerial commitment to a process to finally achieve the seamless and secure trans-Tasman border.
  • Implement a joint trans-Tasman visa by mid-2023 to encourage the world to visit Australia and New Zealand on a single trip.

Innovation & Science

  • Greater alignment of Innovation and Science priorities trans-Tasman.
  • Support the new Indigenous Trans-Tasman Strategic Alliance Agreement on Science and Innovation.
  • Deepen the existing Australia New Zealand Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement (ANZSRICA) such as closer cooperative research initiatives specifically bio-tech; align place-based innovation precincts Trans-Tasman; shared science infrastructure cooperation; climate change collaboration; and partner on horizontal technologies: AI, Data, Quantum, Robotics
  • Support establishment of Data Rights and Digital Economy initiatives

Health Technology

  • Improved collaboration to work together on our digital health strategies - develop a joint Australia and New Zealand Digital Health strategy to ensure seamless interoperability across the Tasman.
  • Accelerate investment into the BioBridge framework to turbocharge collaboration in clinical practice and early stage innovation.

The ANZLF is a business-led initiative that brings business and government together to help Australia and New Zealand prosper. The Forum enables discussion between senior business and government leaders about ways to improve business and trade between Australia and New Zealand. The Forum was held in conjunction with the annual Australia New Zealand Leaders Meeting (ANZLM) today. The next ANZLM meeting will be held in New Zealand in 2023.