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Chris Rack has an enviable reputation as a sculptor of steel and his artworks can be found in both public and private venues. Popular with architects, he is frequently commissioned to contribute sculptures, both internally and externally, as part of the overall architectural design. Here he talks to Stephen Crafti about the increasing popularity of sculpture, the importance of detail in his work and the joys of working with steel.

Daryl Wright is managing director of Vantage Performance, a company specialising in breathing new life into companies that have perhaps lost their way and their performance. He talks about his work in Australia, the challenges of what he describes as the Australian business culture and the need to understand that Australian companies can effectively compete and succeed in the global market.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about 20 years of superannuation, the future of manufacturing, productivity and the latest retail figures from the ABS.

Leon and Garry discuss how Australia is now officially a two speed economy according to fund managers. The federal government has been urged to hold an inquiry to help stave off a threat to manufacturing. Manufacturers are five times more likely to struggle to pay bills than other businesses. Growing rifts are emerging between the federal government and the opposition over the future of manufacturing. Pressure is growing on the Federal government for a review of workplace laws.

Curve Tomorrow, a young company dedicated to identifying and evaluating innovative ideas in Australia, is led by three young men, Vikash and Avinish Rugoobur and Mahinder Jaimangal. Avinish and Mahinder formerly working with Dr Laurie Spark in his legendary Holden Innovation Centre at Fishermen’s Bend in Melbourne and Vikash was with IBM in the US, India and Australia. Dr Spark, now chief technology officer for the EDay Life electric car soon to go on sale in Australia, is an alumnus of RMIT and, now, a member of the professorial team in engineering.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson says the latest GDP figures are a mixed bag, and talks about the latest unemployment figures, productivity and R&D.

Leon and Garry discuss how Australia’s GDP climbs 1.2 per cent in the June quarter, up from the 0.9 per cent contraction in the March quarter. The RBA keeps interest rates on hold at 4.75 per cent but the market continues to bet the RBA will cut rates while retailers say the rate cut can’t come soon enough.

Jason Wyatt is the chief executive and co-founder of Bike Exchange, a Melbourne-based shopping site for everything and anything to do with cycling, including cycling holidays in any of 58 countries. He explains how he moved from being financial controller of Holden’s South Australian division to running his own thriving online business.

RMIT economist Jonathan Boymal talks about housing starts, CPI adjustments and the changing labour market.

Leon and Garry discuss how an NAB survey has found business confidence falling to levels last seen in 2009. A CBA survey finds that many Australians believe recent natural disasters, like the Queensland floods, have hurt their personal finances, even though that may not be the case. Consumer sentiment rises 8.1 per cent and inflation is revised down. Australian dwelling commencements fall 4.7 per cent. The IMF says the RBA can afford to sit tight on interest rates.

RMIT economist Alberto Posso talks about the world economic outlook and changes to the way the ABS looks at inflation.

Leon and Garry talk about Foster’s falling into foreign hands, getting taken over by SABMiller for over $12 billion. The Westpac/Melbourne Institute Leading Index says Australia's economy is expected to slow in the second half of the year. The Reserve Bank signals it is well-placed to cut interest rates if global economic conditions continue to deteriorate. But it might not happen because the RBA says Australia is not immune to overseas events. Genworth Financial finds that a quarter of Australian homeowners experience mortgage stress.

Garry and Leon talk to branding expert Michelle Hogan of Brandology.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about the big issues at next week’s Tax Summit.

Leon and Garry discuss how next week's tax forum will include a new tax break. But Finance Minister Penny Wong warns we’ll need more tax. Business groups will push for the GST to be increased, even though the government has ruled that out. Former treasury secretary Ken Henry will help prepare a white paper on Australia’s involvement with Asia at a time when fewer Australians are learning mandarin.

Shawn Smith is the founder and chief executive of Hypnotic Zoo, a web design company based in Point Cook. He deals mostly with small to medium businesses that are in most cases making their first forays into the online world. He talks about the challenges, for them and his team, in bringing in a successful result.

RMIT economist Jonathan Boymal talks about the RBA’s decision on interest rates, retail figures, trade data and dwelling approvals.

Leon and Garry discuss how the RBA has kept interest rates on hold with expectations that it will cut rates before the end of the year. Markets are in turmoil over the prospect of Greece defaulting. The federal government will set up a business tax review, increase the personal tax free threshold and work with the states to make their revenue raising systems more efficient, in the wake of a two-day tax forum. But experts say don’t expect too much too soon. Wayne Swan moves to fix up Australia’s superannuation system. Debt sales have dropped. Home building approvals rise 11.4 per cent.

Dr Pamela Hartigan is a world leader on social enterprise and how highly unconventional entrepreneurs are solving some of the world's most pressing economic, social, and environmental problems. Presenting the inaugural SEEDS annual lecture, Pamela discusses how social enterprises can create communities, cities and countries as hubs for change.

Drawing on her bestselling book The Power of Unreasonable People: How Entrepreneurs Create Markets that Change the World, Pamela provides a first-hand insight into the mindsets and strategies of this new breed of entrepreneur.

Melina Scharnroth is the founder, chief organiser and the head of a possibly unique organisation called M.A.D. WOMAN. The MAD in this case has nothing to do with Melina’s sanity but, rather, stands for Making A Difference.
The function of the outfit is to connect people with events.

RMIT economist Alberto Posso talks about Australia’s low R&D expenditure and looks at labour market statistics.

Leon and Garry discuss how Julia Gillard's carbon tax is passed by the House of Representatives. Australia will begin talks next month with other countries to link Labor's carbon pricing regime to global carbon markets and the Opposition vows the first thing it will do when it gets into government is get rid of the tax. Meanwhile, a new Australian manufacturing industry group launches a fresh attack on the carbon tax with warnings that one in six of Australia's black coal mines could close prematurely.

Antonette Golikidis is the founder and chief executive of Innoscents, a young and successful startup company in Melbourne specialising in babycare products, many of which is has developed itself, were originally made by Antonette herself but are now produced on large scale. It is a story of how a good idea, good products and good staff have made a home-based company into a very successful business.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about Credit Suisse figures showing Australians are the richest in the world, the NBN vote by Telstra shareholders and its impact on taxpayers and the different statistical treatment of unemployment figures by the ABS and NewStart.

Leon and Garry discuss how Telstra shareholders have overwhelmingly voted for the NBN. Telstra says it will consider a share buy-back. The RBA says it may cut the cash rate if inflation is under control. The European debt crisis goes from bad to worse but RBA assistant governor Guy Debelle says Australia is well shielded from the funding pressures facing Europe's banks. Prime Minister Julia Gillard warns European leaders the time for "muddling through" is over. The taxpayer-owned Future Fund has $2.8 billion worth of assets in the troubled euro zone.

Gabby Liebovich is the founder and chief executive of Catch of the Day, Scoupon and other online enterprises. He talks to Garry and Leon about his business, how quickly it is growing and how retail trade in Australia is undergoing a serious revolution, brought on by technology and the near ubiquity of the internet and online traders.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about the latest inflation figures, the outlook for interest rates, the European crisis and a pick up in America’s GDP.

Leon and Garry discuss how a new study suggests Australia has a three speed economy. The RBA signals it might cut rates but inflation figures leave everyone guessing. The Australian Food and Grocery Council says retail sales will be subdued this Christmas. New research from the MYOB Business Monitor reveals Aussie business owners are pessimistic about the Australia’s economy. Australia's largest banks are told by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to prepare “recovery plans” to prove they will survive economic downturn.

Garry and Leon talk to Ross Morley, Managing Director of G.J. Gardner Homes.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about the RBA rate cut which he says has been driven by the crisis in Europe. He talks about Europe and whether Australia should support the IMF.

Garry and Leon discuss the impact of Qantas grounding its planes, how it will launch the biggest advertising campaign in its history to win back customers, how S&P has downgraded Qantas while the ACCC has told Qantas to provide better compensation for customers. Qantas has turned into a political issue but Virgin has emerged as the big winner. Meanwhile, the waterfront is shaping up as the next big industrial battle ground. The Reserve Bank has cut interest rates for the first since April 2009 but polls from the ACCI and Dun & Bradstreet show businesses are pessimistic.

Lauren Staley is the managing director of Infolio, a Melbourne-based company that provides advocacy services for people seeking to buy properties. Infolio provides advice and acts for vendors in auctions and sale negotiations.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about the Euro crisis and its impact on Australia.

Leon and Garry discuss how the Federal Government's carbon pricing legislation has been passed by the Senate. Deloitte Access Economics says the government won’t bring the budget into surplus but Treasurer Wayne Swan is now making big cuts while Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson says that restoring the government's budget to surplus remains a top priority. Job advertisements have fallen for the fourth month in a row but the official jobless rate has fallen. The decline in Australia's construction industry also slowed. Australia records a trade surplus of $2.56 billion in September.

Adrian Christie, of PayPal Australia, talks about the exponential rise of online shopping in Australia – growth rates as high as 400 per cent in the past year and thousands of businesses, large and small, adjusting their retail operations to meet this growing trend.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about housing and asks whether Australia has the “Dutch disease” created by the mining boom.

Leon and Garry discuss how the Gillard government has framed the first mini budget in two decades but Westpac casts doubt on whether the budget can be put back into surplus next year. A leading index of the Australian economy moderated in September suggesting that evidence of a mid-year improvement in overall activity may have been short-lived.

Finding funding for startup companies is not as easy in Australia as in the US. Leon and Garry talk with a group of venture capitalists in the life sciences area and with two of their entrepreneurs.

RMIT economist Alberto Posso talks about ageing populations and the impact of technology.

Leon and Garry discuss how the disputes between Qantas and two of the unions representing its workforce move into arbitration, a promotion campaign by Qantas gets a backlash on Twitter and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has declined to appear before a second hearing before the Senate. Meanwhile, Virgin Australia expects to end its first half in the black and is giving its "game-change" restructuring strategy a shot in the arm with a revenue-boosting new reservations system.

Richard Morris, the British Consul-General in Sydney, is managing a program aimed at attracting Australian companies, especially those in technology, to set up in Britain where, he says, innovative startups are very welcome and get considerable support.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about the government’s mid-year economic review and looks at housing prices.

Leon and Garry discuss the Government’s spending cuts to deliver a $1.5 billion surplus. The federal government has retrospectively reversed laws passed in July 2010 which entitled companies to massive tax refunds in mergers. Expectations of interest rate cuts are running high, capital investment in mining soars, business investment surges by the most in 16 years and ratings agency Fitch upgrades Australia's key credit rating to AAA from AA+. The OECD says Australia’s economic growth will accelerate to the fastest rate in the developed world.

Conference Preview - Alan Oxley - Chairman - Australian APEC Study Centre

1-0 - Ken Waller - Director - Australian APEC Study Centre

Drivers of Regional Trade - Intro by Rowan Callick

1.2 Impact of the GFC on global minerals trade
Melinda Moore, Principal Consultant, CleanUP Commodities, London

Dr. John Edwards is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute, an Adjunct Professor at Curtin University, and a member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia. From 2009 to 2011 he was Director for Economic Planning and Development for the Economic Development Board of the Kingdom of Bahrain. From 1997 to 2009 Dr. Edwards was Chief Economist for HSB Australia and New Zealand. Before this he was the principal economic adviser to the Treasurer and then Prime Minister, Paul Keating. A journalist in his early career, Dr.

Drivers of Global Trade - Q&A

Rick Hooper is the CEO of a slightly extraordinary Australian company called Barefoot Power which is dedicated to providing essential, low-cost electrical power to undeveloped countries.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson talks about Australia’s GDP figures, rising unemployment, the RBA’s decision to cut rates and the European crisis.

Leon and Garry discuss how the Reserve Bank has cut interest rates for the second consecutive month and banks passing it on. Standard & Poor's has warned it could downgrade the triple-A rating of the eurozone debt rescue fund, a day after nearly all governments of the monetary union were given a similar notice. The current account deficit has fallen 15.4 per cent to $5.64 billion in the September quarter in seasonally adjusted terms. Company profits soared to a record high in the year to September. Australia's construction industry continues to decline in November but at a slower pace.

Moderator: Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific Editor, The Australian

John Larum is a company director and economic consultant who contributes to the Lowy Institute. Mr. Larum worked at UBS for 14 years in a range of positions including as chief economist for the Australia division, and later as President of the China Business. Prior to working at UBS, he worked at the Commonwealth Treasury in areas of forecasting, capital markets and structural policy. He has also been a Treasury Representative to New York. Mr. Larum holds a Bachelor of

John W.H. Denton, Chairman, Global Engagement Task Force, Business Council of Australia & Chief Executive Officer, Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Peter Gallagher is a specialist consultant who provides analysis and advice on international trade, public policy and business communications to food companies, industry organisations and government agencies. Previously, Mr. Gallagher was the head of the Australian Dairy Industry Council and taught at the Business School of the University of Melbourne. Mr. Gallagher was also a Diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Drivers of Regional Trade - Q and A
Moderator: Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific Editor, The Australian
John Larum, Contributor, Lowy Institute
John W.H. Denton, Chairman, Global Engagement Task Force, Business Council of Australia & Chief Executive Officer, Corrs Chambers Westgarth

2.3 If Doha can’t deliver what can?
Peter Gallagher, International Trade Specialist

Drivers of Regional Trade - Q and A
Moderator: Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific Editor, The Australian
John Larum, Contributor, Lowy Institute
John W.H. Denton, Chairman, Global Engagement Task Force, Business Council of Australia & Chief Executive Officer, Corrs Chambers Westgarth

2.3 If Doha can’t deliver what can?
Peter Gallagher, International Trade Specialist

Ron Santiago is the Chief Executive in Australia of Europcar, one of the largest vehicle rental companies in the world. He discusses the opportunities for car rental in Australia and some of the challenges ahead.

RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson reviews economics for 2011 and makes predictions for 2012.

Leon and Garry discuss how Australian banks are planning worst-case scenarios in the event of a European Union bust-up. Analysts are paring back their profit growth forecasts for the banks. A taskforce will look at the tax threshold on online purchases. Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson warns that achieving the promised budget surplus in the next financial year will be hard. An NAB survey shows a rise in business conditions. Consumer sentiment slumps, new car sales ease, JB HiFi warns of a 5 per cent drop in earnings and 61 Fletcher Jones employees to lose their jobs.

2011 APEC Lecture

The Hon Dr. Craig Emerson, Australia's Minister for Trade

Craig Emerson was elected to Parliament in 1998.

After the 2010 Federal election he was appointed the Minister for Trade.

Prior to that, he had portfolio responsibility for small business, competition policy, consumer affairs and deregulation. Craig holds a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) Degree from the University of Sydney, a Master of Economics Degree from the University of Sydney and a PhD in Economics from The Australian National University.

Drivers of Regional Trade - Intro

2.1 - Drivers of Chinese investment

Stephen Somogyi is the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Resources at RMIT University, Melbourne. He has extensive experience in the financial services and health care industries, including 27 years with National Mutual and as an Executive Member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority for 3 years to June 2006. He holds a Master of Science from the University of Melbourne in Physics and a Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institution of Technology in Management. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia. Mr.

3.1 - Australia’s Trade Outlook - Services

Stephen Somogyi is the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Resources at RMIT University, Melbourne. He has extensive experience in the financial services and health care industries, including 27 years with National Mutual and as an Executive Member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority for 3 years to June 2006. He holds a Master of Science from the University of Melbourne in Physics and a Master

Rob Sindel is the CEO of CSR Sugar

3.2 - Minerals

Brendan Pearson is currently the Deputy Chief Executive of the Minerals Council of Australia. He was formerly the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade between 2006 and 2007. Prior to that, Mr. Pearson was the Japan and Korea correspondent for the Australian Financial Review. He was also a Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. Mr. Pearson holds a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

2.2 - Australia’s trade and investment performance in Asia

John W.H. Denton is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Corrs Chambers Westgarth. He is also the Chairman of the Global Engagement Task Force within the Business Council of Australia, and one of three Australian representatives to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). He is also the chairman of ABAC’s Finance and Economics Working Group, and chairman of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees

Interview with Harish Rao, global Head, Business Development at Sundaram Business Services
Interview with economist Nicholas Gruen

Leon and Garry talk about issue including:
· The market’s response to the plan to tax depositors in Cypriot banks as a way to partly fund a bailout of the Mediterranean island nation.

2.3 - If Doha can’t deliver what can?

Peter Gallagher is a specialist consultant who provides analysis and advice on international trade, public policy and business communications to food companies, industry organisations and government agencies. Previously, Mr. Gallagher was the head of the Australian Dairy Industry Council and taught at the Business School of the University of Melbourne. Mr. Gallagher was also a Diplomat with the Department of Foreign

3.0 - Australia’s Trade Outlook

3.3 - Australia’s Trade Outlook - Agriculture

3.4 - Australia’s Trade Outlook - Manufacturing

3 - Australia’s Trade Outlook - Q and A
Moderator: Bruce Kean AM, Eminent Industry Commentator
Brendan Pearson, Deputy Chief Executive, Minerals Council of Australia
Philip Gentry, Managing Director, Agrium Asia Pacific
Dick Warburton, Executive Chairman, Manufacturing Australia
Rob Sindel, Managing Director, CSR

Australia’s Trade Outlook - Q and A - Part 2

Stephen Somogyi, Chief Operating Officer, RMIT University

L1 - Regulatory trends in financial markets - John Trowbridge, Centre for International Finance and Regulation

John Trowbridge is the Director of the Centre for International Finance and Regulation. He was also up until recently the Chairman of the Natural Disaster Insurance Review. He was previously an Executive Member of the Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority (APRA) between 2006 and 2010 and was appointed to APRA after a distinguished career in the actuarial profession and in the insurance industry, holding consulting, executive and director roles.

L2 - Australia and the European downturn - Dr Ed Shann, Director, Prime Value Asset Management

Lunch Session - Moderator- Terry McCrann - associate editor-business Herald Sun, columnist The Australian

Lunch Panel discussion

4-0 Trade in a Two-Speed Economy - Professor Peter Lloyd, International Economics, University of Melbourne

Professor Peter Lloyd graduated with a Ph.D. from Duke University in 1962. His areas of study are International Economics and Microeconomic Theory. Professor Lloyd worked as a Lecturer/

4.1 Paul Howes, National Secretary, The Australian Workers Union - Trade in a Two-Speed Economy

4-2 Dr Sinclair Davidson, Professor of Institutional Economics, RMIT University

5-0 - The cost of transacting trade - Tony Pensabene, Director of Policy and research, Department of Business and Innovation, Victorian Government

Tony Pensabene is Director of Policy and Research at the Victorian Department of Business and Innovation (DBI). Prior to joining DBI in October 2009, Tony was employed as Associate Director
of Economics and Research at the Australian Industry Group. His experience in economics and policy cover a wide range of disciplines, including industry policy, innovation, intergovernment

Interview with Rebekah Campbell, founder of social networking site posse.com.

Interview with RMIT economist Sinclair Davidson

Leon and Garry discuss issues including:

5-1 - Liquidity access to improve exports - James Hogan, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Australia

5-2 - Tackling Australia's uncompetitive supply-chain - Jeff Rae, Chief Economist, ITS Global

Jeffrey Rae is the Chief Economist at ITS Global Asia-Pacific. He has more than three decades of experience in policy analysis and advice involving a wide range of domestic and international
issues. Prior to moving into private consultancy, Mr. Rae was a Senior Executive with the Australian Government. As such he worked in the Department of Finance, the Bureau of Agricultural

5-3 - Management at the border - Dr Hermione Parsons, Director, Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics, Victoria University

Dr. Hermione Parsons is the Director of the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics at Victoria University. She is a Member of the Victorian Freight and Logistics Council and its Transport and

5 - Q and A

6-0 The State of Australia's Competitiveness - Mark Johnson AO, Member, ABAC Australia

Mark Johnson AO, is one of the Prime Minister's three Australian representatives on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). Mr. Johnson was appointed as a non-executive Director of Westfield Holdings Limited in 2010, and is a senior advisor for Gresham Partners in Sydney and Chairman of Alinta Energy and the Australian Government's Australian Financial Centre Task

6-1 - Gary Bowditch, CEO, SMART Infrastructure, University of Wollongong

Gary Bowditch is the CEO of the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong. Prior to this, he was the Founding Executive Director of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. Mr. Bowditch is currently an Expert Panel Member of the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortia at Oxford University; Board Member of the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network

6-2 - Mike Woods, Deputy Chairman, Productivity Commission

Mike Woods is currently the Deputy Chairman of the Productivity Commission. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Developing Cities at the University of Canberra, the Australian
Government’s Commissioner for Competitive Neutrality and a Commissioner on the Education and Training Workforce Schools study. Previously, Mr. Woods was Chair of the Financial Reform

6-3 - James Bond - President, Australian Services Roundtable

James Bond is the President of the Australian Services Roundtable, the only dedicated wholeof-services industry organisation in Australia. Its members include providers of financial services,

6-0 The State of Australia's Competitiveness - qanda

7-0 Key Messages and conclusions - Alan Oxley, Chairman, Australian APEC Study Centre

7-1 - Richard Martin - Managing Director - IMA Asia

Richard Martin is the Managing Director of International Market Assessment, an advisory firm that runs an Asia CEO Forum in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore; an India country program
in six cities in India; an Asia Program in Australia and supports country CEO programs in other Asian economies. He has been advising MNCs on the business environment in Asia since 1981

7-2 - Dr John Edwards - Board Members, Reserve Bank of Australia

7-3 - Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Chancellor, RMIT University

Professor Margaret Gardner is the Vice Chancellor at RMIT University. She is also the President of the Museum Board of Victoria, Chair of the Australian Technology Network, Chair of the Education Advisory Group of the Council for Australia-Latin America Relations and Director of the Australian Teaching and Learning Council. Previously she was the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Queensland.

Leon and Garry discuss how Treasurer Wayne Swan says this year will be at least as tough for the domestic economy as 2011, but Australians should remain optimistic. But a survey shows one in three CFOs is worried about the economy, the broader mood among executives remains subdued and the Future Fund invests in cash as it prepares to wait out a long period of ''subdued economic growth''. ABS figures show Australia’s housing sector is expected to remain soft for a while longer and the Aussie dollar rises to a three month high.