Australasian Biotechnology, Vol. 12 No. 1, 2002, pp. 2
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Peter Riddles, President
Code Number: au02001
Well, Members, AusBiotech began 2002 with a running start, as we not only appointed two new senior members to our organisation, but saw the recently elected Directors join existing Board Members in the first meeting for the year in Sydney to plan and work with the Executive Director to implement the AusBiotech Business Plan as well as to establish new directions.
Our two new senior appointments are John Rutledge who joins as our Finance & Administrative Manager, and Fiona Corrie who joins as our Marketing & Information Services Manager.
These appointments are significant for AusBiotech because they considerably strengthen our ability to manage the growing resource base and to provide services to our members. On behalf of AusBiotech Directors, I wish them well and encourage AusBiotech Members to make John and Fiona feel welcome and support them as they join the dynamic world of biotechnology. Tony Coulepis will discuss more about their roles in his Executive Director's Report.
It was decided at the Board meeting that each Director was to undertake an advisory and monitoring role on behalf of AusBiotech in each of the key elements of the AusBiotech Business Plan and also in certain key industry sectors. This decision affirms our support for the Business Plan and to key sectors such as medical devices, aghiotechnology. and human health. and this year will see strategies emerge for a much higher level of engagement by AusBiotech in each of these sectors. The planning for the AusBiotech 2002 Conference is well under way and the one point which I would like to emphasise is that we expect to attract a record number of international delegates to AusBiotech 2002 with an increasing focus on providing opportunities for investment and partnering with Atistralian members. Ausbiotech's mission is to assist Australia industry in commercialising Australian biotechnology in the international marketplace, and we need to spend as much energy as possible in understanding and dealing with the issues in that marketplace.
Where there is an opportunity, usually connected with other activities, I promote AusBiotech and Australian biotechnology on the international stage. This sometimes yields benefits, such as a visit to the UK last year when I met the Executive Director of the BIA (Biolndustry Association of UK), Crispin Kirkman, which has resulted in a significant UK delegation attending AusBiotech 2002 in Melbourne. Of course, all members of AnsBiotech are ambassadors for Australian biotechnology and it is something I would encourage of all of you to do when you travel.
I will have a similar opportunity later this month, when I will meet the heads of nearly 20 biotechnology trade and industry organisations in Zurich and participate in discussions on issues that need to be considered at the international level. IF looms as one such issue. I refer to an article published in the Wall Street Jonrnal which indicated that leaders of more than 200 non-governmental organizations plan to launch an initiative to pressure for an end to patents per se on a majority of biotechnology products. This is the kind of issue that needs to be discussed and managed at the international level and there are many more examples of such issues that need to be dealt with on a global scale.
Many of the industry leaders meeting in Zurich hope to join an expanded IBF (International Biotechnology Forum) which currently consists of only the USA, Canada, Japan and the UK and we in Australian are playing a leading role in the discussions leading up to this. We are planning for attendance of most of these industry leaders at the Melbourne Conference in August 2002, which may be one of the IBF Meeting locations.
Back home, taxation remains a very important issue for Australian industry and AusBiotech will be strongly encouraging the Federal government to accelerate changes to the rules in order to encourage investment and the participation of key people, through modification of the employee share option scheme particularly, which currently is uncompetitive and well below world's best practice. We were reminded of this at a recently held AVCAL/ AusBiotech CEO luncheon held in Sydney in January at which the guest speaker, Peter Farrell, the CEO of Resmed, indicated that this issue was as important now as it was when he was starting Resmed. We need to change policies now in order to create an environment in which the biotechnology indtistry can grow, develop and eventually flourish. The CEO luncheon held with AVCAL was a great success and a strong indication of how two organlsatlons working together can make a difference and a bigger splash. We share AVCAL'S concerns regarding, for example, the tax issues above as they have already successfully championed changes to free up the use of limited liability partnerships. We look forward to working with AVCAL and other organisations in joint activities of mutual interest to members.
These are just a few of the issues that have been occupying our thinking over the past few months and I am looking forward to another exciting year working with all of you.
Copyright 2002 - AusBiotech