Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): This month I had the privilege of attending Australia India Women in Business: Opportunities and Challenges during COVID-19’, an online webinar organised by the Australia India Business Council, the AIBC. It was great to join Her Excellency Linda Dessau, the Governor of Victoria, and Minister Jaala Pulford, along with other dignitaries. The AIBC is a non-government business council and a peak body in Australia devoted solely to promoting, developing and maintaining bilateral trade and business relationships between Australia and India. The online event that I attended formally marked the launch of AIBC’s Women in Business Victorian chapter.
Under normal circumstances it is tough for women to run their businesses, but it is even more challenging for them during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the future continued collaboration and engagement will be critical in addressing the current situation and negative effects of the pandemic on businesses, not only for women entrepreneurs but for entire business communities across both countries. I think Victoria is the key to building a strong relationship between Australia and India, as Victoria is home to the largest Indian population in Australia. In 2018 we developed Victoria’s India strategy for developing our relationship with India over the next 10 years. Both our countries share a long history, but I feel that has not yet resulted in a strong bilateral trade and business relationship. My best wishes to AIBC to forge this bilateral relationship.