OFFSHORE INVESTORS ARE SHOWN THE WAY
Written on the 21 June 2012
A SOUTH Brisbane marketing consultancy has launched an advisory service for overseas businesses wanting a slice of the Sunshine State.
Barton Green (pictured) is confident the new AusMarket Connect (AC) business will help offshore clients explore and make the most of Queensland investment opportunities.
The executive director from parent company Three Plus has observed considerable acquisition interest from Middle Eastern and Asian parties.
“Those coming from non-democratic countries can find it hard to understand how the Australian media and decision-making processes of our three-tier government work,” he says.
“For example, our Arab clients, who are more accustomed to dealing with statecontrolled media, could not understand why we cannot simply tell journalists not to run an unfavourable story. Seeing free and independent media operating in Australia was quite a surprise for them.
“While business is done at a political level, there is also a strong and independent bureaucracy that we do not see in some non-democratic, overseas countries.”
He suggests an educational approach can help clients put their foot in the door.
Green says we need to show foreign investors how free and independent media works, while explaining that regulatory decisions on projects can be a slow and involved process.
“We help them meet local business people in their sector, so they can learn how things are done in Australia,” he says.
One AC client with property and resources development aspirations has already commenced construction of a new residential tower in the Brisbane CBD.
“They achieved this after we helped them understand state and local government requirements. We showed them how to connect with business networks and cooperate with us during media relations,” says Green.
“A casual observation about the value of investment in Australia shows there remains high interest from China in opportunities to invest and partner up. We need to be careful we do not cut off opportunities for foreign investment, while still balancing what is in Australia’s best interests.”
AC was formalised in late 2011, but launched in April 2012, in commemoration of Three Plus’ 10-year anniversary.The subsidiary is run by an intermittent combination of 20 Three Plus employees.
“The response has been good so far. We have worked with three or four different companies and expect it will provide us with bigger and better opportunities during the next couple of years,” says Green.
“We plan to handle export queries in addition to the Federal Government’s existing services through the Australian Trade Commission. While there are government services to advise foreign entrants, a private company like ours has more flexibility, which allows us to be more frank and fearless as we are not restricted by government agency rules.
“There is a gap between what foreign companies hope to achieve and their ability to achieve it that we hope to fill.”
Three Plus was established by Robert Allan, Paul Bird and Green with a mission to provide strategic advice on infrastructure, development and resources projects worth up to $40 billion.
Three Plus has separately done pro-bono work for a raft of organisations by providing communications support.
Its employees have also served as board members of the West End Community House, Brisbane Development Association, MontroseAccess, Heart Foundation, Business South Bank, AEIOU Foundation and Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland.