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Party tomorrow at Navy Sports Grounds

auday 130125 07
Infinity Insurance CEO David Carter served the last two years as president of the Australian Business Association of Cambodia (ABAC). Photograph supplied

Infinity Insurance CEO David Carter served the last two years as president of the Australian Business Association of Cambodia (ABAC). Photograph supplied

Since tomorrow, Saturday, January 26, is Australia Day everyone is invited to a Big Day Out for an AFL football game between the Cambodian Eagles and the Vietnam Swans.  

The Navy Sports Grounds are located over the Japanese Bridge and 1.4 kilometres along the road to Siem Reap, with a right turn just past the Sokimex petrol station.

Entry is free, with a $1 fee for car parking.  Glasses of wine are $3 and beers are $1.50, with a BBQ and other food by Aussie XL and entertainment all day including music starting at 2:30pm from Cambodian Space Project.  

Sponsors of the event include the ABAC, ANZ Royal Bank, Infinity Insurance, Auskhmer and Asian Tigers Mobility. The event includes free entertainment for kids all day.

A leading force in Cambodia’s Australian business community, David Carter, CEO of Infinity Insurance who turned over the ABAC presidency the first of the year to ANZ Royal Bank’s CEO Grant Knuckey, says people can call about the event to 012385157 or email:  abacambodia@gmail.com.

Carter took time to reflect on his two years as president of ABAC in an interview last week.

“I’ve really enjoyed the two years as president of ABAC, which has been very rewarding, and has allowed me to raise the profile of the association in the region, with governments and agencies and so on,” he said.

“We had an excellent committee, with Vice President John McGinley, Treasurer Paul Adair, Secretary Derek Mayes and immediate past President Stephen Higgins.”

The elections were held at the end of 2012 at the Lost Room, and the new office holders: with Grant Knuckey as president, Carter and Stephen Higgins as joint Vice Presidents and with Adair remaining as treasurer and Mayes remaining as secretary.  A number of new people were welcomed onto the committee.

Carter says ABAC will benefit from Knuckey’s presidency because his responsibilities at ANZ are regional.

“More and more businesses are looking at Myanmar and Laos and we’ve already had a briefing on Myanmar,” Carter said.

The ABAC is an association made up of members who are either Australian businesses or managed by Australians or those who want closer relations with the Australian business community and the Australian embassy.

“Our job is to assist members to deal with matters of common interest, to help put the spotlight on Australian businesses here.”

He said ABAC’s challenge was to continue to bring value to the members. Now there are about 70 members.

“You’ve constantly got to be thinking about new ideas and staying close to the embassy, because they have a big profile here, and there are always things they are pushing. Australia is a big aid provider to Cambodia.

This country is extremely important for a number of reasons, whether its security, defense, trade,” Carter said.

Carter predicts more and more focus on education from Australia to Cambodia in the future.  

“Last year we held an event at the ambassador’s residence to meet young entrepreneurs in Cambodia. This year we are hoping to include that with Cambodian Australian Alumni, people who have gone to Australia to study. Cambodia has many MBAs from Charles Sturt University.”

Carter said Australia is a big exporter of education.

“ABAC can help with education. Our challenge is to constantly bring value to members whether that’s information, briefings, assistance with Australian government, or local businesses. And also when Australians are coming to Cambodia, what they typically do is pick up the phone at the embassy, and the embassy will call up ABAC and say speak to these guys. We connect them with lawyers, bankers, trade and insurance people.”

During the last two years, ABAC has put on a number of events including the annual Melbourne Cup event of November 2011; the Toll Royal Rail tour and barbecue of January 2012, the ABAC Family Day at Hotel Cambodiana in April 2012, the visit of Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr Event in May 2012, as well as Sundowner’s events and a Penfolds wine event at the Hotel InterContinental. 

ABAC intends to launch a website and offer more events and service to members this year.

Carter said among business associations, the ABAC is one of the best value, with only $150 per person or per company for the year.

“This year we are once again happy to announce that membership fees have been maintained at the current level of $150. When compared to other associations our annual fee is very affordable.”

The ABAC estimates between 3,000 and 5,000 Australians living in Cambodia, working at NGOs, businesses, in Siem Reap.

“The biggest concentration of Australians are in Phnom Penh. You’ll see quite a lot of those coming out on Saturday to the Australia day event.”

Some of the larger Australian companies in Cambodia include Toll Royal Railway, ANZ Royal, Renaissance Mining, and Liberty Mining.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Alan Becker at stuart.becker@gmail.com

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