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AFR Business Summit - Ken MacKenzie, Chairman, BHP


AFR Business Summit
Opening address
BHP Chairman, Ken MacKenzie
10 March 2020


It’s a pleasure to be here at the 2020 AFR Business Summit, which this year focuses on the big issues that face Australia.

There could not be a more important time for us to come together. Over the last decade, environmental, economic and technological change has transformed the global landscape.

And the traditional principles of capitalism have been rightfully challenged. Society’s increased expectations of business has made all of us revisit our purpose and contribution to the world.

So as we begin a new decade, we begin with a blueprint for capitalism that combines corporate commerce with a greater community conscience.

Together they can be powerful levers for good and a force for change. And this helps us address the important challenges we face in the near term:

  • Globally, we must work together to reduce the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on people… and this will test our global supply chains;
  • In Australia, we must all join forces to support regional economies after the bushfire season claimed lives and devastated communities;
  • And global trading relationships are also being redefined after Brexit became a reality and trade tensions continue to simmer between the US and China.

And in the resources industry:

  • Capital discipline and productivity are underpinning a more sustainable contribution to shareholders and communities alike;
  • Innovations such as process automation are transforming the sector; and
  • Electrification of transport and decarbonisation are driving a new wave of demand in what some view as old-world commodities.

There is no shortage of issues to discuss over the next two days.

This event brings together leaders across industry and government to debate and formulate ideas about how we can set Australian business and the country up for future success. 

There are many uncertainties to navigate as global growth moderates and expectations of the role of business shifts towards a much broader accountability than ever before.

However, these challenges are not insurmountable. They present opportunities for us all to collaborate across sectors and industries.

How we respond will determine the future competitiveness and prosperity of this country. 

I hope this event creates connections and partnerships that help us tackle the big issues together.