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AGM Wrap Up 2020

Like many formal and social events in 2020, this year’s AGM took place over Zoom. It was therefore somewhat different from our usual fare, which would have involved guest appearances from ministers and senior policy makers followed by a dinner for members and guests at the Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra.

Hotel Zoom just wasn’t the same. The catering was underwhelming (well, nonexistent) and the architecture lacked the charm of the heritage listed Kurrajong. What we missed the most, however, wasn’t the schmoozing and the good food; it was the opportunity for members to chat to one another, share ideas and experiences from their different industry sectors, and get to know each other informally. Here’s hoping we will be able to run a more traditional event in 2021.

As per COSBOA’s constitution, three of our directors had to step down. They were Jos de Bruin, CEO of MGA Independent Retailers; David Gandolfo, President of Commercial and Asset Finance Brokers Association; and Dominic Schipano, CEO of the Australian Digital and Telecommunications Industry Association.

As they had already served 6 years, Jos and David were not able to nominate for re-election to the Board, more on them later. We received 3 nominations for the 3 vacant roles, so now COSBOA’s directors are:

· Matthew Addison, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

· Sandy Chong, Australian Hairdressing Council

· David Gill, Commercial and Asset Finance Brokers Association

· Ben Kearney, Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association

· Colm Maguire, Pharmacy Guild of Australia

· Mark McKenzie, Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association

· Christine Pope, Australian Traditional Medicine Society

· Dominic Schipano, Australian Digital and Telecommunications Industry Association

· Elizabeth Skirving, Tasmanian Small Business Council

The Board has now re-elected Mark McKenzie as Chairman. Elizabeth Skirving, who has served as Treasurer for the past 4 years, is now Deputy Chair. Christine Pope will step into the role of Treasurer and Colm Maguire will be the Company Secretary.

Our two new directors are Matthew Addison from the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), and David Gill from the Commercial and Asset Finance Brokers Association (CAFBA). You may remember that David Gill previously served as a COSBOA director 6 years ago. You can read more about Matthew Addison here and more about David Gill here.

Advocating for small business in the time of COVID-19 has brought the members of COSBOA closer together and the Secretariat and Board have been communicating more than ever to ensure we get COSBOA’s messaging right in this critical time. This will of course continue as we continue to confront difficult times. Though necessary, it is sad to see people go.

Chair Mark McKenzie said: “Outgoing COSBOA Directors Jos De Bruin and David Gandolfo were two Directors that joined the COSBOA Board following a period of instability and have been instrumental in working with other Board members to put the Organisation back onto a solid footing. Together with the Board members at the time, Jos and David charted a course over the past 6 years that has both put COSBOA into a strong financial position and greatly enhanced the Organisations advocacy on public policy matters affecting small business in Australia.

“Jos DeBruin was instrumental in championing COSBOA’s successful advocacy to amend Section 46 of the Australian Competition and Consumer Act in line with the recommendations of the Harper Competition Review to introduce an “effects test” to better guard against the misuse of market power of big business. In more recent times, he had helped COSBOA to rail against issues associated with the high cost of merchant fees for small business operators.

“David Gandolfo has been a powerhouse in supporting COSBOA’s advocacy on access to affordable capital for small business, with one of the principal highlights being the conduct of a high level summit – jointly chaired by the Australian Bankers Association, the Reserve Bank of Australia and COSBOA – to explore opportunities to improve small business access to affordable finance to grow their businesses.

“Both men have made a huge contribution to COSBOA over the past 6 years and, while they will be missed in the Boardroom, they will remain a valuable part of the COSBOA family in the future. Indeed, all COSBOA members owe Jos and David a deep dept of gratitude for their untiring efforts and unwavering commitment to the Organisation over the past 6 years.”

Outgoing director David Gandolfo said “I think we’ve all been lucky to serve on such a cohesive board. If I compare today to the board six years ago, COSBOA is a spectacularly better place which is a huge credit to the current board and our outstanding Chair and our “indefatigable” CEO. Each of them is without peer."

He added that he regards each of the COSBOA board members as friends.

Mark McKenzie said about the new directors: “Thankfully, the depth of COSBOA’s membership means that we have managed to secure the services of two equally talented replacements to fill the shoes of Jos and David with the recent election of Mr Matthew Addison and Mr David Gill.

“Both men are not strangers to the advocacy activity of COSBOA and bring inherent strengths in financial and economic policy that will further strengthen the COSBOA Board as we continue to champion the interests of small business in the wake of the COVID19 economic downturn."



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