A new construction industry group has been formed in Canberra, with the aim of supporting local Chinese companies and channeling foreign and interstate investment into the ACT.
The ACT Construction Guild will be officially launched at an event next week at Old Parliament House.
The guild said it had about 40 signed-up members from across the property sector, including developers, builders, real estate agents and lawyers. The membership base includes Canberra-based Chinese companies, as well as Australian firms.
It’s president, Donald Chen, is a director of Mitchell-based company Auseum Development and Construction.
A flyer for the launch event stated the organisation’s goals were to help connect individuals and companies working in the local property sector, while also promoting “communication and co-operation” between the Australian and Chinese construction and real estate industries for “mutual benefit”.
A spokesman for the guild, John Hou, said it also wanted to help channel interstate and international investment into the ACT.
“The members of the guild are mainly Canberra-based individuals and corporations, we all love Canberra and hope to grow with the city together,” Mr Hou said.
“We will unite the power and attract the investments interstate [and] even worldwide to Canberra. The guild will take responsibility for contributing to Canberra’s economic growth.”
Mr Hou said the guild would provide support to the estimated 1000 Chinese people working in Canberra’s property industry.
“Some of those people might not have very good English, so we will translate all of the industry news and government documents for them,” he said.
While about 70 per cent of the guild’s membership are Chinese, Mr Hou said the organisation would be open to the wider community.
He said the group’s presence in Canberra could help open doors for Australian companies into the China market.
Among the guild’s members are Capital Partner real estate agents, Maxwell & Co Barristers and Solicitors and company’s registered as Great Building Australia, Maxdone Constructions and Golden Earth Solutions.
Earlier this month, the guild signed up to be a member of the Canberra Business Chamber.
The chamber’s chief executive, Michael Schaper, welcomed the establishment of the new group, saying both the Chinese and Indian markets represented potentially lucrative opportunities for Canberra businesses and the ACT.
An ACT government spokeswoman said the territory’s Commissioner for International Engagement, Brendan Smyth, would attend Tuesday’s launch.
She said the government welcomed the formation of any group that aimed to “raise the profile of the ACT and the many investment and engagement opportunities on offer in our region”.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr had not met the guild and would not be attending the event.
However, Opposition leader Alistair Coe said he would be there.
“There are already many Canberra businesses that have strong ties with businesses in China and it is important that we maintain those relationships,” Mr Coe said.
The guild’s event flyer said representatives from the Chinese embassy would be attending, but Mr Hou said that had yet to be confirmed.