As we pause to reflect on the true Christian meaning of Easter, we also use this time to relax, where possible spend time with families and friends, and to celebrate how fortunate we are to be Western Australian. I trust you are able to do this, this weekend.
For us here in London, we are seeing the signs of a coming Spring made even more beautiful this year as it coincides with the first significant steps towards normalisation of our society as the Government eases pandemic related restrictions. It has been a long and, at times, very tedious twelve months since the first lockdown and it is heart-warming to see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. We are grateful that none of the WAGO London team have contracted the virus and have all maintained good physical and mental health. Many of our friends and colleagues have not been so fortunate and we send them our best wishes, thoughts and prayers.
Today marks the changeover of two members of our team. We welcome back Charlotta Kemp from a foreshortened maternity leave as she takes up the Senior Trade and Investment Manager position vacated by Joe Doleschal-Ridnell, who finishes up with us today. Joe is back in Perth and, I’m sure, will reappear in the not-too-distant future in a new and exciting role, continuing to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Western Australia. I wish him all the best and thank him for a job well done whilst he has been with us. Kim Moss has done a remarkable job since she arrived last October and she will continue in the other Trade and Investment Manager position.
The two stalwarts of our office, Sally Janssen and Debbie Winfield, have each chalked up significant milestones in recent months. Sally achieved 25 years in the office in February and Debbie 33 years in March. What remarkable achievements by two remarkable ladies! I thank them for their service to our State.
We see exciting times ahead as we are experiencing a surge in interest from Western Australian exporters interested in penetrating the UK/European market. This is being driven by two key factors: the Free Trade Agreements under development between Australia and the UK and the EU; and also the growing awareness in Western Australia of the need to build resilience into supply chains through diversification on both the supply and demand sides of the equation. We are working closely with the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and with our Austrade colleagues to support this growing trend.
Now that the dust has settled on the Western Australian election and the new Cabinet has been formed we are rebuilding our relationships with various Ministers new and old. The Deputy Premier and now, Minister for State Development, Roger Cook, visited the UK in 2018 in his capacity as the Minister for Health. We look forward to welcoming him back in his new capacity, when travel restrictions permit, in order to further the State’s diversification agenda. We are delighted to see the hydrogen industry sector gain prominence through the appointment of Alannah MacTiernan as the Minister for Hydrogen and we are looking forward to meeting with the new Minister for Climate Action, Amber-Jade Sanderson, as we turn our attention to COP26 in Glasgow in November. The new Minister for Tourism, David Templeman, will, I’m sure, continue the good work done by his predecessor, Paul Papalia, in a very challenging time for tourism, and we look forward to working with him to promote our wonderful State.
From me and all the WA Government Office team in London, we wish you a Happy Easter and we look forward to supporting you in your endeavours in 2021.