John HartAs the year draws to a dark close, lets hope the world continues to see the benefit of all we have to offer.

This year seemed like a blink of the eye. No sooner were we celebrating the strong trading around the Cricket World Cup than the next visit by the New Zealanders was upon us and the summer of cricket was starting again. There has been a lot of change in so many ways in 2015. For my part I thank the Restaurant & Catering Board for allowing me to take leave to, once again, contest a pre-selection. While unsuccessful, this process does serve as a reminder of the strength of our democratic process.

The enduring threat of terrorism is a constant reminder of how vulnerable we all are. In a business sense we can only hope that consumers don’t falter and stop spending. On the one hand Australia will probably be seen as a safe destination to travel to and from that see an increase in tourism. The restaurant industry is very much driven by consumer sentiment. Changes in the way people feel will be reflected in our trade in one way or another. I guess we all hope that the love affair the world is having with eating out will mean our resilience will prevail.

Continuation of the Restaurant Australia campaign will help this. Tourism Australia has invested more money in the campaign this year and has achieved great results so far with increases in spend on food and wine, and a 21 per cent increase in the consideration of Australia as a food and wine holiday destination.

John Hart

CEO, Restaurant & Catering


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