I have spent the final week of my Asia/Pacific expedition in Sydney and Melbourne. Prospects for new professional body partners look good in both cities, especially Melbourne. Online CPD is well established in Australia but nobody had seen anything quite like our approach to 'social learning'. Professional bodies from accounting and finance to health are keen to explore the detail of our courses.
On the accounting front I visited both CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia. With 200,000 members between them they would both be powerful partners both in Australia and across the region.
I also visited two local companies producing online CPD: Ausmed, the market leader in nurse education in Australia and CPDLive, serving finance, tax and accounting. There should be scope to collaborate with both.
Australia is an interesting place to finish this trip. After the culture shocks of the SE Asian cities, reported in earlier dispatches, Sydney and Melbourne seem almost European in design and mood but this is to deceive. There is an egalitarian stridency in these cities quite unlike the UK or Europe. Germaine Greer and Clive James are their worthy spawn.
Despite the visual power of the Sydney waterfront and the iconic opera house, Melbourne is the more attractive at first view. The richest city in the world in the 1880s, on the back of the gold rush, Melbourne was laid out on a grid along the Yarra River, with a fine collection of civic buildings. It preserves a feeling of quiet but muscular prosperity; it is clearly a nice place to live.
To end my dispatches on an airport coda: the battle for Sydney's second airport rages on. First planned over 35 years ago, there is still no final decision on location, let alone construction. As a local blogger put it, "Almost makes you want Chinese or Hong Kong style government". Be careful what you wish for, Boris is still out there.