Australia-China Council

Australia-China: Developing and strengthening mutual interests in a rapidly expanding relationship

ACC corporate brochure

February 2013

On this page

About us

The Australia-China Council was established by the Australian Government in 1978 to promote mutual understanding and foster people-to-people relations between Australia and China. The Chairperson is appointed by the Executive Council on the recommendation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who also appoints the Board members.

The function of the Council is to make recommendations to the Australian Government through the Minister for Foreign Affairs on strengthening the Australia-China relationship in ways that support Australia's foreign and trade policy interests. ACC Secretariat is a part of the North Asia Division within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Council's core activities are:

  1. Providing policy advice to the government, and promoting bilateral relations among its network of stakeholders in the strategic priority areas of Economics and Trade, Society and Culture and Education and Science
  2. Supporting and funding sustainable, long-term and high-impact projects that directly contribute to the strengthening of Australia-China relations and which support the Government's foreign and trade policy objectives
  3. Supporting a network of 30 Australian Studies Centres located in leading Chinese metropolitan and regional universities through the Australian Studies in China program and the new Foundation for Australian Studies in China – a unique partnership between government, corporate and university sectors to advance Australian studies and education in China


The Hon Warwick Smith AM, Chair

Chairman, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (NSW and ACT), Chairman, Advisory Board of Australian Capital Equity, Chairman, Australia & Global Trustee, Asia Society

Mr Kevin Hobgood-Brown, Deputy Chair

Managing Director, Riverstone Advisory, Managing Director, Foundation for Australian Studies in China

Professor Susan Street

Executive Director, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Precincts, Chair, Queensland Art Gallery Board of Trustees

Professor Stephanie Fahey

Oceania Education Lead Partner, Ernst and Young

Mr David Olsson

Senior Partner, King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing), Chairman, China – Australia Chamber of Commerce in Beijing (AustCham)

Ms Suhanya Raffel

Deputy Director, Curatorial and Collection Development, Queensland Art Gallery

Professor Fiona Wood FRACS AM

Director, Burns Service Western Australia, Winthrop Professor, BIRU, School of Surgery, University of Western Australia, Chair, McComb Research Foundation.

Ms Gillian Bird, Ex-officio member

Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Australian studies in china

The Australia-China Council has been supporting Australian Studies in China for over two decades and provides funding to a network of over 30 Australian Studies Centres across China. The network is one of Australia's leading public diplomacy and education engagement platforms that is set to grow in importance for Australia-China relations.

Foundation for Australian Studies in China

In 2011 the Australia-China Council established the Foundation for Australian Studies in China (FASIC). The Foundation is an independent non-profit foundation in Australia created to support Australian Studies Centres and to provide funding and other support to the BHP Billiton Chair of Australian Studies to be located at Peking University in Beijing. The BHP Billiton Chair was officially announced by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard in April 2011.

Grants program

Through its annual competitive grants program, the Australia-China Council supports projects across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Australia that deliver tangible outcomes for Australia-China relations in the priority areas of Economics and Trade, Society and Culture and Education and Science.

Policy, advocacy and outreach

The Australia-China Council provides effective and informed advice to the Government in relation to public diplomacy strategies and Australia-China engagement in the key sectors of Economics and Trade, Society and Culture and Education and Science, and practical support in the coordination and implementation of these strategies.

Areas of focus

Education and science

Our goal: Promote cooperation between individuals and institutions in Australia and China which enhances learning, teaching and research in areas of mutual interest.

The Australia-China Council promotes Australian capabilities in Education and Science. The Council funded a promotional tour of Taiwan by a leading sustainable architecture expert, John McDonald, a project exploring the use of mobile health in China, and a new collaboration between the International Centre for Eye Education with Chinese eye care professionals on sustainable refraction services in rural China.

The Council understands the importance of fostering the next generation of Asia-literate leaders for Australia's long-term future. The Australia-China Youth Dialogue co-funded by the Council is now a premium national public diplomacy and youth exchange initiative. The AustCham China Scholarship Program provides Australian students with the opportunity to undertake internships and cultural training with leading Australian companies in China.

Economics and trade

Our goal: Promote expansion of Australia's trade and investment relationship with China.

In the area of economics and trade, the Council supports programs that help to inform Australia - China business and economic relations. The Council is a founding partner of the Lowy Institute's China Changing lecture that brings leading Chinese thinkers to Australia to discuss China's economic, social and political transformations. It supported strategic research programs on Chinese multinational corporations in Australia and China's investment policies in the resources sector.

Society and culture

Our goal: Promote mutual understanding through the arts, intercultural communication and understanding of cultural heritage.

The Council plays a leadership role in the promotion of Australian art and culture in China. It was a founding partner of the highly successful WA-based Warburton Community Arts' China Tour – a first large-scale presentation of indigenous art in China. Since its inception the Council has been funding artist residences that generated sustainable and long-term links between Australian and Chinese art communities. The Council is a major partner and supporter of China programs of the Sydney Symphony, Australian Ballet, Melbourne Festival, Sydney Biennale and the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.

Connect with us

To learn more about our organisation, programs and initiatives, visit