OUTCOME 1: Australia's national interests protected and advanced through contributions to international security, national economic and trade performance and global cooperation
Services to State Governments and other agencies overseas and in Australia
The department provided a wide range of services to other government agencies and non-government organisations during the year, developing or assisting in the development of programs for the international visits of more than 4 000 State and Territory Government ministers and officials, Commonwealth Government officials, academics and other members of the public.
The departments work during the year included:
- providing expert legal and technical advice to health ministers on Australias international trade obligations and the proposed AustraliaNew Zealand Food Standard for labelling of genetically modified foods;
- facilitating and supporting the presence of State premiers and business leaders at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos Forum;
- providing advice to other Commonwealth agencies and to State Governments on WTO issues, including on Australias international obligations in relation to industry policy and programs and in relation to WTO disputes;
- assisting, through our posts in China, in organising a visit by Western Australian Premier, Richard Court, and Northern Territory Chief Minister, Denis Burke, to China in April to promote the Australian bid for the first Chinese LNG contract;
- encouraging legal reform by facilitating a visit to China by the Chief Justice of the High Court;
- assisting the visits of four premiers (Mr Carr, Mr Olsen, Mr Bacon and Mr Beattie) and other State ministers to Japan, and assisting the efforts of State Governments to promote tourism, investment and trade;
- assisting South Australia in its successful Adelaide tourism promotion postcard competition in Japan, and working with the New South Wales Government on Olympics-related promotions, including the staging of the departments sports Olympic photo exhibition in Osaka and Tokyo;
- facilitating visits by State Government ministers to East Timor;
- facilitating a visit to Jakarta by the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee. Against the background of strains in the bilateral relationship, the visit helped to underline to President Abdurrahman Wahid and other senior Indonesians Australias commitment to cooperation on education and its competitiveness as an exporter of education services;
- working closely with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs to promote cooperation to counter people smuggling;
- assisting, through the departments offices in Australia and the network of overseas posts, the visits to the United States and Europe of numerous State and Territory Government ministers and officials, academics and representatives of non-government organisations;
- facilitating a memorandum of understanding on information-sharing in telemedicine between the new Canadian Arctic Territory of Nunavut and the Queensland Health Department;
- providing support to the trade-related visit to India of the Deputy Premier of Queensland;
- providing a large number of briefings to State Government representatives on developments in the South Pacific, particularly in MayJune 2000 in response to breaking news on Fiji and Solomon Islands;
- supporting, with program development and briefing, numerous State and Territory ministerial, parliamentary and business delegations to Middle East countries; and
- providing regular briefing on trade policy issues to State and Territory ministers through the National Trade Consultation process. Federal, State and Territory ministers met in Darwin (July 1999) and Brisbane (June 2000) and also discussed Australias WTO priorities in a teleconference in November 1999.
Open Source Collection
Acknowledging the importance the Government attaches to open source information about the Asia-Pacific region, the department expanded its systematic efforts to monitor regional press and electronic media during the year. The Open Source Collection Unit assumed full coverage of the range of Indonesian media in May 2000. The unit also provided detailed coverage of information relevant to Australias interests in the media of the South Pacific and of Papua New Guinea. Translations and summaries provided valuable and timely input to assessments of political, economic and security developments in the region by a range of clients. The units work was in particular demand during regional crises and it received positive feedback from clients.
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