"Australia – China: Developing and strengthening mutual interests in a rapidly expanding relationship."
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 (Australia-China Council Executive Order, 30 May 2008).
The goals of the Australia-China Council (ACC) are:
- to foster perceptions of contemporary Australia in China as scientifically, technologically and educationally advanced, economically enterprising and culturally diverse;
- to increase awareness and understanding in China of Australian society and culture; and
- to increase Australians' capacity to effectively engage with China.
To support high quality programs and projects that meet the ACC's goals and:
- enhance mutual understanding by promoting friendship and goodwill;
- foster professional, institutional and community linkages;
- develop and disseminate relevant and up-to-date information about Australia-China relations; and/or
- project an accurate and positive image of Australia in China.
To achieve its goals, the ACC will deliver high quality programs and projects under the following three themes:
- Education and Science: Promote cooperation between individuals and institutions in Australia and China which enhances learning, teaching and research in areas of mutual interest.
- Economics and Trade: Promote expansion of Australia's trade and investment relationship with China.
- Society and Culture: Promote mutual understanding through the arts, intercultural communication and cultural heritage.
- create or strengthen networks, contacts, partnerships and/or institutional linkages;
- promote complementarities and avoid duplication between the Council's programs and those of other institutions active in Australia-China relations;
- develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for each of the ACC's funded activities; and
- comply with all Australian government financial and reporting requirements.
The ACC will give priority to projects that:
- to the extent possible, are proposed by institutions or groups, rather than individuals
- will over time become self-sustaining
- have the potential to deliver medium to longer term outcomes
- where possible facilitate a broad geographic spread, both in terms of activity within China, including to regional areas and second tier cities, and in Australia, and
- are leveraged from larger high profile events to maximise benefits and minimise costs.
The Council seeks to maximise corporate or other sponsorship, to the extent possible with existing Secretariat resources.
In preparing the Council's Business Plan each financial year, the Council will consult as widely as possible and liaise closely with DFAT's North Asia Division, China Posts and the Images of Australia Branch to maximise proposed programs' linkages with current Australian foreign and trade policy priorities.
The Council produces an annual report under the Performance Information Framework, an Australian Government policy centred on outcomes and outputs. This is in line with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) reporting based on this Framework in its annual reports and Portfolio Budget Statements. The Council achievements are measured against the extent to which it contributes to DFAT's Outcome 3 (Public understanding in Australia and overseas of Australia's foreign and trade policy and a positive image of Australia internationally) and particularly within that, Output 3.1.2 (Projecting a positive image of Australia internationally), and the degree to which the Council's function and goals are achieved.
At the project level, in order to facilitate an assessment of performance, recipients of ACC funding are required to specify key performance indicators (KPIs) and submit a written statement of the project outcomes against the KPIs, future activities arising from the project as well as details of any lessons learned, in an acquittal report. Examples of KPIs include the number and level of influence of participants, the level and tone of media coverage, and feedback from stakeholders and audiences.
Previous strategic plans