Case study: Minister Robb's participation in Australia Unlimited Middle East and North Africa (UAE)
Minister Robb visited the UAE from 11-12 April 2015 to participate in Austrade's Australia Unlimited MENA and to advocate for the recommencement of negotiations for an Australia-GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Australia Unlimited and Minister Robb's interviews generated wide media coverage.
This was Minister Robb's third visit to the UAE in 12 months and his support for the recommencement of FTA negotiations was well received. The visit succeeded in further raising Australia's trade and investment profile and linkages in the UAE, particularly in conjunction with Australia Unlimited activities that brought 55 Australian companies to the UAE to meet potential partners and better understand the market. The visit provided an opportunity to put top executives from Australia's banks in front of the UAE Sovereign Wealth Funds to talk in detail about possible business opportunities and partnerships.
Case study: UAE-Australia Alumni Network Event
During Minister Robb's visit to the UAE in April, Abu Dhabi Post held its second event for its newly formed UAE-Australia Alumni network. The Minister met with the network, and then the Alumni were invited to attend Austrade's Australia Unlimited Gala Dinner, where the Alumni Award was given to HE Shaima Al Zarooni, CEO of the International Humanitarian City in Dubai. HE is a graduate from the University of Wollongong Dubai, who was instrumental in establishing the University's own Alumni.
The network was initiated in March 2015, and Post welcomed 23 Emirati alumni to the April event. As of December 2015, the network has nearly 100 members. As well as maintaining alumni's links with Australia, the network aims to encourage more Emiratis to study at Australian tertiary institutions. There are approximately 700 Emiratis currently studying at Australian universities.
Case study: 'Aussie Outback Flame' BBQ Dinner
The Embassy co-hosted the Aussie Outback Flame dinner in Doha on 5 December, in conjunction with Universal Specialty Food Group, Meat and Livestock Australia, the Qatar Australia New Zealand Business Association, and Qatar Airways. Colourful celebrity Chef Tarek Ibrahim fired up the BBQ to show the very best of Australian meat. In addition to being an opportunity to promote Australian meat exports, the dinner was an opportunity to promote the recently announced additional flights to Australia by Qatar Airways and to farewell Ambassador Kang.
2014 was a record year for Australian meat exports to Qatar, with over 15,000 shipped tonnes – a 44 per cent increase on the year before. 2015 looks on track to surpass even last year's outstanding results. The BBQ showcased this important industry and received media coverage. It was attended by 218 people, including Qatari officials, members of the Australian business community, the diplomatic community and the Qatari food sector.
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Case study: Australian Government promotes Australian education opportunities in Nigeria
The Australian Government organised the inaugural Australian Education Exhibition in West Africa, which was held in Lagos, Nigeria on 25-26 September, as part of a program that also included Accra, Ghana on 23 September.
In the lead up to the Exhibition, the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Jonathan Richardson, undertook several presentations at universities in Nigeria (including University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife) to promote Australian education opportunities as well as the Exhibition. He also gave extensive media interviews to promote both the exhibition and Australia as an education destination more broadly, including on two breakfast television talkshows, drive time radio programs and to major newspapers. He also undertook presentations to staff and students at the universities of Calabar, Jos and Kano and engaged with senior staff at the Universities of Ibadan and Abuja, as well as Buea and Bamenda in Cameroon.
Nigeria is a large and growing education market, and is predicted to be one of Australia's top ten onshore markets by 2025. Currently, there are over 1,700 Nigerian students enrolled in Australian institutions, which has seen huge increases in recent years albeit from a low base.
Seventeen education institutions from Australia participated in the Exhibition organised by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) based in Accra, in conjunction with the Australian High Commission in Abuja. Across the two days, over 2,800 Nigerians attended the event, far exceeding expectations. Australian institutions connected directly with Nigerian students for the first time, and provided information about Australian education opportunities, as well as insights into student life in Australia.
Case study: Mining and Inclusive Growth Workshop with Murdoch University in Nigeria
The Australian High Commission co-hosted, in conjunction with Murdoch University's Africa Research Centre, a workshop in Abuja on 'Making Growth Inclusive: The Role of Mining in the Post-2015 Development Agenda for Africa' on 6 October 2015. The workshop highlighted Australia's capabilities and depth of knowledge, and how Australia was active and engaged, in the mining industry. It also demonstrated Australia's world-class experience and skills in providing advice for developing Nigeria's mining sector.
The one-day conference workshop focused on how mining can foster inclusive growth, including through linkages with agriculture, water delivery, environmental protection and infrastructure. The workshop included speakers from Australia and Nigeria to discuss outcomes of collaborative practical research and the implications for policy.
The workshop built on earlier capacity-building assistance supported by Australia, including around 100 places offered to Nigeria on Australia Awards and other courses in Australia since 2010. Over 150 people attended the workshop, including senior government officials, civil society and business, and gained good media coverage.
The Australian High Commission built further on the profile gained from the workshop in the sector through the High Commissioner's delivery of a special address at a major commercial conference on mining a few weeks later in Nigeria sponsored by PWC.
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Case study: Strengthening Australian Mining in Ghana
The Australian High Commission hosted a luncheon for Ghana's Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to meet representatives from 13 Australian companies involved in mining to discuss issues facing the industry. Topics included environmental permits, VAT refunds, illegal mining activity, the current power crisis, and mining stability agreements. The Minister also outlined two mining-related bills before parliament, and his Government's mining policy framework.
The dialogue enabled the Australian business community to voices its issues and concerns directly to the Minister and allowed the Minister to brief the Australian mining community about government's plans and policies. This event helped mining companies to build their relationship with the minister and update their information about the Government's capacities and future plans. This enhances their business operations in Ghana with downstream benefits for Australia.
Case study: Future Unlimited West Africa Education Exhibition 2015
17 Australian institutions participated in the inaugural Future Unlimited West Africa Education Exhibition held in September 2015. Organised by Austrade with strong support from DFAT, the first ever Australia focussed education exhibition in Africa was a unique platform to showcase Australian education in the growing markets of Ghana and Nigeria. Nigeria has a high student mobility rate with the majority of Nigerians currently going to the UK for tertiary education. Over 5000 prospective students attended the two country exhibition. As a result, Australian education is firmly on the map in West Africa. The growth in enrolments from the West Africa region directly contributes to the Australian International Education (AIE) Government agenda of doubling the number of international students in Australia by 2025. There are now over 1700 Nigerian students studying in Australia, a fourfold increase since 2011.
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Case study: Australian Government engaging in the development of Ethiopia's Mining Sector
The Australian Government is engaging with the World Bank and the Ethiopian Government in the development of Ethiopia's mining regulatory and policy framework. Australia is a donor to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Multi-Donor Trust Fund which is assisting Ethiopia, a candidate country, to develop mining licensing, regulation and fiscal management systems. Australia also co-sponsored the first Ethiopian International Mining Conference in Ethiopia which brought together government, donors and industry to look for ways to further develop the sector and address policy and regulatory issues. Kefi Minerals (AIM: KEF) announced in 2015 the appointment of Australian subcontractors which will build and operate Kefi's Tulu Kapi gold mine in western Ethiopia.
Case study: African mining and trade experts tour Western Australia
Four senior officials from the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) and African Union participated in a study tour to Australia in September 2015. The delegation learned from key decision makers about the policies underpinning Australia's status as a leading mining country. The tour is strengthening the implementation of Africa's Mining Vision - to leverage the continent's vast mineral resources for sustainable growth. Extractives industries are key to African growth. Improving the sector's capacity to drive employment, innovation, infrastructure and revenue supports Australia's commercial and strategic interests.
Case study: KYEEMA Foundation works with Africa to eradicate Newcastle Disease and safeguard village chicken populations
The KYEEMA Foundation is assisting African production and distribution of an Australian vaccine for Newcastle Disease, in partnership with the African Union's Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (PANVAC). The highly virulent Newcastle disease is endemic in large parts of Africa decimating chicken populations with significant consequences for poor rural households. Vaccination is the only viable protection for village chickens - important economic assets for many rural communities in Africa. The sale of meat and eggs represents an important source of income as well as an entry point to the production of livestock in rural households. With Australian Government funding, PANVAC is currently working with Burundi, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar and Mozambique to build local capacity to produce the vaccine.
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Case study: Live sheep exports to Jordan
Jordan's market for live sheep is important for Australian exporters. In August 2015 Jordanian media carried news that Australian sheep were prevented entry because of contamination with foot and mouth disease. Post engaged Jordan's Agriculture ministry to remove the misconception and to preserve export status. Assurance was obtained that there were no problems with Australian sheep.
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Case study: Enhancing university ties with Azerbaijan
DFAT and Austrade hosted a Gallipoli seminar organised by the Baku State University. The Turkish Embassy in Baku also supported the event and hosted a reception for the Australian, Turkish and New Zealand community in Baku, which included local business leaders. At the seminar Azerbaijani partners confirmed their interest in establishing partnerships with Australian Universities. As a result, Monash University is planning to visit Baku in early 2016 with Austrade's support. The partnerships will be positive in generating academic and research exchanges between the institutions, raising the profile of Australian education in Azerbaijan and positioning Australia more competitively with the United Kingdom and United States as destinations for Azerbaijani scholarships students.
Case study: Baku 2015 European Games
DFAT and Austrade hosted a networking reception to celebrate the Australian contribution to the Baku 2015 European Games in June 2015. This event was aimed to foster stronger relations between the key Azerbaijani stakeholders and Australians in the major events and sports sector, as well as business more broadly. The cohort of 30 Australian major event specialists residing in Baku, as part of the Games organising committee, played a critical role in delivering all aspects of the games, working directly to the Azerbaijani President's office.
This depth of engagement with Azerbaijan was a first for Australia and has delivered a collateral benefit in positioning Australian technical expertise, in a market which traditionally looks to Europe and the United States for assistance. Post will be working to leverage this heightened profile to promote Australia's international education and oil and gas sectors – both very prospective areas for future Australian commercial engagement with Azerbaijan.
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Case study: Vaitele St road widening
Improving land transport connectivity is a key way we are supporting aid for trade in Samoa. The upgrading of Vaitele St to a four lane roadway is progressing under joint funding by Australia, the World Bank and in partnership with the Government of Samoa. The project, which is expected to be complete by June 2016, will improve traffic flow on the key arterial road linking Apia's industrial zone to the main port. Australia is providing $8 million towards this and other road and bridge works.
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Case study: Access and trouble-shooting
An Australian company in Greece risked collateral damage from undifferentiated austerity measures imposed as part of Greece's bailout agreement with its creditors. Post secured a timely meeting with the regulator to ensure the company's interests were protected.
An Australian company wanted to register an interest in the privatisation of state assets in one of Athens post's countries of accreditation. Post not only secured senior-level access for company representatives, but also promoted the company's interest in subsequent meetings with the offices of the President and the Prime Minister.
An Australian company in one of Athens post's countries of accreditation had a run-in with law. The case was dragging on, causing the company reputational damage nationally and regionally. Post deployed its access and influence at senior levels, not to take sides in the case, but to press for a 'fair go' for the company – early, fair and transparent resolution of the legal issues. Significant progress has now been made. Sensitive negotiations between the company and its local client are underway.
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Australian Mission to ASEAN
Case study: Australian support for research and analysis on ASEAN economic integration
The ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP) Phase II is a partnership program with ASEAN to support establishing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
AADCP II works to bring about:
- A better evidence base for regional policy-making and regulation for the AEC;
- Appropriate norms and standards for the AEC to progress;
- Stakeholders who are better aware of the concepts, benefits and opportunities in an AEC; and
- An ASEAN Secretariat that is better able to support the AEC.
AADCP II works across a range of sectors such as investment, connectivity, support for trade in services, consumer protection, agriculture and financial integration.
Examples of AADCP II's work include funding the post-2015 ASEAN Connectivity Masterplan; efforts to facilitate labour mobility across ASEAN, particularly in the tourism sector; and funding regular ASEAN Investment Reports to inform policy making and debate on AEC issues.
AADCP II started in 2008 and is due to end in December 2019. It succeeds earlier programs that have been running the ASEAN Secretariat since 1974.
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Bandar Seri Begawan
Case study: UNSW-ITB articulation arrangement
Post has supported UNSW in managing its articulation arrangement with Brunei's Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB), by facilitating contact with the Ministry of Education and providing High Commission representation at meetings and ceremonial events. In June 2015 post supported a pre-departure event for the latest batch of 54 students heading to UNSW to complete the final 2 years of their engineering degrees.
This arrangement was formalised via a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed by both universities in 2009 when ITB started offering undergraduate degree programmes in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Engineering. This latest intake was worth $1,890,000 to UNSW and the university expects to receive an intake of a comparable size in 2016. The arrangement between UNSW-ITB, which has evolved from the original 1+3 years to the current 2+2, is seen by ITB and the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) as having potential to be replicated in other fields of study.
Case study: Manpower Planning Study
Australian consultancy firm S C Lennon and Associates was contracted by Brunei's Ministry of Education (MoE) to conduct a Manpower Planning study. The company was very pleased with the outcome of the project, which had a total value of $280,000 representing approximately 50 per cent of its annual income.
During a discussion with senior MoE officials regarding the New Colombo Plan, HOM received a request for assistance in identifying an appropriately qualified Australian consultant to undertake a study on behalf of Brunei's Manpower Planning Special Taskforce. Post drew this opportunity to the attention of Australian business via Austrade's Market Information Package (MIP). During a visit to Australia by the Special Taskforce in mid-2014, facilitated by post, S C Lennon and Associates and another Australian consultant were interviewed.
From discussions with relevant officers at Ministry of Education, spin offs from this project may include opportunities to provide training and upskilling of the local workforce to meet industry needs.
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Case study: Increasing Thai investment in Australia
What was achieved?
The recently signed MOU between CP Group – Thailand's largest private company – and South Australia's Thomas Foods, was a significant achievement for continued growth in Thai investment in Australia. The partnership aims to build an advanced food processing centre to produce ready-made beef and lamb meals for export across Asia and the world. Post had earlier supported a visit by Dhanin Chearavanont, CP Group Chairman and CEO to Australia.
How did it contribute to the economic diplomacy objectives?
As Thailand's largest private company, operating principally in the agribusiness and food, retail and distribution industries, and with significant interests in China, Japan and across South East Asia, the group wields significant market power in Thailand and abroad. CP Group's interest in Australia has potential for further developing Australian investment linkages with Thailand. We continue to engage current and prospective investors and reinforce Australia's image as a good investment destination.
Why does this matter to Australia (e.g. how does it improve Australian or global prosperity?).
Thai investment in Australia continues to grow, from $6,137 million in 2013 to $6,575 million in 2014. It ranks as Australia's sixteenth largest source of FDI stock.
Case study: Promoting regional trade and strategic investment in connectivity
What was achieved?
Post participated in two major activities.
Firstly, Austrade supported the 'Australian PPP Experience' seminar, organised by Thailand's State Enterprise Policy Office and the Institute of Research and Development for Public Enterprises in Bangkok in January 2015 to showcase Australian capability in infrastructure finance. Participants were senior executives from a range of Thai government departments, who learnt about the structure and instruments of PPP implementation in Australia, including legal frameworks, policies, and key success factors.
Secondly, DFAT Development Cooperation supported improvements to the border crossing at Mukdahan (Thailand) and Savankhet (Lao PDR) at a meeting between Thai and Laos officials in September 2015. Outcomes from the meeting may result in a 200% reduction in time taken for goods and passengers to cross the border.
This activity took place under DFAT's Transport and Trade Facilitation Program, which encourages more goods and commercial passenger vehicles to operate along road corridors linking ASEAN countries with major ports and markets in China and further abroad. Australia is providing support to update the technical arrangements that govern border crossings to meet the demands of contemporary trade practices.
How did it contribute to the economic diplomacy objectives?
Greater regional integration and improved infrastructure capability may attract more Australian business to Thailand and the region. These activities promoted reforms and conditions to support Thailand's economic growth.
Why does this matter to Australia (e.g. how does it improve Australian or global prosperity?).
As Thailand progresses its mega infrastructure projects, we aim to see legislation taking into account global best practice, including Australia's experience. This will provide strong and viable foundations for Australian companies (particularly in financial and professional services) to be part of Thailand's economic growth story.
The Transport and Trade Facilitation Program contributes to faster, cheaper, and easier clearance procedures for commercial goods and passenger traffic at key border crossings by streamlining customs, immigration, and quarantine procedures. The program is also on track to increase the number of vehicles permitted to cross international road borders while freighting goods, further reducing the time to move goods and people across mainland South East Asia.
Case study: Advocating for a more open and investment-friendly Thai economy
What was achieved?
In June 2015, the Australian Embassy Bangkok, Austrade and the Australia-Thailand Institute supported the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce to host the "Australia-Thailand Business Forum: Perspectives on Investment and Trade".
The forum helped Australian businesses understand where opportunities and challenges lie and how to navigate them. Discussions provided input (including case studies and lessons learnt) for an AsiaLink Thailand Country Starter Pack, recently launched in Australia.
Discussion at the forum highlighted how bilateral trade policy settings, now that the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement is in its tenth year, could be updated to provide better access to the markets of both countries across a number of sectors.
It strengthened links between Australian and Thai business and industry associations, with keynote speeches by Innes Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group and Niels Strazdins, Head Research Manager of the Export Council of Australia. They both also visited Thailand's manufacturing hub on the Eastern Seaboard.
Building on this forum, in Nov 2015, Ambassador and Senior Trade Commissioner, together with Austcham presented a seminar to launch the "Why ASEAN Why Now" research in Bangkok and pressed for further liberalisation in the Thai Government's own events to mark the tenth anniversary of TAFTA.
How did it contribute to the economic diplomacy objectives?
Post aims to improve access to Thai markets for Australian businesses by working with relevant Thai agencies and through public trade advocacy. A further aim is to overcome the knowledge deficit in Australia about commercial opportunities in Thailand. Overall, the forum explored leveraging the commercial relationship in ways to contribute to both countries' economic prosperity.
Why does this matter to Australia (e.g. how does it improve Australian or global prosperity?).
Updates to TAFTA and the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement can provide the foundation for greater Australian trade and investment in Thailand and the region, particularly in priority sectors such as education and training, health care, financial services, logistics and manufacturing.
Austrade will continue to engage participants from both events.
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Case study: ChAFTA Promotion
Since the conclusion of China-Australia Free Trade Agreement negotiations in November 2014, DFAT and Austrade have delivered 46 seminars to explain the benefits of ChAFTA to traders, consumers and investors across mainland China and Hong Kong. Business needs to be prepared to take advantage of ChAFTA when it enters into force.
Case study: Live Cattle to China
The Australian Consulate-General in Chengdu, with support from the Embassy in Beijing and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, worked with Elders and Hondo to bring about the first shipment of live Australian feeder slaughter cattle to Chongqing. This is a major step forward for bilateral trade.
Case study: Making the Most of E-Commerce in China
Austrade attracted over 1000 participants to e-commerce roadshows, held in 12 cities across China, between July and September 2015. These events were in support of 'E-commerce in China: A guide for Australian Exporters', which has been downloaded more than 1000 times from the Austrade website.
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Case study: Fostering economic growth in Lebanon, in partnership with the Safadi Foundation
Through the Direct Aid Program, the Australian Embassy in Beirut has worked over recent years with the Safadi Foundation to support small-scale farmers in Lebanon's economically-marginalised Akkar region, near the border with Syria.
The Embassy funded the purchase of communal pomegranate processing machines that allow farmers to de-shell their pomegranates, and to produce juice, molasses and jam.
Production has increased significantly, from 60 kg in 2011, to 1.2 tonnes in 2013, and now 6 tonnes in 2015. The farmers are selling their produce throughout Lebanon, and are exploring the export opportunities abroad.
The limiting factor to production is now the availability of pomegranates, and new plantations are being planned.
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Case study: Strategically examining the bilateral relationship to strengthen ties
The Australia-Germany Advisory Group, established in 2014 to examine ways to build even closer ties between the two countries, presented its report to Prime Minister Turnbull and Chancellor Merkel in Berlin on 13 November 2015. It contains 59 recommendations across five themes, providing a blueprint to take the already strong bilateral partnership to a new level.
The Advisory Group represents perhaps the first time that Australia and Germany have given serious strategic thought to the relationship. The challenge was to move the relationship beyond the obvious inter-personal warmth between the two countries to inject the priority, substance and structure into a relationship befitting two countries that are both significant economies and like-minded international and regional players.
The Embassy and Austrade, together with colleagues from DFAT Canberra and other agencies, worked closely with the Co-Chairs (Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann and German Minister of State Dr Maria Böhmer) and other members of the Advisory Group to examine the bilateral relationship across a wide range of areas and propose a series of practical initiatives aimed at adding substance and bringing the bilateral relationship into the 21st century.
The Advisory Group report identifies a number of ways to increase trade and investment by: deepening business links to remove barriers to trade, investment and people movement; broadening collaboration on digital transformation; and strengthening bilateral dialogue on energy, energy security and resources. A large number of recommendations propose initiatives to strengthen cooperation on science and education by increasing collaboration on innovation and commercialisation, and exploring opportunities to increase student exchanges to create the foundation for future research collaboration.
A key recommendation from the report has already been realised with the signing by Australia and Germany on 12 November 2015 of a new 21st century tax treaty, which will reduce tax impediments to increase bilateral trade and investment and improve the integrity of the tax system. Another key recommendation is the establishment of an Australian Trade Commissioner (Investment) position based in Frankfurt to promote and attract FDI, as well as strengthen the trade and international education relationship. In addition, Germany has agreed to provide ongoing support in the EU for the commencement of negotiations on an Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement. Subject to the final decision by the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business, Australia will host the 2018 Asia Pacific Conference of German Business, which represents a significant opportunity to further strengthen trade and investment ties.
If put into operation, the report's recommendations will be of great benefit to both countries and help create an enormously positive and modern relationship between Australia and Germany.
Case study: Australian business leaders showcase Australian capabilities
Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, visited Berlin from 7-11 July and led a business mission, supported by Austrade and the Embassy, which included 33 business leaders from a number of major Australian companies and institutions. Minister Cormann met with key German Ministers, joined Australian business leaders in discussions with German economic policy makers, delivered a keynote speech at a political foundation, and attended a number of networking events. The visit concluded with the successful inaugural meeting of the Australia-Germany Advisory Group in Berlin on 10 July 2015.
Austrade organised high quality programs for the 33 visiting Australian business leaders to enhance economic engagement and boost trade and investment ties between Australia and Germany. The programs focussed on four areas – innovation in advanced materials, infrastructure, skills and medical technologies sectors. The purpose of the business program was to engage with German Government and industry on a practical level to exchange ideas and identify ways of working together. Australian companies participating in the program showcased Australian capability across sectors and explored opportunities within the supply chains of German corporates.
The Embassy in conjunction with Austrade hosted an infrastructure investment policy dialogue. The discussions on infrastructure investment highlighted Australia's experience in the sector and the assistance Australia could provide to Germany in pursuing a private sector agenda in the future. It also served to highlight the strong demand from Australian investors and pension funds for investment opportunities in the German market.
A key outcome of the advanced materials stream was the agreement to establish a joint advanced materials institute in Australia (Australian Germany Advanced Materials Institute (AGAMI)) to fund and manage research interactions between Australian and German industry and academia, and the German Fraunhofer Institute, in the field of advanced materials. This initiative is included as a recommendation in the Advisory Group report, as an initiative to strengthen cooperation on science.
The medical technologies stream featured a workshop "Tapping into the Supply Chain of the German Health System", which enabled Australian participants to discuss issues including market access, the German health and hospital system, and the reimbursement of innovative pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
Through a series of briefing sessions with the key stakeholders in the German Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, Australian participants in the skills stream gained a better understanding of how Germany deals with the current challenges in the areas of youth employment and industry participation and identified themes for future strategic partnerships. Participants agreed to work cooperatively on VET system design and employment and training policy development with a view to adopting aspects of each country's model, to explore the opportunities a master craftsmen model could have in Australia, and to develop approaches to the mutual recognition of qualifications for skilled workers. Outcomes from these discussions are also reflected in the Advisory Group report, including the recommendation that Germany and Australia will develop a new MOU on qualifications recognition, replacing the 1998 agreement.
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Case study: Screening of a popular Brazilian soap opera in Australia
2015 saw the first ever filming of a popular Brazilian soap opera in Australia produced by Brazil's and the region's prime TV network O Globo. The soap opera "Totalmente Demais" ("Absolutely Awesome") went to air in November 2015, less than a year after post made a proposal to O Globo. The key to the result were post's initial lobbying efforts and – once the door was opened – strong support from Tourism Australia.
Given the huge following Brazilian soap operas have, this is likely to be the biggest ever promotion of Australia in Brazil. It is estimated that up to 15 million people in total may have watched the episodes that were partially filmed in Australia. We expect the soap opera will raise Australia's profile considerably and lead to increased interest among would-be tourists, students and migrants. In turn, this will lead to increasing Brazilian visitor expenditure in Australia, one of post's key ongoing ED goals.
The Embassy used social media to promote the soap opera. Over 50,000 Brazilians were reached through the Embassy's Facebook page. The stars of the show tweeted regular, positive messages throughout filming about what an "amazing" and "beautiful" country Australia is – reaching tens of millions of Brazilian fans.
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Case study: Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement
The Australian Prime Minister together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission agreed in a joint statement on 15 November 2015 to start the process towards a comprehensive and high-quality Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
As a bloc, the EU is Australia's largest source of foreign investment and second largest trading partner. In 2014, the EU's foreign direct investment in Australia was valued at $169.6 billion and Australian foreign direct investment in the EU was valued at $83.5 billion. Total two-way merchandise and services trade between Australia and the EU was worth $83.9 billion.
The EU is Australia's largest services export market, valued at nearly $10 billion in 2014. Services account for 19.7 per cent of Australia's total trade in goods and services and will be an important component of any future free trade agreement.
Australian and EU officials have now begun bilateral discussions on the next steps to launch negotiations.
Key interests and benefits
- A comprehensive, high-quality Australia-EU FTA would help to ensure our trade and investment relationship reaches its full potential
- An Australia-EU FTA would remove barriers to trade in goods
- An Australia-EU FTA could expand services linkages and investment ties
- An Australia-EU FTA could enhance regulatory cooperation in specific sectors of interest to business.
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Case study: Cooperation in Water Management with Argentina and Uruguay
Buenos Aires facilitated closer engagement between Australia, Argentina and Uruguay on water management – an important challenge in all three countries given their geographical similarities. In May 2015 Austrade took advantage of the Water Week conference in Chile to arrange a roundtable with key Australian, Argentina and Uruguayan officials and experts. One of the outcomes of the event was the visit by a delegation from the University of Queensland to Argentina and Uruguay in November 2015 to participate in high-level workshops organised by DFAT and Austrade, to share perspectives and explore opportunities for collaboration. The delegation also met with Ministers, senior national and provincial officials, academics and representatives from the private sector. The visit built on a series of other events to promote Australian experience and expertise in water management – including a presentation to experts in Buenos Aires by an Argentine alumnus from the University of Queensland, a visit to Argentina by a CSIRO water specialist, and a study tour to Australia by a cross-sectoral delegation from Argentina under an Australian Award fellowship. Concrete proposals are now being developed, inter alia, for cooperation in technology transfer on water monitoring and sustainable mining.
Case study: Work and Holiday visa program rising in popularity
The Work and Holiday Visa Program between Australia and Argentina – which allows 18-30 years olds to work and travel for one year in the other country – is increasingly popular with young Argentines. Since its introduction in 2012 Post has worked to raise awareness of the program, including via social media and promotional events throughout Argentina. After the 500 places were filled in under six months in 2014-15, the quota for the following year (2015-16) was raised to 700 places – which were allocated in just three months. The program has strong public diplomacy benefits (one guest post by a work and holiday returnee on the Embassy Facebook page had a 'reach' of 10,000 people). It also strengthens economic diplomacy goals by whetting the appetite of young Argentines to return to Australia for tertiary studies.
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Case study: A Taste of Australia: Joint event with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)
On 2 September the Australian Embassy, with support from sponsors Meat and Livestock Australia, hosted its largest trade promotion event in several years, promoting Australian meat exports to Egypt. The event gathered over 100 senior Egyptian government and business contacts involved in the meat trade. The Governor of Cairo, alumni and Australian business representatives also attended. Ambassador Hawkins delivered the event's key messages in Arabic, supported by celebrity chef Tarek Ibrahim who livened up the atmosphere with an energetic live cooking and singing performance along with an Egyptian band. The event was well-covered by media, including three televised interviews with Ambassador Hawkins in English and Arabic.
Case study: Overturning ban on Australian livestock and wool
Egyptian importers of Australian meat have been working to increase imports of high quality Australian chilled beef (fresh not frozen). Egyptian food safety authorities have placed restrictions on the product that Post has been trying hard to remove. Post has worked closely with Australian industry, Egyptian importers, Egyptian authorities and the Australian Department of Agriculture to make representations to successfully reduce the barriers in a coordinated attempt to improve market access. The process is ongoing, and in the meantime in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Post successfully managed to persuade the Egyptian authorities to overturn decisions on bans on Livestock from northern Australia in July and bans of wool from NSW and Victoria in November.
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Case study: Crab factory
In areas of Sri Lanka badly impacted by the conflict, Australia has funded partnerships between private companies and community organisations that involve shared ownership and joint equity in new enterprises as well as in economic and social assets. For example, Australia has been supporting a crab processing factory to meet international processing and environmental standards in the north. This is done via a partnership between a large fishing cooperative in Kilinochchi, a seafood export company and two government authorities.
As a result of this collaboration, over 1,000 fishing families in previously war torn Poonakary sell their crab catch through the cooperative at market rates.
The crab factory, which processes crab meat for export by Taprobane Seafoods to the US market, employs 75 local women who were previously unemployed. In just one year, this has led to the processing of 180,000 kg of crab, creating 15,000 working days of employment for local women.
The partnership has also led to the development of a national improvement plan for the fishing of Sri Lankan blue swimming crab and to improvements in marine management in Poonakary Bay.
Marine experts from Australia helped local experts from the National Aquaculture Development Authority to improve the marine plan and build the capacity of local fishing families.
Case study: How Australian VET sector capabilities helping to build Sri Lanka's hospitality sector
The word is out – Sri Lanka is a booming holiday destination! Almost 1 million tourists visited Sri Lankan in 2014 and the numbers have kept growing in 2015/16. With several new hotels being built and tourists numbers expected to increase to 2.5 million by 2018, Sri Lanka needs to rapidly develop the human capital of the sector. Colombo Academy of Hospitality Management (CAHM) in partnership with Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) collaborated with William Angliss TAFE to train the next generation of hospitality professionals to meet growing demands in the sector.
With an estimated investment of US$3.2 million by CAHM and SLIIT, this initiative used Australian VET sector capability in hospitality management through William Angliss TAFE to help aspiring students pursue a career in hospitality management from certificate to advanced diploma level.
The project has been a big success with over 100 students graduating and working in leading hotels. Some have continued to Australia to pursue higher students in William Angliss TAFE. This project has set a benchmark in Sri Lanka for hospitality studies and many international students from Asia and Middle Eastern countries have enrolled in the local campus in addition to Sri Lankan students.
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Case study: Inauguration of Danish-Australian Business Network
On 2 October, in partnership with Ernst and Young and the Foreigners in Finance network, we co-hosted the launch of the Danish-Australian Business Network (DAB).
The goal of re-establishing an active business group in Denmark is to provide a professional and focussed network for Australian businesspeople and professionals working in Denmark, and Danish business contacts with interests in Australia. The network aims to develop stronger business connections and networking opportunities and to increase the number of Australians working in Danish enterprises. The network provides post with a ready platform for messaging about Australian innovation and the Government's growth and competitiveness agenda.
The DAB launch was facilitated by an Australian professional at EY and attended by over 70 people from diverse sectors including education, financial services, pharmaceuticals, shipping and design. Ambassador Miller and the Chief Operating Officer of SAS, Lars Sandahl SØrensen, who has experience working in Australia, gave presentations about developments in the Australian economy and the importance of the economic diplomacy effort to Australia's prosperity. Post worked with the organiser to expand the invitation list and to promote the event on social media.
The re-establishment of an Australian business network leverages the presence of many skilled and talented Australian businesspeople in Denmark, working at all levels in Danish organisations, who are contributing to fostering partnerships with Australia. DAB also pulls in Danish colleagues and contacts who are interested in taking a closer look at opportunities in Australia. It creates a new strand in the relationship that can be used to amplify post's messages about Australia's open economy, talented workforce, investment environment, and world-class education and research facilities. DAB also offers post the chance to better understand any impediments experienced by Australians in Denmark and to work to facilitate closer business connections.
Case study: Research and Innovation: Supporting the University of Queensland's research funding and commercialisation objectives in Denmark
Post was actively engaged in the University of Queensland's executive mission to Copenhagen from 8-9 June 2015, led by Vice-Chancellor, Peter HØj. Post organised a Foundations dinner on 8 June and facilitated a business luncheon on 9 June at the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI).
UQ's visit sought to promote the university's research and innovation credentials and commercialisation record to potential sources of Danish R&D funding, including top FCIs, peak bodies, research clusters and centres of excellence. The high level foundations dinner attracted 4 top Danish Foundations (Carlsberg Foundation, Leo Foundation, the Danish National Research Foundation and Novo-Nordisk Foundation), as well as the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation and the Rector (VC) of the Danish Technical University (DTU).
UQ was also interested in exploring avenues for academic engagement with Danish industry – including through trilateral initiatives with Danish universities. About 50 people from the business and academic sector attended the industry event at DI, which provided an opportunity to explore possibilities for partnerships, and present opportunities to work with UQ's top researchers who have outstanding track records in innovation and impact. The head of UniQuest provided details of UQ's strengths in research commercialisation and corporate partnerships, and shared some of UQ's translational research successes.
Both activities also underscored, for the Danish institutions present, Australian education's robust performance across STEM areas in research and innovation and the strong potential for commercialisation of cutting-edge research taking place in Australia. In discussing potential benefit to Australia, UQ mentioned the example of its new class of pain relief drug which it sold for $100 million but could have received 14 times more had it been able to take the product to stage 2 trials with a partner. Establishing commercialisation and research partnerships with Denmark will bring gains for Australia in jobs and economic growth and in reputation.
Professor Monique Skidmore, UQ Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice-President International, returned to Denmark in September 2015. She affirmed that UQ was in the process of working on future collaboration plans with the Niels Bohr Institute (part of Copenhagen University) in physics and with DTU, and was following up solid prospects with three of the Foundations which had been present at the dinner. It is likely that a partnership with Niels Bohr Institute will be the first outcome attributable to UQ's strategy in Denmark.
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Case study: Versatile Multi-crop Planter (VMP) for sustainable and cost-effective smallholders' agriculture
Bangladeshi agriculture has made great strides forward to reach food security, led by smallholder farmers who have increased annual cropping intensity to about 200 per cent. However, challenges for Bangladesh in agriculture remain, including decreasing areas of arable land, agricultural labour shortage, crowded cropping calendar, high crop production costs, and shortage of water during dry winter season when most of the non-rice crops are grown. To sustain the growth in agricultural productivity in Bangladesh, the adoption of small-scale mechanization is essential.
In collaboration with Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Murdoch University has been implementing research and development projects with smallholder farms on mechanisation and conservation agriculture with the funding support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) since 2006.
Funding from ACIAR helped to develop the Versatile Multi-Crop Planter (VMP) in Bangladesh during 2010. In diverse cropping systems planters need to be capable of operating in multiple planting modes and with a wide range of crops. The VMP achieves improved flexibility for multi-crop planting and capacity for rapid adjustment of row spacing on a field-by-field basis. Research confirmed that the use of the VMP could reduce labour use by up to 70 per cent, land preparation cost by 30 – 70 per cent, diesel fuel use by up to 82 per cent, save irrigation water up to 36 per cent, reduced CO2 emission for land preparation up to 82 per cent, improve soil health, and finally increase grain yield up to 40 per cent.
The factory gate price of each VMP is US$1,000 in Bangladesh which is unaffordable for individual farmers. Agricultural machinery manufacturers, dealers, and service providers (the essential players in the supply chain for farm machinery commercialization) of Bangladesh are also largely unaware about the potential of this technology. Since 2015 a 2 year pilot project funded by ACIAR has been implemented in Rajshahi, Rajbari, Thakurgaon, and Mymensingh to commercialise 50 VMPs. In 2015, 21 VMPs were handed over to service providers (small farm machinery contractors who plant crops on a fee-for-service basis) through a commercialization partners' network. Since 2010, a total of 150 units of VMP were manufactured including exports to India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mexico. It has been estimated that each year a planting service contractor with VMP can provide planting services to up to 80 farmers covering about 33 ha each. The total annual calculated potential gain from 100 per cent mechanisation and conservation agriculture adoption in Bangladesh is about Tk. 127 billion (US$ 1.63 billion). Adoption of small scale planters like the VMP could contribute significantly to realising this potential gain.
Case study: Australian Aid reforming the leather sector in Bangladesh
The Bangladesh leather sector contributes over US$1 billion to Bangladesh's export receipts (around 4 per cent of total exports) and directly employs roughly 50,000 workers. Industry experts forecast that if the leather industry continues its impressive growth, it may challenge the ready-made garments sector as Bangladesh's most valuable export. The competitive advantages of a large pool of low-cost labour, coupled with rising labour costs in competing countries will support the continued expansion of the leather industry. Furthermore, the high value addition of the leather industry (90 per cent, compared to 30 per cent in RMG) is an added competitive advantage. However, the future of the industry is threatened by increasingly strict environmental regulations in buying nations, particularly in the European Union and Japan. The current production base of the leather industry (in a region of Dhaka called Hazaribagh, which houses around 200 factories in an area of 50 acres) is not environmentally compliant due to improper leather processing mechanisms and poor waste treatment facilities.
In 2003, the government of Bangladesh proposed the relocation of the leather industry to a purpose-built industrial estate with modern waste treatment facilities, including a central effluent treatment plant (CETP). However, conflicting interests, factionalism within the industry, and a lack of confidence in the government's capacity to carry out the relocation acted as binding constraints and resulted in the project being stalled for over ten years. In this context, The Asia Foundation's political economy approach has yielded major successes since 2013. The Asia Foundation, with Australian Aid support, was able to create a coalition of reform supporters, who led the way in addressing the barriers to the relocation. As a result of these interventions, an MOU was signed between the primary leather trade associations and the government in October 2013, and subsequently the government approved budgetary provisions to share the costs of the relocation (80 per cent by the government, 20 per cent by the leather firms). After this major breakthrough, focus was placed on the construction and quality of the CETP and in March 2014, construction of this facility began. Alongside this, over eighty leather firms have already begun constructing factories in Savar.
The reform coalition is engaging with international accreditation agencies for the leather sector to ensure that the industrial estate in Savar is certified as compliant with all relevant protocols. Going forward, the positive future outlook of the industry will be promoted to buyers in the European Union and new markets such as the United States and Australia, through the Export Promotion Bureau and Bangladesh Missions overseas, and through an international leather trade fair in Dhaka. If all goes as planned, it is expected that the leather industry will be able to cross exports of US$5 billion within a decade.
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Case study: Balibo Fort Hotel
The Australian Government, through the Market Development Facility, supported the Balibo House Trust (BHT) to turn the historic Portuguese era fort in the town of Balibo in western Timor-Leste into an international standard hotel.
One of the main constraints in the tourism industry in Timor-Leste is the lack of adequate accommodation facilities outside of Dili. The Market Development Facility assisted the BHT to select the hotel operator, develop the hotel's operating model, recruit and train staff, install a suitable water system and market the hotel as a tourist destination in Timor-Leste and internationally.
Balibo has strong name recognition in Australia and Australian tourists and expats living in Dili are the main target market for the hotel. The hotel has only eight rooms but in a small market such as Timor-Leste that is likely to be the right scale.
The Balibo Fort Hotel will attract more tourists to visit the area and to stay for longer. This will encourage the development of the local economy by providing a market for services and activities in and around Balibo.
The hotel now supports 20 jobs and is expected to benefit approximately 64 small to medium enterprises that supply services to the hotel and to visitors.
Case study: Roads for Development (R4D)
Most of the rural roads in Timor-Leste are in a poor condition and this is a major constraint on local development and jobs. R4D is the leading program in the rural roads sector in Timor-Leste. During the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 construction seasons R4D rehabilitated more than 100 kilometres of core rural roads and maintained 230 kilometres rural roads (with a total contract value of USD15.5 million).
R4D applies local resource-based work methods. This means using a mix of labour, equipment and local materials that ensures that short-term employment opportunities are maximised without compromising the quality of the work. It also provides for an environmentally sound use of local materials.
As of August 2015 R4D had created about 420,000 labour-days of direct short-term jobs. This translates to a cash transfer into the local economy of about USD 2.7 million. Women's participation in the workforce is 30% which is relatively high as construction works are traditionally mainly undertaken by male workers.
R4D also generates indirect jobs. These include jobs for contractors and suppliers of materials. In the period 2013–2015 R4D has awarded contracts to more than 100 local construction companies and this provided an estimated 100,000 labour-days of indirect employment.
R4D is strong value for money with twice as many kilometres of road built than other government road construction programs.
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Case study: Collaboration with Australian and Irish business chambers of commerce to improve two-way trade and investment opportunities
The embassy conducted economic diplomacy regional outreach activities in Cork, Waterford, Sligo, Donegal, Meath and Louth counties to identify commercial opportunities for Australia and to promote Australian investment. Post facilitated stakeholder engagement between the Irish Australia Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne and chambers of commerce in Ireland to strengthen two-way trade and investment collaboration.
Stakeholder engagement helped to identify commercial opportunities for Australia and promote Australian investment, which have been referred to Austrade (London) for possible development.
The post's regional outreach engagement provided an opportunity for the embassy to promote its economic diplomacy strategy to Irish chambers of commerce with links to the Australian business community. It also provided an opportunity for the embassy to facilitate two-way trade and investment with the Irish Australia Chamber of Commerce, which recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the South Dublin Chamber of Commerce to support its members with interests in doing business in Australia. The embassy is working with Sligo, Letterkenny (Donegal) and Dundalk (Meath) chambers of commerce and the Irish Australia Chamber of Commerce to develop the MoU initiative on a regional basis.
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Case study: International Development Fund
The Geneva UN International Development Fund (IDF) program welcomed applications from projects that furthered the Government's economic diplomacy objectives and supported the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a project which advances women's land and productive resource rights through international advocacy and capacity building. This project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. The project sought to combat the pervasive discrimination against women in access to land, property and productive resources in select countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It has enabled the Global initiative to partner closely with local advocates from East Timor, Tuvalu, Maldives and Cambodia, supporting them to engage effectively with the UN human rights mechanisms. It has supported women's rights advocates to obtain concrete findings and recommendations from the UN treaty bodies and to use the outcomes to advocate at the national level for the elimination of discrimination against women in rights and access to land, property and productive resources. This project promotes the Geneva UN mission priorities notability promoting and protecting human rights, advancing the empowerment of women and gender equality and supports Australia's economic diplomacy objectives and aligns with the Geneva UN Post's economic diplomacy strategy.
The Geneva UN IDF program funded a number of projects including on initiatives to disarmament mechanisms, which is an obstacle to economic growth and development. Projects emphasised Australia's commitment, deep integration, strength, investment and influence in the Indo-Pacific region. For example, Geneva UN's IDF supported the Geneva Forum ATT Network and provided funding for two Palauans to attend the third edition of a professional training course on "Building Capacities for Effective ATT implementation" in Geneva in April 2015. The course provided basic training for Government personnel involved in all aspects of ATT implementation, with lectures and practical exercises administered by officials of Government's, international organisations, and research institutions.
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Case study: Australia Reframes the Enhanced Integrated Framework
The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is a multi-donor program supporting Least Developed Countries in trading internationally. It is unique both in its focus on LDCs and in its management structure: an equal partnership between donors, agencies and LDCs.
The EIF does vital work. It delivers assistance in LDC's, where the challenges of aid delivery are greatest, but so is the need. It works with the LDC governments to identify their priorities, with the private sector to identify their challenges and then with donors and agencies to accommodate both.
Australia stepped into the role of Donor Coordinator for the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) on 1 January 2015. As the first phase of the framework was drawing to a close, many questioned whether the EIF's management structure could agree on much needed reforms, or if its processes could implement them.
As Donor Coordinator, Australia shepherded the reform process: this included identifying problems, promoting support for solutions and helping the EIF plan for crucial reforms. Through our efforts, the EIF has undertaken critical steps to become more relevant, agile and responsive. The result will be an EIF that is more cost efficient, more effective, and more attuned to the needs of the private sector – better equipping enterprises in LDCs to trade profitably across borders.
In recognition of our work, Australia's Minister for Trade and Investment has been invited to co-chair the EIF Pledging Conference on the margins of the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. With the EIF well on its way to achieving the reform agenda around which we forged consensus, Australia will be in joining others in announcing a substantial pledge to the program at the Conference.
Case study: Working with LDCs to deliver services trade outcomes
Services is a dynamic area of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations. We have seen an important shift in these negotiations in recent years with growing recognition of the crucial role that services play in fostering inclusive economic and trade growth and sustainable development.
Australia is working with Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to maximise the benefits from services trade negotiations. To complement work underway in the WTO, we are partnering with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) to assist LDCs to identify services export potential and make the necessary domestic reforms to be "trade ready". The first services trade program in Nairobi in September 2015 to increase understanding of services trade priorities and enable African LDC and Low Income Countries to engage actively in the lead up to the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference.
Australia is also partnering with the Institute for International Trade to build understanding of how services trade can contribute to economic growth and assist LDCs to secure outcomes in services trade negotiations. This program combines regional activities, bringing together government and private sector representatives on trade policy issues, with Geneva-based workshops to ensure negotiators are equipped with the knowledge to pursue commercial and policy objectives.
Australia plays an active role in Geneva on the nexus between services and development, exploring the possibilities of what we believe to be a new frontier for enhancing participation in international trade. Toward this end, we partnered with the International Trade Centre to deliver a series of well received events highlighting opportunities for LDC services trade. Similarly, Australia hosted the WTO Public Forum event on Leveraging Services for Inclusive and Sustainable Development, which brought together experts to discuss how minor policy adjustments can yield big development gains through unleashing the potential of services trade. There are just some examples of how we're working to help fully realise the commercial benefits of services trade, and services trade negotiations.
Case study: Expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA)
In July 2015, Australia joined with major information technology producing countries in reaching agreement on expansion to products covered by the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The original ITA was concluded in 1996 and now has 81 participating countries which collectively account for 97 per cent of world trade in IT products. Trade in the products covered by this agreement is valued at around US$1.6 trillion annually.
In 2012, a group of ITA members agreed to work towards expansion of the ITA. The objective was to update and expand the ITA to reflect changes in technology since the 1996 agreement.
25 WTO Members (representing 53 countries) signed on to the new agreement, bringing an additional 201 IT products under the coverage of the ITA. Annual trade in these products is valued at over US$1.3 trillion per year, and accounts for approximately 7 per cent of total global trade in goods. Products covered include new generation semi-conductors, semi-conductor manufacturing equipment, optical lenses, GPS navigation equipment, and medical equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging products and ultra-sonic scanning apparatus.
Australia annually imports around $21 billion worth of goods covered by the additions to the ITA. Elimination of tariffs will see prices on these products fall for Australian consumers and manufacturers. In addition, the flow-on effects of tariff elimination in the major traders of these IT products will see prices fall for a massive range of products which incorporate the products as vital components.
Australian manufacturers also stand to gain from the expanded ITA as tariffs are eliminated on exports of Australian products valued at around $4.2 billion annually.
Trade Ministers from the participating countries are expected to announce agreement on arrangements for eliminating tariffs on the new ITA products at the WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December.
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Case study: Aviation Safety Improvement and Capability Enhancement Project / Vietnam
The Australian Embassy in Vietnam is working to strengthen Vietnamese agencies' capability to improve air safety. This includes leveraging the full potential of Australian Government aviation agencies, including the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) who play a vital role in identifying gaps in Vietnamese capacity and identifying and implementing solutions. The Embassy is using this platform to catalyse a wide range of commercial activities resulting in significant new opportunities for Australian technical consultants and specialised training service providers.
Before, all Vietnamese pilots were trained in the USA but the flight training quality in America is perceived to of a lower -standard to that in Australia. For example, pilots graduating from American flight schools often struggle in type rating and multi-crew coordination. This problem was widely acknowledged by local airlines including Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and JetStar.
Through support from the Australian Embassy in 2015, a series of activities were undertaken to advocate for the quality of Australian flight training industries. These included:
- business matching during the Avalon Airshow in Melbourne
- a pilot training workshop in Ho Chi Minh City
- roundtables between senior representatives from CASA, ATSB and the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) and local airlines.
These activities have resulted in a MoU being developed between ATSB and CAAV on future cooperation on improving flight safety, capability development and exchange of information on accident / incident investigation. This MoU is expected to be signed in May 2016.
Outcome for Australia:
The most immediate outcome for Australia is the export value of new commercial agreements in the aviation industry especially for pilot training, as well as the supply of airport equipment. For instance, the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (Rex Airlines) and Viet Flight Training have agreed to sign a contract valued up to $7m per year.
CAAV and Vietnam Airlines have also agreed to include Australian flight schools in their preferred supplier list. In November 2015, four Australian flight schools were approved following an audit and inspection. Australian suppliers are now perceived as 'top-of-class' and 'top-of-mind' in the Vietnamese aviation sector.
Case study: Improving access to clean water through private sector investment
The Australian Embassy in Vietnam is supporting the Australian Water Association (AWA) to work with the Government of Vietnam and the Vietnam Water supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA) to improve water quality and increase efficiency in water supply. The Australian Embassy and the AWA have prepared new twinning arrangements between Vietnamese and Australian water utilities as well as identifying opportunities for Public-Private Partnerships. This includes facilitating more commercial partnerships and investments between Australian and Vietnamese water provider which reflects the changing nature of Australia's development cooperation from a relationship based on development aid to one with a strengthened focus on trade and investment.
In 2016, the Australian Embassy and the AWA will build on the momentum created in 2015 to take forward a flagship PPP Water Supply Project. This will demonstrate to the Government of Vietnam the efficiency gains and improved financial sustainability that can come from private sector engagement in the sector.
Outcome for Australia:
The Australian Embassy's partnership with AWA is helping to showcase Australia's world leading expertise in the sector. It is also creating new links between Australian and Vietnamese water providers and new commercial opportunities for Australian investors in Vietnam.
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Case study: Creating a Space for Dialogue in Zimbabwe's Mining Sector
In 2015 Post initiated a discussion series focused on the mining sector in Zimbabwe – the Australian Embassy Mining Forum – in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Australia Business Council and the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines, and in consultation with the Government of Zimbabwe. The Mining Forums focus on policy issues in Zimbabwe's mining sector and aims to create a space for dialogue that did not previously exist. In recent years there has not been a forum for candid dialogue between government, business and civil society in the mining sector, creating mistrust in the sector. With a profile as an experienced and unbiased partner in the sector, the Australian Embassy is using the Mining Forums, to regularly bring government, business and civil society together to interact and engage on critical policy issues. The inaugural event attracted over 70 influential policymakers, miners and civil society activists to discuss Zimbabwe's efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the mining sector. In addition to the Forum, Post took advantage of the International Media visit program to send two high profile media personalities to the 2015 Africa Downunder Mining Conference in Perth – the visit resulted in several pieces in the Zimbabwe media focused on the need for economic policy reform in the mining sector.
Case study: Advocacy and engagement on Zambia's Mining Revenue Mechanisms
In late-2014, the Zambian Government introduced a mining tax and royalties regime that threatened to reduce the attractiveness of the Zambian mining industry for foreign investors, including several Australian companies. In response to the new mining tax policy, Post joined other missions based in Zambia and engaged with senior figures from Zambia's Government and the mining sector to broker a solution. The discussions were initially focused on clarifying the likely impact of the policy changes and alternative approaches to mining taxation. Alongside other missions, we then worked to help encourage dialogue between government and the private sector. As a result of this brokered dialogue – and our strong relationships with both the mining private sector and the Zambian Government – the government reviewed the measures, and subsequently implemented a number of mutually beneficial changes welcomed by investors in Zambia.
Case study: Creating Market Linkages for Poor Farmers in Zimbabwe
Since 2008 Australia has supported the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, a US$245m program benefitting rural households in Africa. The Fund provides matching funding to the private sector for new and innovative business ideas in agribusiness, rural financial services and renewable energy and adaptation to climate change that benefit small farmers and rural households. The Zimbabwe window – to which Australia has contributed close to $30 million – focuses particularly on agribusiness and financial services and has led to increased private sector investment, demonstrated new business models and created viable agribusinesses that have delivered jobs, commercial opportunities and affordable agricultural services to rural communities and smallholder farmers. Last year, in a difficult economic environment, the AECF program increased the incomes of over 1,080,000 poor Zimbabweans by an average of US$51 and created over a thousand full-time, formal sector jobs.
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Case study: Fashion diplomacy – Support to "fashion mission" led by Council of Textiles and Fashion Industries in Australia August 2015
Hong Kong is a highly competitive market for personal consumer goods and is becoming a regional trend-setter. Its small local population is augmented by the 60 million tourists (mostly wealthy shoppers from mainland China) who arrive each year.
In August 2015, post supported Australia's first "fashion mission" to Hong Kong, led by the Council of Textiles and Fashion Industries in Australia (TFIA). Part of Austrade's Asian Business Engagement Plan, the "Common Threads" initiative brought a delegation of 11 brands to feature in a "Pop-up Showroom". The delegation's industry profile was boosted by the direct intervention of Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce, Greg So, who had previously been engaged by TFIA during a visit to Australia. At Mr So's suggestion, participants were networked with key local industry representatives including, importantly, Hong Kong's Fashion Advisory Board. With support from Public Affairs at post, the mission received significant media attention in digital and print media helping post to reach new audiences in Hong Kong.
This event contributed to Australia's economic diplomacy objectives in Hong Kong by supporting and promoting Australian export goods, while also positively influencing local perceptions about the Australian fashion industry.
Case study: Facilitation of two-way high level visits on food safety
In 2014-15 Hong Kong was Australia's 9th largest export market for agriculture, forestry and fisheries products. This included all food and beverage, seafood and agricultural exports. Hong Kong is the 9th largest export market for the Australian dairy sector. Given Hong Kong's strict food-safety laws, Australian producers are well positioned to further leverage Australia's reputation as a supplier of 'clean and green' produce, with post working to support mutual understanding of food-safety standards and controls.
DFAT and Austrade supported high-level visits by food-safety officials from Australia and Hong Kong in order to facilitate and promote government-to-government cooperation and to enhance mutual understanding of food safety control systems in each jurisdiction. This is particularly valuable in the current context where we have had a series of import suspensions due to both food safety and quality/labelling concerns, at least in part arising from our different approaches to food safety and quality testing and management.
The visit facilitated by post in August 2015 by Dr Greg Read, FAS Exports Division, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, contributed significantly to building confidence on the Hong Kong side in the Australian government's seriousness in ensuring that our food exports are safe and of the highest quality. As a direct consequence of the visit, the Hong Kong authorities agreed not to suspend all imports from a company that had failed a food quality compliance, but rather to test their products and allow import on a case by case basis of shipments that passed. The Foreign Minister mentioned this case in Parliament as an example of the tangible benefits of economic diplomacy.
In September 2015, post facilitated a Hong Kong delegation visit to Australia, led by Dr Gloria Tam, Controller of Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety, to study Australian import and export control systems and electronic trade portals. The Exports Division of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources developed a week-long program which included broad policy discussions, focused examination of import/export border control, and an on-site visit to a milk production facility. Given the issues we have had recently with Hong Kong on dairy imports, this visit and the presentations by Australian regulators have significantly improved Hong Kong regulators' understanding of Australian food safety and quality assurance processes.
This delegation visit to Australia was reciprocated in October 2015 with a visit to Hong Kong by Dr Marion Healy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientist of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, whom post successfully nominated to take part in the Hong Kong government's sponsored visitors' program. Austrade organised a roundtable discussion with a group of Hong Kong food importers in order to exchange views about food safety issues and an educational presentation on Australian food control systems for food science students at the Hong Kong Vocational Education Centre.
The whole-of-government efforts between DFAT and Austrade at post and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in Canberra and Melbourne to cultivate our relationship with the Hong Kong authorities in this area, and our efforts to build confidence and understanding of Australia's regulatory regime, have led to a tangible improvement in the attitude of the Hong Kong regulators towards Australian food exports.
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Case study: Boosting growth through trade and technology
Australia's support for a new customs system in Solomon Islands enhances trade, reduces business costs and will increase government revenue.
The old system caused frustration for customs staff and business. The manual processes were not aligned with international standards and errors were common. It was not possible to streamline different locations.
To address these constraints with new technology, Australia invested $1.9 million with the Solomon Islands Government Customs and Excise Division, to introduce ASYCUDA in 2015.
"ASYCUDA will be good for business, good for consumers, good for the government and good for the economy," Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Andrew Byrne said at the AYCUDA launch.
ASYCUDA simplifies trade procedures, information flows and documentation. It makes it easier for businesses to comply with Customs regulations, reducing the processing time to bring goods into the country, and reducing the costs on compliant traders.
With ASYCUDA, goods can now be processed and released in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks as the new system removes the need for Customs to investigate about 20 per cent of imports and exports.
The Solomon Islands Government is now better able to capture duties payable and the additional revenue collections can be invested in critical sectors such as health, education, security and infrastructure.
Case study: Indigenous business expertise adds new dimension to Australia-Solomon Islands relations
Australian Indigenous leaders have much to offer Pacific Island Countries seeking economic independence and growth.
Chair of Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (AICC), Warren Mundine completed his first visit to Solomon Islands in November 2015 under DFAT's Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Program.
The visit built business new ties between the AICC and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and successfully exposed SICCI members to the experience of a like-minded chamber.
Indigenous peoples wrestle with similar issues when it comes to maintaining traditional culture alongside their own social and economic development.
Mr Mundine's experience as Managing Director of Nyungga Black Group, a company that assists traditional landowners to promote economic, environmental and cultural independence, showed Solomon Islanders how these competing interests can be balanced.
As part of the visit, Mr Mundine was keynote speaker at SICCI's annual Business Excellence Awards – an annual celebration of the businesses, exporters and entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and opportunity across Solomon Islands.
"Governments don't deliver economic development; commerce, private capital and innovation do that. But governments lay down the conditions for economic development to thrive or be stifled," Mr Mundine said.
Mr Mundine met with Prime Minister Sogavare to discuss opportunities for growth in Solomon Islands and with customary landowners engaged in the sustainable palm oil industry in East Guadalcanal.
The visit showed how DFAT's economic diplomacy and Indigenous policy agendas can leverage the expertise, and experience, of Indigenous businesses in the Pacific.
Case study: Improving the nutrition of women and children through food fortification
Two dietary staples of Solomon Islands, wheat and rice, are set to be more nutritious thanks to a new public-private partnership brokered by Australia.
The partnership is improving nutrition in a country where more than half of all pregnant women are severely anaemic and a third of all children experience stunted growth.
Australia's leadership brought together the Solomon Islands Government, development partners (World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund and Food Fortification Initiative) and the private sector (Delite Flour Mill and Solomon Rice Company Ltd) to form the partnership.
The agreement is already delivering results, with wheat flour processed at the Delite Flour Mill fortified with six essential vitamins and minerals (iron, folate, zinc, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin) since July 2015. Rice processed by Solomon Rice is set to be fortified with ABC from mid-2016.
Securing the goodwill of the private sector was critical to the early success of the project with Delite Flour Mill and SolRice possessing significant market share (95 per cent and 90 per cent respectively). A key focus was to ensure an 'even playing field' among manufacturers, importers and distributors. This included drafting legislation mandating rice fortification as well as work to improve the enforcement of existing fortification laws.
The partnership will continue into 2016 with an eye to the experience of other programs from across the Pacific. For example, in Fiji, the fortification of wheat flour is already showing dramatic improvements, including a reduction in iron-deficiency anaemia rates in women of child-bearing age from 40.3 per cent to 27.6 per cent.
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Case study: Partnering with the Private Sector to make Dairy Farming Cooler
Pakistan produces 40 billion litres of milk annually, making it the fifth largest milk producer in the world. Millions of dairy farmers, a large proportion of which are women, are engaged in supplying milk to rural and urban markets. Most rural farmers sell their milk produce through informal, non-refrigerated channels. Not only does this depress milk prices, but transportation in extreme hot weather leads to spoilage and hygiene issues.
Through our support to the Market Development Facility, the Australian Government is providing business and innovation support to the private sector in Pakistan to increase jobs and lift incomes to benefit the poor, particularly women. In partnership with Shakarganj, a Pakistani dairy processor, we are introducing temperate controlled supply chains for milk collection in 30 villages in Southern Punjab, and developing an information service for farmers so that they can adopt milk yield enhancing techniques and better animal management practices. Our support is also encouraging the exchange of information on animal husbandry best practices between milk collection agents, vets and field supervisors. In 2015, the Australian Government's investment in the dairy industry through the Shakarganj partnership has created 34 jobs and benefitted 620 farming households in Pakistan.
Case study: Education partnership between Macquarie University and Bahria University
Macquarie University and Bahria University, Pakistan signed a MoU in 2015 following a visit by the Pakistan Higher Education Commission and Pakistan Vice Chancellors to Australia in August 2014 to explore potential partnerships and engagement, supported by Austrade. The MoU will facilitate academic and cultural exchanges in teaching, research and other programs and activities.
The MoU will expand Australia's education presence in the Pakistan market and support the engagement of Pakistani institutions in Australia to work together in areas of research and development. It further strengthens links between Australian and Pakistani education providers and showcases the quality of Australian education.
Case study: Developing direct marketing of mangoes to achieve higher incomes for smallholder growers
A group of small-scale mango growers trained in Australian best practice for the production of quality mangoes under the Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) improved their incomes, created jobs at the local level and delivered top quality produce for consumers.
A Pakistani small mango grower who participated in a six-week pro-poor market development course at the University of Queensland, funded by DFAT, organized 10 other small growers to work cooperatively for direct marketing. The growers established a small sale outlet in a nearby city and hired two staff to provide a home delivery service. The group sold 31 tonnes of top quality mangoes, packed in cardboard boxes, in just 28 days. The retail price of one 5kg box was $5 compared to $3.5 for traditionally packed average quality mangoes. The total revenue achieved by the group through direct marketing was approximately $14,700 – an increase in average net revenue for each smallholder of 77 per cent.
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Case study: Indonesia-Australia Business Week (IABW)
The Australian Embassy in Jakarta held the inaugural Indonesia-Australia Business Week (IABW), which featured the participation of four Australian federal ministers, 360 Australian delegates and a broad range of Indonesian business counterparts. The strength of the delegation signalled to Indonesia's business community and government Australia's determination to deepen trade and investment ties. Indonesia's willingness to resume IA-CEPA negotiations marked reciprocity in kind. The event was welcomed by the Indonesian business community and government, with several key ministers engaged in the conference. Several events had attendance in excess of 600 participants. IABW featured eight streams where closer bilateral trade and investment ties are most promising: infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, education and transnational skills, healthcare and seniors living, resources and energy, premium food and beverage and tourism. Indonesia Posts will follow up the success of the event in a deliberate manner to consolidate real economic gains.
Case study: Indonesia Services Dialogue
The Indonesia Services Dialogue (ISD) is Indonesia's leading dialogue forum for services sectors, bringing together Indonesia's leading firms, business associations, government and academia in a coalition for reform. On 22 October 2015, the DFAT-supported ISD held a 'soft launch' following its confirmation as a legal entity in January 2015. Throughout 2015 in the lead up to the soft launch, ISD hosted four dialogue forums on logistics, distribution services, energy and information and communication technologies, to consolidate its policy recommendations to government. Policy proposals from ISD and its parent body, the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Economic Governance, were presented to government. Some have been adopted in the recent economic policy packages announced by the government. These include the removal of local job quotas for expat workers and cessation of the requirement that imported goods had to be labelled in Bahasa Indonesia when they entered Indonesian territory.
Case study: Australia and Indonesia University Cooperation
In April 2015, Universities Australia, supported by the Department of Education and Training, hosted a group of 14 Indonesian university executives in Australia The aims of the program were threefold: to support strategic cooperation between Australian and Indonesian universities; to facilitate people to people linkages with executive personnel; and to help progress collaboration in areas of mutual interest, such as university management, internationalisation and student mobility. The program developed considerable links between the Australian and Indonesian universities involved. In particular, the initiative raised the profile of a number of the second and third tier regional Indonesian universities. Concrete outcomes included new partnerships between Australian universities and universities in Maluku, Aceh and Eastern Java to promote Australia's excellence as a global provider of education and research. Under a whole of embassy education initiative, we are promoting Australian education using all programs including Australia Awards, New Colombo Plan and significantly enhanced alumni engagement.
Case study: Assistance to Indonesia's Transport Accident Investigation
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has assisted the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) in the development of a flight data recorder facility to read aircraft 'black box' recorders. As a result, the NTSC now completes major accident investigations in a timely manner and to a high standard, and makes the reports publically available on its website. ATSB support has enabled the NTSC to develop world-class human factors training. Based on the results of accident investigations and research, the NTSC recommends actions that should be taken to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents. NTSC's improved capabilities have a direct impact on increased aviation safety and increasing the competiveness of Indonesia's aviation industry. NTSC's ability to analyse data from the Air Asia crash of December 2014 was almost solely due to the training and mentoring provided by ATSB.
Case study: EINRIP road loan wins international award
In September 2015, Australia and Indonesia received a Global Road Achievement Award from the International Road Federation (IRF) for joint-management of the Eastern Indonesia National Road Improvement Project (EINRIP). These annual awards recognize road-industry projects that demonstrate excellence and innovation in road development worldwide. EINRIP has been a 10-year partnership between the Governments of Australia and Indonesia, involving the construction of around 400km of national roads and over 1,000m of fabricated steel truss bridges across nine Indonesian provinces. The project has made travel easier, safer, and less costly for road users. Travel times in some road corridors have halved and surveys show significant social and economic benefits being generated, including reduced wear and tear on vehicles due to smoother roads, greater access to markets and services, and the creation of new employment opportunities with the opening of local businesses along the road corridor. Australia's cooperation with Indonesia on infrastructure will go forward with an $300 million 10-year program.
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Case study: State of Afghan Cities Report
In 2014-15, Australia funded UNHabitat to develop the State of Afghan Cities report, which provides an insight into urbanisation in Afghanistan. It identifies development and business opportunities for how Afghan cities can become drivers of economic growth. The report is being used by the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs (MUDA) as the basis for the Afghan Government's national policy on urbanisation (Future of Afghan Cities). In a formal launch of the next phase of the analysis, President Ghani commended the Australian Government for providing high quality technical assistance, strengthening Australia's reputation as a responsible and responsive donor actively supporting Afghanistan's economic development.
Case study: Public Financial Management
Australia's Public Financial Management Program in Afghanistan (PFMA) ($11 million, 2012-2015) aims to strengthen budget formulation and execution across key service delivery ministries in Afghanistan. In 2014-15, PFMA delivered public financial management training to 1,580 (1,335 male, 245 female) Afghan civil servants in the Ministries of Agriculture, Economy, Education, Public Health and Public Works. Of the 1,339 participants who completed pre- and post-training testing, 1,190 (88.8 per cent) demonstrated an improvement in work practices and ability to perform their job, scoring an average increased test result of 50 per cent. This exceeds the program's target of 70 per cent. It has helped to address Afghanistan's significant and fundamental economic governance challenges, which is critical to increasing Afghanistan's economic growth and stability; reducing its dependence on international assistance; and for the country to develop stronger economic links in the future. PFMA was well-received by its target ministries and has helped to increase the Embassy's access to the Afghan Government, particularly the Ministry of Finance.
Case study: Australia's REDWING Program promotes trade with Afghanistan
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) represent a significant and real threat to military and police forces across Afghanistan. In addition to the physical and emotional impacts, they also reduce Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) morale and confidence. The Australian Department of Defence's REDWING program delivered unclassified specialised force protection equipment to the ANDSF using $50 million of Australia's contribution to the NATO Afghan National Army Trust Fund (ANATF). The delivery of over 100,000 units to the ANDSF prior to the 2015 high threat fighting season is an outstanding example of successful collaboration between several areas within Defence and Australian industry to deliver a unique solution that saves lives. Australia continues to be on the cutting edge of counter IED technology development and there is enormous potential for the REDWING program to be expanded in coming years.
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Case study: Rapid Enterprise and Livelihood Recovery Project
The devastating earthquakes in April and May 2015 hit hard on more than 12,000 micro-entrepreneurs created by the Australia funded Micro Enterprise Development Program (MEDEP), taking away their livelihoods and badly affecting the local economy. Australia has been supporting micro-entrepreneurship development in Nepal since 2006 and this program has transformed the lives of some of the poorest people in the country. More than 70,000 micro-entrepreneurs that include women, people with disability and disadvantaged caste groups (indigenous groups, Dalits and Madhesis) have gone from having little or no cash income to sustainable micro businesses.
Soon after the April/May earthquake, in June, Australia mobilized the Rapid Enterprise and Livelihoods Recovery Project (RELRP) to support the revival of businesses of 12,059 MEDEP micro-entrepreneurs and also help establish 1,500 new micro-businesses to help revive the local economy. The micro-entrepreneurs had lost their assets, but not their skills and RELRP is helping them to recover their livelihoods and their dignity. It is helping create 16,271 jobs and support the livelihoods of 70,507 family members affected by the earthquake.
Since its inception, RELRP has already supported the revival of more than 4,000 micro-enterprises and identified 465 potential new micro-entrepreneurs. After being identified these micro-entrepreneurs were provided with psychosocial counselling and a number of business development services, including skills training (or a refresher when they continued with the same enterprise), technological support and access to financial services. The remaining 8,000 micro-entrepreneurs are in the process of being revived.
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Case study: My Flex Health: Taking the standard of healthcare services to the next level in Malaysia
Perth-based company My Flex Health International is responding to the burgeoning healthcare sector in Asia. After visiting Malaysia in 2012, the company recognised the growing demand for higher standards of health services across the country. Within 6 months, My Flex Health Malaysia was established and the team commenced training the next generation of care-givers, as well as providing nursing, midwifery, rehabilitation and homecare services.
My Flex Health Malaysia is also playing an important role in the development of the seniors living industry. The sector is currently underserved and Malaysia is keen to benefit from Australia's expertise and experience to address the needs of its ageing demographic. My Flex Health has not only advised the Malaysian Government on the design and development of its aged care policies, but has also recently commenced operating a seniors living facility in Kuala Lumpur.
My Flex Health's entrepreneurial spirit has not stopped there however. The company has also recently tapped into the medical tourism sector and is also distributing medical devices as it seeks to respond to the breadth of opportunities that exist in Malaysia's expanding healthcare sector.
Case study: Electric bus: Australia driving innovation in the development of energy efficient public transport vehicles
Australia's AutoCRC and the Malaysia Automotive Institute have teamed up to drive a success story which will see an Australian-designed electric bus ready to hit the road in 2016. Under a MAFTA economic cooperation agreement, an R&D project has seen Australia marry its technical expertise with Malaysia's manufacturing capabilities to produce a fully electric bus for the emerging global energy efficient bus market which can easily be configured to suit a wide range of public transport applications. Gold Coast-based bus manufacturer Bustech then teamed with the AutoCRC to build two prototypes of these next generation mass transit vehicles. The bus is a zero carbon emissions vehicle that allows batteries to be retrofitted as advances in technology occur. This innovative project will create new supply chain opportunities for Australia's auto industry.
AutoCRC's CEO Ian Christensen says: "As a country we need to be thinking about and acting on our national mobility to ensure our ongoing productivity and quality of life. Our future mobility will require new technology, better use of data, multi modal transport systems and, of course, low emissions. The e-Bus illustrates the strength of Australian capability in all these areas and we would love to see electric buses becoming commonplace in Australia."
Madani Sahari, CEO of Malaysia Automotive Institute says: "The eBus project represents an important element of Malaysia's strategy to be a regional automotive hub for developing energy efficient vehicles. We are also fully committed to driving the uptake of EEVs throughout Malaysia and are excited to be working with our Australian partners to help us achieve these ambitious goals."
Michael McGee, CEO of Transit Australia Group says: "Governments across the globe have already invested in electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support private and public transport. Our electric bus places Bustech at the forefront of a fast-growing and emerging industry. Australia has an opportunity to be a world leader and cut environmental pollution at the same time."
Case study: Vix Technology transporting Malaysia's ticketing systems into the future
Melbourne-based Vix Technology, a world leader in the design and delivery of smart booking, ticketing and payment systems for large-scale transport projects around the world, is now making significant inroads in Malaysia. In July 2015, the Malaysian Government awarded Vix Technology a $$27 million contract to unify the country's multiple public transport systems under a single ticketing system. Vix Technology will design, install, operate and maintain a new integrated cashless payment system enabling Malaysian commuters who travel on the bus, rail, metro and monorail systems to use a single integrated smartcard to pay for all their travel. When it goes live in January 2017, the new system will make travel and payments quicker and easier for commuters who currently have to manage various prepaid accounts and card systems operated by several disconnected transit providers. The company also looks set to announce a further contract win in the region for the manufacture and supply of smartcard readers and payment devices.
Vix Technology has more than 25 years industry experience working with more than 200 customers worldwide. In addition to providing ticketing solutions, the company also uses its capabilities in big data analytics to help organisations harness the power of information to become more efficient and serve their customers better. Complementing its offices in London, Seattle Melbourne and Perth, Vix Technology is establishing its Asian operations hub in Malaysia to support local business growth, as well as other projects in the Asian region.
Vix Technology is just one Australian company which is playing an important role in delivering innovative solutions which are helping countries to develop economically through enhanced connectivity.
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Case study: Dairy Australia
Post managed a visit to Kuwait by Dairy Australia from 8 to 9 June 2015, matching Dairy Australia up with local importers and manufacturers. Guests representing local government, industry leaders and key dairy customers also participated in cheese tasting showcasing Australia range of cheese products.
In the Middle East, Kuwait is the third largest export market for Australian dairy importing approximately 12,442 tonnes.
As a direct outcome from the visit, a major Kuwait importer is now importing milk powder directly from Australian manufactures.
Case study: Australia Unlimited in Kuwait
Post hosted Austrade's key annual regional promotion, Australia Unlimited Middle East North Africa (AUMENA) in Kuwait 2015. For the first time in 2015, Trade and Investment Minister Robb led the delegation in Kuwait, the first visit to Kuwait by an Australian Trade Minister in 12 years. The delegation included businesses from infrastructure and education. This helped raised the Australian business profile in Kuwait helping to further boost Kuwait's impressive profile in Australia, estimated over US$12 billion.
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Case study: Kangaroo meat jumps into Peru's food scene
In Peru, the Embassy prepared the way for the first commercial shipment of kangaroo meat to a Latin American country. After six years of negotiation and local promotion through Australia Day and other Embassy events, the owner of Peru's largest supermarket chain imported 1,000kg of kangaroo meat into Peru during 2015. The roo meat was quickly sold and the company is exploring options for a second shipment. In a country where top chefs are superstars, local recipes were created including 'tataki', ceviche and 'lomo saltado', and widely promoted through local media articles and Embassy events.
Case study: CSIRO partners with local Mining Institute to promote Australian innovation
In Peru, Australian Government funding (through COALAR) helped the Institute for Mining Engineers partner with CSIRO to deliver the inaugural seminar on 'The Future of Mining in Peru'. This seminar demonstrated to over 250 people, including Peru's Mining Minister, Australian innovation in sustainability, safety, water management and underground technology. This seminar built on the strong demand for Australian Mining Engineering and Technology Services experience, and establishment of new organisations in the mining sector, which has a forecasted investment in Peru of USD63 billion over 2015 to 2020.
Case study: Promoting sports diplomacy across the Pacific through surfing
For a small investment ($17,000) two young Peruvian surf scholars' trip to Australia received strong and positive media coverage. This initiative, announced by Foreign Minister Bishop in Lima in December 2014, demonstrated Australia as a world leader in surfing education, through the High Performance Centre in NSW, as well as an attractive tourist destination for Peru's growing middle class. Further engagement, under DFAT's sports diplomacy initiative, will send a further two young surfers to Australia and bring an Australian coach to Peru in 2016.
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Case study: Australian blue economy
HOM hosted a successful, well-attended event on 'Driving Blue Growth in the Indian Ocean' on 4 June to highlight the role of the Indian Ocean Rim Association's (IORA) commitment to blue growth policies. The event was held during the Business Forum associated with Blue Week, an international conference on oceans as a source of sustainable economic growth. Blue Week was organised in Lisbon by the Portuguese government and attended by around 70 Government delegations. Stephen Oxley, First Assistant Secretary, Wildlife, Heritage and Marine Division, Department of the Environment, delivered a statement on Australia's support for the blue economy as chair of IORA. John Gunn, CEO Australian Institute of Marine Science, highlighted Australia's expertise and advantage in marine science and technology, with particular reference to the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre. Both presentations generated interest and positive feedback.
Post, with the support of Austrade, also organised an Australian stand at the Business Forum. The stand drew attention to Australian expertise in marine science and innovation, with materials from CSIRO, AIMS, DFAT WA and SA State Offices.
Portugal's Prime Minister referred to Australia in his opening speech at the Business Forum and the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Agriculture and the Sea were televised in front of the Australia stand during the opening.
Australian participation in the conference and Post's event and stand at the Business Forum demonstrated a broader investment in the blue economy agenda, strongly aligned with our economic diplomacy agenda. The event highlighted the expertise Australian government agencies bring to global and regional policy dialogue on the blue economy – from sustainable fisheries management to marine spatial planning.
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Case study: Tourism Australia – Special Screening of Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough
Tourism Australia, in conjunction with the Australian High Commission, hosted a special screening of Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough at Australia House on 2 December 2015.
The event featured the screening of Episode One of the BBC's stunning new documentary on the Great Barrier Reef, an exclusive Q and A session with Sir David Attenborough, virtual reality headset tours of the reef, gourmet 'under-the-sea' themed canapes, and Australian spirits and wines. Australia House's iconic Exhibition Hall underwent a high-tech transformation into a top-class theatre venue and guests entered along a VIP 'sand carpet' created especially for the event.
Some 200 guests attended, including H.R.H The Duke of Edinburgh, a number of celebrities including Helena Bonham Carter, celebrity chefs Heston Blumenthal and Rick Stein, Australian personalities Barry Humphries and Kathy Lette, plus industry representatives from the media, food, wine and tourism sectors.
Set to be broadcast across the globe including the UK and Australia from 30 December 2015, the three-part documentary series uses the latest filming techniques to capture unique and spectacular footage of the wonders of Great Barrier Reef – its coral, creatures, history, resilience and threats.
The event is part of a global Tourism Australia 'coastal and aquatic' push which will launch in early 2016. Australia will be promoted as the world's biggest waterpark as part of Tourism Australia's next phase of 'There's Nothing like Australia' campaign.
The UK is Australia's second most valuable international leisure market in terms of total spend. Better marketing of Australia's coastal and aquatic experiences to affluent long-haul travellers from Great Britain will help achieve Australia's industry target of doubling overnight expenditure by visitors from $70 billion (2011) to $115-$140 billion by 2020.
More than 800 pieces of media coverage have been published to date in the UK covering the Tourism Australia and Australian High Commission Screening, as well as the Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough TV series. Australian media also covered the event widely. Industry partners will roll out advertising campaigns during the domestic UK screening of the TV series.
The current publicity value of the UK media coverage is over £2.5 million ($$5.17 million).
Case study: London Fashion Week - Sass & Bide Show at Australia House
The iconic Exhibition Hall at Australia House was transformed into a pulsating fashion catwalk for a top-class parade of Australian design talent during London Fashion Week 2015.
London Fashion Week is one of the world's top four fashion trade events –around 5,000 global fashion buyers, journalists, bloggers, broadcast crews, photographers and consumers converge to generate £100 billion worth of orders each year.
Post organised the event with cutting-edge Australian brand Sass & Bide at Australia House during the height of London Fashion Week (20 February), showcasing Sass & Bide's Fall/Winter 2015 collection and also partnering with fellow Australian brand RM Williams.
Promoting Australian business and fashion exports to the global fashion industry and market is an economic diplomacy priority for Post. Post's efforts are aimed at boosting exports of Australian fashion products, materials and textiles (wool, leather, etc) and building an image of Australia as a modern and innovative country. The Sass & Bide show was viewed by 150 high profile celebrities, key representatives of the fashion industry, media, bloggers and consumers. The show received excellent industry and consumer media coverage globally, including UK editions of Elle and Vogue. The show promoted innovative, mature and sophisticated Australian design and has assisted Sass & Bide with its breakthrough into the Northern Hemisphere and Middle Eastern and markets.
Media commentary underscored the Australian Government's support of the Australian fashion industry and business.
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Case study: Spanish company Ferrovial's long-term commitment to the Australian infrastructure market
Ferrovial's presence in Australia dates back to 2002 when it acquired 20.9% of Sydney Airport at a time when Spanish infrastructure companies did not have Australia on their radar at all. This Spanish pioneer company then went on to establish a permanent office in Sydney in 2011 by opening up Ferrovial Agroman Australia & New Zealand Pty Ltd. This company develops and supports the construction activity of the Ferrovial Group across Australasia and now has a workforce of more than 210 people in Australia. It is committed to a long-term expansion of its construction and engineering capabilities, a strategy which is proving to be very successful.
Post, particularly Austrade, has worked closely with Ferrovial since their initial investment in Australia, providing support during every stage of their expansion in Australia and developing solid relationships with their senior executives.
Ferrovial has made its mark in the Australian infrastructure sector by winning several major tenders. Ferrovial Agroman was selected as one of the Industry Partner Development Teams (IPDT), providing innovative schematic design and construction options and solutions for specific components of the WestConnex in NSW, the largest integrated transport and urban revitalisation project in Australia. In 2014 the company was successful in securing their second road construction project in Australia, with the Pacific Highway upgrade between Oxley Highway and Kempsey near Port Macquarie on the mid North Coast of New South Wales.
Their most recent venture is the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project in Queensland, where Ferrovial, through its subsidiary Cintra, participates in its design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance, with a 25-year concession term and estimated investment value of $1.6 billion.
The presence of Ferrovial in the infrastructure market in Australia has introduced competitiveness and innovation in the construction and finance sectors, in particular within PPP projects.
Ferrovial's vision of Australia's potential, which they realised 13 years ago by working hand-in-hand with the Australian government, encouraged other Spanish companies to follow suit.
The government's role of providing on-going support and aftercare is a fundamental factor to investors such as Ferrovial, proving to be, without a doubt, the most efficient and effective way to consolidate and maintain long-term investor trust and commitment.
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Case study: HOM hosted Business Dinner with Australian business community in Malta, and Malta Enterprise
In February, the Australian High Commissioner to Malta hosted a dinner for the CEO of Malta Enterprise, Dr Mario Vella, and members of the Australian business community Malta, including Ms Nadia Pace, the CEO of World Aviation Group (WAG). World Aviation Group is based in Malta and was originally a joint project created in 1989 by Australian company Cassar Aviation Services, and Air Malta. The Chairman of WAG is Mr Leslie Cassar, CEO of Cassar Aviation Services and is based in Sydney.
World Aviation Group employs over 240 people, and provides customer support for international airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Etihad Airlines, in addition to websites such as Gumtree UK.
Malta Enterprise is Malta's equivalent to Austrade, and one of the outcomes from the evening was Malta Enterprise appointing Ms Nadia Pace to their board. There were also other interactions during the evening which may translate into commercial cooperation.
Case study: Joint event with EY Malta to showcase Australia and Maltese business opportunities
In March 2015, the Australian High Commission to Malta cooperated with Ernst & Young Malta to host an event titled "Australia and Malta: Maximising our Potential" aimed at increasing Australia's attraction to Maltese investors.
During the event, discussion focused in two major areas – the potential for Australian superannuation funds to establish a base in Malta for investing in the wider Eurozone, and the opportunities for Maltese business investment into Australia in the areas of Mining and Research and Development.
One attendee also discussed the potential of expanding his business, which worked in the area of environmental impact operations for mining companies, to Australia.
Western Europe Austrade Commissioner Mr David Campbell travelled to Malta for the "Australia and Malta: Maximising our Potential" event with EY Malta, and whilst here, conducted a programme organized by the High Commission. This programme included meetings with CEO of Malta Enterprise, CEO's of private enterprises such as PWC, relevant Ministers, the Chairman of MCAST (Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology) and the organizers of the CHOGM business forum.
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Case study: Sharing Australian public-private partnership expertise with the Philippines
Manila Post helped the Philippine Public-Private Partnership Centre to organise high level policy workshops in Manila and Cebu during August 2015, as a follow-up to the earlier Australia-Philippine PPP Policy Dialogues held in Sydney and Melbourne last financial year. The purpose was to share Australia's experiences and best practices in implementing PPPs, with the objective of boosting Philippine infrastructure development to support trade, investment and business. Infrastructure bottlenecks are one of the main constraints on Philippine economic development. The workshops were attended by the Secretaries of Economic Planning, Finance and Public Works and Highways, the National Treasurer, two Congressmen and the staff of other Congressmen and Senators, Department Undersecretaries, and 60 operational staff of the government implementing agencies and the PPP Centre. Australia supports the PPP Centre, which is advocating the passage of a PPP Act that would amend the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law to institutionalise the reforms it has introduced for strengthening the legal and policy framework for Philippine PPP projects.
Case study: Australia's "Now in season" promotion drives increased horticulture exports
Australia's seasonal horticulture produce is finding a growing market in one of Asia's fastest growing economies – the Philippines. Manila Post and the Australian horticulture industry cooperate to promote quality fruits, including oranges and fresh grapes, in the country through the "Now in season" campaign. Exports of these products have expanded from next to nothing in 2010, to more than $12 million in 2014/15. In addition to the promotional campaign, Post, industry and the then Department of Agriculture worked to revise Philippine import protocols, creating the option of in-transit quarantine treatment, ensuring product could be delivered fresh to market. Philippine economic prospects remain strong, suggesting that horticulture producers can continue to supply this rapidly growing market.
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Case study: Mexico
Post (Austrade) supported market entry to Mexico of a major Australian automotive supplier, Futuris, which will supply leather interiors and other auto parts to auto-makers in North America, including Tesla. Futuris now employs several thousand Mexican employees in the northern state of Coahuila. Post support (via Austrade) included market analysis and visit facilitation, as well as a visit to Futuris' new facilities by Ambassador, Trade Commissioner, accompanied by Mexican authorities including local Mayor and media.
Post closely supported progress and advocacy with key Mexican Government stakeholders for a major proposed wind farm in Oaxaca, which, once completed, will be Latin America's largest wind farm. The multi-billion dollar project, in which Macquarie Group has a major equity stake, also has other international investors, which required post's close coordination with Japanese, Dutch and Danish Embassies.
Post closely supported market entry of a number of significant Australian companies, including BHP Billiton, Woodside and Armour Energy, with market and country analysis and visit facilitation, following Mexico's historic energy reforms in recent years opening the sector to foreign investment.
Case study: Central America: Promoting Sustainable Mining and Supporting Australian mining interests
Summary: Post worked closely with Australian mining companies in the region to promote Australia's strengths in sustainable and modern mining practices and associated education and technical skill development.
- Post provided information in Spanish on modern mining sector techniques, particularly in environmental and water management to a number of countries.
- Post supported OceanaGold's dialogue with the El Salvador Government (Economy Minister) in the context of an effective mining moratorium in the country.
- Post also engaged closely with First Quantum in Panama (a company with strong Australian linkages) to better understand key education and training deficiencies in Panama.
Post worked closely with Oro Verde on their Nicaragua gold project, which major Australian gold producer Newcrest recently farmed into. This included discussions with Australia's Honorary Consul, Sergio Rios, also head of the country's mining chamber, and advocacy for Nicaraguan attendance at Latin America Down Under in 2015.
Case study: Nicaragua: Supporting Orica Market Entry
Summary: In response to growth in the mining and construction sectors in Nicaragua, post was approached by HEMCO (also head of Nicaragua's mining chamber and Australia's Honorary Consul) to provide introductions to Australian explosives manufacturing companies. Austrade provided introduction to both Orica and Incitec Pivot (Dyno Nobel) leading to the establishment of a joint venture in mid-2015.
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Case study: Orica in Russia's Arctic North
Support to Orica in helping it understand Russia's rapidly-evolving political and economic environment has allowed it to grow a significant partnership with fertiliser giant PhosAgro, the world's largest miner of high-grade phosphate rock ($3bn turnover annually), with confidence. The relationship, based on localised production and supply of cutting-edge mining explosives, has led to a $25mn investment in Russia's Arctic North and advisory work to aid efficiency of PhosAgro's mining operations.
Our advice, backed by site visits by the Ambassador and other senior Embassy members, has helped what is a key Australian player in our world-class METS sector to make market gains on behalf of broader industry, despite difficulties between our governments. Russia's mining industry remains prospective, with the ruble's devaluation driving profitability and an appetite for modernising technologies like those offered by Orica and other Australian providers with an in-market presence.
A complementary work placement program for students of St Petersburg Mining University is exposing the next generation of Russian miners to Australian technologies, helping to cement our reputation further. The Embassy's development of senior-level relationships in support of the full range of aspects of Orica's Russia's operations – and with the country's mining peak bodies – is positioning the Australian METS industry to directly participate in a further wave of export success.
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Through the Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme (AACES), Marie Stopes Kenya (MSK) has supported private sector healthcare entities to provide cost-effective quality sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services to women, while increasing their own revenues.
It's estimated that about a third of women in Kenya access family planning services from the private sector. To enhance the potential of these arrangements, and to ensure that marginalised women have access to SRH products, MSK has supported social franchising through a local network of over 400 accredited providers. MSK's assistance includes training in counselling, STI prevention and cervical cancer screening, as well as supporting the providers with branding, subsidised equipment and family planning commodities.
MSK's utilisation of commercial techniques to deliver public health goods has empowered providers to offer high-quality, low-cost services to marginalised women at the same time as increasing their own incomes through expanded client volume. Women are also given a wider choice of products, and are empowered to take active control of their sexual health, which in turn increases their economic opportunities. For female franchisees, MSK's support provides them with an opportunity to grow their business and maintain a sustainable client roster.
AACES is a partnership between 10 Australian NGOs and their African partners. Australia's support is highly valued and appreciated by partners, and the considerable goodwill towards the partnership has provided us with strong public diplomacy outcomes.
Business for Millennium Development (B4MD), an Australian NGO, is working with Base Titanium, an ASX-listed company with the largest mining operation in Kenya, on community-focused agriculture projects. This includes collaboration with Australian company Cotton On to produce ethically-grown cotton for use in clothing.
Base Titanium has a growing portfolio of community programs around its mineral sands operation in Kwale County, Kenya. Through a collaboration with B4MD, local farmers have been supported to grow cotton, potatoes, sorghum and cocoa, and to keep and raise chickens for eggs and meat. The project has a strong focus on accessing markets for these products, which will increase local incomes and improve livelihoods in the community.
As part of this work, B4MD and Base have teamed up with Cotton On, which has agreed to buy the ethically-grown cotton produced through this project for use in its clothing manufacturing enterprise. This has created the prospect of a supply chain with a guaranteed role for Kwale farmers. Through efforts to improve soil and ensure optimal growing conditions, the cotton lint produced has recently been approved for use in Cotton On clothing. The first clothing manufactured with Kwale cotton is due in Cotton On stores in late December.
The county Ministry for Agriculture has been involved in site selection and a cooperative has been formed to manage sales, ginning and development of added value products such as cotton seed oil and poultry feed. It is estimated that around 200 smallholders will be growing cotton over the next year.
This is an excellent example of Australian businesses working together to achieve inclusive commercial and development outcomes. There are benefits for Base in supporting the local communities, benefits for local farmers through increased incomes, and benefits for Cotton On in securing an ethical supply chain. It showcases the innovative and inclusive nature of Australian businesses when communities are placed at the center of their business model. It highlights the strong role the private sector can play in achieving sustainable development.
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Case study: Bendigo Bank services in Nauru
Previously a cash economy with banking done offshore, Nauru now has access to banking and financial services through Bendigo Bank, which opened a branch in Nauru's Civic Centre in June 2015.
The High Commission provided advice to Bendigo Bank representatives to assist in developing a community banking model that meets Nauru's needs. Nauru citizens now have access to deposit and savings services. As Bendigo expands its model in Nauru, individuals and businesses will also have access to loan and other financial services, creating better conditions for small business and helping to stimulate competition in the market for local and international business and investors.
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Case study: Australia Business Week in India
Running 12-16 January, Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) was a milestone event that connected Australian and Indian business in priority sectors, increased awareness among Australian business of trade and investment opportunities presented by India and underscored to India the importance Australia places on enhancing the bilateral relationship.
The delegation of 450 business leaders, led by Mr Robb, was the largest ever Australian trade delegation to India. It included CEOs from major companies such as Rio Tinto, Hancock Prospecting and Woodside, as well as strong federal and state government participation.
ABWI comprised over 120 events across 14 sectors in eight Indian cities; tailored programs for leading CEOs, including meetings with Indian government ministers; and an Australia-India Business Summit in Delhi co-hosted with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). It also included Australian participation in two major economic forums, Vibrant Gujarat 2015 and the CII Partnerships Summit in Jaipur.
ABWI generated business outcomes across a range of areas, and provided leads and opportunities for future activity. Several commercial agreements were sealed, including between the National Australia Bank and State Bank of India, and SEDA and IL&FS Institute (sports training). Importantly, ABWI was a catalyst for further Australian business engagement with India.
Case study: Building economic relations with India's states
In a federation the size of India's it is not surprising the states have a major role in the economic life of the country. Recognising this, our posts have been exploring opportunities with Indian state governments to build Australia's economic partnerships across a range of areas. Engagement has been focused especially on some of the larger states that are major drivers behind India's economic growth, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Chennai post has recently established a multi-agency Economic Cooperation Working Group with the Government of Andhra Pradesh that is taking forward a joint Action Plan. The Plan currently has over 50 action items spanning 12 sectors. It will evolve further but already has provided a number of early wins, including in the area of water basin management, mining and new university-to-university collaborations. Chennai post will establish a similar mechanism with the Tamil Nadu Government and, potentially, other priority states.
Australia's own state governments see closer relationships with India's states as a constructive way to build their engagement with India, and posts have assisted them in this. Mumbai Consulate-General has been supporting New South Wales in progressing work in a range of defined sectors with Maharashtra, with which a Sister State Relationship was established in 2012. Mumbai post is also working with the NSW and Gujarat governments, which signed an MoU in January 2015, to make the MoU operational. And New Delhi post assisted the South Australian government in forging a relationship with Rajasthan, now underpinned by a Sister State Relationship, signed in November 2015. Looking forward, Chennai post is supporting the Western Australian Government to build a sister state relationship with Andhra Pradesh.
Case study: Australian genetics to help breed stronger Indian dairy industry
Australian dairy genetics could soon be helping to improve the productivity of the Indian dairy industry, after India published in October 2015 new import requirements for frozen bovine semen and in-vivo bovine embryos. These new conditions can be met by Australia.
This outcome follows sustained efforts by post to present to Indian central and state governments and the Indian dairy industry the merits of importing Australian bovine genetics and the benefits that would, therefore, derive from India moving away from its existing import conditions. India's new import conditions reflect these arguments.
India is the world's largest producer and consumer of milk. Due to an increasing population, rising incomes, urbanisation and changing eating habits, India's milk consumption has been growing faster than its milk production and the trend is expected to continue. The Indian government has been encouraging increased milk productivity of Indian cows through a range of programs.
Australia's dairy industry operates across a range of climates that are similar to those in India, and achieves high levels of milk productivity —an average of 5,730 litres annually per cow (in 2014/15), compared to a world average of 2,200 litres and below 2,000 litres in India.
This makes Australia's bovine genetics well suited to India's dairy industry, with the potential to significantly improve the milk productivity of Indian dairy cows. This is an opportunity for Australia to play a role in supporting India's food security and access to nutritious food—not only through exports of tangible commodities, but also by exporting our skills and services in agricultural productivity.
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New York UN
Case study: Great Barrier Reef
Our engagement with UNESCO's World Heritage Committee and its advisory bodies assisted a domestic reform process and convinced the Committee of Australia's best practice in managing the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Australia persuaded the World Heritage Committee that "In Danger" listing was not warranted and to avoid colouring its future decision-making with this language. This result is significant in supporting sustainable development and preserving the estimated $5.6 billion of economic activity linked to the Reef. UNESCO's endorsement of our approach validated Australia's environmental credentials and avoided unnecessary constraints to investment and tourism in Queensland. The resultant environmental dividends of our Long Term Sustainability Plan will secure the best future for the Reef's health and preserve it for future generations.
Case study: A Global Convention for Recognition of Education Qualifications
Australia has led efforts, through UNESCO, to initiate negotiations on a Global Convention for the Recognition of Education Qualifications. This would boost global student mobility and therefore the value to individuals of higher education qualifications received at Australian institutions. A global convention would also enhance Australia's performance in the export of education services – a $17 billion industry in which Australia already enjoys comparative advantages – and open new opportunities for Australian professionals abroad. It would also remove barriers to the provision of education by distance, thereby opening the potential for further innovation and growth in this sector. At the UNESCO General Conference in November 2015, Australia was successful in securing the adoption of a resolution which instructed UNESCO to begin drafting the Global Convention.
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Case study: CSIRO - Cyprus Institute: Partnership in Heliostat Field Installation and Research
The Cyprus Institute inaugurated the PROTEAS Solar Research Facility near Limassol. Australian institute CSIRO's is partnered in this innovative and key research project. Cyprus and Australia collaborating in the field of science, research and innovation is a pillar of the relationship between the two countries that we are trying to support and enhance.
Case study: Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) partnership with REACTION youth NGO
Monash University's Accident Research Centre (MUARC), a world leader in its field and who run a facility in Italy, was invited – and supported – by Post resources to undertake a special visit to Cyprus to meet with Australian sponsored youth NGO REACTION as part of our drive for collaboration between the Australian road safety experts and the Cypriot NGO. Assistant Professor Judith Charlton who heads the team at MUARC spent a day workshopping with REACTION's key staffers. The meetings produced a formal pathway to cooperate internationally to share best practice and establish an official partnership. We are pleased to have MUARC and REACTION partner up as it will be a very positive influence on the development of road safety education and mentality locally, as well as forge stronger links between the two countries, as well as between Cypriot institutions and Australian academia.
Case study: University of South Australia partnership with University of Cyprus and the NIREAS International Water Research Centre
The University of South Australia in collaboration with Nireas-International Water Research Center of the University of Cyprus have received funding from the Government of South Australia through the Australian Research Council for the project entitled "Transfer and control of antibiotic resistant bacteria and their genes during wastewater treatment and reuse". The relationship extends to an Israeli research institute, the Volcani Center – ARO. The Cypriot side hopes to expand this relationship into longer term research projects and innovative product creation specific to the field.
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Case study: Trade Week 2015
The Australian Consulate-General in Noumea hosted a week of trade activities aimed at facilitating engagement between Australian and New Caledonian businesses and showcasing Australian innovation. The week began with the Australia-New Caledonia Business Forum, hosted by the Australia Pacific Islands Business Council, bringing together business and government leaders. The meeting was held in Noumea for the first time in the Forum's decade-long history and more than 90 delegates participated, doubling 2014 attendance. The Australian Consul-General hosted a business breakfast for business leaders, with guests sampling uniquely Australian flavours in a brunch prepared by Australian chef Glenn Austin. The local business community had the opportunity to meet with Carnival Australia on-board the Pacific Pearl to hear about the economic benefits of the cruise industry for New Caledonia. More than 345 000 Australian cruise passengers visited New Caledonia last year, with 427 port calls scheduled in 2015. The same week, the Consulate-General facilitated the visit of a delegation of members of mining equipment and technology sector peak body, Austmine. The delegation comprising 11 Australian businesses visited some of the largest nickel mines in New Caledonia and presented their capabilities and innovative products, with 100 per cent of surveyed participants saying the mission gave their organisation an advantage.
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Case study: Supporting Tonga's active participation in offshore labour markets
International remittances are a critical feature of the Tongan economy and equate to almost one quarter of annual Gross Domestic Product. Tonga enjoys a history of success under the Australian Seasonal Workers Programme having supplied approximately 70% of labour, approximately 5000 workers, to Australia since the launch of the Programme in 2012-13.
In order to maximise the potential for seasonal workers to contribute to the domestic economy in Tonga the Australian aid program is delivering a pilot program to prepare first time workers to hit the ground running. The program assists participants to prepare for the social, cultural and economic challenges of participating seasonal worker programmes.
A second program encourages returning workers to effectively utilise their skills, knowledge and capital in the Tongan economy by implementing medium-term economic and business plans.
The training is accredited by the New Zealand Qualification Authority and is the first offshore program accredited by New Zealand for implementation in Tonga. These pilot programs will be used to enhance the productivity of up to 3,800 Tongan Seasonal workers from 2016 onwards in close consultation with the Tongan Government.
Case study: Tonga Vanilla Pilots
In mid-2015 Australia entered into two private sector pilot projects to support vanilla industry investment in Tonga and benefit smallholder vanilla farmers. Australia has partnered with Fairtrade ANZ, MORDI TT (Mainstreaming of Rural Development Initiative Tonga Trust), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and local communities to deliver the projects.
These projects will foster private sector growth that yields positive social outcomes. The projects will better connect growers to established supply chains for export markets (particularly for Tongan vanilla). Key, quantifiable measures will be an increase in export volumes and improved job prospects for women, youth and those with disabilities as target groups. The projects will assist in access to training, infrastructure development and financial support.
Fairtrade ANZ has worked with a vanilla grower's association to achieve Fair Trade Certification and Organic Certification, increasing the value for the product for exports. The project will build a Professional Curing Facility in Vava'u and rehabilitation of vanilla farms.
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Case study: Canadian Music Week
Canadian Music Week (CMW), held annually in Toronto since 1981, brings together thousands of music industry representatives from across Canada and internationally, including performers, producers and promoters. 2015 proved an especially significant year as Australia was selected as the country of focus, providing a unique opportunity to promote the cultural sector within Canada and to seek avenues for Australian-Canadian collaboration. In total, 41 Australian acts were showcased over the week. Just weeks after CMW, Sounds Australia stated in an interview that it had already seen "some terrific results for artists that showcased" in Toronto. Key outcomes included seven acts securing North American booking agents, several production, label and management agreements and positive media coverage.
To facilitate connection between Australian artists and Canadian industry, we coordinated with Sounds Australia and Wine Australia to host a strongly-attended event in Toronto during Music Week, bringing together hundreds of Australian and Canadian industry representatives. Sounds Australia received positive feedback from participants, suggesting it provided them with a great opportunity to develop a range of Canadian networks.
We also used the event as an opportunity for cross promotion of other Australian goods, highlighting wines from Australia's First Families of Wines provided by Wine Australia and Australian food in the form of locally-prepared meat pies and Australian lamb chops. This was well received by both attendees and Sounds Australia, who later described the event as "an excellent example of how all our international activity could and should be presented, working across multiple platforms". The event was featured on High Commission social media platforms.
Case study: Infrastructure and Investment
DFAT and Austrade in Canada have worked closely together to build the "open for business" narrative and to capitalise on Canadian interest in Australia as a safe, reliable and attractive destination for investment. Over 2015, this included a series of events and roundtables involving visiting federal and state ministers – including Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Jamie Briggs – and targeted advocacy and engagement by the High Commissioner, the Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner and Consul General (Toronto) and their staff. A highlight of the year's events was the Canada-Australia Infrastructure Symposium hosted by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships in Vancouver in July. DFAT and Austrade worked closely with the organisers to develop a program and attending audience that provided a platform to promote two-way investment and discuss ideas for addressing our respective infrastructure needs. Australia's presence was boosted by the participation of Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, Jamie Briggs, and the NSW Minister of Roads and Transport, Duncan Gay. The event and its themes continued to be discussed over the course of the subsequent Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum, which attracted 150 delegates comprising CEOs, business leaders, opinion makers, ministers and high-level government officials.
Case study: Vancouver International Wine Festival
We supported the Australian wine industry and Wine Australia at events during the 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Australia was a feature country at the festival, and was represented by 55 Australian wineries with 90 brands providing nearly 550 different wines from 19 regions (GIs) across five states. The Vancouver festival is one of the largest wine shows in North America, with an estimated 25,000 people attending, including trade representatives, media and consumers. Wine is Australia's largest merchandise export to Canada.
Trade and Investment Minister Robb spoke at a reception hosted by the High Commission, Austrade and the Canada-Australia-New Zealand Business Association (CANZBA) where guests were able to enjoy premium Australian wines on offer at the festival. Mr Robb also met winemakers at the festival and visited Wine Australia's 'Savour Australia' event which featured fine Australian food and produce.
Industry and Wine Australia viewed the 2015 festival as a singularly important opportunity to boost the profile and sales of Australian wine in Canada. Sales of Australian wine at the on-site outlet amounted to over 6,200 bottles at a value of nearly $175,000. Demand of products on promotion at off-site government liquor stores, during the month following the festival, increased 24% and drove growth in the premium brackets in the longer-term. As of July 2015, wine in the CAD$20.00-$24.99 price bracket was up 20.5% and CAD$25.00-$34.99 was up 8.5%. The CAD$13.00-$14.99 bracket also saw an 8.3% lift. Australian wine featured positively in over 70 media articles relating to the festival.
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Case study: Juxtaposing Australian tourism in Paris
In April 2015, the Australian Embassy in Paris and Tourism Australia unfurled a promotional banner in one of the most jaw-dropping locations in the world. The embassy is located on the left bank of the Seine not far from the Eiffel Tower, at the western gateway to the Paris' historical centre. Nearly 7 million visitors walk past the embassy on the way to the Eiffel Tower each year, and in one view see both the Tower and our banner. The first edition of the banner featured a charming kangaroo which starred in countless tourists photos alongside the world's most visited landmark. Juxtaposing the human achievement of the Eiffel Tower with the unique wildlife of Australia was a fantastic opportunity to provide exposure to Australia in domestic French and international tourist markets.
Case study: Opening of first ANZ branch in France
On 2 June 2015, Ambassador hosted the launch of ANZ's first Paris branch in the presence of then Parliamentary Secretary Steven Ciobo and NZ Minister for Trade Tim Groser. Speakers highlighted the importance of Europe as a source of investment in Australia, the solid reputation of Australia's banks, and the importance of an Australia-EU FTA to the 80 senior business leaders at the event. With its first opening, ANZ was able to showcase its ability to serve French businesses working in Australasia and with operations in the Asia-Pacific.
Case study: Paving the way between Australian and French transport sectors
Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Warren Truss MP's used his visit to the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress in Bordeaux (4-7 Oct 2015) to underline Australia's commitment to transport system improvements during meetings with French Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Alain Vidalies), EC Commissioner for Mobility and Transport (Ms Violeta Bulc), CEO of France's rail network SNCF (Mr Guillaume Pepy) and former French Prime Minister and current Mayor of Bordeaux (Mr Alain Juppé). DPM Truss also took the opportunity to promote the 2016 ITS World Congress which Melbourne will host in 2016.
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Case study: Launch of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Package
Post had direct technical input to and provided strong advocacy for the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) package which was finalised and launched in October 2015 despite initial opposition from a number of G20 countries including the United States. Measures in the package are consistent with Australia's Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law announced in the 2015-16 Budget.
As G20 President in 2014, Australia played a leading role in the development of the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) package (interim reports on 7 of the 15 action items in the package were delivered during Australia's G20 Presidency). Post was directly involved in advancing this package to finalisation, including through provision of policy and administrative advice by Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office respectively. The measures in the package aim to promote transparency and restore fairness to the international tax system by providing countries with a range of tools designed to ensure that profits are taxed where the underlying economic activities take place and where value is created.
The package represents two years of work, and the cooperation of 60 countries, as well as regional tax associations and international organisations. It is a significant step forward in boosting the integrity of the international tax system. Its success now depends on all countries being willing and able to see its implementation through.
The OECD estimated the revenue losses from Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) at USD 100-240 billion per annum, or anywhere from 4 – 10 percent of global corporate income tax (CIT) revenues. Given developing countries' greater reliance on CIT revenues as a percentage of tax revenue, the impact of BEPS on these countries is particularly significant. Asia has the lowest average tax to GDP ratio in the world. Although countries in the region are growing fast, governments in the region are not collecting sufficient revenue to meet the infrastructure, health and education needs of their populations.
Outcome for Australia:
Developing regions, including Southeast Asia, are key markets for Australian business. Australia will benefit from the implementation of the BEPS measures in these regions as this will ensure all countries receive their fair share of tax. In addition, it promotes a level playing field for our businesses and enables the foundation of long term tax transparency across the region.
Australia is increasing its efforts in tax training and capacity building in the region. Recent reforms, led by Australia, of the Asian Tax Commissioners Forum will improve coordination of delivery across the region. Coupled with Addis Tax Initiative, where we are committed to doubling investments to support developing countries, we are well positioned to strengthen their tax systems by 2020.
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Case study: Cambodia: Economic Growth: Cambodia Agricultural Value Chain Program (CAVAC)
Improving agricultural productivity is one of the three key pillars of the Cambodia Aid Investment Plan, and one of the Royal Government of Cambodia's development priorities.
CAVAC is a high-performing Australian aid investment. With a total Australian government investment of $60 million over 6 years, CAVAC has helped improve the productivity of around 264, 000 poor farming households.
CAVAC is different from past agricultural aid programs. The underlying logic of the approach is familiar; by providing farmers with better inputs (seeds, fertiliser, pesticide, water etc.) and information (modern farming techniques), they will be able to increase crop yield and their income. But there is a key difference – instead of working primarily through government agriculture extension workers or directly with farmers, CAVAC works with privately-owned companies – such as fertiliser and pesticide traders. CAVAC's approach is based on improving 'market systems' – often called 'market development'.
Innovation and sustainability are key features of this approach. If markets are functioning well they tend to be self-sustaining. By making improvements to the way a market works, the impacts are likely to be felt long after the aid program ends. CAVAC has had a major impact on the fertiliser, pesticide and irrigation markets in Cambodia. It has also developed innovative approaches to working with media, seed, milling and export markets.
2015 was a successful year for CAVAC. For example, Wat Thmey irrigation scheme—in Takeo province, south-west of Phnom Penh—was transformed by CAVAC. A main canal of 7 km was built by CAVAC, and 43 field irrigation channels, equalling 15.9 km, were also constructed to connect farms to the main canal. A major pumping station was commissioned to extend irrigation benefits to additional farming families. As a result, about 2 500 farming households will be able to increase their rice production by growing a third crop during the dry season. The irrigation assets at Wat Thmey are now operated and maintained by a Farmer Water User Community, established and trained by CAVAC.
Access to reliable water provided by CAVAC in Wat Thmey has, in some cases, doubled land values within the scheme – from US$3,000 to US$6,000 per hectare. This increase in land value could allow farmers to borrow money to invest in further agricultural production and other economic activities.
CAVAC's success relies on its innovative means of delivering messages about increasing productivity, and of developing a role for women in local governance structures.
Case study: Supporting ASEAN economic integration through infrastructure development
The recently-concluded Southern Coastal Corridor infrastructure project, a joint effort between DFAT, the Asian Development Bank and the Cambodian Government, was successful in improving the quality and quantity of trade between Cambodia and Vietnam. The project is part of the ASEAN Economic Community's 'Southern Economic Corridor', which links Cambodia to Vietnam to allow it greater access into regional supply chains.
The US$18.7 million project, to which DFAT contributed $10.3 million, resulted in the upgrade and maintenance of around 70km of national highways in Cambodia and the significant upgrade of a trade and customs facility on the Cambodia-Vietnam border. The project is complemented by the Mekong Delta Transport Infrastructure Project, a DFAT and World Bank joint project in Vietnam, which further assists Cambodian goods to reach Southern Vietnamese ports.
The Southern Coastal Corridor Project has already resulted in significant increase in trade.
In 2015, the annual value of trade registered at the new Cross Border Facility was
US$1.02 million, up from US$600,000 in 2010. Similarly, the number of vehicles using the upgraded roads has increased six-fold from around 2,800 per day in 2010 to 13,800 in 2015. After the completion of the Southern Coastal Corridor project, the Economic Internal Rate of Return, which measures and compares the profitability of an investment, was assessed to be 22 percent, significantly higher than the 16.7 percent originally estimated.
The ASEAN Economic Community, to be established in late 2015, aims to enhance the region's competitiveness and establish an integrated regional economy. Infrastructure development is one of the keys to ASEAN economic integration, as recognised in ASEAN's connectivity agenda. Our support for the Southern Coastal Corridor is an important step towards tackling regional infrastructure bottlenecks and helping to create the right conditions to expand trade. Improved infrastructure will enhance opportunities for Australian business in Cambodia and the region, and complements our ongoing promotion of the opportunities presented by the ASEAN-Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.
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Case study: Gender Empowerment through Economic Development in Pohnpei, Micronesia
The majority of women on Pohnpei engaged in the informal economy or employed in the subsistence agriculture sector. The Australian Embassy partnered with the Sounahleng Women in Action group and provided 9 new sewing machines and fabric for the group to participate in a three week sewing training program.
The program taught 14 women how to sew local skirts, pillowcases and other household items that they can now sell in the local markets. The goods were sold for $3-$20 and all items were sold out that day. There is a good prospect of seeing a sustainable and enhance revenue stream for participants with this small investment.
Outcome for Australia:
Australia has a strong commitment to empower women and girls in the Pacific and sustainable economic development is a key factor in achieving gender equality. The project represents a realistic opportunity to improve the wellbeing of local women.
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Case study: Blue Economy: Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd (Perth) partnerships with Mauritius and Seychelles for renewable energy
In November 2015 a funding proposal of $990,000 was endorsed by Mauritius following the signing of an MOU in June 2015 between Carnegie Wave Energy and the Mauritian Research Council. The project will focus on development of a sustainable source of electrical power and desalinated water and a renewable energy roadmap for Mauritius; assessment of Mauritius wave energy resources and the identification of a preferred site for a commercial wave energy project; and the design of a microgrid powered desalination plant on the Mauritian island of Rodrigues.
Another MOU was signed with Seychelles in September 2015 to investigate commercial wave and microgrid opportunities, in order to supply clean power and fresh water. The MOU was signed in the presence of (then) Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign and Affairs and Trade Mr. Ciobo at the inaugural Indian Ocean Rim Association Ministerial Blue Economy Conference held in Mauritius (September 2015). The conference theme was "Enhancing Blue Economy Cooperation for Sustainable Development in the IORA Region".
Projects such as these, partnering with the private sector to enable access to clean, renewable energy so critical to small island states, will be key to unlocking economic prosperity and environmental sustainability for SIDs. These MOUs, and the funding agreement for Mauritius consolidate the leading role of Australia as an innovator in marine renewable energy technologies in the Indian Ocean.
Case study: Australia supports Women's Economic Empowerment in the Indian Ocean
During Australia's term as Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) post has been actively working to support women's economic empowerment. With gender introduced as a cross-cutting IORA theme by Foreign Minister Bishop in 2014, Australia and Seychelles co-hosted a women's economic empowerment conference in August 2015, and post's Direct Aid Program (DAP) funded women entrepreneur mentoring and coaching program, launched in the margins of the Conference, is a practical application of the Mahé Consensus adopted there.
The Australian High Commission in collaboration with the Association Mauricienne des Femmes Chefs d'Entreprise (AMFCE) launched a series of workshops to support women entrepreneurs to grow their existing businesses, develop opportunities to move into main stream development and help them to overcome barriers and move from informal to more formal sectors.
The training program was developed with the assistance of leading Australian woman entrepreneur, Oceanic Regional Commissioner for the Femmes Chefs d'Entreprises Mondiales and Vice President for TIAW (The International Alliance of Women), Mrs Diane Tompson, together with Mauritian Mrs Aline Wong, Regional Commissioner for the Indian Ocean for the Femmes Chefs d'Entreprises Mondiales and Mrs Marie-France Chamary, President of AMFCE.
Workshops were held in the Seychelles (August), Mauritius (September) and Rodrigues (October) and phase two will be launched in Madagascar and Comoros in 2016.
Case study: Australian Chamber of Commerce – Indian Ocean Islands
In Madagascar, we welcome the establishment of an Australian Chamber of Commerce, Indian Ocean Islands (AustCham, IOI). As a not-for-profit association to foster business links between Australia and the Indian Ocean, the Secretariat will be based in Madagascar with representation initially in Mauritius and Australia, with a view to expanding points of contact to Seychelles, Comoros and Reunion.
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Case study: Kumul GameChanger Initiative
In 2015, the Australian High Commission delivered an eight-month pilot program of the Kumul GameChanger Initiative (KGCI). The KGCI, implemented by the UN in partnership with Kumul Foundation Inc, is a competition open to Papua New Guineans, particularly aspiring entrepreneurs, to submit ideas for new and innovative ways to address PNG's development challenges through the private sector.
Under the KGCI pilot program, approximately 280 ideas were submitted, 42 ideas were shortlisted, with entrants given the opportunity to undertake business skills training and mentoring by private sector experts, and 12 ideas were shortlisted for pitching to an industry-led judging panel. These 12 finalists have since made positive progress in developing their ideas into business opportunities.
The KGCI gained further positive traction during Foreign Minister Bishop's November 2015 visit to PNG. A number of aspiring entrepreneurs were given the opportunity meet with and pitch their ideas to Minister Bishop.
The KGCI promotes inclusive private sector development, a key focus of Australia's development assistance to PNG. Going forward, the KGCI will contribute to improving PNG's business enabling environment, especially start-ups, by supporting high-impact enterprises.
The KGCI will promote business-to-business linkages by attracting potential 'angel investors' to PNG, and identifying opportunities to bring Australian and PNG businesses together to support PNG start-ups through access capital and mentoring.
Case study: Sparking business ideas in Manus
Australia responded to calls by local business and politicians to boost entrepreneurial skills and build a sustainable local economy in Manus via a series of business workshops in 2014 - 2015. The workshops were delivered by the Provincial and Local-level Governments Program on behalf of the Australian Government, and facilitated by Queensland TAFE. The workshops, attended by 200 Manusians, enhanced business know-how, and led to the establishment, and expansion of, business in Manus.
To maximise the reach of the workshops in the community, the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby initiated a series of public diplomacy materials including a step-by-step guide to starting a business and financial planning. This guide was published in the Australian High Commission's magazine Manus i go het! (Issue 7).
The workshops contributed to Australia's promotion of sustainable growth in the private sector in developing countries through boosting local business skills at the grassroots level in PNG. The workshops also provide a model for future support, both in PNG and beyond.
Case study: Fashion Diplomacy in PNG: Runway 2015
On 9 August 2015, the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby and Public Diplomacy Branch supported 'Runway 2015'; a local fashion show in PNG.
Partnering with Stella Magazine editor, Amanda Donigi, and Australian Indigenous fashion designer and curator, Grace Lillian Lee, the event showcased Ms Lee's designs alongside eight PNG designers. It also featured the work of Florence Jaukae, one of the women central to the 'PNG Bilum project'; an Australian-sponsored pilot program focused on empowering women through diversification of markets for the traditional bilum woven bag.
Earlier, Ms Lee delivered a workshop for thirty aspiring fashion designers in Port Moresby. Participants gained valuable insights into the fashion industry, small business and economic opportunities for women.
Case study: Transport Sector Support Program in Bougainville
The PNG – Australia Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP) commenced in 2007 as a 15-20 year commitment to support the PNG Government to achieve a well-maintained transport infrastructure network. The current TSSP Phase 2 (2015-2020) is valued at up to $400 million. This reflects the importance of transport infrastructure, such as roads, ports and airports, in facilitating the efficient flow of produce to markets and the provision of essential services and consumer goods. TSSP maintained and improved more than 2,000 kilometres of PNG's national road network in 2014.
Each year Australia maintains some 400km of Bougainville's road network though TSSP. This sustained effort has reduced vehicle travel time on the economically vital Kokopau to Arawa trunk road from around 9 hours only a few years ago to around 3 hours. Much of the improvement works and maintenance have been undertaken by local contractors and local community members. TSSP engaged more than 18,000 Bougainvilleans through community-based work agreements during 2014, providing a vital source of cash income to communities throughout Bougainville.
The program also plays an important role in women's economic empowerment, with female participation rates in these agreements steadily climbing in recent years to reach 33% during 2015. One Team leader Anna Vatoro agrees the work can empower women in her community who often have limited income generating opportunities. Ms Vatoro said "I am proud to be a team leader. This work is well respected and valued. The women in my team work hard to take care of the road for the benefit of Bougainville. The works have strengthened the position of women in our community."
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Port of Spain
Case study: LNG-Powered Australian Ferries for Inter-island transport in Trinidad & Tobago
This case study illustrates both the potential of commercial opportunities for Australian business in the region and some of the challenges Post faces in bringing those opportunities to fruition.
Post has been aware of the interest of the T&T Government in replacing its ageing fleet of diesel-powered ferries with LNG-powered fast ferries since September 2013. The previous Transport Minister expressed a preference for Incat vessels and the prospect of a successful bid to supply new ships seemed to hold great promise. However, slow progress and an eventual change of administration have dampened Post expectations.
The need to upgrade the fleet and improve inter-island transportation between Trinidad and Tobago remains, however, and the new administration reiterated this in its 2016 Budget statement. As a leading LNG producer, the T&T Government stands to save an estimated TT $100 million (approximately $21m) per year by switching to LNG-powered ferries, plus the added benefit of a more environmentally friendly fuel. Post has already begun to engage the new Minister with a view to capitalizing on competitive advantages in both countries.
We anticipate that Incat and Austal would eventually be able to bid for lucrative and potentially long-term contracts, opening up opportunities for maritime fleets in other Caribbean countries. This may contribute meaningfully to pillar 4 of the Economic Diplomacy agenda and, another key outcome of Post's Economic Diplomacy strategy, promote Australia as a leader in the maritime sector.
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Case study: Millennium Caves: From the informal to formal sector
In late 2014 Millennium Cave Tours on the island of Santo became a registered company, signifying its transition from the informal sector to the formal economy. Millennium Caves Limited is an example of a community based tour which, with the support of the Skills for Economic Growth (TVET Sector Strengthening Program), has evolved into a successful business fully integrated into the formal sector. The business provides job and development opportunities for several generations in the eight surrounding villages. It provides employment for over 53 members of the local community as tour guides, cleaners, cooks and drivers. In 2014 Millenium Caves gross earnings totalled more than 11 million vatu.
The Managing Director, Sam Andikar, completed a diploma in management with the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) in 2013 and he made sure that his community was involved in the various training provided by the program. Millennium Caves Limited has funded the establishment of two kindergartens and a local primary school. The company also supports the community through the sponsorship of football teams, youth groups and Promedical Santo.
Case study: ACTIV
ACTIV – Alternative Communities Trade in Vanuatu – has been working with the Pacific Agricultural Research and Development Initiative (PARDI), an Australian Government investment funded through ACIAR, to educate and train small-scale cocoa growers on Santo, Malekula and Epi in best agricultural practices to produce the highest quality of cocoa bean. PARDI then works with the growers to link them to established quality chocolate businesses. As part of this process ACTIV's Aelan Chocolate factory, which opened in 2013 just outside Port Vila, buys the cocoa beans from the growers and makes locally-produced chocolate. As part of its marketing strategy ACTIV makes chocolate specifically from each of the islands – Malekula Aelan, Santo Aelan and Epi Aelan. Cocoa is currently the fourth largest export earner in Vanuatu, which produces about 1000 tonnes of cocoa annually1.
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Case study: Small-holder beef farmer research project
In 2015, Pretoria supported the launch of an innovative small-holder beef farmer research project in South Africa co-funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the South African Government. The project aims to help small-holder farmers sell beef to high value supermarkets in South Africa. DFAT funded a cooking demonstration of grass-fed beef by well-known former Masterchef personalities from Australia and South Africa, Renae Smith and Kamini Pather respectively. DFAT also funded the production of a short Youtube video of the launch. Participation by Smith and Pather helped secure strong media attention and coverage of the launch, with images, in digital and print media reaching new audiences for DFAT in South Africa.
Video: ACIAR/ARC Beef farmers project
Case study: Australia shares lessons helping distressed South African mining communities
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe (whose position has no equivalent in the Australian system, but is closest to our Deputy Prime Minister) led a high profile delegation on a study tour to Queensland in 2015 to learn how Australia tackled unique pressures affecting mining-dominated communities. The delegation heard lessons learnt about issues such as remuneration, housing, health and safety, as well as responses to economic downturns and base erosion and profit shifting. The study tour informed a major South African mining policy discussion known as Mining Phakisa and was referred to in a press statement by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma. It also exposed Radebe and other influential decision makers to our world-leading METS sector.
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Case study: Beit Jala Pharmaceuticals entering the Australian market
A small Palestinian company based near Bethlehem, Beit Jala Pharmaceuticals, was interested in exporting pharmaceutical products to the Australian market. The Australian Representative Office assisted in facilitating contact with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia to arrange the required inspections of the company's facilities in Beit Jala. Following a successful pre-audit undertaken by an Australian consultant, Beit Jala Pharmaceuticals was confident it would pass the inspection.
However, the scheduled audit coincided with the outbreak of unrest in the West Bank in early October, and as a result the TGA suspended the visit until early 2016. The management of Beit Jala Pharmaceuticals remains confident the company will pass the inspection, allowing them to export to Australia.
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Case study: Improving Investment Climate and Competitiveness in Myanmar
In June 2015, Yangon Post committed up to $20 million over six years to the Myanmar Investment Climate and Competitiveness Program (ICCP), implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and co-financed by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). This program is: streamlining business regulation; improving the investment policy framework and corporate governance; and supporting economic integration by improving connectivity, strengthening trade policy, and making trade more inclusive. It also supports linkages in key value chains, specifically tourism and agribusiness. The program builds on a previous smaller program ($600,000) with the IFC to improve the investment policy framework, also funded by Australia.
The flow of foreign investment into Myanmar is critical to the reform process that has been underway since 2011. Critical to maintaining and increasing that flow is to reduce the challenges faced by the private sector (including, but not limited to, legal and regulatory uncertainty, limited property rights protection, high business registration cost and access to finance).
With Australia's support, Myanmar's economic reforms are starting to bear fruit. At the beginning of 2015, Myanmar's business enabling environment was ranked 177th out of 189 countries. It is now ranked 167th, a rise of 10 places [World Bank, Doing Business 2016]. At the beginning of 2015, Myanmar was ranked bottom for ease of starting a business. It is now ranked 160th, marking Myanmar as one of the leading reformers in this area. A revised and consolidated investment law is awaiting submission to parliament. This provides: a level playing field for local and foreign investors; significantly reduced procedures; increased property rights protection; and a robust grievance mechanism. The expected impact of the ICCP includes annual savings in compliance costs for business of over USD 24 million by the third year of the program and an increase of two per cent in private sector investment (with a value of USD 500 million) by 2021.
Outcome for Australia:
The ICCP will increase opportunities for Australian businesses by creating a friendlier and more reliable investment climate. It will help Myanmar businesses by creating a much improved businesses enabling environment. This in turn will assist Australian businesses looking for Myanmar investment and trading partners. It will help Myanmar increase its flows of foreign direct investment, ensuring economic growth and funding for social reforms. The program will also assist Myanmar gain access to global markets, and maximise its key strategic location through regional trade agreements and increased connectivity. The ICCP will also help Myanmar fulfil its leadership potential within ASEAN, and thereby strengthen Australia's relationship with ASEAN.
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Case study: Highlighting opportunities for greater bilateral agricultural cooperation and investment
The Australian agriculture sector is an ideal partner for Gulf countries to help address their food security challenges.
WA Minister for Agriculture and Food, Ken Baston's visit to Riyadh and Jeddah in November 2015 underscored opportunities for cooperation to address Saudi Arabia's food security needs and promote increased trade with Australia and investment to and from Australia.
Food security is a paramount area of concern for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, with high population growth and limited capacity for agricultural production, highlighting the potential for cooperation with Australia, a large agricultural exporter.
Saudi Arabia is already an important destination for Australia's food and agriculture exports (around AU$718 million in 2014, and more than AU$600 million transhipped from the UEA to Saudi Arabia).
Mr Baston's visit highlighted new opportunities for Saudi companies to invest in farms using water from WA mining operations to grow fodder, cooperation on research into livestock breeding and genetics and quarantine arrangements and opportunities for joint ventures following the privatisation of Saudi Arabia's Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization's milling and distribution operations.
The visit served to demonstrate the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company's (SALIC's) interest in investing in red meat, wheat, barley and green fodder operations in Australia. Following the visit, SALIC's Vice President for Investment attended the Northern Australia Investment Forum to explore investment opportunities. SALIC's target amount for agribusiness acquisitions in Australia is around $100 million.
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Case study: Westfield Milan
The Australian Embassy is supporting Australia's biggest investment in Italy through Westfield's agreement with the Italian Percassi Group to build Europe's largest shopping centre on the outskirts of Milan. The project represents a 1.4 billion euro investment by Westfield and will create thousands of jobs both during the construction stage and on opening. Following our intervention the Westfield project is being used by the Italian Government as a test case for how to manage significant foreign investments where a number of institutional players are involved. The centre is due to open in 2018.
Case study: EABC Mission Led by Minister Cormann
In July 2015 a business delegation from the European Australian Business Council visited Milan led by Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann. The Australian Embassy in Rome and Austrade in Milan worked together to provide the delegation with a mix of business and institutional calls, ranging from Italy's leading banks, Prime Minister Renzi's chief economic advisor, Foreign Affairs Under-secretary della Vedova (who then subsequently visited Australia), the President of the Westfield Corporation, and the peak industry association for the Lombardy Region. Apart from providing a fruitful visit for the Minister and the delegation, the meetings reinforced our message that Australia is open to Italian investment and identified new export opportunities to Italy.
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Case study: Creation of Chilean Productivity Commission based on Australian model
In 2015, post worked closely with the Chilean Ministry of the Economy to create the Chilean Productivity Commission (CPC), closely based on the Australian model. The CPC was officially launched by the Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, in July 2015.
In creating the Commission, President Bachelet and Chilean Economy Minister, Luis Felipe Céspedes, were impressed by the role played by the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) in advancing economic reform, not only through its recommendations to government but also through its contributions to public debate on reform priorities.
In July 2015, Foreign Minister Bishop encouraged Minister Céspedes to visit Australia to meet Chairman of the APC, Peter Harris, along with other private and public sector leaders, including now Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg.
Post arranged a three-day program for Minister Céspedes, which was undertaken in August 2015. During his visit to Australia, Dr Céspedes signed an agreement with the APC to strengthen the nascent CPC's institutional structure and research capabilities. Under the APC's "twinning program" experts from the APC and CPC will undertake reciprocal visits to boost cooperation and share experiences.
Productivity is a major challenge for Chile, particularly in the mining industry, where Australian investment totals approximately $5 billion. President Bachelet has identified improving mining sector productivity as one of the CPC's first priorities, along with strengthening Chile's vocational education sector – another area where Australian educational institutions can make a significant contribution.
The CPC, with ongoing assistance and cooperation from Australia, will play a major role in advancing domestic structural reform, cementing Chile's position as the most advanced economy in the region and greatly benefiting Chilean and Australian businesses and investors.
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Case study: Best Practice Regulation Workshop
On 13 March 2015, the Australian Embassy in Seoul hosted a Best Practice Regulation Workshop with experts from Australia, Korea and the OECD. Around 50 Korean government officials, business representatives and think tank researchers participated.
Improving the Korean regulatory environment by increasing predictability and transparency helps to drive economic growth in Korea, while assisting Australian business to realise the full potential of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA). The Workshop promoted greater dialogue and cooperation on regulatory reform between Korea and Australia, and quickly led to a follow-up visit by a Korean delegation to Australia in June 2015 and subsequent invitations for Australian experts to visit Korea.
Case study: Restaurant Australia - Tasty Road Campaign
Two episodes, featuring Melbourne and Brisbane, were amongst the highest rating shows for popular Korean food and wine TV program 'Tasty Road'. The episodes reached an audience of 7.1 million and 5.7 million when first aired, and have now aired 51 times across three channels. The episodes were also actively promoted on social media by Tasty Road and Tourism Australia. The outcome was a 25 per cent growth in Korean tourist bookings compared to the same period last year.
The Tasty Road campaign has not only increased interest in the featured Australian restaurants but has also enhanced Korean consumers' understanding of Restaurant Australia. To date Korean travel expenditure to Australia has grown by 8 per cent to September. Featured restaurants noticed significant popularity increases, with a river front restaurant in Brisbane commenting that the food featured in the program sold out every day for the month following the broadcast.
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Case study: Australia-Singapore Roadshow: Asia's Future. Your Future
To showcase the potential of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) and Singapore's place in the ASEAN region, the High Commissioner, Senior Trade Commissioner and President of AustCham visited seven Australian capitals over a week in July. With financial and support from ANZ Bank, Ernst & Young, Telstra and the Australian International School in Singapore, the 2015 Australia-Singapore Roadshow – "Asia's Future. Your Future." – allowed Post to directly engage with hundreds of key business and community stakeholders back home in Australia. At a variety of sessions, co-hosted with AsiaLink, the Asia Society, King & Wood Mallesons, ACCI, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, state and territory governments, and others, stakeholders received direct insights into how they could participate in a deepening economic relationship and important feedback was gained for Post's ongoing work in Singapore.
Case study: Deep dive on innovation and science with Assistant Minister Andrews
Among a wide range of state and federal visits to Singapore, the visit in October of Assistant Minister for Science, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, allowed Post to gain a deep dive into Singapore's vibrant innovation and science ecosystem. Focussed on industry collaboration and delivering commercial outcomes, the Singapore system offers a number of models worth considering and opportunities worth pursuing for Australia. From meetings with leaders in government, business and tertiary education Assistant Minister Andrews and her delegation gained valuable insights and policy lessons, heard about key ongoing collaborations under the CSP Roadmap and delivered important messages on Australia's successes to key stakeholders.
Case study: Northern Australia investment roundtable
At a roundtable hosted by Prime Minister Abbott, Trade and Investment Minister Robb, the Premiers of Queensland and Western Australia and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Post brought together key investors and business leaders from both Australia and Singapore to a high-level roundtable on Northern Australia. Held on the sidelines of PM Abbott's visit to Singapore (where among other ED activities, 10,000 Aussie steaks were served to Singaporeans across 50 concurrent BBQs thanks to the generosity of Meat & Livestock Australia), the roundtable was a pivotal step in the journey to the 2015 Northern Australia Investment Summit in Darwin. Focussed on a range of industry sectors, the roundtable helped catalyse a number of investment opportunities presently being pursued in Northern Australia by Singaporean firms. Already a significant investor in real estate and infrastructure, the roundtable helped deliver to Singapore the range of green-fields opportunities available in tourism, agriculture, resources, R&D and services across the North.
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Case study: Devesh and Bharos Farms
Fiji has very few commercial nurseries and only one commercial seed importer with limited geographic coverage. As a result, farmers have to either rely on their own diminishing seed stocks, or travel to towns to buy whatever seed is available. This has meant farmers have typically struggled to expand crop production, especially in off-season varieties that are most in demand. Exporters have struggled to fill orders and market opportunities have been missed.
Seeing this gap, a nursery operator, Devesh Bharos and Farms (DBF), wanted to establish a new commercial nursery in Fiji with the capacity to handle large orders and supply seedlings to individual farmers. DBF is operated by a dynamic young businessman with a large network of growers, wholesalers and exporters of agricultural produce. But being a small operator in a shallow market like Fiji, DBF faced financial and technical constraints, as well as major risks in undertaking such an expansion. So through our Market Development Facility program, Australia shared those costs and risks in the following activities:
- Establishment of a large greenhouse with steel benches, channels and irrigation system, able to produce large batches of seedlings and prepare seedlings for off-season cultivation.
- Improving internal business controls to manage the expansion.
- Improving DBF'S technical capacity to operate the nursery by engaging a nursery expert.
The new greenhouse has been completed and is currently operating at full capacity; DBF can now raise 70,000 seedlings at any given time. Using this facility, earlier this year DBF managed a large order of papaya seedlings to Fiji's Ministry of Agriculture, for distribution throughout Fiji. Also new seedlings for crops such as eggplant and cabbage were supplied directly to 40 farmers. DBF currently employs five full-time staff including a farm manager. Periodically 20 women are hired for sowing seeds and seedling care. By 2016, 260 additional farmers are expected to be benefitting from DBF's expanded services, each earning an additional annual income of approximately USD 200.
Case study: ACIAR's Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative Market Day
In June 2015, ACIAR held a successful 'market day' in Fiji to celebrate the completion of phase one of the Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI). The market day was a popular and innovative way to present the outcomes of Australia's investments in agricultural research.
More than 150 researchers, farmers, agribusiness and government representatives from Australia and across the Pacific came together for the event, to discuss how innovative research, in practical partnership with private sector agricultural businesses, can catalyse economic development in the Pacific.
Fiji's Agriculture Minister was the keynote speaker at the event, and DFAT Deputy Secretary Ric Wells used the event to launch an edition of ACIAR's 'Partners' magazine. Overall, the market day provided an opportunity to network, share experiences and see firsthand the impact of Australian agribusiness research on economic and social development in the region.
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Case study: Australia-Taiwan Women Entrepreneur's Network
The Australia-Taiwan Women Entrepreneur's Network (ATWEN) is an initiative of the Australia-Taiwan Business Council (ATBC) and was the recipient of an Austrade funding grant in 2014-15. The goal of ATWEN is to provide a platform to encourage entrepreneurship through a program of internships and mentoring. In March 2015, ATBC, DFAT and Austrade jointly hosted the official Taiwan launch, funded through our public diplomacy program. The event attracted a high-level guest list of Taiwanese female entrepreneurs and their supporters. We also put our new social media accounts to good use to promote ATWEN's internship and mentoring opportunities as well as its Taiwan-based events. This led to significantly increased attendance and a number of successful internship matches. The Taiwan launch was followed by an Australian launch and a youth entrepreneurship training session. Importantly, the Australian Office's support helped underpin the close working relationship we have with ATBC.
Case study: Avita Medical Ltd
On 27 June 2015, a coloured powder explosion occurred during a concert at New Taipei City's Formosa Waterpark, killing a number of concert-goers and leading to critical burns for nearly 500 more. In the wake of this tragedy, Australian company Avita Medical Ltd was invited to treat burn victims with its cutting edge cell regeneration technology, ReCell. The Avita team came to Taiwan to demonstrate ReCell's procedure on severely burnt patients at leading medical centres in Taipei and Tamsui. Avita shared their treatment procedures with the local medical teams and also donated 50 packs of ReCell for Taiwan. Hearing of this, the Australian Office official Facebook page posted a story about ReCell and its inventor, Professor Fiona Wood, who had worked with the Australian victims of Bali Bombing. This received significant positive feedback and enhanced Australia's reputation as a leading source of medical science and technology. The support from Avita was widely reported in local media. Following this positive collaboration with Taiwan hospitals, Austrade Taipei helped Avita Medical to identify distributors for its products. The export value of the Avita Medical products in Taiwan grew sharply as a result.
Avita Medical Ltd's efforts and export growth to the Taiwan market was recognised by the broader business community and as a result it was awarded the 2015 ANZCham Taipei Australia-Taiwan Business Excellence Award in November.
Case study: Tropical Horticulture
The Australian Office provided support to Taiwan researchers to explore the possibility of field trialling tropical fruit varieties at Queensland Government research stations. The initiative is being funded by Japanese company Itochu, which bought Dole's Asian fruit and vegetable arm in 2012 for USD1.7 billion. The initial visit was successful. The Taiwan delegation identified Queensland's south-western tablelands as a suitable area for contract farming. Funding has been sought for a six-month placement in Australia for a Taiwanese agriculture official to begin work to register patent varieties, obtain quarantine clearances and establish trial plots. The initial focus will be on different strains of lychees. While the researchers could have chosen other tropical locations, they chose Australia for its strong intellectual property protections and stable regulatory environment. As a result of the visit, the delegation also recommended that Taiwan introduce irradiation treatment for fruit exports in line with Australian practice, and that large state-owned companies such as Taisugar invest in biomass and bioenergy in Queensland.
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Case study: RKS Teanoai arrest in the Phoenix Islands
A Marshall Islands-flagged Taiwanese vessel paid US$1.2 million in fines and a subsequent US$1m goodwill donation to the Kiribati government after being apprehended for illegally fishing in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in July 2015. The vessel is reported to have been pursued for four days before being arrested by Kiribati's only patrol boat RKS Teanoai, provided to the Government of Kiribati in 1994 under Australia's Pacific Patrol Boat Program. In 2015 the RKS Teanoai and its crew have recorded 109 active patrol days at sea, and counting. Australia's broader support for the development of the Kiribati National Fisheries Policy 2013-2025 and sustainable oceans governance programs through ACIAR, CSIRO and BoM are also contributing to more effective management and returns from the #1 natural resource for Kiribati – a nation of atolls covering 3.5 million square kilometres of Pacific ocean.
Case study: Telecommunications Reform in Kiribati
Australia extended its support for the World Bank led Tecommunications Sector and ICT Development project in Kiribati through to June 2015. The project supported the successful privatisation of Telecommunications Services Kiribati Limited in April 2015; as well as finalisation of the Universal Access Plan and ICT Policy, to improve telecommunications access and service across the numerous atolls of Kiribati. The upgrade and expansion of telecommunication services is expected to provide significant opportunity for economic development across Kiribati, particularly around the expansion of opportunities for new technology and services for business and trade such as international roaming, mobile money transfer and cloud-based data and disaster recovery solutions.
Case study: Kiribati Institute of Technology
With the support of Australia's TVETSSP Phase II, KIT students are – developing new business skills through a globally connected simulated environment through the Micronesian Magic program, developing small business skills, work experience and a network of local contacts through the Business Incubator and valuable paid work experience with international contractors in South Tarawa – particularly graduates from the plumbing (drainage and roofing), painting, tiling and carpentry trades. Plans are being made to expand the pathways for these skilled graduates to find employment and support greater economic development in both Kiribati and Australia, particularly through the expanded Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Microstates – Northern Australia Worker Pilot Programme.
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In 2015, DFAT and Austrade in Tel Aviv were approached by an Australian company, Solitude Holdings, which was seeking to sell milk powder to Israel's two largest pharmacy chains. While these pharmacy chains were interested in supplying Australian milk powder in Israel (a superior product to its European and US competitors), they expressed concern that the Australian product attracted a 4% tariff compared to similar products from other countries. After the Ambassador met with Solitude Holdings, the Embassy conducted further investigations and established that Israeli customs were likely applying the incorrect tariff classification to the Australian product. Based on this advice, Solitude Holdings sought (and received) a ruling from Israeli customs that effectively eliminated the 4% tariff applied to its milk powder, which enabled discussions with potential Israeli distributors to move forwards.
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Case study: Dutch-Australian investor roundtable, October 2015
In cooperation with Austrade Frankfurt, the Australian Embassy hosted an Executive Business Dinner in The Hague in October, showcasing the productive foreign direct investment and trade links between the Netherlands and Australia. The new Ambassador, Dr Brett Mason, and the Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for Western Europe led discussions on recent investment trends and industry developments, Australia's research landscape and recent Free Trade Agreements, and the opportunities these present for Dutch businesses. Guests were senior representatives and decision-makers in companies across various priority sectors such as resources & energy, financial services, biotechnology, infrastructure and Digital Economy/ICT.
Follow-up meetings on company-specific matters and individual investment strategies will continue during Austrade's regular visits to the Netherlands.
Case study: New investor-engagement platform with Rabobank
Building on Post's and Austrade Frankfurt's annual investment promotion events, The Hague Embassy worked with the Dutch-based international bank Rabobank to initiate a regular 'Australian investment dinner' exclusively for Rabobank's corporate clients. The inaugural April 2015 event was co-hosted by the Ambassador and Rabobank, and included Austrade's Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for Western Europe as a keynote speaker. The event was attended by senior representatives of many of Rabobank's Dutch clients with either existing investments in Australia or which were considering new investments. The continuation of these events will allow the Embassy and Austrade to engage with many more Dutch companies interested in the Australian market.
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Case study: Advancing partnerships between Australian and Japanese universities to further our commercial interests
Universities Australia and the Japanese Association of National Universities signed an MoU in September 2015, agreeing to provide mutual recognition of degree qualifications between member universities for the first time. This offers opportunities for our educational sector and deeper research collaboration.
The agreement was an outcome of the Australia-Japan Higher Education Symposium in late 2014, attended by 18 Australian Universities, 35 Japanese universities and 30 companies, It build on the success of the New Colombo Plan pilot program and Japanese government funding for university internationalisation.
The next step in opening up the education relationship is to secure full official recognition of Australian degrees by the Japanese government, as flagged in a side-letter to JAEPA. This would remove remaining barriers and provide a platform for increased two-way mobility into the future.
Case study: Opportunities for Australia in Japan's Global Food Value Chains in Asia
Post worked closely with Japan's Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries in 2015 to establish Australia as a partner country in its Global Food Value Chain Initiative. The MAFF funded project for Australia will investigate Northern Australia as a suitable location for Japanese food production and processing and distribution to the growing markets of Southeast Asia, utilising Japanese-controlled value chains in the region. In 2016 MAFF will undertake business missions and investigate potential farming pilot projects in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Post is working with MAFF to ensure success and help develop opportunities for potential investment in Northern Australia.
Case study: Australian companies take advantage of tourism boom in Japan
Post is working with Australian investors in the booming Japanese in-bound ski tourism market, particularly in the thriving resorts in Niseko, Hokkaido, and in Hakuba, Nagano, to build relationships that will keep the businesses growing. Australian property developers and managers, restaurateurs, resort operators, ski hire companies and adventure tourism operators have contributed to the growth, success and increasing international reputation for these two resorts.
In the Niseko area alone the number of Australian visitors has grown 20% - 30% each year since 2012. The Australian Consulate, Sapporo estimates that approximately 45,000 Australians will visit Hokkaido in the coming winter season.
In both the Niseko and Hakuba areas, consular officials work with Australian businesses and local contacts to conduct familiarisation sessions for incoming seasonal staff, many of whom are young Australians. These outreach programs seek to "set the tone" about what is acceptable in Japanese culture and establish norms that are expected by the local Japanese townspeople and by business operators who are seeking to maintain high standards across the whole resort.
These collaborative programs ensure Australia is well-placed to provide the English-speaking, international levels of service that are in demand, but cannot be delivered by Japanese operators. Australian tourism operators have the expertise and experience required to meet the needs of international visitors and our work with local businesses and authorities is helping to build and maintain key relationships, which will pave the way for growth of Australian investment in a growing industry in Japan.
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Case study: An electronic database of Australia-Austria business links
Post has created an electronic business database outlining Austrian companies with existing or potential links with Australia including those with investment interests, and information on the main Australian companies with a presence in Austria. It tracks HOM and other embassy contacts with business and will be continuously updated, not only to add new companies which the embassy has engaged, but also to record site visits and other significant contacts and developments. It will be shared with, and facilitate, the post's close cooperation with Austrade, and has already been used to support Austrade visits to Austria. Austrade will be able to contribute to the database but it will not include commercially sensitive information so that it is as accessible as possible. To date, 37 companies (infrastructure & transport; Energy, Renewables and Building Efficiency and IT Systems) feature in the compendium.
The database will be an ongoing tool to advance post's economic diplomacy objectives. It reflects priority goals and sectors in particular increasing FDI by Austrian firms in Australia. As an evolving, shareable document it will give post and others (including State Offices and EUD, DFAT e.g. in briefing ministers) a clearer picture of Austrian commercial interest in Australia, and Australian business interest in Austria.
The database, which can be readily amended and drawn from selectively, is intended as part of the post's effort to enhance Knowledge Information Management. It will contribute to the HOM handover in 2016 and allow greater continuity in pursuing economic diplomacy in Austria.
Case study: Promotion of Australia's Implementation of Synroc Technology at the IAEA and the OECD
Synroc is an Australian invention that immobilizes radioactive waste in a durable ceramic rock-like material. Australia is building a Synroc production facility together with a nuclear medicine manufacturing facility, which together are expected to generate 250 jobs. Post has been actively promoting Australia's implementation of Synroc technology for the management of radioactive waste to specialist audiences at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and with commercial entities.
Post activities are bringing Synroc technology to the attention of companies which may wish to buy or licence Synroc technology for application in other countries and stakeholders (governments, regulators and nuclear operators) who have wastes which could be treated using Synroc technology.
Why is the Synroc plant important to Australia?
Synroc is an Australian invention that immobilises radioactive waste in a durable ceramic rock-like material. In September 2012, the Australian government announced plans for the first industrial scale Synroc plant, which will be co-located with an export-scale nuclear medicine manufacturing facility to treat resultant liquid radioactive waste from that facility. Co-location of the two facilities will enable waste from medicine production to be efficiently managed.
Together, the Synroc and nuclear medicine projects represent a $168 million investment in innovation, design, construction and high end manufacturing. In total, 250 jobs are expected to be created, many of which are expected to benefit local suppliers and residents.
Construction of the Synroc plant is scheduled to start in 2016-17 and be completed in 2018-19.
Once the plant is built there will be significant interest in applying the technology to other radioactive wastes in other countries. It is envisaged that testing might be done in Australia on (non-radioactive) simulants of other wastes and then that the technology would be licensed for use in other countries.
What is Synroc?
The term Synroc was derived from 'synthetic rock', as the method mimics the natural way rocks are able to lock up radioactive elements for hundreds of thousands of years.
Developed by scientists at ANSTO and the Australian National University, this innovative technology has been shown to significantly reduce the volume of nuclear by-products compared with other waste management methods.
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Case study: Working with AustCham to expand business opportunities in Laos
The Australian Embassy, Vientiane, has been working closely with the Australian Chamber of Commerce in the Lao PDR (AustCham Lao) to identify further business opportunities for AustCham members in Laos, and to strengthen links with regional Australian business chambers. In October 2015, post and AustCham Lao organised a business delegation visit to Laos' fast-growing southern provinces, Savannakhet and Khammouane, including visits to three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the region. The visit was a chance for AustCham Lao members to explore opportunities in the manufacturing, agriculture, transport and logistics sectors in these two provinces. Participants were particularly impressed by Savan Park, part of the Savan-Seno SEZ in Savannakhet, which is attracting high-quality international investors to set up manufacturing operations in Laos. These two provinces have strong future growth potential for the Lao PDR. AustCham Lao is now looking to expand its presence in southern Laos, including building on the visit to establish a Savannakhet chapter (the first chapter of AustCham Lao outside the capital, Vientiane). During the visit, Ambassador John Williams and Savannakhet Vice Governor Khampheui Phanthachone helped open ANZ's new corporate office near Savan Park, to service the bank's current and future clients in one of South-East Asia's newest industrial regions.
In the lead-up to the visit, the Ambassador Williams and AustCham Lao President Richard Taylor travelled to Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City to deliver presentations on business opportunities in Laos to AustCham Thailand and AustCham Vietnam member companies. This was part of a joint outreach strategy to encourage Australian companies already operating in the region to reconsider opportunities in Laos, in an increasingly connected ASEAN market.
Case study: Engaging Australian business on important Lao Government policy reforms
The Australian Embassy, Vientiane, has been working closely with the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Lao PDR (AustCham Lao) and the Lao Government, to enlist private sector support for priority policy reforms to strengthen the business climate. Post worked, for example, with ANZ Bank and the International Finance Corporation to support a visit to Australia by a senior Lao Government delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Bounpone Bouttanavong, primarily to look at Australia's approach to a National Payments System (NPS). Introducing an NPS to the Lao PDR to enable real-time financial transactions is an important policy reform, and a requirement for Laos under the ASEAN Economic Community, that will increase transparency in the banking sector, strengthen tax collection and improve access to finance for Laos' vital SME sector. Following the visit, Dr Bounpone tasked the Lao Central Bank to finalise the draft NPS law by the end of 2015, and to work with the IFC to finalise a work plan for the implementation of an NPS by mid-2016.
The Australian Embassy, Vientiane has also worked closely with the Minister of Industry and Commerce, H.E. Mme Khemmani Pholsena and her team, to facilitate private sector input for the Ministry's thinking on priority issues to advance during Laos' year as ASEAN chair in 2016 – the first year of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Post arranged a roundtable consultation meeting with Minister Khemmani and senior MOIC officials for major Australian and other international businesses operating in Laos. Following this initial meeting, MOIC officials reached out independently to AustCham Lao to help shape the Lao Government's trade policy development. This more regular engagement with foreign business chambers will help better focus reforms to the business operating environment in the Lao PDR.
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Case study: DCT Gdansk
Macquarie Group (Global Infrastructure Fund II) is the major shareholder in DCT Gdansk, the largest deepwater container terminal in Poland allowing deep sea container vessels from Asia to directly enter the Baltic without the need for transhipment at other European Ports. Present annual handling capacity is 1 250 000 TEU. Maersk Shipping is major customer for the Port. In 2014, DCT Gdansk, the Polish operator of the Port, finalised the 290 million euro ($363 million) financing of a second deep-water terminal at the leading Baltic Sea container hub. In May 2015 the construction of stage 2 of the Gdansk Port's development commenced. When completed in 2016, the terminal with a 650-meter long berth will increase DCT's annual handling capacity to 3 million 20-foot-equivalent units from its current 1.25 million TEUs.
As part of DCT's ground-breaking ceremony marking the expansion of its deepwater port, HOM hosted a roundtable on Australian investment in Poland. Polish business representatives and media present spoke positively about Australian investors' know-how and business sense.
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Case study: G'Day USA 2015 Program (Americas Region)
G'Day USA is Australia's premier economic and public diplomacy initiative in the US. The unique program, organised by the Australian Government (DFAT) in partnership with Qantas Airlines, other corporate sector sponsors, academic institutions and not for profit organisations promotes Australia's creative and innovative capability in the US. In 2015, 20 events were held in eight cities across the US (LA, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Sacramento and Palm Springs).
2015 events focussed on promoting Australia's capabilities in tourism; fashion; food and beverage; music and film; innovation; ICT and digital economy; energy (oil and gas); water/drought management; agribusiness; defence industries; and bilateral foreign and trade policy.
The targeted events delivered compelling messaging about the strength of the Australian economy internationally and our important relationship with the US. Over 500 US companies and 100 Australian companies participated in the 2015 program along with over 3,000 event attendees. Foreign Minister Bishop, (then) Communications Minister Turnbull and (then) Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Birmingham delivered keynote remarks at major events, as did executives from large US and Australian corporations, the Australian Ambassador to the US (The Hon Kim Beazley), and former US Ambassador to Australia (the Hon Jeff Bleich).
G'Day USA activities met key objectives in the 2015 US Economic Diplomacy Strategy and facilitated interaction between senior representatives from US/Australian companies, organisations, political leaders and education institutions to advance priorities in the bilateral relationship – TPP, TPA, two-way trade/investment, tourism, education linkages, digital/ICT, defence and security issues, energy and US and Australian engagement in Asia.
The 2015 program assisted broader public diplomacy efforts to maintain and strengthen awareness and understanding of Australia's innovative economy in the US. Extensive media articles covering G'Day USA events around the bilateral relationship/TPP negotiations, Australian economy, film industry and tourism were published in US and Australian media outlets.
Case study: Defence
Washington Post led a trade mission of 20 Australian defence companies throughout the US from 12 to 21 May 2015, to showcase Australia's niche defence capabilities and foster on-going engagement with the US military and defence industry.
The mission included site visits to major US defence companies, including Boeing, Thales, Aerospace Corporation, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and General Dynamics, and facilitated more than 60 one-on-one business matching meetings.
Just under half of the Australian companies who participated now expect to enter into commercial agreements as a direct result of the mission. Given this level of success, in what is a difficult and complex market, Post will conduct another mission in May 2016.
Case study: Mangoes and Lychees Gain Access to the US
Following many years of sustained Post advocacy, a myriad of technical hurdles, and the US's complex law-making processes for food imports, 2015/16 marks an important market access moment for our mango and lychee industries, and an opportunity to bolster the existing $16 million export industry.
For the first time Australian mangos arrived in the USA in February 2015 – the second season of exports will begin in December 2015. For our Lychee industry this long awaited trade opportunity is expected to commence for the first time in early 2016. Australians have long enjoyed quality produce, and expanding trade with the US reinforces our reputation as a competitive exporter of quality agricultural products.
Case study: TPP and AUSFTA
Washington Post leads coordinated efforts amongst all US Posts to promote the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. We point to our very strong and increasing two-way trade and investment flows, enhanced by the successful operation of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement, which turned 10 this year, as evidence of the significant commercial gains that can be realised under ambitious trade and economic architecture. Posts engage constantly with policy makers, individual businesses and peak-sector groups to outline the commercial gains from enhanced trade and investment with Australia, including under the 21st century trade rules agreed in the TPP. The G'Day USA and Australia Business Week programs provide valuable platforms to continue these important messages.
In seeking to attract further investment interest from the US, including once the TPP enters into force, we note that Australia is an attractive launching pad into Asia, underpinned by strong trade and investment rules in our extensive Indo-Pacific free trade agreement network. We also localise the message in the US, using company specific examples of job creation through Australian company investments in different regions of the US, and the prospects for even greater engagement following entry into force of the TPP.
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Case study: Expanding Australian capability in the New Zealand infrastructure market
Australian company, RPS Group (RPS), is set to benefit from the Australian Government's economic diplomacy agenda through the expansion of its business operations and project management services.
In February 2015, RPS's Brendan Bilston participated in a trade mission to New Zealand led by Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb. During the mission, Bilston was introduced to Everything Infrastructure Group (EIG). Within months, RPS had progressed its relationship with EIG and, on 28 October 2015, the RPS Group announced the acquisition of EIG.
By combining the two businesses, RPS will have a strengthened business offering in Australian and New Zealand infrastructure markets, placing them in a strong position to compete for major infrastructure projects, which in New Zealand includes the NZ$40 billion Christchurch rebuild and the fast-growing city of Auckland. Australia's international reputation for high quality infrastructure capability is a strong drawcard in the Kiwi market and a major component of the Australian Government's economic diplomacy agenda in New Zealand.
Case study: Integrating the infrastructure market between Australia and New Zealand
Investing in modern infrastructure is fundamental to maintaining competitiveness, improving productivity and building economic prosperity – core elements of the Australian Government's economic diplomacy agenda. To do this efficiently, Australia needs a combination of domestic and foreign skills and capital but, on a global scale, Australia is a relatively small and remote market. Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb has therefore initiated a program of work to build the scale of Australia's offering by establishing an integrated infrastructure market between Australia and New Zealand.
DFAT and Austrade are working closely with Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) and the New Zealand government on a proposal to establish an Australia New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline that will draw on over AU$125 billion of infrastructure investment across Australia and a national program of infrastructure investment in New Zealand valued at more than NZ$100 billion over the next decade. The proposal will include joint advocacy and medium to long-term goals for integrating the infrastructure market so that providers can work more seamlessly across the Tasman.
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Case study: Macquarie University scholarships worth 1 million dollars offered to Croatia
In September 2015, Sydney's Macquarie University announced that five scholarships to the value of $1,000,000 would be allocated for Croatian PhD candidates to conduct research in Australia through the Croatian Cotutelle PhD Scholarship program.
This program extends ties and increases academic cooperation in areas as diverse as archaeology, Croatian studies, science, medicine and engineering and strengthens connections between young Australian and Croatian researchers.
This announcement comes as the culmination of long term cooperation between the Australian Embassy in Zagreb and the University on different levels, including the Embassy's promotion of Macquarie University's archaeological dig at Bribirska Glavica in Croatia.
Professor Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) made the announcement at the inaugural "Australian Alumni Network Croatia" event held at the Ambassador's residence.
Guests came from across Croatia, including University Chancellors, Deans, Directors of Institutions, Vice-Chancellors, teaching staff, government representatives, media and most importantly Australian alumni and others who support and encourage academic relations between Australia and Croatia.
Case study: Successful Austrade STO visit to Croatia opens windows of opportunities for Australian companies in Croatia
The Australian Embassy in Zagreb organised a successful visit of Austrade's Senior Trade Commissioner to Croatia. The visit raised the profile of Australia as a modern and innovative economy.
The Embassy held a well-attended round table entitled "Doing business with Australia" with representatives from 17 Croatian companies. Attendees included new contacts interested in establishing cooperation with Australian partners and companies already cooperating with Australia. One-on-one meetings were held with key contacts, including the Minister for Tourism, in identified priority industries for Australia: marine, education, tourism and energy sectors.
The Senior Trade Commissioner gave interviews to major Croatian business media outlets "Liderpress" and "Legislative and Policy Journal". The interviews enabled extensive outreach to the business community in Croatia, which has already generated further interest.
The visit helped to realise the scope of potential business opportunities for Australia in Croatia, the EU's newest member, as it emerges from recession. Austrade acquired a deeper insight into the challenges of the business environment in Croatia.
The visit helped to shape our Embassy's future economic diplomacy activities. With Austrade, we aim to achieve the goal of raising Australia's presence in the Croatian market.
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