Finding a ‘state mate’ may be the key to deeper economic relations

3 April 2017

India is not a market that can be tackled whole. Its complex democracy consisting of 29 diverse states with unique economies, political leadership and business conditions, requires a targeted approach. Recognising this, Australian states and territories are helping businesses navigate these differences and tailoring efforts to Indian states that have conducive business environments.

Queensland

Since opening an office in India in 2003, Trade and Investment Queensland has been connecting the needs of the Indian marketplace with the capabilities of Queensland  businesses.

Some of the largest investments into the Australian resources industry have come from India, and Queensland has proven an attractive destination. Through the flagship project Advance Queensland, TIQ is attracting new companies in the technology and innovation space to choose Queensland as the best place to start their business. This has the two-fold benefit of catering to the Australian market as well as taking advantage of Queensland’s geographical proximity to emerging Southeast Asian markets.

Currently, TIQ focuses on the following sectors: Mining and Resources; Vocational and Higher Education; Food and Agribusiness; Advance Queensland; Investment – Resources and Knowledge Industries; and Business Skills Migration Queensland.

TIQ is also working collaboratively with other Queensland Government agencies to promote Queensland internationally as a place to do business in the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Since March 2016, a number of trade and investment promotion activities have targeted: food and agribusiness; international education and training; innovation; and business of sports.

This year, Queensland is pleased to support the India Australia Business and Community Awards, an event that recognises and celebrates businesses, entrepreneurs and cultural leaders of Indian origin for their contribution to Australia. The Awards, a national initiative, will be held in Brisbane on October 13, 2017. TIQ encourages the business community and cultural groups from India interested in Australia to attend the awards.

For further information on Queensland’s engagement with India, visit www.tiq.qld.gov.au/export/market-overviews/india/

New South Wales

The NSW Government’s India Strategy is focused on deepening trade and investment ties, building on its Memorandums of Understanding with the Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Collaboration focuses on constructing world-class infrastructure, delivering smart cities, facilitating the exchange of agricultural technology and expertise, and increasing Indian investment into NSW.

Under the Maharashtra MoU, the Maharashtra Water Resources Department and the NSW Department  of Primary Industries have signed an $800,000 contract to model water management and share knowledge on water allocation governance.

NSW’s Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Gujarat’s International Finance Tec-City are using the NSW-Gujarat MoU to further strengthen ties and share expertise on green urban infrastructure development. NSW intends to highlight its successful model of partnership with the private sector to make Barangaroo carbon neutral and water positive.

These MoU have also helped NSW attract strong investor interest from India, particularly from the ICT, technology and digital services sector. A large number of Indian ICT companies operate  in NSW, including Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, HCL and Mindtree creatign local jobs. All major India Banks now have a representative office in NSW including State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank. The appointment of former NSW Premier, The Hon Barry O’Farrell, as NSW Special Envoy to India since October 2016, underlines the NSW Government’s commitment to the relationship. Mr O’Farrell visited India in January to attend the Vibrant Gujarat 2017 Summit in Ahmedabad and held meetings with business and government leaders. This visit helped outline NSW professional services expertise necessary to support the Indian Government’s unprecedented initiative to invest US$1 trillion in infrastructure by 2017 and build 100 smart cities.

For further information on NSW’s engagement with India, visit www.dpc.nsw.gov.au/programs_and_initiatives/international_engagement

Victoria

Victoria continues to foster engagement with India across government, community and business.

In December last year, Melbourne hosted the Australia India Leadership Dialogue, an annual bipartisan dialogue of senior leaders from India and Australia. In February this year, the Australia India Youth Dialogue was held in Melbourne, which saw 30 emerging leaders from both countries meet to discuss innovation in the health sector. Both

forums provided opportunities to develop new avenues for collaboration and partnerships between Australia and India, as well as strengthen existing relationships.

Home to the largest Indian-born community in Australia and host to the greatest number of Indian international students, Victoria’s relationship with India is supported by strong cultural ties. The vibrancy of India’s arts and culture was on display in Victoria during the Confluence Festival of India, and through the most recent MPavilion installation, an iconic pavilion designed by renowned Mumbai architect Bijoy Jain.

Victoria continues to focus on sectors where it sees strong alignment with India, notably in digital enabled technologies, start-ups, health and medical technologies, creative industries and food and agriculture. Victoria’s extensive international education partnerships – encompassing higher education, training and research – supports the state’s engagement across all sectors. In market,   a technology trade mission from Victoria visited Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai from 13-17 February, with some joining a Victorian Government delegation participating in the National Association of Software and Services Companies’ annual India Leadership Forum.

The momentum generated in recent months will build in 2017, with the Victorian Government developing a new strategy to target engagement. Multiple ministerial visits are planned this year, which will assist in laying the foundation for the strategy’s implementation. The appointment of a new Commissioner to India is also expected in the first half of the year, which will strengthen Victoria’s in-market presence and position the state to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the world’s fastest growing major economy.

For further information on Victoria’s engagement with India, visit www.invest.vic.gov.au/all-offices/india/victoria-s-relationship-with-india

Tasmania

Tasmania recently introduced itself to India with a highly successful trade mission in September last year. Led by the Premier of Tasmania, the mission delegates included industry leaders from the education, energy, tourism and hospitality sectors. These sectors strengthened business ties with counterparts in India and promoted Tasmania’s premium products, notably high quality food and high-end beverages such as wine, gin and whisky.

The Tasmanian Government recently appointed Australian cricketing legend Ricky Ponting as a Tasmanian brand ambassador. Ricky was an integral part of the recent trade mission to promote Tasmania as a desirable tourism and study destination with solid investment opportunities.

International education is also recognised as a key sector of growth for the state. The University of Tasmania is proactively attracting Indian students to the island. The university is also engaging in collaborative research projects abroad, such as with an Indian research foundation to work on a $20 million project developing salt tolerant rice.

The establishment of a private education and training business school − BSchool − brings Indian executives to Tasmania for intensive executive management training. It has opened up opportunities for Indian executives to do business in Tasmania.

For further information on Tasmania’s engagement with India, visit www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/home/what_we_do/promote_trade_and_industry

South Australia

The South Australian Government is engaging with India through a long-term engagement strategy that will create new commercial opportunities with the region and boost growth.

The prioritisation of the SA sister-state agreement with Rajasthan is expected to bring greater focus to facilitate opportunities for SA businesses, educational institutes and other organisations in multiple sectors. It is based on two-way exchange of research, policy and technical capabilities.

Collaboration on sustainable water management is already facilitating investment in SA water research and technical capabilities – groundwater research, water quality and aquifer recharge. In September last year both states agreed to build an internationally recognised Centre of Excellence in Water and Resource Management in Jaipur to facilitate further exchange of knowledge and technology, assisting Rajasthan and other Indian states to manage their own water resources.

SA’s continued commitment to its relationship with India will be reinforced with its business mission scheduled for November.

For further information on SA’s engagement with India, visit www.statedevelopment.sa.gov.au/investment/india

Photo overlooking the Andhra Pradesh coastline from above.
WA has a formal sister state relationship with Andhra Pradesh, pictured, after a comprehensive analysis of India’s 29 states.

Western Australia

Western Australia first established an official presence in India with its Mumbai office. In the ensuing 20 years, strong relationships have been developed with numerous Indian companies and a number of Indian states, particularly Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

WA established a formal sister state relationship with Andhra Pradesh in December last year after a comprehensive analysis of India’s 29 states. Andhra Pradesh offers unrealised mineral wealth, a long but only partially developed coastline, an evolving agriculture sector, offshore oil and gas development and onshore distribution opportunities, and a large future workforce seeking tertiary and vocational education.

Andhra Pradesh is a major state-building program, following the bifurcation of the state in 2014, leadership is both outwardly focused and dedicated to getting on with business.

Australian Consul-General to South India Sean  Kelly said, “The conclusion late last year of a sister state agreement between Andhra Pradesh and Western Australia has really given the [Australia- India] relationship a major boost”. The two states are working through an impressive agenda of collaborative projects, particularly in mining, energy, education and agriculture that will generate growth and jobs in both regions.

For further information on WA’s engagement with India, visit www.dsd.wa.gov.au/about-the-state/close-to-asian-markets/established-regional-trade/india

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Government recognises the natural advantages that flow from the Territory’s vibrant multicultural community. These connections are key elements of the NT’s international engagement with China, Japan, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. It is how the NT seeks to open new doors to India.

The Government’s international engagement focuses on growing key sectors of the economy: agribusiness, gas and minerals, tourism, defence industries and international education. It sees the greatest opportunities for NT business in supporting India’s economic development.

There are opportunities to share expertise in farm management and irrigation to increase efficiency and yields in India’s agriculture sector; and to partner with agribusiness firms to supply export markets.

In the minerals sector, the NT has deposits in a number of the key minerals such as manganese, zinc, copper, gold, bauxite, tungsten and molybdenum that India will need to drive growth in its utility, communications and transport infrastructure.

In the defence sector, the Territory Government welcomes the increasing levels of engagement between the Australian Defence Force and the Indian Armed Forces and was pleased to welcome a visit to Darwin Harbour by the Indian navy vessel INS Sumitra in December last year. India has a very welldeveloped domestic defence industry and there are partnerships being explored with Indian firms.

International education is also a fast-growing sector of the NT economy. India is a priority market for international students and student numbers are growing. Over time, this may also attract greater numbers of tourists from India.

For further information on NT’s engagement with India, visit http://investnt.com.au

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory recognises that the Asian Century provides tremendous opportunities for the Canberra region to provide high value-add services.

Canberra’s International Engagement Strategy aims to grow the profile of the ACT brand in the Indian market, focusing on encouraging Canberra-based businesses to engage in DFAT’s public submissions process, growing international education partnerships through StudyCanberra and growing an international visit’s program in partnership with Tourism Australia and travel trade through VisitCanberra.

The appointment of former Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly Brendan Smyth as Canberra’s first Commissioner for International Engagement  will also support advocacy efforts and outreach with India.

For further information on the ACT’s engagement with India, visit www.business.act.gov.au/resources_and_networks/business_development_strategy/international-engagement-strategy

Last Updated: 3 April 2017