Australia-ASEAN Council marks first anniversary

8 September 2016

The Australia-ASEAN Council has marked its first anniversary since it was established by the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on 8 September 2015.

Over the past year, the AAC under the leadership of its chair, Ms Christine Holgate (CEO, Blackmores) has actively promoted Australia’s relations with the 10 ASEAN member countries through a range of innovative projects and programs.

The AAC has significantly raised awareness of the importance of South-East Asia among Australians, and increased Australia’s profile across the region.

It has initiated over 30 projects worth nearly $AUD 2 million which are enhancing cooperation and collaboration between individuals, institutions and organisations.

Ms Holgate said the AAC placed emphasis on knowledge development and strong community outreach programs that lead to lasting partnerships.

“Our projects are an example of Australian innovation, leadership and creativity,” she said.

“I particularly thank my fellow board members for their proactive contributions to the Council over the past year.”

The Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Australia, H.E Minda Calaguian-Cruz congratulated the AAC on its anniversary.

“That we have another support platform for countries in the ASEAN is one of the best things to have happened.

“There is so much economic opportunity in the entire ASEAN region that can be derived from linking business, missions, and people from the private sector into ASEAN. We only have to work together,” she said.


The AAC was launched by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP on 8 September 2015.

The AAC’s objectives are to enhance awareness, understanding and links between people and institutions in Australia and South-East Asia.


Ms Christine Holgate, CEO and Managing Director, Blackmores


  • Ms Lesley Alway, Director, Asialink Arts, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Alice Woodhead, University of Southern Queensland
  • Dr Imran Lum, Associate Director (Islamic Finance), National Australia Bank
  • Mr Greg Earl, Asia-Pacific Editor, Australian Financial Review
  • Ms Gabrielle Costigan, CEO, Linfox International Group
  • Mr Gary Quinlan AO, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Former members

  • Professor Tallal Yassine OAM, Managing Director, Crescent Wealth
  • Ms Margaret West AM, Research and Curatorial Consultant, Northern Territory Museum

Programs and grants

  • 30 schools have set up new partnerships between teachers, students and school communities from Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. By 2018 the BRIDGE School Partnerships Program include another 132 schools from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines and Singapore valued at around $1 million.
  • 30 project grants released worth over $1.2 million
  • 161 applications have been received with a combined funding request of over $8 million for projects that are worth almost $21 million.

Member countries of ASEAN

Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Last Updated: 8 September 2016

Related links

Australia-ASEAN Council