Australia Awards Indonesia event – reception for Hadi Soesastro Prize and Allison Sudradjat Prize awardees

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Goodafternoon ladies and gentlemen.

I amdelighted to see so many friends of Australia and friends of Indonesia here atthis important event to honour the efforts of outstanding Indonesian studentswho are being awarded Australia Award prizes.

I particularlyacknowledge the family of Allison Sudradjat – Simone, her sister; herdaughters, Yasmin and Jamila; and baby Wyatt – and also the Soesastro family –Albert, who is a dear friend, we've got to know each other very well throughthese award ceremonies over time.

Also therepresentatives of the Indonesian Embassy, the Chargé, and of our Embassy inJakarta, Ambassador Paul Grigson, and all those who support the strengtheningrelationship between Australia and Indonesia. The fact there is so many peoplehere certainly gives support to the evidence of this strong relationship.

I'm alsovery pleased to see the recipients of Australian Government scholarships here,recipients of Indonesian Government scholarships and also the recipients of ourNew Colombo Plan overseas study awards.

Allison wasan outstanding diplomat, a humanitarian, an aid worker, whose presence andconnections with Indonesia are still felt today.

Hadi was atowering intellect, a significant influence in Indonesian economics, andlikewise had a deep connection with Australia.

And wehonour their legacy through these awards.

What isimportant though is that we are recognising the next generation of youngIndonesians and young Australians who will be the leaders of the future thatwill continue the engagement between our two countries.

The recentState Visit of President Widodo was an opportunity for us to reflect on thediversity and the strength of our bilateral relationship.

And thePrime Minister's visit and my visit during the Indian Ocean Rim Associationmeetings was yet another opportunity for us to demonstrate the bonds that tiesus so closely together.

During thePresident's visit I was pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on furtherMaritime Cooperation, and of course we're focusing very much on the conclusionof an Indonesian-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement,bringing our economies, our trade, our investment, our business links evencloser together.

We areworking to combat common challenges in our region.

We arecooperating across so many levels of government and business.

But I alwaysbelieve it is the people-to-people links that make a relationship so special,and I must pay tribute to Ambassador Grigson for focussing so much on theconnections between people across Indonesian society, across communities inAustralia – whether it be in the arts, whether it be in fashion, whether it bein media, in journalism, as well as the more traditional areas of defence andsecurity and law enforcement and economic cooperation.

Thepeople-to-people links will be the foundation of a relationship that willendure.

I'mpersonally very grateful to the Indonesian Government for being so prepared towork with us when we established the New Colombo Plan back in 2014. It was anew idea, the original Colombo Plan but in reverse, sending young Australiansinto our region to live and study and undertake work experience in countriesthroughout the Indo Pacific, and Indonesia came on board with our pilot programin 2014 immediately.

And ofcourse, today it is now one of the most popular destinations for New ColomboPlan students – to Indonesia – and I think by the end of this year 3,200Australian students will have lived, studied and undertaken some kind ofinternship or work experience in Indonesia under the New Colombo Plan.

And that'sall about ensuring that their generation of Australians has a much deeperunderstanding and connection with our closest and most important neighbour.

TheAustralia Awards, of course, have seen about 4,000 recipients over the lastdecade and at the Masters level and PhD level we're absolutely delighted thatso many Indonesian students have had the opportunity to study at ourinstitutions here in Australia.

In importantareas like education and health and politics and governance we've seenIndonesian students taking up these opportunities and they are ambassadors forour country when they return to Indonesia, as much as they are ambassadors forIndonesia during their time here.

I'm alsodelighted that we're extending our diplomatic footprint in Indonesia, again arecognition of the importance and the value we place on this relationship.

As the Ambassadorwill attest, Jakarta is already the largest mission we have overseas in termsof sheer numbers, the size of our Embassy and this brand new eco-friendlybuilding in the heart of Jakarta is our largest Embassy.

We have nowannounced a new Consulate-General in Surabaya, along with the existingConsulates in Makassar and in Bali.

So this isan important relationship and I can think of no better investment to ensurethat this is a lasting, constructive, productive commitment to each other'speace and prosperity than by investing in our young people.

It is withgreat pleasure that I be here this afternoon for the Australia Awards prizes tosix outstanding Indonesian scholars.

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