Doorstop - Australia Mural Village, Vietnam

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: What is the significance of the Cao Lanh Bridge to the bilateral ties between Australia and Vietnam?

JULIE BISHOP: The Cao Lanh Bridge which I opened today along with the Deputy Prime Minister is a symbol of the deep partnership between Australia and Vietnam. It is an importance piece of infrastructure that will connect communities in the Central Mekong River region and it will reduce travelling time and ensure greater economic activity. So it has a very practical purpose of enhancing economic activity in Vietnam, but it will also be a lasting symbol of the deep friendship between Australia and Vietnam.

JOURNALIST: Will Australia do similar infrastructure projects in Vietnam in the future?

JULIE BISHOP: In the past Australia has invested in building bridges including the My Thuan Bridge and about 230 km of rural roads, about 70 km of national highways and about 102 or 103 smaller bridges but our relationship has now matured to a point where Australia will be assisting Vietnam in leveraging private sector investment. So we see more public private partnerships in the future to meet Vietnam's infrastructure needs.

JOURNALIST: There are direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to HCMC, what do you expect about tourism development between the two countries?

JULIE BISHOP: In fact, I took the Vietnam Airlines flight from Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City yesterday and it was a very good flight. So I hope that we will see more two way tourism exchanges with more Australians visiting Vietnam. I think about 400,000 or thereabouts come from Australia each year and we hope to encourage more Vietnamese to visit Australia. There are about 300,000 Australians of Vietnamese heritage and so it would be wonderful if their friends and families came to visit them in Australia. So I think tourism is one area of great growth potential between our two countries.

JOURNALIST: Ho Chi Minh City is working to become a smart city, what advice can Australia give to us about investment and cooperation between the two countries?

JULIE BISHOP: Australia continues to have a significant overseas development assistance program with Vietnam and we are aware of the strategic economic plans that Vietnam and various regions and cities have, and we certainly support Ho Chi Minh City's aspiration to be a smart city. We have smart city programs in Australia and we'd be happy to share our experiences. Obviously new technology, start-ups, that kind of investment can help a smart city but it is also about urban planning and water supply, about energy, and this are all areas where Australia is happy to share our experiences and work closely with Vietnam as you develop smart city policies.

Media enquiries