Question Time: Ryan Electorate - New Colombo Plan

  • Transcript, E&OE

Mrs PRENTICE: My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Minister, your announcement of the 2016 New Colombo Plan scholars included several from my electorate of Ryan. Minister, will you please update the House on the success of the New Colombo Plan and its broader foreign policy benefits?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:32): I thank the member for Ryan for her question. In fact, I thank both sides of the House for their enthusiastic support of the New Colombo Plan. This is an opportunity provided by the Australian government for young Australian undergraduates at our universities to undertake study–short courses, semester-long courses or year-long courses–in our region. There are 38 countries that are now partners with the Australian government under the New Colombo Plan, which is available to undergraduates across all of our universities. The scheme has been in place for just two years. By the end of 2016, over 10,000 Australian undergraduates will have taken part in the opportunity not only to study in our region–the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific region–but also to live there and to undertake internships, practicums and work experience. This is what makes the New Colombo Plan so special. We are partnering with other governments, NGOs, businesses and the private sector to give these students real-life experience in the region.

The member referred to her electorate. I can confirm that on Monday evening we announced the 100 scholars–that is, students who will be undertaking courses of about 12 months–and they will come from about 20 universities across Australia and are going to about 20 different countries. This is in addition to the 5,450 students who, next year, will be undertaking the shorter courses. Of those 100 scholarships, seven constituents from the member for Ryan's electorate were there to be presented with a scholarship by the patron of the New Colombo Plan, the Governor-General. I also thank the member for Kingsford Smith for being there and representing the opposition. I know the young people were buoyed by the fact that this is a bipartisan program with support from the opposition.

Those seven constituents from the electorate of Ryan all went to the University of Queensland. Chloe Yap, for example, is going to the University of Singapore to undertake study in life sciences, and she has an internship in computational and statistical genomics at the Genome Institute of Singapore within the Agency for Science, Technology and Research. What a fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Talia Rose is undertaking biomedical engineering in Singapore; Carmen Garratt is going to Korea University to study Korean language and politics; Lachlan Kenway is going to Japan to study international relations; Patrick Walsh is going to Fiji to study society, culture and history; Isaac Bennett is going to Indonesia to study society and culture; and Samuel Bullen is going to study international law at the National University of Singapore and has an internship with the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Other students will be going to India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar and the Solomons. This is a program that is so well received by people in our region. It is an example of Australia's deeper engagement in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region. (Time expired)

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