National Foundation for Australia-China Relations grants and CEO appointment

  • Joint media release:
  • Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations grants round for 2023-24.

In total, 27 grants will be provided to support a range of activities designed to strengthen cooperation and enhance engagement between the people of Australia and China.

The grants will support Australian industry to re-engage with China in areas of economic importance for Australia, including agriculture and tourism. They will also support collaboration on climate change, energy and the environment in line with the statement on joint outcomes from the China-Australia annual leader’s meeting.  

The initiatives receiving grants are listed on the Foundation’s website and include: 

  • Support to assist industry sectors build market connections, including for barley/grains, dairy, wool, wine and tourism.
  • Research and innovation in decarbonisation, drought-resilience, sustainability, and climate change policy dialogue.
  • Equipping the next generation of Chinese-Australian leaders with the skills and expertise to contribute to Australian public debate, including around engagement and collaboration with China.  
  • Programs to increase China literacy and the capability of scholars and young professionals to engage with China.

We welcome the appointment of Mr Gary Cowan as Chief Executive Officer of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations.

Mr Cowan is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) He has served overseas as Australia’s Representative in Taipei from 2018 to 2021, with previous postings to Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.  

I thank former CEO Peter Cai for his contributions to the Foundation as CEO since 2021, and during its establishment phase as an advisory board member.

We are also pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Alice Pung OAM to the Advisory Board of the Foundation. Ms Pung is a Melbourne-based writer, editor and lawyer and an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University’s School of Media and Communication.

The Advisory Board helps to guide the Foundation in its work to support governments, businesses, and communities build links and strengthen constructive engagement with China, consistent with our national interest.

Quotes attributable to the Foreign Minister, Penny Wong:

“Central to our approach to Australia’s relationship with China is engaging in the national interest.

“The National Foundation for Australia-China Relations is a key avenue for this engagement, and these grants will further strengthen community and people to people ties.

“Ms Pung’s writing about growing up as a migrant in Australia resonates across diverse communities, and I am thrilled that she is bringing her expertise and insight to the Foundation’s Advisory Board.”

Quotes attributable to the Trade and Tourism Minister, Don Farrell:

“These grants will help to boost engagement and build lasting business and people-to-people connections with China, our largest trading partner and a key contributor to our tourism and international education sectors.”

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
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