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Driving success together
Q: What message do you want to give to Australians in Singapore this Australia Day?
A: Australia Day is an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on what it means to be Australian, our history, traditions and values, what we have achieved and what lies before us.
Our warm friendship with Singapore goes back more than five decades and the Australian business and expatriate community in Singapore play a huge role in this.
Australia and Singapore should be proud of what we have achieved together. I wish all Australians living and working in Singapore a very happy Australia Day. I thank all Singaporeans for their friendship and support - and wish them all the best for their Bicentennial Year. Finally, I encourage you all to use this day to celebrate our friendship with Singapore, which is what I will be doing.
Q: Please comment on the nature of diplomatic relations between Australia and Singapore.
A: Australia's relationship with Singapore is one of our closest and most comprehensive. It's based on long-standing people-to-people, defence, education, trade, and science links, as well as our similar strategic outlooks and shared interests.
We have much in common. We're contending with social and economic adjustment and global economic headwinds. We view innovation as key to the future of our citizens. We have a shared understanding of geopolitical challenges in our region. Our people and economies are close. Singapore is among Australia's top 10 trade partners globally and Singapore is the sixth largest foreign investor in Australia.
For the Australia-Singapore relationship, 2018 was a fantastic year, bringing our nations closer together. We were also proud to support Singapore's chairmanship of Asean.
In March, Australia hosted the Asean-Australia Summit, announcing a number of supporting initiatives around the digital economy, smart cities and cybersecurity.
In July, we held the inaugural Australia-Singapore Infrastructure Investment Forum (ASIIF) and throughout September, we held Good Science = Great Business 2018: An Australian Festival of Innovation in Singapore and Asean to promote Australia's science and research capability and investment opportunities.
We also strengthened our relationship in 2015 with the signing of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This has enabled freer movement for business people between our countries, mutual recognition of more of our universities' qualifications, new opportunities for the Singapore armed forces to train in Australia, new cyber and counter-terrorism cooperation; new innovation partnerships and fresh opportunities for our young people to study and to work in each others' countries.
We will continue our joint work to promote open trade values, standards and rules with a focus on digital economy, strengthening cybersecurity cooperation at bilateral and regional levels and exploring further opportunities to support the development of infrastructure in our region.
Our partnership has more to deliver and it is important to reflect on how much more we will need each other in the years to come.
Q: What do you hope to achieve during your time in Singapore?
A: I have been High Commissioner here for two years and I look to 2019 with optimism and enthusiasm. My priorities are four-fold. I want to work with Singapore to hold an Asean Built Environment Forum in Singapore in May and an Australia and Singapore in the Digital Economy Summit in the second half of 2019. These events will help us explore opportunities in our region together.
Promoting open trade values and agreements in our region is also a priority, such as supporting the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, which entered into force at the end of 2018, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which is still being negotiated, as well growing the relevance of the World Trade Organization to Singapore and our region.
Lastly, building on our Good Science = Great Business Festival, I am also keen to grow our innovation partnership with Singapore.
2019 events and initiatives planned by the Australian High Commission
First quarter of 2019:
- Australian Alumni New Year Welcome reception: A welcome event at the High Commission Atrium for alumni who have studied in Australia
- Supporting Singaporean companies for the Avalon Airshow
February: Supporting Singaporean companies for Australia's EvokeAg, Australia's largest agritechnology event
May: Asean-Australia Built Environment Forum in Singapore
July 16 to 18: Supporting Australian cybersecurity startups for 7th annual RSA Conference at Marina Bay Sands
Second half of 2019: Australia and Singapore in the Digital Economy Summit