My experience as an intern in the Australian Embassy in Japan has been everything I hoped it would be – and more! My understanding of international affairs and Japanese has increased and I have grown and developed as a person.
Being provided with the opportunity to live, study and work in Tokyo while on a New Colombo Plan scholarship has also been phenomenal. Whilst Tokyo is a busy, densely populated city, it never ceases to amaze me there is always green space, festivals to attend, and places to relax. Life is never boring.
Protecting Australia and our way of life is the most important responsibility of the Federal Government. It is a role that we must now perform in the face of ever greater uncertainty and complexity.
Australian scientists, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), identified fundamental productivity problems with the main food crops in Timor-Leste. The lack of a national seed system meant that even if farmers were aware of improved varieties to plant, they were unable to access sufficient quality-assured seed. So ACIAR developed a research project in partnership with the new government of Timor-Leste that trialed and introduced new, higher-yielding varieties of the major food crops, and developed a national seed system to ensure ready availability across the country.
Over the past five decades, Australia’s place in the tourism sector has changed significantly. We have grown from a destination attracting 220,000 overseas visitors and contributing $74 million annually, to one that welcomed over eight and a half million visitors who spent almost $40 billion in 2016. Tourism is now Australia’s leading services export, employs five per cent of the Australian workforce and has grown on average at three times the rate of the broader Australian economy. Tourism Australia’s vision is to make Australia the most desirable and memorable destination on the planet.
Across the world, education, training and research are what I call the transformative triumvirate. They have the power to transform the lives of individuals and to positively change societies and economies.
Our education, training and research institutions, with their reputation of achievement in teaching, inquiry and endeavour, have a particular role to play in our region. Their considered thought and their networks have the ability to help us inform our interactions and how we shape our environment – domestically and internationally.
The increase in the world’s connectivity has paved the way for an explosion in illegal trade in exotic pets. Billions of people across the world are now connected through various forms of social media. People can share pictures of themselves with a weird-looking lizard, or an adorable sugar-glider, and the desire for these pets can go viral.
With around two-thirds of our total agricultural production exported around the world, Australia’s foreign policy is an essential factor in the continuing and fast-growing success of our agricultural sector. This is one of the reasons the government is currently developing a Foreign Policy White Paper, which will provide a roadmap for advancing Australia’s agricultural interests overseas and define how we engage with the world in the years ahead.