The value of having an Australian-recognised qualification is clearly not lost on the workers. Asked what value they saw in the training, the workers replied “We were so happy when they gave us the opportunity to get training that is officially recognised… Receiving the certificate gives us opportunities. It was something we dreamt about and now it has happened.”

2017 was a milestone year for Australian business engagement in ASEAN. In ASEAN’s 50th anniversary year, two Australian business chambers were established with a regional focus, reflecting the increased recognition in business circles of the exciting opportunities in ASEAN.

Imagine if you regularly waited months to receive medical supplies, food and water, and then when the ship finally arrived it took up to three weeks to unload due to the increased frequency of adverse weather conditions caused by climate change. This is the reality for the people of Nauru. That is why Australia is partnering with Nauru, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to build a climate resilient, safe deep water port to facilitate the speedy delivery of essential supplies and to encourage increased trade and economic activity in the country.

At our High Commission in Kuala Lumpur we recently did just this, with the launch of the acclaimed ‘Faith, Fashion, Fusion: Muslim Women’s Style in Australia’ exhibition at the renowned Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia.

Developed by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, ‘Faith, Fashion, Fusion’ showcases the experiences of leading Australian Muslim women, how they express their faith through fashion, and Australia’s modest fashion industry.

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.