Today I welcome the tourism and education initiatives announced as part of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between Australia and Singapore.
A Memorandum of Understanding on tourism cooperation between the Australian Government and the Singapore Tourism Board will grow tourist numbers for both countries.
A reciprocal Work and Holiday visa programme, with up to 500 visa places per year, supports young people from Australia and Singapore to undertake short term work and study.
Agreement has also been reached on a tailored multi-year visa arrangement to facilitate travel and entry of Singapore nationals who are pre-vetted by the Singapore government.
Australia values its strong tourism relationship with Singapore. In 2015, Singaporean visitors spent $1.4 billion while visiting Australia. This is expected to increase to $2.8 billion annually by the end of the decade.
Singapore Airlines and Tourism Australia will work together to capitalise on tourism growth from India and China and other key international tourism markets, including Malaysia, UK, Germany, Japan and Korea. This will complement the ‘Capitals Route’, linking Singapore, Canberra and Wellington, scheduled to commence in September.
Singapore and Australia will also promote further cooperation on education, including that arrangements be developed to allow Australian providers to now use the name 'University' for their Singaporean campuses. Singapore has also agreed to recognise Juris Doctor, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy degrees from agreed universities. A process for the mutual recognition of other professional qualifications will also begin with engineering and accounting as priorities.
More than 700 Australian students will study and undertake internships in Singapore in the first three years of the New Colombo Plan (2014-16). Singapore and Australia have agreed a pilot internship program which will aim to give 100 Singaporeans studying in Australia more internship opportunities with leading Australian companies. There will also be improved arrangements for recognition of Australian tertiary qualifications in Singapore.
The agreement also provides opportunities for Singaporean students to gain work experience in Australia.
Australia will be seeking to include similar agreements in other trade arrangements to enhance our opportunities to grow international education - further building on the National Strategy for International Education 2025 released last week.