The new Australia-Indonesia centre at Monash University will strengthen Australia’s vital relationship with its important neighbour.
Minister for Education the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said the Australia-Indonesia Centre would enhance mutual engagement and understanding between the two countries.
Mr Pyne made his comments during a visit to Monash today by the Vice President of Indonesia, Dr Boediono.
“The Australia-Indonesia Centre will foster high-value links among government, business and academia,” Mr Pyne said before the Vice President – a former Monash student – delivered a lecture at the university.
“It will help the people of both countries deepen their understanding of each other.
“I am confident that the centre will help Australians get to know contemporary Indonesia better, build personal connections and foster collaboration in research.”
The Prime Minister announced the Centre during his September visit to Indonesia. It will be based at Monash, but will work in partnership with the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney and CSIRO.
Mr Pyne said Monash University was well placed to lead the new centre because its valuable associations with Indonesia stretched back more than 60 years.
“We are committed to ensuring that more Australian students learn about Indonesian culture and language.”
“Through an institution like the Australia-Indonesia Centre, we can work together to find ways of improving Australian student take-up Indonesian languages,” Mr Pyne said.
Mr Pyne said the Federal Government’s New Colombo Plan would start with a pilot phase in 2014, and he was pleased that Indonesia – along with Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong SAR – would be taking part from the beginning.