Addressing the Australia-Asia Education Engagement Symposium in Melbourne today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason, said that the Government’s New Colombo Plan would provide a broad range of dynamic study and internship opportunities for Australian students and would help to build closer relationships with Australia’s neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The New Colombo Plan will help to promote Australia as a partner of choice in our region – leading to strong and enduring relationships with our neighbours, including closer cooperation in areas of strategic importance as well as broader and deeper trade, investment and research and development ties,” said Senator Mason.

“The New Colombo Plan will also support Australian students to gain the skills, knowledge and cultural understanding they need to forge successful careers in light of the continuing shift in global economic power from the West towards the Indo-Pacific.”  

Providing $100 million in new funding over five years, the New Colombo plan will see Australian undergraduate students pursue unique study and internship experiences in the Indo-Pacific.

In the 2014 pilot phase of the New Colombo Plan, over 700 students will undertake programs in the pilot destinations of Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan. 

Over 300 student experiences have already been approved under the New Colombo Plan’s first round of mobility funding.  A second round of mobility funding will be announced next month followed by the award of around 40 prestigious scholarships for our best and brightest students in June.   

Next year, the New Colombo Plan will be rolled out more broadly across the Indo-Pacific region. 

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