Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason, today farewelled seven students from Victorian universities who will shortly depart from Australia to undertake study and work experiences in our region as part of this year’s pilot phase of one of the Government’s signature policy initiatives, the New Colombo Plan.
The students are part of a group of more than 300 students from 24 Australian universities who will receive support under the first round of New Colombo Plan mobility funding to study in the pilot destinations of Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan.
“The students here today will be among the first to depart Australia under the New Colombo Plan,” Senator Mason said at today’s event at Victoria University.
“They are part of the 50 Victorian students undertaking study, clinical placements, and teaching practicums in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore from Victoria, Deakin, La Trobe, Monash and the University of Melbourne.
“But of course, in addition to study, the New Colombo Plan is about building networks and friendships, developing regional language skills and pursuing mentorship and internship opportunities – experiences which will ensure that these young Australians have a bright future.”
A second round of New Colombo Plan mobility funding will be announced next month followed by the award of around 40 prestigious scholarships to support longer-term study in our region in June.
The Government plans to expand the New Colombo Plan to other destinations across the Indo-Pacific region from 2015.