Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason, will arrive in Jakarta today as part of a regional visit focusing on the Government’s New Colombo Plan.

The New Colombo Plan is a signature policy initiative of the Government which is designed to increase the number of Australian undergraduate students studying in the Indo-Pacific region. The pilot phase of the New Colombo Plan, launched last December by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, supports Australian students to obtain new study and internship experiences in the four pilot destinations of Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. From next year, the New Colombo Plan will be rolled out more broadly across the Indo-Pacific region.

“The New Colombo Plan is about providing Australian university students with dynamic new opportunities to gain study and work experience in our region that will be relevant to their future careers, as well as to understand the cultures of our neighbours and to build new friendships and contacts,” Senator Mason said.

“By achieving these outcomes at the individual level, we are laying the groundwork to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific more broadly in Australia, to strengthen our people-to-people and institutional linkages, and to create strong and enduring relationships with our neighbours.”

Following his visit to Jakarta, Senator Mason will travel to Hong Kong and Singapore to meet with Australian students pursuing study and internship opportunities under the New Colombo Plan pilot phase, including seven undergraduates from James Cook University in Queensland who are undertaking a clinical placement at the Singapore College of Family Physicians.

“This is a great example of what the New Colombo Plan aims to achieve: providing Australian students with the opportunity to gain new competencies, to expand their professional networks in our region and to sow the seeds for ongoing collaboration and information and knowledge sharing with our neighbours.”

Senator Mason will also meet with government, business and university representatives while in Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong to discuss the implementation of the New Colombo Plan pilot phase in each country, as well as further study and work placement opportunities for future New Colombo Plan students.

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