Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Statements by Members
Higgins Electorate: Malvern Primary School Student Exchange with China
The importance of Australia's relationship with China cannot be overestimated. China is Australia's largest two-way trading partner and our future economic prosperity and theirs are intrinsically linked. To give a quick snapshot, in 2013 China had a more than US$9 trillion economy, a 7.7 GDP growth rate and a population of 1.3 billion. Trade between China and Australia was valued at $150.9 billion.
As we all know, big things can sometimes grow from small seeds, so I was delighted to visit Malvern Primary School in my electorate in Melbourne, whose grade 6 students are soon to visit China on a cultural student exchange with their sister school, Youfu West Street Primary School in Nanjing, China. On 11 October, 14 students, two teachers and the school's principal, Mr Richard Bennetts, will travel to China for the nine-day trip. The teachers will live at the sister school during the visit while the children will be hosted by local families.
Malvern Primary School formed the sister school arrangement in 2010 and, since that time, students and teachers have exchanged between the two schools on an annual basis. I commend the school, led by Mr Bennetts and Vice Principal Dorothy Hayes, whose far-sightedness has led to these opportunities.
I acknowledge and praise the initiative taken by Malvern Primary School to establish and maintain their sister school relationship. Their contribution to fostering understanding and goodwill is cause for celebration and will deepen our people-to-people relationships.