Thursday, 1 December 2016
New Colombo Plan
Earlier this week, I had the great pleasure of attending the New Colombo Plan Scholarship 2017 presentation dinner here at Parliament House. The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the coalition government. It aims to increase the knowledge of our region in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates, aged between 18 and 28, to study and undertake internships throughout the Asia-Pacific region. So far the program has supported Australian students to study and intern in 32 countries including India, Mongolia, Fiji, Taiwan, Nepal, the Cook Islands and many, many others.
The program provides a limited number of year-long scholarships each year as well as flexible mobility grant funding to higher education institutions to help them develop their own overseas exchange programs. Each year, since the commencement of the program, I have been pleased to meet many of the wonderful and talented students from the Deakin electorate who have been fortunate enough—perhaps 'fortunate' is not the right word given their hard work—and have been able to receive New Colombo Plan scholarships. I say to every single one of them: this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them.
This year at the Parliament House dinner that I referred to earlier I got to meet Daniel de Waard, who is one of 105 students from across the country to receive a scholarship for the program in 2017. Daniel is a Ringwood local who is studying at Monash University. Through the New Colombo Plan he will have the chance to study at the National Taiwan University and intern with a Taiwanese semiconductor company. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Daniel and wish him all the best with his future studies and his endeavours in representing Australia, because that is what he will be doing when he interns next year.
I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise and acknowledge a couple of previous students from the Deakin electorate whom I have been fortunate enough to meet and have received scholarships under the New Colombo Plan. In 2016 Iain Payne, also from Monash University, under the scholarship studied in Nepal and studied at the Kathmandu School of Law in the field of law and development. In the 2015 intake, Deakin local Sam Williams, an arts student at Monash, received a scholarship to the Tribhuvan University in Nepal to study society, culture and anthropology whilst also interning with the International Nepal Fellowship. These students have been wonderful ambassadors for our country. I am very proud to be part of a government that conceived this idea and I look forward to it continuing into the future.