Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Reception, Australian Embassy, Beijing

The last time I stood here was five years ago, almost to the day, as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Then, I spoke to the strength, dynamism and potential of the Australia-China relationship.

Of course, much has happened in the years since then, indeed the world has changed.

But even after a few days back in China, I am buoyed by a sense of optimism about the many opportunities to reengage and build the relationship.

Tonight I want to take this opportunity as Governor to briefly set out the objectives for my visit, as I support the Government of South Australia’s broader aims to renew and reinforce our longstanding ties in China.

No doubt many present this evening would know that my visit to China takes place after that by the Premier of South Australia, the Honourable Peter Malinauskas, in September last year – the first visit to China by a South Australian Premier since 2019.

And more recently, South Australia’s Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Honourable Clare Scriven, also visited, supporting South Australia’s interests in the food, wine and agribusiness sectors.

These visits are a testament to the Government of South Australia’s commitment to its long-standing and constructive relationship with China.

I am pleased to see these visits reciprocated by visits by Shandong Vice Governor Fan Bo last December, the Mayor of Qingdao next month, and the Governor of Shandong later this year.

There is a great South Australia story to tell and we have much to offer our friends in China as we face shared challenges and explore new opportunities in areas of mutual interest.

Over the past couple of days, I have been in South Australia’s long-standing Sister-State, Shandong Province. There have been many valuable discussions, including promoting the following:

  • the enduring educational connection between South Australia and China (which only stands to be enhanced by the changing nature of South Australia’s education landscape, with the establishment of Adelaide University)
  • the mutually beneficial opportunities arising from South Australia’s reputation as a leader in AgTech, and how this has the potential to boost productivity and efficiency in Shandong’s feedstock sector; and
  • South Australia’s renewable energy credentials and hydrogen ambitions, and the opportunities available to collaborate in the green economy value chain – particularly relating to green iron – which will assist both of us in achieving our carbon neutral aspirations
  • And, of course, wine. SA wine producers are delighted at the recent removal of duties on Australian wine, noting that South Australia is responsible for 80% of Australia’s premium wine production. I am pleased to be joined on this visit by representatives of the sector, keen to renew their relationships and regrow the trade.

I am buoyed by these positive discussions, and optimistic for what these opportunities will present in the coming years. I look forward to continuing these conversations, both this evening and on return to South Australia.

The Government of South Australia holds the relationship with China in high regard and wants to see the partnership flourish.

That is why we welcome the opportunity to be back here in China, to reconnect with our friends across business, education and government and cultural institutions, after too long apart.

This year, the Year of the Dragon, represents nobility, honour, luck, and success.

It is forecast to bring opportunities, changes, and challenges.

It is my hope that these symbols will, too, be reflected in our partnerships across government, academia, and industry - as we seek to grow our relationships and address new challenges that may arise on the road to our success.

I invite you to join me in looking to the future in the spirit of optimism, respect, and friendship.

Thank you.

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