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Joint media statement: The Group of Eight Universities and ASEAN Committee in Canberra stand together in support of deepening ASEAN-Australia cooperation

The Group of Eight Universities (Go8) and the ASEAN Committee in Canberra (ACC) affirm our commitment to work together to support collaboration between our countries through high quality education and research partnerships, including leveraging the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership announced in October 2021.

The ASEAN Heads of Mission in Canberra, together comprising the ACC, met the Go8 for a discussion on practical opportunities to strengthen ASEAN – Australia relations.

It was agreed that research and education were the building blocks of economic strength and social wellbeing in the 21st century knowledge economy. It is also an important pillar of the people-to-people linkages shared by ASEAN and Australia. The meeting noted the importance of scholarships to underpinning the development of the ASEAN-Australian relationship as well as ensuring equitable and affordable access to education given the large economic benefits to all nations.

The meeting also took note of the ACC and the Go8’s strong collaboration in recent months, particularly in facilitating the safe return of ASEAN international students to Australia amidst the COVID-19 disruptions.

As Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, which undertakes 70 per cent of Australian research activity, the Go8 joins with the ACC, agreeing to explore ways to boost our existing research and education collaborations in the post COVID-19 era.

Australia and ASEAN face similar challenges in the coming years: navigating the post-COVID-19 recovery, a changing climate, food and water security, and addressing new challenges arising from emerging technology such as AI and quantum computing, among others.

ASEAN nations collectively comprise Australia’s third largest market in the international education sector and contribute to the diversity and vibrancy of Australian education institutions and wider society. The meeting noted the importance of the New Colombo Plan in delivering this diversity and vibrancy more broadly across the ASEAN-Australian region. Overall, these shared agendas form the basis for a practical partnership to strengthen ASEAN-Australia ties.

The Go8 and the ACC commit to working together to identify opportunities to leverage and expand our existing relationships for our mutual benefit and that of the region. As a first step, both groups agreed to convene a strategic dialogue at a mutually convenient time involving ACC representatives, the Go8, industry and government, focused on education and the role of research in driving skills, trade and economic growth.

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472