Speech to Australia India Knowledge Partnership Dinner

Simon Birmingham: Thank you very much for that welcome. Ladies and gentlemen, Prime Minister Turnbull, ministers, the Indian Government, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; an absolute pleasure an honour to be with you tonight to celebrate the Australia-India Knowledge Partnerships Dinner.

The transfer of knowledge is as ancient as human kind, itself. Encapsulated as it is in traditional proverbs, such as the saying; to give a man fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. The sharing and transfer of knowledge – teaching – is not only important for the development of individuals or their communities but also for the expansion and growth of the sum total of human knowledge. Our modern world has been built through such sharing of knowledge in a collaborative way, which has facilitated the expansion of knowledge, delivering breakthroughs in fields such as; agriculture, health care on energy, that improve the lives of billions throughout the world, including our two nations.

It is in this spirit of knowledge sharing, collaboration and expansion that we gather tonight to celebrate the Australia-India Knowledge Partnership. Ours is a rich partnership that has already aided many people in both our nations to achieve more individually, to provide more for their families, to create more opportunities in their communities and to further enrich the lives and prosperity of our respective countries.

Today, I have had the enormous pleasure of seeing the richness of this partnership at work. Just a snapshot of today provides an insight in to the extent of the Australia-India Knowledge Partnership. Joining Australian vocational and technical education leaders to witness the best of competency based training at the Indian Training Institute, in fields ranging from electronic engineering through to panel beating. And I must say I was especially impressed to see that half of the electronic engineering first year students were impressive young women.

Hearing Indian academics pose questions at the Knowledge Partnership Roundtable, today, on how their experience can enhance our capacity in Australia in dealing and improving with the health outcomes of our Indigenous peoples.

The sharing that occurred at the Mining Industry Skills Forum, about Australian expertise in mining skills and the importance to the minerals sector in its development in both our nations of shared pathways between vocation and higher education.

We witnessed today, the inauguration by Prime Ministers, Modi and Turnbull, of the new partnership between Deakin University and India’s Energy and Research Institute. We equally saw a celebration of joint Australian Indian research projects that span everything from crop yields or maternal health improvements, right through to dealing with the flatulence issues of bovines. And we saw further steps to build stronger alumni networks across school, vocational education or higher education students, which can only enhance – in the long term through strong alumni networks – our cultural, economic and diplomatic ties for many decades in to the future.

Yet, despite how busy today’s program – which many of you have participated in – may have seemed, it really only scratched the surface of what the Australia-India Knowledge Partnership already is, let alone how much further we can deepen it in the years to come.

Australia stands ready to build on our 400 plus formal research partnerships with Indian institutions and businesses. We are honoured as a country, to be the second most popular destination for Indian international students, providing a quality educational and cultural experience to more than 60,000 students per annum. We are eager to keep growing the number of Australian students who travel to India to travel under our New Colombo or Endeavour Scholarships.

And our education and training providers, stand ready, to help skill the training workforce required here in India, to meet Prime Minister Modi’s target of up skilling 400 million people by 2022.

We set these priorities because of the transformational value of our knowledge partnership, knowing that it can transform both Australia and India for the better. Creating new opportunities for our peoples and closer ties that should last beyond the lives of many of us in this room.

Thank you to all our partners from India and Australia for the contribution that you make and for the impact that your efforts, as part of the Australia-India Knowledge Partnership, will have for decades in to the future. Well done on your success. We are here to build on it tonight, to celebrate those achievements. And Prime Minister Turnbull and I are delighted to give you our full support and backing.

Thank you very much.


Minister Birmingham’s media contact: James Murphy 0478 333 974
Nick Creevey 0447 664 957