Page 1649 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2017

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It was a singing and dancing live action program designed for children aged three to five containing over 500 eight-minute episodes in English and in Mandarin for use in preschool education. It was a pleasure to participate in the launch with the children from the wombat class of the Australian International School in Singapore, and I thank them for the Akubra hat that they gifted to me.

The Wednesday program concluded with a networking reception hosted at the High Commissioner’s residence. The event provided a platform to promote Canberra and to introduce the travelling delegation to Singapore’s business community, investors and ANU alumni. A commitment to collaboration and connectivity helps shape the world’s best cities, and events like this contribute to making further direct people-to-people connections, providing opportunities to learn from each other and to generate a commitment to increasing the flow of information and sharing of ideas.

There were 10 Canberra Institute of Technology students visiting Singapore to further their learning in a culinary students exchange program. We were delighted they were able to join us at the event. They had a unique opportunity to absorb the atmosphere, and it added to their experience of Singapore, discovering a range of opportunities that will support their future careers.

The final day of the program commenced with a visit to Singtel’s smart city research and development centre, NCS. NCS delivers end-to-end ICT solutions to help governments and enterprises realise business value through digital transformation and the innovative use of technology. This engagement was facilitated by Optus Canberra as a result of its partnership with the Canberra Innovation Network. The tour of the facility presented a range of cutting-edge smart city solutions linked to education, financial services, e-government, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation and utilities.

My next appointment was to visit the Australian government’s newly launched start-up Landing Pad. This provided the opportunity to see the structure, support program and benefits for Canberra’s start-up community for potential market entry to Singapore. As I mentioned earlier, there are more than 3,500 multinational companies headquartered in Singapore, and the Landing Pad has the potential to give Canberra entrepreneurs access to a network of contacts and opportunities that provides a gateway to millions of customers across Southeast Asia. I was also very pleased to see the Canberra Innovation Network leading the delivery of a lean start-up workshop at the Landing Pad, another part of the committed contribution made by our broader business community to support this visit.

A key theme on this mission was a reinforcement of the opportunity that exists to establish Canberra as a freight hub, both for supporting Australian product entry to international markets and for facilitating the flow of goods into Australia. Through the assistance of Austrade and AustCham Singapore, I had the opportunity to meet with senior executives from Toll Singapore and hear about Toll’s investment in a 100,000 square metre Melbourne Cricket Ground-sized warehouse and distribution facility designed to cater for growth industries including pharmaceutical, health care and e-commerce. The meeting reinforced the rapid growth that is occurring in trade with Asia.

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