|Minister's Name||The Hon Daniel Andrews MP|
|Portfolio(s)||Premier of Victoria|
Did the Minister’s spouse accompany the Minister in an official capacity?If Yes – please outline the role of the spouse in achieving the outcomes of the visit
|Accompanying Ministerial staff||
Mr Ben Foster, Director
People’s Republic of China
|Date of travel||27 March to 1 April 2023|
|Number of official travel days (include day of departure and day of return)||
*4 days in-country
|Funding source (list Department/s or Agency)||Premier’s Private Office and the Department of Premier and Cabinet|
|Air fares (including taxes and fees)||$61,813.95|
|Accommodation (including taxes and fees)||$14,933.81|
|Other expenses (including surface travel and travel allowances)||$5,968.51|
|Travel cost for Minister and ministerial staff (and spouse or de facto partner if applicable)||$82,716.27|
|Are the above costs final and complete?*||Yes|
Purpose of travel
From 28 to 31 March 2023, I visited three cities in China: Beijing, Nanjing, and Chengdu. The purpose of this travel was to promote closer education, trade, and tourism ties, and to strengthen Victoria's relationship with Jiangsu and Sichuan Provinces, the state's oldest and newest sister-states respectively.
My travel aligns with government priorities to promote Victoria's interests and capabilities with the state's largest trading partner, and largest pre-pandemic source of international visitors and international students, noting Victoria's sister-states of Jiangsu and Sichuan Provinces are home to more than 160 million people.
Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria
As the first Australian leader to visit China since the onset of the pandemic, this visit was my first official overseas travel since 2019, and my seventh to China as Premier. My program consisted primarily of government-to-government meetings as an important step towards constructive and mutually beneficial post-pandemic engagement between Victoria and China.
Benefits of the trip to Victoria include:
- supporting the growth of Victoria's international education sector, and the return of international students to Victoria.
- A meeting with China's Minister of Eduction, Mr Huai Jinpeng, produced an agreement to establish a working group between the Chinese Ministry of Education, the Victorian Departments of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR), and Education (DE), to facilitate direct, ongoing collaboration in higher education with a focus on postgraduate student exchanges, special education, Vocational Education and Training, and international student attraction.
- supporting greater tourism, cultural, and trade ties for Victorian businesses and products, particularly for agricultural exports such as seafood and wine.
- A meeting with the Mayor of Beijing, Dr Yin Yong, provided an opportunity to discuss opportunities for deeper collaboration including in tourism, education, innovation, investment, and renewable energy.
- Meetings with the Party Secretary of Jiangsu Province, Mr Xin Changxing, and Governor of Jiangsu Province, Mr Xu Kunlin, provided an opportunity to discuss stronger education and trade ties; progressing work done under the biennial Victoria-Jiangsu Joint Economic Committee; agreement to establish a taskforce to deliver these priorities; and an invitation for a reciprocal visit to Victoria.
- A meeting with the Party Secretary of Sichuan Province, Mr Wang Xiaohui, provided an opportunity to discuss ties in trade, health and medical research, cultural exchange; shared lessons from the Sichuan Government's planning for the World University Games in 2023 and Victoria planned hosting of the 2026 Commonwealth Games; agreement to establish a working group to deliver outcomes in these priority sectors; and a reciprocal visit to Victoria.
My visit also included meetings with:
- Australia's Ambassador to China, Consul-General to Shanghai, and Consul-General to Chengdu, and
- the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) - who acted as a liaison point in-country to secure key meetings - including discussion on opportunities for students and businesses in the field of complementary medicine; and current sister-state arrangements and Chinese provinces for future effort, particularly Shandong and Henan.
Next steps / Follow up
Following my visit, several actions have commenced and will continue to be progressed.
In particular, a reciprocal visit from the Party Secretary of Sichuan Province occurred in May 2023, including engagements with government, industry, and business leaders, and the announcement of four further outcomes:
- Tennis Australia and Luzhou Laojiao (Sichuan-based liquor company) agreed to extend their partnership
- Sichuan Airlines and Melbourne Airport committed to continue working towards daily direct flights between Melbourne and Chengdu
- Melbourne Polytechnic and Sichuan College of Architectural Technology expanded their existing collaboration, and
- the Sichuan Department of Education offered ten scholarships for Victorian higher education students to study in Sichuan.
Actions in progress include:
- establishing the working group with the Chinese Ministry of Education, the taskforce with the Jiangsu Government, and working group with the Sichuan Government, in compliance with the Commonwealth Foreign Arrangements Scheme
- supporting a reciprocal visit by senior Jiangsu government officials in 2023 and / or the Governor of Jiangsu in 2024
- continuing to support Melbourne Airport's discussion with Sichuan Airlines towards daily direct flights between Melbourne and Chengdu
- the exchange of lessons from the Sichuan Government's planning of the World University Games with Victoria's 2026 Commonwealth Games preparations, and
- administering ten scholarships for Victorian higher education students to study in Sichuan Province.