|Minister||The Hon Gabrielle Williams MP|
|Portfolio||Prevention of Family Violence, Women, Youth|
|Countries visited||People's Republic of China|
|Date of travel||15 to 20 November 2019|
|No of official travel days (including date of departure and date of return)||6|
|Accompanying ministerial staff||Naomi Nugraweni, Chief of Staff|
|Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity||No|
|Funding source||Department of Premier and Cabinet|
|Airfares (including taxes and fees)||$16,888|
|Accommodation (including taxes and fees)||$4,652|
|Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances)||$9,146|
|Travel cost for minister and staff||$30,686|
|Are the above costs final and complete?||Yes|
Purpose of travel
The purpose of the travel was to promote the Victorian Government's commitment to gender equality and youth engagement and increase knowledge of successful international initiatives that could further support women's social and economic progression and youth engagement.
Additionally, the travel provided the opportunity to explore new partnerships and advance relationships with senior government officials and business leaders.
Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria
The travel broadly advanced the relationship between Victoria and China and particularly the sister-state agreement relationship between Victoria and Sichuan.
The engagements promoted Victoria's reputation as a leader in gender equality. The invitation to deliver a keynote address at the Women in Leadership Forum, jointly hosted by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), provided an opportunity to highlight Victoria's work in gender equality. This key note speech was live streamed to over 340,000 people. The Victorian Government's Gender Equality Bill was highlighted as an example of Victoria's commitment to gender equality. Potential future collaboration was offered with international organisations and educational institutions.
Victoria's work in youth engagement and China/Victoria cultural, educational and sporting exchanges for young people were promoted through meetings with business leaders, youth organisations and government officials. In addition, insights were drawn into how China's youth initiatives may be applicable in a Victorian context and vice versa.
Ideas were canvassed for collaborative opportunities in supporting social and economic prospects for women, as well as youth-based projects and programs. One key proposal discussed was for a youth delegation (including young women entrepreneurs) to accompany senior government officials to the first coordinating committee meeting of the Victoria Sichuan sister-state relationship.
Activities in Chendu
The following engagements were attended in Chengdu:
SheLeads is an empowering female platform, which aims to introduce the concept of mentorship to the local community, by building a network specifically for women that fosters both positive relationships and mutual learning. A keynote address was delivered reflecting the similarities of China and Victoria's goals for gender equality. The address highlighted the Victorian Government's commitment to supporting women's progression in the workforce and leadership and referenced the Victorian Government's Gender Equality Bill.
There was also an opportunity to hear from young local professional women about insights into modern China and the challenges and opportunities that they are currently facing in the workforce in China. I expressed the Victorian Government's interest in further discussions and potential exchanges between Sichuan and Victoria that provide opportunities for female professionals and women in international business.
Tennis Australia hosts a calendar of events in China including the Australian Open China Challenge, which is co-hosted by Australian Open Associate Partner Luzhou Laojiao Company Limited, the largest Chinese sponsor in Australian Open history. The winning players from each of ten tournaments travel to Melbourne to play in the China Challenge final at Melbourne Park during the 2020 Australian Open.
During the tournament in Chengdu, I met with the Head of International Business, Tennis Australia. Discussions acknowledged the role that sports-based collaboration and exchange plays in strengthening the Victoria-Sichuan relationship, and reflected on Victoria as Australia's premier sporting destination. The meeting opened broader conversations for exploring more opportunities to promote women's sport and cultural diversity in sport.
Chengdu Panda Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Located in Chengdu, the base is famous for the protection and breeding of endangered wild animals that are unique to China, including giant pandas and red pandas. My visit reinforced both the Sister State relationship between Victoria and Sichuan and the Sister Park Agreement between the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and Victoria's Phillip Island Nature Parks. These relationships enhance tourism in Victoria and provide opportunities for ongoing partnership, learning and exchange in tourism, science and education.
The Australian Movement and Wavespeed
The Australian Movement was founded in Chengdu, Sichuan, and acts as a cultural bridge. It fosters business opportunities between Southwest Chinese companies and Australian companies. The Australian Movement company's founders are both recipients of Victorian Government Hamer Scholarships which enabled them to study in China and Korea.
Wavespeed is an organisation devoted to the promotion of sports and culture, with a focus on school-based sports development. Attending a Wavespeed sporting event provided the opportunity to learn more about the important work of The Australian Movement in progressing business and trade between China and Australia.
I also witnessed the signing of a cooperation framework between The Australian Movement and the Chengdu Rowing Association, which formalises a commitment to promote and organise cultural exchanges between young people from Victoria and Sichuan. I also had the opportunity to speak at the event, encouraging both female participation in sport and Victoria as a welcoming travel, sporting and study destination for Chinese young people.
Chengdu Youth Palace
Founded in 1958, the Chengdu Youth Palace, also called Chengdu Teenager Activity Centre, is a training and activities centre for teenagers to attend after school and has five campuses across Chengdu. The Chengdu Palace Chengdu Youth Palace focuses on community and social activities which promote the growth and development of students, delivering programs to over 100,000 teenagers annually.
Touring the Palace provided insight into the diverse and comprehensive training and activity program across the arts, science and technology, sports, culture, language and outdoor development activities and how these activities and youth engagement are delivered in the local Chinese context compared to Victorian delivery models.
Chengdu Municipal People's Government
I met with Vice Mayor Liu, of the Chengdu Municipal People's Government. Our discussions focused on the significance of the Melbourne-Chengdu relationship and areas of mutual learning and collaboration, especially where our youth and women portfolios align. This meeting provided the opportunity to strengthen the level of engagement between our two governments, and I was grateful to learn about the policies and programs that the Vice Mayor is responsible for in the areas of youth and women, and similarly shared Victoria's own activity and ambition.
Sichuan People's Congress
I met with Ms Lu Hua, Deputy Secretary General of the Sichuan People's Congress, and had the opportunity to speak to the Victoria and Sichuan sister-state relationship and our commitment to supporting this relationship. The discussion focused on learning more about the policies and programs that the Sichuan Government is responsible for in the areas of education, youth and women.
I discussed the Victorian Government's interest in exploring opportunities for collaborative efforts with the Sichuan Government in areas of women entrepreneurship, women's leadership training and exchanges between young people. One proposal for collaboration was for a youth delegation (including young women entrepreneurs) to accompany senior Government officials to the first coordinating committee meeting of the Victoria Sichuan Sister State relationship. This meeting is likely to take place in 2021.
Activities in Beijing
I attended engagements with the following organisations in Beijing:
China Soong Ching Ling Foundation
The China Soong Ching Ling Foundation's mission involves both the enhancement of international relations, as well as the promotion of women's and children's welfare. It also works across the areas of education, culture, health and medicine.
A meeting with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation at the Soong Ching Ling Cultural Center for Young People provided the opportunity to discuss and promote Victoria's programs supporting student exchanges between China and Victoria. Additionally, discussions indicated Victoria's interest in further collaboration with China, including exchanges between young people and students.
All-China Women's Federation
The All-China Women's Federation aims to unite Chinese women from all ethnic groups, represent and uphold women's rights and interests, and to promote equality between women and men. They operate as an umbrella organisation with a large national network and play an important role in mobilising women to participate in development and to influence policies on women's rights and gender equality.
In Beijing, I met with Huang Shu, Deputy Director-General, Liaison Department of All-China Women's Federation, where I learnt about the programs the Federation has implemented and supported in China to encourage women's participation and promote women's rights. Discussions focused on our shared commitment to gender equality, and I was able to share insights into some of the Victorian Government's work, including the proposed Gender Equality Bill as well as learn firsthand of relevant Chinese policy and law progressing gender equality.
The Chinese Museum of Women and Children
The Chinese Museum of Women and Children, opened in 2010, provides a vivid presentation of the history of promoting gender equality and child protection in China. I met with Madam Fang Song, Deputy Director of the Chinese Museum of Women and Children and had the opportunity to tour the Museum. Discussions focused on the museum's successful tours and programs and the museum's historical representations related to women's and children's issues, their social positioning and the cultural representation in China. We discussed Victoria's plans to increase the number of public monuments dedicated to women and children reflective of Victoria's diversity and the importance of recognition and visibility of women in public monuments and institutions.
Ladies Who Tech
Ladies Who Tech supports women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and works with businesses to help close the gender gap in leadership and promote a culture of diversity and inclusion. The organisation has active networks throughout China and supports Victorian Government activities through its work. The organisation's work is establishing a strong foundation to support women's contribution to their country's social and economic prosperity and their contribution to the fields of science and technology globally.
I attended a roundtable event involving women from large, well-known organisations in China (both domestic and international). Discussions identified synergies with Victorian initiatives and provided a deeper understanding of Ladies Who Tech initiatives, the organisation's future plans and opportunities for Victoria and China to collaborate in increasing prospects for women in Victoria and China, particularly in the areas of female entrepreneurship and women's leadership training.
China Women's University
The China Women's University (CWU) is the first and the only state-owned women's university, affiliated with All-China Women's Federation. With more than 65 years of development, it has become one of the major institutions to mentor Chinese women.
I met with Professor Hou, Dean of Studies and colleagues, with discussions focused on the research and impact that CWU is having on women and their education, and how this is translating into career opportunities and progression. We also discussed the Victorian Government's commitment to progressing gender equality, including the Gender Equality Bill, and welcomed any future collaborative opportunities between Victoria's educational institutions and CWU.
Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business
Cheung Kong School of Business (CKGSB) is one of China's top business schools and China's only independent business school. Over 13,000 graduates of CKGSB are now prominent business women and men across state owned enterprises and private businesses, including China's richest man, Jack Ma, cofounder of Alibaba Group.
I had the great honour of delivering the keynote speech for the "Fostering Equality "through Governance" section of the Women in Leadership Forum, jointly hosted by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB). My speech highlighted how the Victorian Government leads by example to improve gender equality in the public sector, which included introducing the proposed Gender Equality Bill and our commitments in supporting women's leadership.
Following my successful visit, a number of actions have commenced and will continue to be progressed. These include:
- The Victorian Government will hold further discussions with Sheleads around potential exchanges between Sichuan and Victoria that provide opportunities for female professionals and women in international business.
- Victoria's gender equality initiatives, including the Gender Equality Bill, will be shared with the All-China Women's Federation and China Women's University to encourage further collaboration and knowledge sharing.
- Further opportunities will be sought to promote women in sport, potentially in collaboration with Tennis Australia.
- The Victorian Government will seek further opportunities for student exchanges based on study, sports and culture.
- Strengthening relationships with organisations such as the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation will support prospects for young people and continue to strengthen the relationship between Victoria and China.
- There will be continued engagement with China's government officials in aligned portfolios, including in my portfolio areas of prevention of family violence, women and youth.
- Our network of Victorian Government Trade and Investment offices across China will continue to promote Victoria, build relationships and explore opportunities for collaboration.
Reviewed 20 May 2022