Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has welcomed Indonesia's agreement to participate in the pilot phase of the New Colombo Plan in 2014.
Prime Minister Abbott extended the invitation to participate in the pilot program during his visit to Indonesia from 30 September to 1 October. Indonesia's President, HE Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, welcomed the initiative, with both leaders agreeing it would encourage the best and brightest young Australians to work and study in Indonesia.
The New Colombo Plan aims to lift knowledge of the Indian Ocean Asia Pacific in Australia and strengthen our people-to-people and institutional relationships, through study and internships undertaken by Australian undergraduate students in the region.
"We have much to learn from our friends and neighbours in the region. The New Colombo Plan is intended to transform and deepen these relationships and, over time, to make study in the Indo-Pacific a rite of passage for Australian students," Ms Bishop said.
The New Colombo Plan will commence in 2015, after a pilot phase in 2014. Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong are also being invited to participate in the pilot phase. Other regional partners will be invited to join the program from 2015.
The Australian Government has announced $100 million over five years of new funding for the New Colombo Plan. A close partnership between governments, universities and business will support the realisation of this important initiative.
The New Colombo Plan Secretariat has been established within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to further develop and implement the initiative.
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