Today I announce three new initiatives to enable businesses to connect with some of Australia’s outstanding young undergraduates, which will enhance Australia’s engagement with our region.

The Australian Government's New Colombo Plan has already given more than 4500 Australian students the opportunity to live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region.

By the end of 2016, within three years of its establishment, around 10,000 young Australians will have undertaken a study abroad experience under the New Colombo Plan.

Internships and mentorships are a hallmark of the Plan, allowing students to build professional networks, test their skills in real life situations and develop competencies including cross-cultural communication in both public and private sector environments.

The initiatives, announced at today's New Colombo Plan Business Event will allow students to further benefit from these opportunities.

The New Colombo Plan Internship and Mentorship Network will include a secure online portal for businesses to register work opportunities for NCP students. Around 100 internship and mentorship opportunities from businesses have already been listed.

The Mobility Partners Program will foster innovative partnerships between Australian universities and businesses based in Australia and in host countries to create new opportunities for our students.

I am delighted with the private sector's enthusiastic embrace of the New Colombo Plan since its launch in 2013. The Business Champions Initiative will further support business leaders to promote the value of regional study and workplace experiences to students to enhance their future career prospects and Australia’s future prosperity.

The inaugural New Colombo Plan Business Champions are:

  • ANZ CEO Mike Smith OBE;
  • Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer;
  • Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka;
  • QBE Emerging Markets CEO David Fried;
  • GE Australia and New Zealand President and Chief Executive Geoff Culbert;
  • Coca-Cola Amatil Group Managing Director Alison Watkins;
  • KPMG National Leader Asia Business Group Doug Ferguson;
  • Mitsui & Co Director and Executive Vice President Wendy Holdenson; and
  • CPA Australia Executive General Manager Education Rob Thomason.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555