02 July 2020
Labor has written to the Foreign Minister and Education Minister, urging the Morrison Government to provide emergency funding to an organisation that has played a key role in forging closer relations between Australia and Indonesia for the past 25 years.
Just days before the launch of a major trade agreement with Indonesia, the Government should demonstrate its commitment to the bilateral relationship by ensuring the survival of the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS).
More than 3,500 students have studied in Indonesia through ACICIS since 1995.
The Perth-based consortium’s revenue has taken a significant hit because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, with staff laid off in both Australia and Indonesia.
It has written to the Morrison Government to ask for a financial lifeline.
In February, Scott Morrison and President Widodo recognised education helps to create greater understanding and acts as a springboard for an even broader partnership between our two countries.
Once again, the Morrison Government is showing it is good at the talk – but not so good at delivering.
The relationships forged through these student placements will be central to the future of Australia’s economic relationship with Indonesia, a nation that must become a key plank of our trade diversification strategy.
Labor believes the Government should be encouraging Australians to study Indonesian language at school and university.
The Australian Government has previously stepped up to assist ACICIS in times of crisis, including in 2002 and 2003.
It would do our relationship with Indonesia a terrible disservice if the Government failed to once again come through for this important organisation in its time of need.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.