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Bishop announces New Colombo Plan grants

Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP and Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham today announced the successful applicants for grants under the 2018 New Colombo Plan mobility program.

The 2018 New Colombo Plan mobility grants will support 13,000 undergraduates from 40 Australian universities to live, study and complete internships in 35 countries across the Indo-Pacific region.

Education is a key driver of our engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. Through the New Colombo Plan, a new generation of Australians are gaining in-depth knowledge of our region and forging professional and personal networks that will drive our prosperity for decades to come.

Today’s announcement represents an increase from 7,400 students in 2017, bringing the total number of students funded under the New Colombo Plan to more than 30,000 students over five years. The New Colombo Plan will also be expanded to include new locations in Nauru, New Caledonia and Tuvalu in 2018.

As Australian students embrace the opportunity to study overseas, we are also welcoming a record number of international students to our shores. International student numbers are up 14 per cent on last year and while the sector supports more than 130,000 jobs in Australia and delivers billions of dollars to our economy, what’s even more important are the global knowledge connections the sector fosters.

Private sector support has been instrumental in the success of the New Colombo Plan. In 2018, nearly one in three projects will include in-kind or financial support from the private sector.

We welcome new private-sector sponsorship from aged-care provider Arcare Pty Ltd, who is providing $100,000 per year over five years to support the New Colombo Plan. In 2018, Arcare’s support will send 14 students from Deakin University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery to Bhutan where they will study primary health care, midwifery and aged care.

A signature initiative launched by the Coalition Government in 2014, the New Colombo Plan provides opportunities for students to deepen Australia’s relationships in the region through expanding university, people-to-people and business links.

What is the New Colombo Plan?

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

It encourages a two-way flow of students between Australia and the rest of our region, complementing the thousands of students from the region coming to Australia to study each year.

The New Colombo Plan is intended to be transformational, deepening Australia’s relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other links.

Over time, the Australian Government wants to see study in the Indo-Pacific region become a rite of passage for Australian undergraduate students, and as an endeavour that is highly valued across the Australian community.

To date, the New Colombo Plan is supporting students to study and undertake internships across the Indo-Pacific from Pakistan in the west to Mongolia in the north, and the Cook Islands in the east.