The Governor of Victoria's speech for the Lopez-Lochert Scholarship Program Reception in Santiago.
Mr Richardo Paredes Molina, Rector of DUOC
Ms Natalia Gorrono, Victorian Government Senior Trade and Investment Director for Latin America
Ladies and gentlemen
It is a pleasure for us to join you today, to celebrate the launch of the Lopez-Lochert Scholarship program.
We’ve been in Chile for two days now, and as we see more of your city and meet more Chileans, I am able to reflect on how many parallels there are between Chile and Australia – and between Santiago and Melbourne.
I’m very pleased to report that, in my experience, both of our lands can proudly lay claim to some of the world’s finest vineyards and wines.
We are from diverse communities. We both love our food, arts, culture and sport.
And we have open economies. Australia and Chile have had a Free Trade Agreement since 2009. Combined with the TPP, Pacific Alliance and Double Tax Agreement, our trade and investment links are growing from strength to strength.
But, even though I am, of course, a proud Australian, I hope you will understand that today I am talking to you specifically from my perspective as the Governor of Victoria.
Let me tell you a little about the State of Victoria.
Victoria has been blessed with year on year growth for nearly a quarter of a century. And it is continuing.
Our capital, Melbourne, a city of nearly 5 million people, is growing rapidly. Soon, it will overtake Sydney, as Australia’s biggest city.
At the same time, Melbourne has regularly been ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
I think that a number of factors feed into that ranking. Design, urban planning, clean energy and air, infrastructure, health and education are amongst them.
In fact, education and innovation are at the centre of our State’s identity. The more so as traditional manufacturing has given way to advanced manufacturing, and 4.0 methods of manufacturing and technology.
Like Santiago, we have excellent universities. We are home to Australia’s top ranked university, the University of Melbourne, and we rank alongside New York and Cambridge with seven universities in the top 500 in the world.
But we also see the delivery of Vocational and Educational Training as essential to our prosperity, particularly when it comes to responsiveness to industry needs and employment prospects for our young people.
We have more than 1,100 VET providers and 13 Government funded Technical and Further Education Institutes or TAFES.
In our recent State budget, our Government has just committed further substantial funds to the TAFE sector, to open new places and to upgrade facilities.
I know that this emphasis on education – at every level – is shared by you in Chile.
I know too that you specifically share our commitment to vocational and technical training. I think that reflects a common understanding of the need to prepare our young people to work in a changing global economy.
They need the skills for evolving industries and workplaces, and to meet what are really universal challenges in areas such as food security, water management and clean energy development. They need the best ICT skills – and in our countries – skills in the technology services around mining.
International education, educational partnerships and international research collaborations, are key to ensuring that the next generation will best be equipped to handle such challenges and rapid global change.
As well, this generation certainly yearns to travel in order to study and learn.
In Melbourne, we have more than 175,000 international students studying with us. Amongst them is a rapidly growing number of Chileans.
In fact, last night we met many of the alumni of Victorian courses, colleges and universities. Their competence in language and culture was immediately apparent, as was the fact that they are particularly well-equipped to work comfortably across jurisdictions – to their own benefit and to the benefit of both of our countries.
Of course, our young Victorians also want to study overseas. They also want the benefits of learning language and culture and forging friendships that will inevitably give them advantages in their working lives.
Many of our Victorian universities and Vocational Training Institutes are running increasingly popular exchange programs with Chilean universities and institutes.
And the collaborations in both research and study are well underway.
For instance, I note that DUOC UC and our Swinburne University both belong to the Design Factory Global Network: a network of design innovation hubs, where students collaborate – across borders – to solve real design problems for companies from around the world. A great link between Melbourne and Santiago.
I am also aware that, since 2005, DUOC and Victoria’s Box Hill Institute have formed a partnership, focused on expertise in teacher training.
And so, I am delighted to be seeing the new opportunities created through this Lopez-Lochert Scholarship program.
What a great privilege for our Victorian TAFE students to come to Chile to learn about ‘Doing Business in Chile’, and to study the ‘World of Chilean Wine’. And what a great advantage for them to learn from some of the world’s best wine experts.
This program will add to, and deepen, the bonds of international collaboration that have formed between us.
And the timing is auspicious.
Our Victorian Government Trade and Investment Office is now well settled here in Santiago.
And, just in the last few days Victoria’s Minister for Trade and Investment, the Honourable Philip Dalidakis, released the Victorian Government Latin America Statement, detailing our efforts to continue building trade and investment ties with the region, supported by people-to-people connections.
The education and training exchanges of young Chileans and young Victorians will form the basis of the best possible people to people connections.
Thank you to DUOC for their support of this initiative, and for their leadership in fostering collaboration between Chile and Victoria.
Shortly, you’ll hear from Ms Natalia Gorrono, Victorian Government Senior Trade and Investor Director for Latin America who will talk more about the program.