The Group of Eight (Go8), which represents Australia’s leading research universities, has urged both the Government and the Federal Opposition to move swiftly and adopt the recommendations of a high-level Parliamentary Committee to ratify Trade Agreements with Indonesia and Hong Kong.
With seven of its eight members ranked in the world’s top 100 universities, Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said this remarkable achievement was built on our capacity to engage extensively with international partners, both in our region and around the world.
“Government level agreements – such as economic partnerships and FTAs – provide a strong signal of Australia’s willingness to engage with the wider community, both in our region and around the globe. In this way, they can help to facilitate the development of stronger relationships,” she said.
Indonesia is one of Australia’s closest neighbours and is our 8th largest source market for International students. Importantly, nearly half of the higher education enrolments from Indonesian nationals in Australia are at a Go8 university; as are 50% of enrolments from Indonesian nationals studying at Higher Degree Research level in Australia. This is a solid base upon which to deepen our education and research ties.
“Similarly, Hong Kong, like Australia, relies on international trade for its prosperity. Recent events demonstrate how our global partnerships are increasingly coming under threat from broader geo-political tensions outside the control of the higher education and research sectors. The Go8 considers agreements such as the A-HKFTA to be particularly important in challenging times, by providing a clear and high-level symbol of Australia’s commitment to our regional partners.
“We are therefore pleased to note the recommendations contained in the JSCOT report and support the implementation of both agreements as a matter of priority,” Ms Thomson said.