Today I will launch two Australian initiatives to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. This year also marks 50 years of Australia-Singapore diplomatic relations.
I will officially open Singapore Zoo’s new koala exhibit with Singaporean Foreign Minister Shanmugam. This exciting exhibit will be home to our four furry ambassadors: Paddle, Chan, Pellita and Idalia.
I will also launch “50 Bridges”, an innovative program to promote Australian arts and community engagement in Singapore. The program will include 50 pieces of public art, by Australian and Singaporean artists, to be displayed across Singapore, as well as 50 performances by Australian artists in non-traditional performance spaces, including hawker centres, wet markets and public transport hubs.
While in Singapore I will hold high level discussions with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Shanmugam in 1965. Australia was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Singapore and in 2015 we will elevate our bilateral cooperation.
As part of our enhanced bilateral collaboration, I will establish an annual High Level Women’s Dialogue. The Dialogue, to be led by senior Australian and Singaporean champions from government and the private sector, will identify practical actions to promote the empowerment of women.
The Dialogue is an important investment in the next generation of women leaders and entrepreneurs in our region. I look forward to co-hosting the inaugural Dialogue in Australia later this year.