By NSW Premier Mike Baird @MikeBairdMP
I recently returned from a successful visit to Japan and the Republic of Korea as part of my first official overseas trip since the State Election in March.
Sydney is home to the largest Korean population in Australia and our cultural ties support the NSW Government’s efforts to further diplomatic relations with Seoul. I met with the Mayor of Seoul Mr Park Won-soon during my visit to re-energise our Sister State relationship, which dates back to 1991, and we agreed to increase collaboration in the areas of financial technology, emergency management and creative industries. We also agreed to work together in the area of education.
International education is NSW’s largest services export and was valued at almost $5.8 billion for the 2013-14 financial year. Our tertiary and vocational training institutions have global reputations and we will work to find opportunities to increase Korean student numbers, particularly under the new Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect six months ago.
During my meeting with Mayor Park I assured him the NSW Government would increase efforts to promote Sydney and NSW as an ideal location for Korean students to receive a world-class education. I echoed these assurances at a reception held for NSW alumni in Korea and asked them to act as ambassadors for NSW and maintain links with people and businesses they were in touch with during their studies in Sydney and NSW.
I also visited Japan where I made it clear the NSW Government is open to foreign investment and invites the world to help deliver our $20 billion plan to rebuild NSW. I travelled to Tokyo where I met with potential investors , the Mayor of Tokyo and the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games who were keen to hear about Sydney’s experience in creating a lasting Olympic legacy for our city.
It was a pleasure to host the Party Secretary of Guangdong in Sydney this week to build on the friendship between New South Wales and our Chinese Sister State.
I met with His Excellency Mr Hu at the Four Seasons Hotel early in the day before hosting him on a boat cruise of Sydney Harbour that evening to show him the spectacular view of Sydney during the Vivid festival, which I would encourage everyone to attend.
Mr Hu is the most senior member of government in Guangdong and it was an honour to host him for dinner that evening. The Sister-State relationship between NSW and Guangdong has flourished over the past 36 years, particularly over the past 12 months, and Mr Hu’s visit adds an important milestone to our longstanding relationship.
In the NSW Parliament this week, we introduced the legislation that will allow the Government to proceed with its election commitment to undertake a long-term lease of 49 per cent of the electricity network and deliver on its mandate to invest $20 billion in new infrastructure. The legislation includes a price guarantee for consumers, allows for the transfer of employees, and ensures the State’s interests are protected into the future. There is a committee looking at the lease of our electricity assets however, I can guarantee we won’t be introducing the bills into the Legislative Council until the report has been handed down.