Speech notes for the Hon. Mark Coure MP, Minister for Multiculturalism

I want acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we are  gathered tonight. In doing so, I pay my respects to their elders—past,  present and emerging. I also extend that respect to any Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islander people here tonight.  

Good evening everyone.  

I would like to acknowledge our host—Director and Founder of the India  Australia Business and Community Alliance, Ms Sonia Siddiq Gandhi, who  is also an outstanding member of the Multicultural NSW Advisory Board.  

And I’d like to acknowledge our distinguished guests. 

It is a great pleasure to be here this evening, and thank you Sonia for the  invitation.  

I am here representing the NSW Government.  

Ladies and gentlemen, India is an incredibly important and valued partner  for NSW and Australia.  

Our relationship has long been built on trade, business and culture.

And that relationship is strengthened by the fantastic Indian community we  have in NSW. 

In 2019-20 India was our state’s third-largest source of international  students. 

India represented our fastest growing tourism market, with Indian tourists  spending an estimated $444 million in the year ending December 2019. 

And India is one of our largest two-way trading partners, with merchandise  trade reaching $2.8 billion. 

Recognising the importance of this relationship with India, the NSW  Government is working to ensure our partnership can flourish.  

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In a strong display of our unity, the NSW Government maintains Sister-State  agreements with the Indian states of Maharashtra (2012) and Gujarat  (2015). 

To date, there has been collaboration with Maharashtra in vocational  education and water management, and with Gujarat in urban planning and  green infrastructure. 

I am also pleased to say the NSW Government’s $60 million Aviation  Attraction Fund has enabled the creation of a new flight route between  Sydney and Bengaluru.  

Qantas will operate four weekly return flights from Sydney to Bengaluru,  starting on 14 September.  

These will be the first non-stop flights between Australia and southern India  by any airline—an incredible achievement.  

Ladies and gentlemen, the NSW Government is also actively working to  create opportunities to drive greater trade and investment. 

For example, NSW’s Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Vish  Padmanabhan, commenced in January this year.  

With the expansion of the Investment NSW’s international network, its  Indian team will grow to seven staff across Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Our trade priorities are focused on strategic growth sectors, including food  and beverage, education and ed-tech, health and med-tech, critical minerals  and mining equipment technology and services, and clean-tech.  

Through a network of onshore and offshore advisors, we are delivering a  comprehensive export program, supporting 11 high-growth NSW ed-tech  companies to identify partners, distributors and end users. 

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Our Government also recognises the close cultural ties between NSW and  India have long been strengthened by the students who choose to study at  our world-class educational institutions.  

As we emerge from the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on enabling students to return safely. 

For instance, more than 170 students from India were on board the  specially-chartered flight which touched down in Sydney on Christmas Eve  last year. 

This was one of the first flights to bring international students back to  Australia as restrictions lifted. 

At the Commonwealth level, Australia is extending the opportunity for Indian  students studying here to live, study and work temporarily for up to four  years when they finish their qualification.  

This will make NSW an even more attractive study destination for Indian  students. 

We are also seeking to increase Indian investment into NSW with incentives  such as our $250 million Jobs Plus program and the opportunity to be part  of our world-class education, innovation, jobs and skills precincts. 

These precincts include Tech Central, Western Sydney Aerotropolis and the  Westmead Health and Innovation District.  

As NSW is the world’s leading multicultural society, our major milestones,  cultural and religious celebrations are a shared experience for everyone.  

This year I note India celebrates 75 years of independence in August. 

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I understand DFAT is partnering with the Indian High Commission and  engaging think tanks, the private sector, arts, sporting and cultural  organisations to celebrate India and its people, culture and achievements.

And NSW is keen to support these celebrations.  

With all that being said. The NSW Government recognises that groups such  as the India Australia Business and Community Alliance play an incredibly  important role for us in helping build and maintain a strong relationship with  India.  

That is why the NSW Government is proud of the partnership we have with  IABCA and proud to be a major sponsor of this event.  

And this event is a fantastic way to celebrate the very people, organisations  and businesses that have not only helped NSW build a strong relationship  with India, but Australia as a whole.  

It is because of you, the people here in this very room, that we have such a  strong and prosperous relationship with India.  

And I have no doubt that you will continue to help the NSW Government  deliver on its commitment to connecting NSW globally by raising awareness  of important trade markets and bringing together senior decision-makers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the NSW Government, I thank you for  inviting us to this fantastic event, and I congratulate all the nominees,  finalists and of course winners.