Member for Richmond Justine Elliot is on a mission in China.
Member for Richmond Justine Elliot is on a mission in China.

Education nation's top export

RICHMOND MP Justine Elliot has told the China Australia Chamber of Commerce in Beijing Australia is not only exporting coal and iron ore to their country, but also specialist education.

Mrs Elliot, who is the Parliamentary Trade Secretary, revealed education had become Australia’s biggest “service export” to China, which is Australia’s biggest trading partner.

Speaking to the Chamber of Commerce in China, Mrs Elliot said the economic rise of China offered great opportunities for Australia.

She said the Australian Government was pursuing “an ambitious trade agenda” and “working in support of global trade liberalisation”.

Mrs Elliot was in Beijing on Sunday and Monday during a four-day visit to China to promote Australian trade and investment.

Yesterday she headed to Chengdu, in Sichuan province, where she officially opened an Austrade office.

“New opportunities are emerging as a result of China’s growing emphasis on domestic consumption, increasing concern over the environment and a rising middle class,” she said.

“Education has become Australia’s biggest service export and China our biggest export market for this service.”

Mrs Elliot said she had seen first-hand during her visit “the dynamism of the international education sector and the interest Chinese students have in studying in Australia’s high-quality institutions”.

She said education added a “critically important dimension to our relationship” by strengthening our people-to-people links and providing mutual benefits for both countries.

“Australia is well-recognised here in China as a trusted and reliable provider of high-quality education services for Chinese students and we want to strengthen that deserved reputation,” she said.

“All Australian governments acknowledge and value the contribution to Australian life of international students who come from all over the world to study, live and work.

“International students enrich Australian communities, bringing energy, diversity and new ways of seeing things.

“They expand Australia’s global networks and link us to the world.”

Mrs Elliot said federal, state and territory governments had agreed last year to a new strategy for international students which would ensure that “Australia’s reputation as a high quality student destination continues”.

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