Thursday, July 18, 2013

36m centre to support businesses in the Asian Century


A new $36 million centre based in Melbourne has been announced that will give Australia's small to medium-sized businesses the support they need to take up new opportunities in Asian markets.

Federal Trade Minister Richard Marles and Federal Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said the new National Centre for Asia Capability will be based in Melbourne and Sydney with funding provided for national program delivery through the University of Melbourne's Asialink.

"The centre will act as a hub, drawing existing resources together to better use their potential," Mr Marles said.

"It will tap into the expertise of business and community organisations, peak bodies, training providers and business councils to help business leaders develop a deeper knowledge and expertise of Asian countries and cultures.

"The centre will also forge new partnerships to help businesses develop the Asia-relevant capabilities they need to better access growing markets in our region.

Senator Kim Carr said the Australian Government was investing in the abilities and relationships that will drive Australia's economic and jobs growth in the years ahead.

"This is a significant and timely Australian Government investment in building Australian workforce capability," Senator Carr said.

"The business community wants to build skills, supply chains and other key networks but small and medium-sized firms are not always able to make these international connections on their own.

"The Government is stepping in to help them do this - to help Australian businesses compete and thrive in the century ahead. We want them to get a head start on the opportunities of the future as we grow and transform our economy and our core industries."

Mr Marles said making sure that Australian businesses understand and can effectively negotiate in Asia was a key part of the Government's response to the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century.

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