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Vic Premier Ted Baillieu returns from India with a bag of deals
It has been an immense journey for the Victorian Government, just back from what is being hailed as a resoundingly successful trip to India . Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and his contingent of over 200 delegates travelled to India on a week-long super trade mission from February 21 to 26, as a part of the Coalition Government’s economic strategy which aims to focus on trade engagement into new markets to generate more jobs for Victorians and substantial new export opportunities and investment for Victorian businesses.
Victoria’s largest ever trade mission to India showcased the best of Victorian industry capacities in its education, automotive, aviation and aerospace, cleantech, food and beverage, ICT, life sciences, professional services, sustainable urban design and tourism sectors.
The mission began its tour of India in the country’s capital of New Delhi , and progressed to key centres including Bangalore , Mumbai, Hyderabad , Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune.
One of the primary goals of the premier’s visit to India was no doubt to undo the damage done to the state’s reputation in 2009-2010 when the attacks against Indian students took place.
International education is Victoria ‘s largest export sector, currently worth $4.8 billion to the economy each year, and responsible for an estimated 50,000 Victorian jobs. Baillieu was out to win back the market share his state has lost from India .
Prior to his departure, he had announced a 24-hour International Student Care Service, a Welcome Desk at Melbourne International Airport at the start of each semester, a free Culture Card that provides access to the many great experiences on offer in Victoria, and up-to-date information at www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au, now available in Hindi.
Another interesting initiative was the establishment of the Victorian International Education awards, to recognise best practice and outstanding international education providers that deliver outstanding educational content and best practice student care. This initiative is aimed at encouraging educational providers to set new standards and recognise best practices, and presumably, to weed out the companies that treat the students as ‘cash-cows’.
Mr Baillieu also reiterated that his Government was advocating reform to the student visa regime at a national level.
The message was quite clear in India : the Government is working towards ensuring the safety of international students in Victoria .
Victoria’s position as the leader in education in Australia was also pushed unabashedly. ” Victoria is one of the world’s leaders in providing exceptional education,” Mr Baillieu said in India . “This is a key competitive strength that was reaffirmed recently when the London-based QS organisation announced its first global grading of major international student cities, ranking Melbourne fourth in the world – behind only Paris , London and Boston ”.
More than 160,000 international students from 165 countries, he reiterated, were enrolled in Victorian education institutions by the end of November 2011.
Mr Baillieu revealed that under the Victoria: Leader in Learning initiative the Victorian Government has committed an additional $2 million to support Victoria ‘s international education sector.
The delegation of Victorian higher education leaders who formed a part of the trade mission was the strongest ever to travel to India and included representatives of eight Victorian universities, six Vice-Chancellors from Victoria’s most prestigious universities, 14 of Victoria’s pre-eminent TAFE Institutes (including dual-sector), and other leading education providers.
125 teachers from the Indian state of Karnataka took part in a Vocational Education Teacher Training program delivered by Victoria ‘s Kangan
Institute. The program, which was completed on 17 February, involved modern methods of training and assessment to help prepare their students to be work-ready.
The training was delivered as part of a three year education agreement between the governments of Karnataka and Victoria.
The Victorian Government provided $440,000 to Kangan Institute of TAFE to deliver Vocational Teacher Training Programs in the Indian states of
Karnataka and Maharashtra .
Mr Baillieu also announced an expansion of the collaborative Victoria-India Vocational Training Programs, similar to those already in place in the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra which will enable thousands of people to be trained, and will help support the Indian Government and industry’s mandate to skill 500 million people by the year 2022.
Seven of ten Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships were awarded to leading Indian PhD students in New Delhi , by Premier Ted Baillieu and the Director of the Australian Indian Institute Prof Amitabh Mattoo, who travelled with him.
Research topics that will be studied under the program include diabetes prevention, investor protection regulation in the financial services industry, novel means of drug delivery, optical broadband technologies and treatment of livestock diseases.
The scholarships are offered in partnership with Victoria ‘s universities and provide an attractive new incentive for India ‘s high-calibre students to come to Victoria to pursue doctoral studies.
Each scholarship is worth $90,000 over three years for doctoral research at one of Victoria ‘s leading universities that will waive tuition fees for the successful recipients.
Mr Baillieu also announced an additional ten scholarships for the commencement of study in 2013.
The premier Mr. Baillieu repeatedly emphasized the growing demand in India for high quality education and “ Victoria ’s ability to meet this demand, boost exports and assist India in its next stage of development”.
He witnessed the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between leading Victorian and Indian education institutions following a historical bilateral education meeting held in New Delhi .
The new global partnerships are broadly for collaborative research and development, conducting joint projects and recruitment, knowledge exchange and co-operation in academic areas of research and teaching, and the sharing and dissemination of information and documentation in areas of interest. Deakin University , La Trobe University, University of Melbourne , among others, will collaborate with their counterparts from the Indian Institution of Management (IIM) Indore, Birla Institute of Technology (BITS) Pilani, University of Calcutta , among others.
Victoria’s Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher also announced three new partnerships between Deakin University and three Indian organisations, Bharat Forge, Indian Oil Corporation and the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore , covering a range of range of areas
including metal processing, oil and biotechnology research and cell biology.
India-Victoria nano-biotechnology research centre opened
A new world-class India-Victoria project focused on cutting edge technology to tackle critical issues of global importance was opened recently in India by Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher.
The TERI-Deakin University Nano-Biotechnology Research Centre is a joint venture between The Energy and Resources Institute of India (TERI) and Deakin University .
Ms Asher joined Nobel Laureate and TERI Director Dr R. K. Pachauri to inaugurate the New Delhi facility during the Victorian Government’s Super Trade Mission to India .
The Centre will address issues including food security in changing climates, environmental remediation using natural products, better health through novel molecules and better life quality in developing communities.
Around 70 researchers, including up to 50 PhD students from Deakin, are expected to be using the facility within five years. Students will be co-supervised by both Deakin and TERI staff, further strengthening education ties between Victoria and India .
A new partnership between Victoria ‘s La Trobe University and India ‘s HCL Technologies, a major Indian IT company, will deliver high-caliber research and industry benefits to both countries.
A MoU was signed in New Delhi to collaborate in research, development and commercialisation activities, and was witnessed by Mr Baillieu and Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips.
“ICT in Victoria is dynamic, globally-focused and competitive, generating around $29 billion in revenue and $2.45 billion in exports annually,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor John Dewar, said as well as recognising La Trobe’s key role in leading-edge ICT research, HCL Technologies would also provide opportunities for La Trobe University students to undertake internships on community and government ICT projects.
Ravi Bhatia, Chairman – Customer Advisory Board HCL Australia, said HCL was delighted to have signed the partnership with La Trobe University.
“We look forward to continuing our conversation on how HCL can extend its expertise to some of Victoria ‘s finest young minds, which in turn will play an important role in improving Victoria ‘s transport infrastructure,” he said.
The collaboration between La Trobe University and HCL Technologies will focus on research and development for Intelligent Transport Systems. Using innovative ICT, the project will look at problems associated with traffic management, infrastructure management and security, enhanced driver safety and logistics support for transport operations.
Expected outcomes of the project include improved traffic flow for commuters, better transport information for city planners, increased productivity of businesses, reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and better quality of life for citizens.
Aviation and aerospace
A MoU between Aviation Aerospace Australia (AAA) and the Society of Indian Aerospace and Technologies Industries (SIATI) was also signed at the trade mission, formalising a long-standing agreement between Victoria and India to work together co-operatively to grow their aviation and aerospace industries.
Victorian Minister Responsible for the Aviation Industry Gordon Rich-Phillips said this signalled a new level of co-operation and exchange between Victoria and India in aviation and aerospace.
The agreement will make it easier for their respective organisations to share knowledge, develop expertise and transfer skills, while tapping into new opportunities in India .
Around 20 of Victoria ‘s leading aviation and aerospace companies were a part of the trade mission.
Another announcement was the establishment of a new Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering (AICAUSE) at RMIT University . Premier Baillieu announced that up to 300 highly skilled software engineering jobs will be generated in Victoria as a result of this new partnership between RMIT, ABB Australia, ABB Corporate Research Centre (CRC) and Global Industries and Services in India .
The new facility is set to become Australia ‘s centre of excellence in automation and robotics, which will not just significantly boost employment in Victoria but also strengthen the state’s global reputation as a leader in ICT and R&D. It will support ABB Australia and other businesses in sectors including advanced manufacturing, energy generation and distribution, utilities, building automation, and mining and natural resources.
Academia and researchers will together develop solutions that tackle issues core to industry, such as improving energy efficiency, raising productivity and addressing climate change.
ABB India CEO Bazmi Husain commented on the benefits of this alliance in its ability to draw on the global expertise of a company that invests more than US$1 billion a year in R&D globally – much of it directed at ABB’s seven Corporate Research Centres.
Victorian company GRG International Limited (which supplies and distributes GRG Banking ATMs and management software and additional banking products and services) signed a MoU with the Madhya Pradesh Consultancy Organisation (MPCON) to supply ATMs and cash dispensers for eligible recipients to access payments using transaction cards that will also be issued by GRG.
One of the key outcomes will be a distribution system for payments made under India ‘s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which will substantially improve the efficiencies of government welfare.
The agreement will create 50 new jobs in Victoria and another $500 million in Victorian exports over the next 10 years.
Subject to final contracts GRG expects to deliver 5,000 ATMs, 25,000 point-of-sale terminals and four million cards, to be deployed over three years under a 10-year agreement.
Defence and aerospace
A major Indo-Victorian joint venture in Bangalore was also launched diring the premier’s trip. Vyoneesh Rosebank Technologies (VRT), will manufacture, maintain and provide product support for components and equipment used by India ‘s defence and aerospace industry.
The Victorian partner, Rosebank Engineering, is a leading supplier of defence, commercial aerospace and land systems products and services, with customers including the defence forces of Australia , USA and Malaysia .
Mr Baillieu unveiled a plaque to mark the start of construction on a new facility for VRT in Bangalore , that will operate state-of-the-art design, manufacturing and engineering technology.
“Rosebank Engineering will be responsible for training VRT staff, and provide its great expertise and skills to help ensure VRT becomes an Indian leader in defence and aerospace services,” Mr Baillieu said.
This project will deliver approximately 10 new jobs in Victoria in the near future.
Clean technology vehicles
Another MoU was signed with Indian automotive pioneer Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles to support a feasibility study exploring the potential for research, supply chain development, and manufacturing of clean technology vehicles in Victoria .
Mr Baillieu said Victoria was a driver of the Australian automotive industry and offered companies such as Mahindra Reva a comprehensive suite of capabilities, from initial concept and design right through to manufacture and assembly.
Mahindra Reva is a pioneer of electric vehicle technologies and was one of the first companies to introduce electric vehicles worldwide.
Mr Baillieu also welcomed new partnerships between Mahindra Reva and three distinguished Victorian research institutions: the Victorian-based Automotive Cooperative Research Centre, Latrobe University , and Swinburne University .
Mahindra Reva has entered into an MoU with the AutoCRC to establish an operational framework for an Applied Research Program.
The two-year MoU will facilitate the sharing of relevant confidential information and enable the two parties to establish specific project agreements under the Applied Research Program.
The company has also entered into a three year MoU with La Trobe to facilitate collaborative research and development for new energy management technologies.
The research program will develop new concepts and techniques for high-efficiency building design, electric vehicles, and vehicle-to-grid technologies. Energy management systems for commercial buildings would encourage employees to use electric vehicles, which could in turn serve as a source of energy for the workplace or help to stabilise renewable energy sources.
Mr Chetan Maini, “the man behind Reva”, will become Swinburne University ‘s first Entrepreneur in Residence, and will be engaged in the excellent work being undertaken by the Swinburne Electric Vehicle Group.
Victoria’s automotive excellence showcased
The Future Technology Trends in the Automotive Sector Conference held during the Victorian Government’s trade mission to India showcased the state’s technological prowess in the automotive sector. 17 leading Victorian automotive companies and research organisations with world-leading capabilities were a part of the delegation who met with leading Indian automotive operations to discuss new opportunities for industry and research partnerships.
Mr Richard Dalla-Riva (Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade) said Victorian ideas, technologies and components were found in hundreds of automotive models worldwide.
“Our home-grown innovations such as the ute and variable ratio rack and pinion steering have had a significant and lasting impact on the industry around the world,” he said.
“Our local automotive industry has also been quick to participate in the global trend towards low and no-emissions vehicles. It has developed unique skills to produce multiple model variants on a single production line and innovative products that are profitable at niche volumes”.
“Today Victoria is one of only 13 locations in the world with the capability to take a vehicle through the entire production process – from concept, design and engineering through to manufacture and delivery to the showroom floor.
“One of our recent successes in the global market was the Ford Figo, India ‘s own 2011 International Car of the Year and the most awarded car ever – designed and engineered in Victoria ” Mr Dalla-Riva noted.
Urban design and clean technology
Premier Ted Baillieu highlighted Victoria ‘s skills and expertise in urban design and clean technology
while speaking at the Building Sustainable and Liveable Cities of the Future forum held in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry, the India Green Building Council and the Victorian Government in New Delhi .
He stated that with its wealth of knowledge and experience in urban design and related technologies, Victoria is well-placed to assist India in meeting the challenges of sustainable urban development.
During the visit, Victoria ‘s award-winning urban design business LAB Architects announced that it would be establishing its first office in India .
The ‘Victorian Connection’
As part of a new Trade Engagement Program, the ‘Victorian Connection’ was launched as a new
initiative to develop investment and trade opportunities in global markets. The program will help Victorian expatriates and people who have lived or studied in Victoria and who now live and work overseas stay connected with each other and everything Victorian. It will support them in forming professional and personal networks that can provide market intelligence and identify and develop new investment, trade and joint venture opportunities between Victoria in their respective regions.
Members will be encouraged to become ambassadors for Victoria , helping to raise the State’s profile and awareness of what it can offer in global markets.
Following the launch in India , the Middle East and North Africa , The Victorian Connection will be launched in other markets identified by the Victorian Government as priority areas.
The program will also be extended through The Victorian Connection Business Insight Series, an annual event in key international markets, with one event per year held in up to ten countries and will position Victoria at the forefront of innovation and cutting-edge knowledge through exclusive functions for Victorian alumni with leading thinkers from industry and/or academia as speakers.
A Bollywood biopic on one of one of India ‘s greatest sporting heroes will have key scenes shot in Melbourne, announced Premier of Victoria and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu, during the trade mission to India . Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Run Milkha Run) will tell the story of the legendary Indian runner Milkha Singh, known as the ‘Flying Sikh’, who won 77 of the international footraces out of the 80 that he entered.
Milkha Singh first represented India at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics which introduced him to the world stage and launched his international running career.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag will be directed by one of India ‘s most celebrated filmmakers, Rakeysh Mehra, and will feature two of India ‘s biggest film stars – the multi-talented Farhaan Akhtar and style icon Sonam Kapoor.
The shoot in Melbourne will take between two and three weeks, and generate more than $1 million in local economic activity.
“As with other Indian films shot in Melbourne , Bhaag Milkha Bhaag will raise our profile in India and showcase Victoria as a great tourism destination,” Mr Baillieu said. “Tourism Victoria will leverage the release of the movie through a marketing campaign in India featuring the key locations from the film.”
Mr Baillieu said that as part of the Victorian Government’s Trade Engagement Program – India , screen industry ties were being strengthened between Victoria and India .
“We have committed $500,000 to deliver an Indian Film Festival in Melbourne in 2012, 2013 and 2014; we are establishing fellowships for young Victorian directors and producers to travel to India , and we will appoint a well-known Indian Film Ambassador,” Mr Baillieu said.
“We have signed a Victoria-India Co-production initiative which will see 10 Victorians travel to India ‘s FICCI Frames in Mumbai and support up to three Victorian screen companies in joint ventures with Indian production entities,” he added.
Mr Baillieu said Milkha Singh’s story was an inspirational one, and its strong ties to Melbourne were an excellent opportunity to expand Victoria ‘s relationship with India in the realm of the arts.
Also present at the announcement were the film’s director Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra, Vikram Malhotra, COO – Viacom18 Motion Pictures, and Mitu Bhowmick, Director of Mind Blowing Films, the Victorian line producer.
And a bit of cricket
Mr Baillieu joined in an informal game of cricket with children on his tour, with cricket legends like former Indian captain Kapil Dev, Victorian cricket star Dean Jones and Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide also participating.
Afterwards he revealed, “In May this year, up to 20 Indian students will take part in an upcoming pilot program in Melbourne run by Cricket Victoria ‘s ongoing Sports Business Program, where I am certain they will receive a warm welcome and gain valuable skills and experience”.
The program is an initiative where participants develop skills in a range of sports-related fields, including administration and training, marketing and major events management.
Mr Baillieu also announced on the occasion that the Victorian Government will be working hard to secure the 2015 ICC World Cup final for the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). He said that Melbourne is the sporting and cultural capital of
Australia and has been voted both the World’s Most Liveable City and the Ultimate Sports City on numerous occasions.
The ICC World Cup is the fourth-largest international sporting event, with 14 nations participating and an estimated television audience of 953 million people.