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Victoria

Media Release: New Scholarships to Strengthen China Connections

1 March 2012

Victorians seeking to improve their Chinese language skills can now apply  for scholarships worth up to $10,000 to study in Jiangsu Province in China, with the launch of the Victorian Coalition Government’s new Hamer  Scholarships program today at Parliament House.

"There is no better way to understand China than to experience it in person, and through the Hamer Scholarships Victorians will be provided with the opportunity to go and immerse themselves in life in China," Mr Baillieu said.

The Hamer Scholarships program will further strengthen Victoria’s important sister-state relationship with Jiangsu Province, which was  established in 1979 by Victorian Premier Sir Rupert Hamer.

"The language skills, cultural awareness and friendships these students will make while living and studying in China will help to establish a firm foundation for the next 30 years of Victoria-Jiangsu engagement,” Mr Baillieu said.

"The Hamer Scholarships program will provide the opportunity each year for up to 50 Victorian higher education students, recent graduates and professionals with linkages to China to come and travel to China, to live and study the Chinese language and culture.”

Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher said successful applicants would receive up to $10,000 each and become business, cultural and educational representatives for Victoria in Jiangsu  Province.

"Whether you are, for example, a business person, an educator, or an artist, gaining skills in Chinese language opens up a staggering array of professional and personal opportunities,” Ms Asher said.

"The Hamer Scholarships program has been designed to build the Chinese language skills of Victorians across a range of industries, while also promoting greater cultural understanding and strengthening links between Victoria and China."

Ms Asher said the Hamer Scholarships program was an important component of the Coalition Government’s approach to strengthening ties with China.

"The Victorian Government is committed to deepening cultural links and pursuing new opportunities for two-way trade and investment with China," Ms Asher said. 

"To do this effectively, we need a workforce with a high level of intercultural competence, including strong Asian language skills, while also leveraging the existing links between our peoples, cultures, and economies."

China is Victoria’s largest trading partner, the state’s fastest growing tourism market over the past decade, and the major source country for international students studying at Victorian universities, vocational institutions and schools.

For more information on the Hamer Scholarships visit: www.dbi.vic.gov.au/hamerscholarships

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