Victoria is well on its way to cementing ties with one of China’s fastest growing provinces, after signing an agreement with Sichuan Province that moves both closer to forming a sister state relationship.
Premier Daniel Andrews today met the Governor of Sichuan Province Wei Hong to sign a Letter of Intent to establish a sister-state relationship with Sichuan within the next year.
Mr Andrews said that Victoria will be the first Australian state to become a sister state with Sichuan.
The Letter of Intent builds on the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 21 April 2015 during the Culture China: Splendid Sichuan mission to Victoria.
During the inbound Sichuan mission, Victoria and Sichuan announced MOU’s between The University of Melbourne and Sichuan Conservatory of Music, and Melbourne Polytechnic and the Sichuan College of Architectural Technology, as well as Sichuan Government scholarships for Victorian tertiary students.
Victoria and Sichuan will now set up a Standing Committee on the development of a sister-state relationship to ensure it best supports cultural and economic cooperation.
Both Victoria and Sichuan will continue to develop initiatives in key areas of mutual benefit, with a particular focus on liveability.
The sister state relationship will draw on Melbourne’s status as the world’s most liveable city, and Chengdu’s recognition by the Asia Development Bank as mainland China’s most liveable city.
Sichuan, a high growth province in western China, has a population of 81 million and a GDP of A$580 billion in 2014. It has one of the highest GDP growth rates in China, growing by an average of 13 per cent each year from 2005-2013.
In September 2013, a Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) was opened in Chengdu, the first of any Australian state government. In the same year, Sichuan Airlines began direct flights from Chengdu to Melbourne. Direct flights contributed to a 24 per cent increase in visitors to Australia from Sichuan in the first year.
Quotes attributable to Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews
“Today marks an exciting milestone in paving the way forward for a formal sister-state relationship with one of China’s fastest growing provinces.”
“We will work to strengthen the relationship with Sichuan over the next 12 months and look forward to the significant opportunities this will bring to Victoria.”
“By working together and sharing our knowledge in creating liveable cities, we can keep Melbourne and Chengdu amongst the best in the world.”