Philippine Embassy, Canberra
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www.philembassy.org.au *Tel. No. 02-6273-2535*
Ambassador De La Vega Highlights PH-AU people to people cooperation in Parliament Committee Hearing
16 November 2023, CANBERRA - In a public hearing at the Parliament of Australia on 15 November, Philippine Ambassador to Australia H.E. Ma. Hellen De La Vega said that the Philippines, given its strategic location, can serve as Australia’s gateway for tourism and business with key markets in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia and encouraged Australia to increase connectivity and develop new markets to facilitate two-way travel.
The Ambassador, along with the Heads of Mission of Indonesia and Singapore, participated in the Parliamentary public hearing on the Inquiry into Australia’s tourism and international education sectors upon the invitation of the Trade Subcommittee chaired by Senator Deborah O’Neil.
The Ambassador discussed the Transnational Higher Education Act and encouraged Australian education institutions to collaborate and partner with Philippine colleges and universities to create campuses or deliver courses linked to priority strategic industries.
She acknowledged the data from Australia’s Department of Education as of August 2023 that there are 31,386 students from the Philippines pursuing their studies in Australia, positioning the Philippines as the fifth leading source of international students for the country. “We believe that harmonizing qualification frameworks, including assessing current regulatory barriers to mutual skills and qualifications recognition, are crucial to make it easier for Filipino students to continue their education in Australia and facilitate the seamless mobility of students and professionals”, Ambassador De La Vega affirmed.
The Ambassador emphasized the need to safeguard the rights and welfare of international students and extend a comprehensive array of measures such as scholarships, comprehensive support systems, affordable housing, cultural integration programs, and avenues for gainful employment. She registered the support of the Philippines for the recommendations of the Subcommittee that will prevent the exploitation of international students including stronger government regulation.
The parliamentary inquiry aims to explore the challenges and opportunities presented to Australia’s tourism and international education sectors. Australia stands as the Philippines' third-largest source of international visitors in the country. -END-