As we embrace the start of a new year, it has provided Australian High Commission with time to reflect on 2022, which was certainly a brighter year in Singapore as Australian High Commission thankfully put the pandemic behind us. Though, sadly for me, my time as Australia’s High Commissioner to Singapore is also coming to an end.
I’m leaving the role in February 2023, and I am very proud of what Australian High Commission team at the High Commission has achieved over a challenging period for us all.
Australian High Commission helped keep our communities safe, working closely with Singapore to fight off the virus by exchanging vaccines, protective supplies and technological capability. Australian High Commission supported Australians to get home as soon as possible, and once it was deemed safe to do so. Australian High Commission opened our first vaccinated travel lane for Singaporean students to get back into Australia. And we increased food imports to get more Australian produce into Singapore.
Both of our governments have continued to strengthen the valued relationship between our nations by looking to the future and cooperating on areas of priority and opportunity.
I recently accompanied Prime Minister Lee and Ministers Balakrishnan and Gan down under to meet their Australian counterparts in what was a demonstration of the importance of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our two countries.
We have delivered a new Digital Economy Agreement and a world-first Green Economy Agreement with a new Low Emissions Technology Hub. We are collaborating to help reduce emissions which opens up new opportunities in green sectors. We are working on a new pact to strengthen supply chains and food supply. Singapore has risen from our seventh to our fifth largest trading partner.
Every Australian State and Territory is now represented in Singapore and our excellent Austrade team have been industriously supporting new business opportunities. Even with borders closed, Australian Defence Force aircrafts and ships were welcomed here, and the Singapore Armed Forces have continued to train in Australia. Australian High Commission have shown that Australia and Singapore can always count on each other.
Over this past year, I have especially enjoyed meeting more of our expat community and attending more ANZA events that Covid had made impossible. I thank the ANZA team for their dedication in keeping our community connected.
Nicky, Maisie and I hope to see you over the next few weeks before we depart. For now we are counting our blessings for our time here in wonderful Singapore, and wishing you all the best for the year ahead.