Australia-India Council (AIC)

Australia-India Council Annual Report 1999-2000

Contents

Letter to Minister >> Introduction >> Chairman’s message >> Board members >> Mission statement, aims and objectives

Activities
Funding Application Process >> Australian studies >> Commerce >> Education >> Indian studies >> Institutional and professional links >> Performing and visual arts >> Print and electronic media and film >> Public awareness >> Science and technology >> Sport

Administrative overview >> Appendix: Australia–India Trust Account Financial Statements 1999–2000

Chairman’s message

As Chairman, I am pleased to be able to report that the Australia–India Council initiated and funded a range of activities during 1999–2000 that has substantially contributed to making Australia better known and understood in India, and India better known and understood in Australia.

The AIC sought and, I believe, achieved a good balance between projects initiated by the Council itself and projects initiated by others; between small and large projects; and between projects covering many aspects of the Australia–India relationship.

The Council’s members are drawn from most of Australia’s States and Territories and from diverse backgrounds. At AIC meetings, members reflect their own views and contribute their expertise to the Council’s deliberations. As Chairman, I have particularly appreciated the range of experience and the breadth of views in the Council membership, which have ensured healthy and constructive discussion on both policy and funding allocation issues.

While all of the Council’s members have substantial professional or other connections with India, it is nevertheless important that the Council meets regularly in India. Visits by the Council to India provide the opportunity to gauge the outcomes of those Council projects that take place in India, and enable the Council to seek the views of key Indian individuals and institutions on future Council projects. In addition, such visits foster Council teamwork.

Mr K R Narayanan meeting Michael Abbot

His Excellency Mr K R Narayanan, President of India (left) is introduced to AIC Chairman Michael Abbott QC (right) by Australian High Commissioner to India Mr Rob Laurie at the Presidential Residence (Rashtrapati Bhavan) during the AIC visit to India in November 1999.

With these considerations in mind, the Council visited India in November 1999, holding meetings in both New Delhi and Mumbai. Council members also participated in meetings with a wide range of partner organisations, including the India Australia Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The Council’s visit coincided with a number of other Australian activities in India, including the Council-funded Indigenous artists exchange.

One of the highlights of the Council’s visit was a meeting with the Indian President, His Excellency Mr K R Narayanan. During the meeting, I presented the President, on behalf of the Council and the artists, with a collaborative painting by the Australian artists Djambawa Marawili and Kathy Marawili and the Indian tribal artists Jangarh Singh Shyam and Bhuri Bai.

The Activities section of this report provides details of specific Council-supported projects during 1999–2000, and sets out the Council’s reasons for supporting promising projects in the various areas of AIC activity. I would urge all those with an interest in the Council’s objectives of broadening and deepening Australia–India relations to consider the Activities section of the report and thus to gain an appreciation of the enormous range of activities that the Council has supported and which serve to further its objectives.

As I noted in last year’s Annual Report, the Council goes to considerable lengths to ensure fairness and consistency in its funding decisions. This is, of course, an essential consideration in the allocation of public funding.

The Council continues to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which provides secretariat services and other support, and with the Australian High Commission in New Delhi. The support, assistance and hospitality of High Commissioner Rob Laurie in New Delhi and members of the High Commission staff were vital to the success of the Council’s visit to India, as well as being an essential support to the Council’s broader activities.

The Australian Consul-General and Trade Commissioner in Mumbai, Mr Shabbir Wahid, and his staff similarly played important roles in the Council’s India visit and give key support to the Council’s projects and activities in Western India. Mr Wahid’s previous experience as a member of the AIC has enabled him to work very effectively in promoting and facilitating Council projects in Western India.

The Council continued to work closely with Indian Government representatives in Australia.

The Council cooperates with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), the Australia–India Business Council and the State-based Australia–India chambers of commerce and business associations in encouraging closer business relations between the two countries.

I believe that 1999–2000 has been an outstanding year in terms of the range, quality and outcomes of AIC activities. I would like to thank all of my colleagues on the Council, and in particular the staff of the secretariat, Director John Powys and Project Officer Ian Black, for their vital contributions to the Council’s work.

 

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