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Australia-Thailand Institute Annual Program Report 2011-12

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Term Definition
ATBC Australia-Thailand Business Council
ATI Australia-Thailand Institute
BOI Thailand Board of Investment
DFAT Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
FCI Foundation, Council, Institute
HOM Head of Mission (i.e. Ambassador)
IRGP International Relations Grant Program (grants in support of the Government's foreign and trade policy goals, including through bilateral foundations, councils and institutes, which help promote people-to-people links and a contemporary and positive image of Australia)
NGCL Next Generation Community Leaders
Post Australian Embassy, Bangkok
Programs Long running or long term activities that promote the mission and goals of the ATI
Projects Individual, one-off undertakings to promote the mission and goals of the ATI
TAFTA Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Chairperson's Message

Mr Mike Courtnall

This year the Australia-Thailand Institute received 61 applications and has funded 32 different grant activities and departmental programs within the framework of our 2011-12 business plan objectives.

As you will see in this report the ATI has continued to fund an extremely diverse range of projects. Our seed funding has supported initiatives that have played an important part in strengthening the people-to-people and institutional relationships between Australia and Thailand. In line with our stated priorities over 75% of our funding was spent in the areas of Education, Culture and the Arts, and Community Programs. I am also pleased to report that we continued to support projects and programs that, wherever possible, focussed on the 'next generation' of leaders, irrespective of their field of endeavour.

This year marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Thailand and saw the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visit Australia. At a joint press conference, the Thai and Australian Prime Ministers announced two new exciting education programs being launched by the ATI in 2013.

The first announcement was for the Discover Thailand scholarships program. This will annually provide 11 scholarships to Australian university students wishing to study in Thailand. With over 15,000 Thai students studying in Australia but less than 50 Australians studying in Thailand the ATI has launched this initiative in 2012 to go some way towards addressing this imbalance.

The other ATI initiative announced during the visit was the establishment of a trial Australia-Thailand BRIDGE (Building Relationships Through Intercultural Dialogue & Growing Engagement) school partnerships program to commence in mid 2013. This will link together Australian and Thai high schools and is based on the successful BRIDGE programs in Indonesia, Korea and China.

While these two new programs will form a key part of our 2013 activities they also build on the education grants the ATI awarded this year to Talkback Classroom (a collaborative project for Victorian and Thai high schools students) and the Sustainability Partnership forged between Victorian schools and those in Phuket.

For the sixth year we hosted a group of young Thai community leaders to introduce them to Australia's diversity. The ATI also continued its media exchange program, bringing Thai sports journalists to Australia. Through a partnership with the Australia-Malaysia Institute a Malay journalist was also part of this exchange visit.

In June the ATI piloted a political exchange program with three young female Thai MPs visiting Australia for a week. After two days in Canberra the MPs visited the electorates of two female Australian MPs in Victoria and the Northern Territory. A reverse visit is being planned for 2013.

The ATI's grants program continued to draw in a wide variety of very diverse applicants. We were pleased to provide seed funding to many community based projects which otherwise may not have happened. A small sample includes a four day symposium on protecting valuable art from the elements, assisting in building and equipping a purpose built surf life saving club in Phuket, supporting the launch of a book on the roots of Thai art that took 60 years to research, and sponsoring three Thai film professionals to attend the Asia Pacific Film awards in Brisbane.

This anniversary year saw a wide range of conferences focussed on the bilateral relationship, all of which were helped by an ATI grant. These included Thai Studies Conferences at RMIT and the ANU followed by two conferences in Bangkok: one held by the Australian Studies Centre (a previous grant recipient) with a theme of 'Celebrating 60 Years of Australia -Thailand relations', and the other hosted by the Australia-Thailand Chamber of Commerce that focussed on 'Australia in an Integrated Asia'. All of these conferences were well attended and provided the audience with a great number of stimulating views and ideas.

On behalf of the board I want to express our thanks to the staff of the ATI Secretariat, who provided ongoing support to the Board throughout the year. Vanessa Wood, Secretariat Director, continues to drive the implementation of the ATI agenda, along with two other South-East Asian Institutes. I also wish to acknowledge and thank Gai Jansen, Nitij Manchanda and the many other DFAT officers, both in Canberra and the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, for their invaluable advice and support throughout the year.

I would also like to express my gratitude to my fellow Board members for their energetic commitment, support and spirit which has not only made my role easier but, more importantly, allowed the ATI to make significant progress again this year. This is especially true for the three retiring Board members: Doug Hall AM, Sid Meyer AM, and Prof Abdullah Saeed AM. A special personal thanks to Doug and Sid who, like me, were on the Board at the ATI's inception and did much to sustain the ATI in its early years. It is also with great pleasure that I was able to welcome our newest Board members Dr Kaye El-dridge, Ms Dusadee Coulson, and the Hon Annette Ellis, who are already making a significant contribution.

To everyone who applied for an ATI grant I would also like to express my appreciation. The number of original, high quality applications continues to grow with each year, making the Board's funding deliberations a challenge that is both pleasing and difficult. Of course, thanks must also go to the participants and supporters of the many programs run by the ATI whose engagement in our programs makes them so successful.

Overall, the ATI has supported many projects and programs that have, at their core, the ability to enhance the bilateral relationship between Australia and Thailand at both an institutional and people-to-people level. The importance of developing these linkages was underscored yet again by many comments in the recently released Australia in the Asian Century Whitepaper which highlighted the importance of the areas in which the ATI and its sister institutes operate.

Australia-Thailand Institute Overview

The Australia-Thailand Institute (ATI) was established in 2005 to promote and enhance the bilateral relationship between Australia and Thailand. On 4 July 2008 the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Mr Stephen Smith MP, announced the Government's decision to make the Institute permanent.

The Institute is headed by a Chairperson and is governed by an Advisory Board of up to eight members chosen from the Australian public. The ATI is funded by the Australian Government and is housed within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In 2011-12 the ATI's budget was $500,000, half of which was for funding grants. Appendix B provides detailed financial information.

The ATI's purpose is to promote bilateral relations with Thailand and to expand institutional and people-to-people links. The ATI initiates and supports a range of activities designed to promote a greater awareness of Australia in Thailand and a greater awareness of Thailand in Australia, including visits and exchanges between the two countries, development of institutional links and support for knowledge transfer. Wherever possible, the ATI seeks to expand people-to-people links with a focus on the next generation of leaders as well as institutional linkages through programs, partnerships with other organisations, and seed funding of projects to enable them to grow.

Board Membership as at 30 June 2012

At 30 June 2012, the Advisory Board was comprised of eight Australians from business, academia and the arts, plus an ex-officio member from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).


Mr Mike Courtnall

Mr Mike Courtnall

Company Director and former President of Asian Building and Manufacturing Markets, Bluescope Steel
Advisory Board Membership from 1 May 2005 - 31 July 2008. Appointed as Chair from 1 January 2009 - 31 March 2011, reappointed from 09 April 2012- 08 April 2013

Advisory Board Members

Ms Gillian Bird

Ms Gillian Bird

Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
member since 1 May 2005

Ms Annette Ellis

Ms Annette Ellis

Former Member of Parliament
Advisory Board Membership from 04 May 2012- 03 May 2015

Mr John Hancock

Mr John Hancock

Chairman of John W. Hancock & Associates
Advisory Board Membership from 1 January 2009 - 31 December 2011, reappointed from 09 April 2012- 08 April 2015

Mr Michael Laverty

Mr Michael Laverty

Managing Director, Tropfest
Advisory Board Membership from 1 January 2009 - 31 December 2011, reappointed from 09 April 2012- 08 April 2015

Mr Jim Middleton

Mr Jim Middleton

Anchor Newshour, Australia Network
Advisory Board Membership from 1 January 2009 - 31 December 2011, reappointed from 09 April 2012- 08 April 2015

Ms Dusadee Coulson

Ms Dusadee Coulson

Producer, Thai Service, SBS Radio
Advisory Board Membership from 04 May 2012- 03 May 2015

Dr Kaye Eldridge

Dr Kaye Eldridge

Education Consultant, University of Queensland
Advisory Board Membership from 04 May 2012- 03 May 2015

Ms Margaret West, AM

Ms Margaret West, AM

Curatorial Consultant and Emeritus Curator of Aboriginal Art, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
Advisory Board Membership from 1 November 2009 - 31 October 2012, reappointed 15 January 2013 to 14 January 2016


The ATI appointed three new board members to its advisory board:

  1. Ms Annette Ellis
  2. Dr Kaye Eldridge
  3. Ms Dusadee Coulson


The ATI reappointed its Chairperson, Mr Mike Courtnall, to 8 April 2013.

Resignations and Retirements

The following board members retired from the board of the ATI:

  1. Mr Doug Hall, AM
  2. Mr Sid Myer, AM
  3. Prof Abdullah Saeed, AM

Australia-Thailand Institute Secretariat

The ATI's Secretariat is located within the Southeast Asia Bilateral Branch, Southeast Asia Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Secretariat implements the ATI Board's decisions and recommendations, and administers the ATI's funding programs and other activities. In 2011-12 the Secretariat consisted of one full-time officer and was managed by the Director of the Southeast Asian Institutes. Over the course of the financial year these positions were filled by:

Ms Vanessa Wood: Director

Ms Gai Jansen: Executive Officer (July 2011- April 2012)

Mr Nitij Manchanda: Executive Officer (April 2012- June 2012)

The Secretariat liaises with the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, and received input and assistance from the following officers:

Mr James Wise: Ambassador

Mr Simon Farbenbloom: Deputy Head of Mission

Ms Sarah Storey: Counsellor

Ms Amelia Henty: First Secretary

Dr Moya Collett: Second Secretary

Ms Melanie Littlejohn: Second Secretary

Mr Robin Bednall: Third Secretary

Mr Sarat Suebsantikul: Research Officer

Contact Details

Australia-Thailand Institute Secretariat
Southeast Asia Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent

Telephone: +61 2 6261 3202
Facsimile: +61 2 6261 2342

Mission Statement

To broaden and deepen the relationship between Australia and Thailand and to undertake and support programs that strengthen next generation links between Australia and Thailand.


The ATI program and budget will support Australia's foreign and trade policy interests by facilitating activities that:

  1. Contribute to the development of Australia's political and economic relations with Thailand and support Australia's broader diplomatic objectives in Thailand;
  2. Broaden awareness and understanding in Australia and Thailand of each other's culture, values and traditions, including sport;
  3. Generate increased institutional and people-to-people contacts between Australia and Thailand; and
  4. Publicly promote the Australia-Thailand relationship and establish relations through media and alumni activities in order to facilitate long-term bilateral links.

The Australia-Thailand Institute's three year Strategic Plan (2009-2012), approved by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Smith, sets out the ATI's mission, functions, goals and strategies (Appendix A).

Funding Activities

The ATI identified the following priority areas for 2011-12:

  • Education
  • Economics and Trade
  • Community Development
  • Media
  • 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Thailand

During 2011-12 the Board considered 61 grant applications and provided funding for 25 of these under the International Relations Grants Program. The majority of activities supported by the ATI also attracted substantial funding and in-kind support from other organisations and individuals.

A thematic summary of ATI expenditure in 2011-12 is outlined in the table below. Full details are included in the financial statement at Appendix B.

Priority Area Expenditure Percentage of total available funding
Science, Technology and innovation $49,035 9.81
Economics and Trade $26,016 5.20
Education $140,435 28.09
Culture and the Arts $130,280 26.06
Community Programs $66,845 13.37
Public Policy $33,701 6.74
Administration Costs $32,663 6.53
60th Anniversary Programs $20,694 4..14
Total Program Expenditure $499,671 99.93 per cent

A description of each of the grants and projects funded by the ATI, by priority area, follows.

International Relations Grants Program

The ATI accesses the Department's International Relations Grants Program (IRGP) funding to directly fund public projects designed to advance Australia-Thailand bilateral relations. In 2011-12 the ATI was allocated a budget of $250,000 in IRGP funding.

Science, Technology and Innovation

Entologic Consulting, Integrated Pest Management Education and Training for Thai Royal Project Foundation Personnel

Following the success of IPM Technologies' 2010-11 ATI funded grant project, this activity brought leaders in agriculture from the Thai Royal Project Foundation to Australia to study integrated pest management as a sustainable means of crop protection. This education and training assisted the Royal Project Foundation in establishing an IPM education facility at Bhuping Palace and Muang Ngai.

Group photo of the team from the Thai Royal Project at the Department of Primary Industries, Sustainability and Environment
Team from the Thai Royal Project at the Department of Primary Industries, Sustainability and Environment

Professional and Business Exchanges

Australia-Thailand Chamber of Commerce, 2012 Australia-Thai Business Forum

The Australia Thailand Chamber of Commerce hosted a business forum in the second half of 2012 as a step towards building the business focus and promoting trade between the two countries. Attendees included high level officials from the Thai government, regional associations and top level business executives from both Australia and Thailand.

Group photo of attendees at the Conference
Attendees at the Conference including- Mr James Wise, Australian Ambassador to Thailand (third from left) and Mr Mike Courtnall, Chairman of ATI (last on right)

Australian Studies Centre, Thammasat University, Thailand- International Symposium on "Celebrating 60th Anniversary of Australia Thailand Relations"

The symposium held by Thammasat University's Australian Studies Centre was funded by the ATI as part of the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations. The symposium provided a forum for discussion about the economy, politics, culture, education and bilateral relations.

Australia-Thailand Chamber of Commerce, Australian Alumni

Header/logo of Australian Alumni in association with AusCham Thailand and TAA

A joint initiative between the Australia-Thailand Chamber of Commerce (AusCham Thailand) and the Thai Australian Association (TAA) to provide an umbrella alumni structure in Thailand for alumni of Australian universities. The program promotes the value of Australian university education and builds people-to-people links between Thailand and Australia, particularly in the areas of business and education.


Education Radio Productions, Talkback Classroom Australia/Thailand Forum

A joint Australia/Thailand forum bringing together Victorian secondary school students and Thai secondary school students to undertake an investigation into issues of common interest around the theme of Popular Culture. Students collaborated via Skype and two Australian and two Thai students were chosen to undertake a one week exchange in their opposite country to participate in 'mini-forums' and conduct interviews.

Global Entrepreneurial Education, Establishing Sustainability Partnerships with 27 Thailand Government Schools in Phuket

This grant is the second phase in bringing the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) to Thailand. Dr Peter Harris travelled to Thailand to sign a memorandum of understanding between CERES Community Environment Park (Melbourne), Billanook College (Victoria), and the Srinagarindra The Princess Mother School, Phuket. This set in place the foundation for a cross-cultural program to teach schools and their communities to become sustainable through improvements to their management of resources such as energy, waste, water, biodiversity and landscape design.

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Thai Studies Conference

A collaborative project between RMIT, the University of Melbourne and the Royal Thai Embassy to initiate a public academic forum to reflect upon the value of "Thainess" and what it means for modern Thailand and Thai studies scholars in Australia. This conference was held on 10-12 August 2011 at the Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne, and RMIT.

(Photo) Conference Speaker

National Thai Studies Centre - Australian National University, Thai Update Conference

A two day conference focusing on the theme of "Thailand Beyond the Election" held at the Australian National University on 28 and 29 September 2011. Guest speakers included Dr Chris Baker (politics update), Dr Bandid Nijathaworn - former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Thailand (economics update), Dr Nipon Poapongsakorn - President Thailand Development Research Institute (Thai agricultural policy), Prof Pasuk Phongpaichit -Chulalongkorn University (Economic inequality in Thailand), and Prof Charnvit Kasetsri -Thammasat University (Border conflict with Cambodia).

Health and Sports

Australian National University – Public Policy and Governance to Improve Health Equity- Sharing Australian and Thai Expertise

The ANU convened a meeting between key technical experts and policy leaders in health equity from Australia and Thailand to share their experiences regarding the latest research and policy initiatives to address health equity. The project also looked at establishing a formal program of collaborative research and exchange between senior officials and opinion leaders of both countries.

Surf Life Saving Australia, Phuket Lifesaving Education Centre

Surf Life Savers in action

Since the late 1990s, lifeguard training programs have been provided to Phuket locals, delivered at various resorts throughout Phuket. As the demand for more lifeguards increases, resorts are no longer suitable venues for training due to the interference with guests and the demand on resort facilities. To enable the training program to expand with the growing needs of the area, this project worked on establishing a purpose built training center at Nai Harn Beach; the Phuket Lifesaving Education Centre.

Community Accommodation and Respite Agency (CARA) Inc, Growing Disability Services in Thailand Through Volunteering and Partnership

This project aimed to improve the quality of life outcomes for children with disabilities and their families by creating training and employment opportunities for volunteer community workers, through a partnership between CARA Inc and CP Homeschool (Baan Mae Nok, Bangkok). Thai community volunteers trained in disability care, and information and resources were shared between Cara Inc and CP Homeschool.

Group photo of Thai volunteers and CARA workers
Thai volunteers and CARA workers

Culture and the Arts

Brisbane Multi-Cultural Arts Centre- Thailand and Australia Film Exchange 2012

This project supported the involvement of three Thai film industry professionals in a series of events around the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane, Queensland. The aim of the project was to help create opportunities for collaboration between Australians and Thais at the highest level of the film industry and highlight the cultural achievements of the Thai filmmakers in the region's most prestigious awards.

'The Roots of Thai Art' Book Launch

The ATI provided a grant for the book launch of 'The Roots of Thai Art' by Piriya Krai-riksh. The book was originally published in Thai in 2009 following 30 years of research by its author who is also an eminent historian. This grant was to partly fund the launch of the English version of the book, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of Australian-Thai bilateral relations. The event was held in Sydney on 30 May 2012 and was attended by ATI board members.

'The Roots of Thai Art' book cover

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Thai-na-town and 'Little Oz' Reciprocal art installation in Thailand

Little Oz is an art project that aims to broaden and deepen the cultural understanding between Australia and Thailand. It is an interactive art exhibition that provides a visual narrative of Australian culture though the experiences and memories of Australians living in Thailand. This project follows on from the "Thai na Town" project dealing with exploring and communicating with Thai expats in Sydney, which was funded by the Institute in 2011.

(Photos) People displaying some art

Biennale of Sydney, 18th Biennale of Sydney

The 18th Biennale of Sydney exhibition, entitled 'All Our Relations', was held from 27 June – 16 September 2012 and included the work of seven significant Thai artists presented alongside the work of key Australian and international artists. Events, artist talks, public and education programs were presented in conjunction with the exhibition across all venues.

Still from Sudsiri Pui-Ock's 'The Farmer' (2009)
Sudsiri Pui-Ock The Farmer, 2009. Video still from colour stereo DVD, 3:55 mins

Australian National University, Thai Music Festival and Symposium

The Thai Music Festival and Symposium promoted transnational awareness of Thai music and culture from past to present, and showcased the finest musical artists to have emerged from Thailand to date. Located in Canberra, this festival was held from 25 – 29 February 2012 as part of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Australia's diplomatic relationship with Thailand.

(Photo) People enjoying the music festival

Access Arts, Polyphonic: Many Voices, Many Styles

This international exhibition showcased works from 25 Australian artists experiencing a disability at the 11th Asia Pacific Wastaboshi Music Festival in Bangkok during the month of November 2011. The exhibition was curated by Access Arts and looked to develop long term collaborative partnerships between the Network of Music and Arts of Persons with Disabilities (NMAD) Thailand and Access Arts Australia.

Exhibition artwork

Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation - University of Melbourne, The Conservation of Cultural Materials in Tropical Climates Symposium

A four day symposium to address regionally relevant issues relating to the conservation of material culture where the ageing of artworks in tropical climates and individual artists choice of materials are the key factors influencing the preservation of vast collections of cultural heritage in tropical Southeast Asia. The symposium presented the collaborative conservation programs between the Centre of Cultural Materials Conservation and the Materials Research Centre of Art and Design at Silpakorn University.

Corrugated Iron Youth Arts, Wandering Moon Shadow Puppet Theatre Residency

The Wandering Moon Shadow Puppet Theatre Company of Thailand was invited by Corrugated Iron Youth Arts, Darwin to share their culture and artistry with the Darwin arts community. The two week residency provided puppetry, kite making, and storytelling workshops for young people between the ages of 5 and 16. There were two streams of workshops - general community workshops for any young person who registers an interest, and specific workshops held for refugee children in conjunction with the 'Bridging Cultures' program. The project developed and strengthened ongoing links between Northern Territory and Thai artists with two Australian artists invited to work with the Wandering Moon Shadow Puppet Theatre Company in Chiang Mai in 2012.

(Photo) Members of the theatre company posing with their puppets

Public Policy and Media

The University of Sydney, ATI Media Intern Program 2012

An intern program to provide two final year journalism students from the University of Sydney with four to five weeks of professional journalist experience at selected Thai English language newspapers and broadcast organisations in Bangkok. The two ATI fellows commenced their internship in Bangkok with a week at the Australian Embassy. They worked with the Public Diplomacy Unit, and received private briefings from the main department heads, and met with the Australian Ambassador to Thailand, Mr James Wise. The Embassy also arranged for the interns to spend a day at Chulalongkorn University where they attended a seminar on current issues in Thai media and spoke to staff and students from the Communication Arts department. The ATI Media Interns recorded their experiences in a blog via the University of Sydney parallax site. One of the media interns, Gemma Khaicy is currently working for the online edition of the Sydney Morning Herald

Photo of ATI Media Interns Ms Gemma Khaicy and Ms Anthea Burton with Ambassador James Wise
ATI Media Interns Ms Gemma Khaicy and Ms Anthea Burton with Ambassador James Wise

Lowy Institute for International Policy, The China Impact: Comparing Countries' Responses to the Rise of China (Thailand)

The ATI funded the Thai research component of a large project to compare the responses of countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea and Japan to the rise of China. The Thailand paper will feed into a major research report to be published by the Lowy Institute for International Policy and will also aid the development of a research network in the region.

Australia-Thailand Institute Initiated Programs

The ATI was allocated operational funding of $250,000 in 2011-12. In addition to covering the running costs of the Institute, these monies may be used to fund specific programs as identified by the ATI Advisory Board.

Next Generation Community Leaders (NGCL) Visit

This annual flagship program brings young Thai community leaders from differing faiths and regional areas to Australia to experience our culture and gain an understanding of the different ways in which multiculturalism is approached by the Australian Government and private sector organisations, and embraced by communities. The 2012 visit brought six Thai community leaders to Sydney and Melbourne from 3-9 June. The visit schedule included the following engagements:

Sydney Melbourne
Parramatta West Primary School
Forum on Australian-Islamic Relations
Thulli Dreaming Indigenous Troupe
Aust. Federal Police Community Liaison Team
Australian Multicultural Foundation
Dandenong interfaith tour
Roundtable, interview and tour of SBS Radio
Guided tour of State Library of Victoria

Participants found the visit to be extremely useful and have indicated that they will apply what they had seen and experienced to their own work within their communities. All of the young leaders have returned home with a deeper understanding of Australia and an appreciation of our culture and society.

Thai Media Visit

Three Thai sports journalists visited Australia from 5 - 12 May 2012. The journalists were Mr Adinun Muenyang from the Siam Sport Daily, Mr Supachoke Nuamnim from the Daily news, and Mr Wanchai Rujawongsanti from the Bangkok Post.

Post's Public and Cultural Diplomacy liaison officer, Ms Korbua Laorujijinda, accompanied the participants. The purpose of the visit was to expose the journalists to the culture of sports in Australia and the development of sports and its inclusion in the curriculum of schools from the grass root levels. The journalists met with various Australian sports bodies such as the Australian Sports Commission, Cricket Australia, and the AFL Commission. They also met with the Australian Futsal Team. The journalists attended an AFL game in Melbourne and met with Australian swimming star Geoff Huegill in Sydney. The feedback provided by the journalists was very positive and was a great learning experience for them in better understanding the culture and development of sports in Australia.

'Huegill Hopes' newspaper article scan

Public Policy Linkages- Thai Women MP Visit

As part of a pilot political exchange program organised by the ATI, three young Thai women Members of Parliament visited Australia from 26 June to 3 July 2012. The visiting Thai MPs were: Dr Jarupan Kuldiloke (Puea Thai Party, Secretary to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs), Ms Leelavadee Vajropala (Puea Thai Party, Secretary to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Religion, Art and Culture) and Ms Boontida Somchai (Democrat Party). The MPs were accompanied by Ms Chutathut Laothamatas (Candidate for Democrat Party and adviser to senior Democrat Suthep Thaugsuban) and a liaison officer from our post in Bangkok. Participants spent time in Canberra where they visited Parliament House and met with a number of groups and organisations dealing with issues of women in leadership. The MPs were also hosted by Australian women MPs - Ms Amanda Rishworth (Member for MP in Adelaide and Mrs Natasha Griggs MP, Member for Solomon in Darwin.

ATI Thai University Visit

The ATI funded six directors of International Units from six prominent Thai Universities (Mahidol, Thammasat, Khon Kaen, Mae Fah Luang, Chulalongkorn and Chiang Mai Universities) to travel to Australia from 27 February to 3 March 2012 to discuss ways of increasing student mobility from Australia to Thailand. The delegates travelled to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to meet with the University of Queensland (UQ); University of Wollongong (UoW); University of Technology, Sydney (UTS); University of New South Wales (UNSW); Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT); and the University of Melbourne (Unimelb). At each university, the delegation met with International Relations Units, representatives from Study Abroad programs, and interested academics.

Delegates group photo

Sustainable Mining Visit

The ATI funded a visit by two Thai officials to learn more about Australia's sustainable mining practices focussing on their interests in community consultation and environmental sustainability. Delegates attended the Minerals Council of Australia Sustainable Development Conference, visited the North Parkes Mine and met with the Australian Centre for Sustainable Mining Practice at UNSW. The visiting delegates came away impressed with the program and the positive views held by inhabitants of mining towns in Australia. The delegates returned with a deeper understanding of the process of community consultations, cooperation between different levels of government and interaction with local communities that exist in Australia.

(Photo) Mining visit

Administrative Overview

The period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 represents the seventh full financial year of the ATI's operations since it was established in 2005.


The Advisory Board is required to meet at least three times per year. ATI Board meetings held during the reporting period were:

Date Location
30 Nov 2011 Canberra
03 May 2012 Canberra (teleconference)
28 May 2012 Canberra


Members of the ATI Advisory Board receive a "Category 2" daily fee for ATI business at rates determined under the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 for part-time holders of public offices. Members are also entitled to reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred on ATI business.

Applications for Funding

The ATI grant program is advertised on the DFAT and ATI websites. Funding guidelines and copies of the application form are available on the ATI website.

Grant rounds are usually advertised in major Australian newspapers at least one weekend before the round is opened. Thai language and English language advertisements are also placed in major Thai newspapers at the same time.

Rounds are currently held twice a year and are kept open for a minimum of four weeks to allow for the submission of applications.

Auditor's Report

The Australian National Audit Office examines the financial affairs of the Australia-Thailand Institute as part of its examination of the accounts of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Industrial Democracy and Workplace Diversity

Secretariat staff are covered by the industrial democracy and workplace diversity provisions of DFAT, including the Enterprise Agreement.

Freedom of Information

The ATI received no applications under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 in 2011-12.

Appendix A - Australia-Thailand Institute Strategic Plan 2009 - 2012

Mission statement

To broaden and deepen the relationship between Australia and Thailand and to undertake and support programs that strengthen next generation links between Australia and Thailand.

The functions of the ATI are to:

  1. Provide advice to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), on ways to enhance Australia's political, economic, social and cultural relations with Thailand;
  2. Develop an annual Business Plan of activities aimed at implementing the ATI's objectives. The Business Plan will recommend expenditure on those activities from funds allocated to the ATI;
  3. Administer a grants program under the priority areas of the Business Plan;
  4. Organise visit programs, carry out joint activities with other organisations and leverage with other DFAT Foundations, Councils and Institutes; and
  5. Prepare an Annual Program Report by 31 October each year for submission to the Minister.

Accordingly, this Strategic Plan sets out the ATI's goals and strategic programs. The Strategic Plan will be supplemented by a Business Plan for each financial year detailing activities more precisely and recommending expenditures for those activities from the funds allocated to the ATI.


In order to promote and strengthen the Australia-Thailand bilateral relationship, the Australia-Thailand Institute will pursue four goals:

  1. Contribute to the development of Australia's political and economic relations with Thailand and support Australia's broader diplomatic objectives in Thailand.
  2. Broaden awareness and understanding in Australia and Thailand of each other's culture, values and traditions, including sport.
  3. Generate increased institutional and people-to-people contacts between Australia and Thailand.
  4. Publicly promote the Australia-Thailand relationship and establish relations through media and alumni activities in order to facilitate long-term bilateral links.


The Australia - Thailand Institute will adopt the following strategies to meet its goals.

  • Create and strengthen networks, contacts, partnerships and/or institutional linkages
  • Capitalise on partnerships which increase overall value of activities
  • Provide seed funding for activities which will become self-sustaining
  • Support activities which have the potential to deliver medium to longer term outcomes, including through institutions, groups or individuals
  • Facilitate a broad geographic spread of activities both in Australia and Thailand
  • Leverage from high profile events to maximise benefits and the effective use of resources
  • Promote complementarities and avoid duplication with other institutions active in Australia-Thailand relations
  • Collaborate in programs of mutual interest with other DFAT Asia-focused Foundations, Councils and Institutes

The ATI will conduct a regular review and evaluation of its programs to determine the extent of their impact on the bilateral relationship.


The Advisory Board will meet at least three times a year, and at least one of these meetings will consider the Business Plan for the following year.

Appendix B – Australia-Thailand Institute Financial Information 2011/12

Programs IRGP
(AUD $)
Other Funding
(AUD $)
Community Programs
Next Generation Community Leaders Visit 35,859.99
Surf Life Saving Australia - Phuket Education Centre 5,000
CARA–disability services in Thailand 15,985
Young Leaders program 10,000
Sub-total Community Programs 20,985 45,859.99
Economics and Trade
AusCham Business Forum 5,227.35 10,356.65
Company Outreach Program 2,032.25
AusCham Australian Alumni 8,400
Sub-total Economics and Trade 13,627.35 12,388.90
Public Policy
Thai Women MPs Visit 33,701.24
Sub-total Public Policy 33,701.24
Culture and the Arts
ATI Media Visit 27,754.49
Biennale of Sydney 15,000
ANU - Thai Music Festival and Symposium 6,500
Access Arts - Polyphonic; Many Voices, Many Styles 15,000
Thai Culture and Food Festival, Melbourne 2,500
Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation 9,000
Wandering Moon Shadow Puppet Theatre 15,000
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art: Thai-na-town 7,075
John Yu–Roots of Thai Art Book Launch 8,000
Vipoo Srivalasa–Little Oz Art Exhibition 4,800
Australian Thai artist interchange 15,450
Alumni Event 4,200.67
Sub-total Culture and the Arts 98,325 31,955.16
Education Radio Productions–Talkback Classroom 20,000
Global Entrepreneurial Education–Sustainability in 27 Phuket Schools 15,000
RMIT–Thai Studies Conference 4,000
ANU–Thailand Update Conference 12,000
University credit transfer support 23,772.14
Thai BRIDGE Program 12,000
Australian Studies Centre–Conference 14,999.30
University of Sydney–ATI Media Internships 25,663.65
The Lowy Institute–The China Impact 13,000
Sub-total Education 89,663.65 50,771.44
Science, Technology and Innovation
Sustainable Mining Policy Visit 21,635.55
Public Policy in Health Equity 12,399
Integrated Pest Management Training 15,000
Sub-total Science, Technology and Innovation 27,399 21,635.55
Meeting 1 (Nov 2011) Canberra 9,840.72
Meeting 3 (May 2012) Canberra 3,795.95
Chair Expenses 362.97
Board Expenses 258.76
Secretariat Expenses 3,791.49
ATI 2010-11 Annual Report 1,858.28
SmartyGrants Software 1,363.64
Publicist trial 8,400
ATI 2012-13 Grant Advertising 4,276.98
2010-11 Carryovers -1,285.67
Sub-total Administration 32,663.12
60th Anniversary of Australia-Thai Diplomatic Relations
Australia Day Newspaper Supplement (Thailand) 2,061.25
Publicist 13,636.35
Promotional Materials 4,996.47
Sub-total 60th anniversary 20,694.07
Total Expenditure 250,000 249,669.47
Total Budget 250,000 250,000
Last Updated: 5 June 2013
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