Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
Date: Thursday, 8 December 2016
Today while in Berlin, together with German Minister Maria Böhmer, I presented the first implementation report on the significant progress made over the past year in broadening, strengthening and deepening the bilateral relationship between Australia and Germany.
About a year ago, the Australia-Germany Advisory Group (AGAG) had presented its broad-ranging proposals and recommendations to strengthen our bilateral partnership to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Since then more than fifty Australian and German organisations have collaborated to make substantial advances in the quality and calibre of our bilateral cooperation.
Of the report’s 59 recommendations, 54 so far have been either fully implemented or are well advanced.
Key initiatives include:
- Enhancing our bilateral strategic dialogue through the inauguration of the 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting held in Berlin in September
- Negotiating a new modern double taxation agreement designed to facilitate increased trade and investment flows between our two countries
- Establishing the Prime Minister's Industry 4.0 Taskforce to enhance collaboration between Australian and German industry leaders in setting global standards for the next phase of advanced manufacturing
- Launching an Innovation Landing Pad in Berlin – a place where Australia's best and brightest entrepreneurs can develop ideas and forge networks – bolstering business links and opportunities
- Committing to a Regional Conference to bring together business and government leaders from Germany, Australia and the Asia Pacific in Perth in November 2017
- Showcasing the diversity and skills Australia has to offer through a new cultural diplomacy program, Australia now, which will be launched in Germany next year.
In many areas, the implementation of AGAG’s proposals has represented a positive paradigm shift in our bilateral partnership.
Increasingly, Germany and Australia are working as genuine partners pairing our countries’ complementary strengths towards shared interests.
While we have made significant progress over the past twelve months, we do not consider our work has ended with the submission of this report. Many proposals will continue to be implemented in the coming months and years.
The progress report was prepared for leaders by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and German Minister of State Dr Maria Böhmer, who co-chair the Advisory Group.
In recognition of her contribution to advancing Australia’s relationship with Germany Dr Böhmer, was yesterday made an honorary officer of the Order of Australia.
The momentum that has been generated by AGAG will continue to create new and exciting opportunities in the pursuit of a stronger bilateral relationship that will benefit both our countries well into the future.
Karen Wu - 0428 350 139