Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Australia and China launch joint research report

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, announced today that a joint Australia-China research report on community development will provide a sound basis for China to trial aspects of the Australian Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy.

Launching the report with the Vice Chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission, Mr Li Shenglin, at the Australia-China Community Development Seminar in Brisbane, Senator Patterson said the Strategy programs would be piloted in the key Chinese cities of Xi’an and Nantong in 2004.

“This report is the result of almost 12 months of in-depth research between the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) and the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and it is a significant achievement in cooperation between both Governments,” Senator Patterson said.

“It is the first time that comparative research between Australia and China has been carried out in the area of community development.

“The report examines the link between community development and increased employment opportunities. It compares the development of urban communities in China and Australia in terms of what they have in common and their individual characteristics.

“One of the main conclusions of the report is that successful community development is about the cooperation between governments, communities, business and non-government organisation. Through this partnership communities become stronger and are able to generate employment opportunities.

“The Australian Government, through its Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, has applied innovative approaches to developing communities across the country.

“It has done this by promoting local solutions to local problems, developing the skills of local leaders and volunteers, and working in partnership with local people, businesses and non-government organisations.

“Such ideas are also relatively new in China.

“In undertaking this research, FaCS has had the opportunity to examine more closely its own approaches to community development and has learned a great deal about the process of community development in China. Both sides have many common areas to discuss and learn from each other.

“The production of this report underlines the strength of the relationship between both agencies. It has been produced in a spirit of friendship, mutual trust and respect.

“We place much importance on our relationship with the NDRC. This report lays the foundation for building on the understanding of social policy issues in both Australia and China. Importantly, it also promotes FaCS’ ongoing reputation within the Chinese Government as a source of high quality advice and expertise.”

While in Australia, Vice Chairman Li will also visit Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne to promote trade opportunities in tourism, social security and the Olympic Games.