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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Australian social policy expertise to strengthen ties with Vietnam and East Asia

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, will today lead a delegation of Australian fund managers, prudential regulators and social policy experts to Vietnam for a Conference on Retirement Incomes and the East Asia Ministerial Forum on Families.

She said that internationally Australia is regarded for its high level of social policy expertise and its world-class prudential regulatory system.

Senator Patterson said: “The Australian-Vietnam Sectoral Conference on Retirement Incomes, from 26-28 April, will allow Australia and Vietnam to share their collective knowledge and experience and to promote a greater understanding in the region of the importance of retirement incomes.

“This conference will give us the opportunity to discuss social security issues especially in the fields of retirement incomes, funds management and prudential regulation.

“The Vietnamese Government sees Australia as an innovator in the area of retirement income and recognises that we have a sophisticated funds management industry and a world-class prudential regulatory system.

“Both Australia and Vietnam face challenges when it comes to social security reform. We both have to respond to the needs of people in retirement and maintain affordable and sustainable social security systems.”

Senator Patterson will be accompanied by representatives from: the New South Wales-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce; First State Investments; State Street Global Advisers; Mercer Investment Consulting; the Institute of Actuaries of Australia; the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority; the Australian Taxation Office; the Department of Family and Community Services and Centrelink.

Senator Patterson said the East Asia Ministerial Forum on Families, from 28-30 April, which she will co-host, brings together ministers and high-level government officials from a number of key countries in the region, including Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei and the Philippines.

“I am delighted that so many countries will be present at this meeting, and each is committed to family policy in the region,” she said.

“Through a range of detailed discussions all participating countries will be able to share and learn from each other’s experiences.

“The forum will also provide the opportunity for us to come up with new ideas, not only on family policy issues but also on other issues of mutual concern contributing to the development of a stronger social fabric in the region.”

Senator Patterson said that although the nations in the region lived in different cultural and economic environments, they shared similar challenges and experiences when it came to building stronger families and communities in their own countries.

“I believe that both of these important conferences will help strengthen the relationship between our countries and improve our understanding of each other’s circumstances and the challenges ahead,” she said.