Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten is currently leading a delegation of senior business and union representatives on a labour, trade and investment visit to Myanmar.
The delegation includes representatives from Optus, Woodside, ANZ, Visy Singapore, QIC, Australian Super, Allens, Institute of Chartered Accountants, Australian Financial Review, Ai Group, Australian Mines and Metals Association (representing ACCI) and the ACTU.
In meetings yesterday with President Thein Sein and Leader of the National League of Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi, Minister Shorten discussed labour rights, human rights, trade and investment, and how Australia can support Myanmar’s ongoing political, social and economic reform.
“The President thanked Australia for its ongoing support including our lifting of sanctions. I welcomed our expanding bilateral relations. We agreed on the strong potential for Australia and Myanmar to work with one another on a range of issues.”
“During my discussion I applauded Aung San Suu Kyi for her tireless advocacy for the people of Myanmar and unwavering commitment to help bring democracy to Myanmar,” Mr Shorten said.
“In June Foreign Minister Carr invited Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein to visit Australia, and I took this opportunity to extend this invitation to them once again”.
The Australian Government has already announced it will double its aid assistance in Myanmar to $100 million per year by 2015 as the country pursues far reaching reforms, including to its education and labour sectors.
The Government is the largest donor to education in Myanmar following the announcement earlier this year of an $80 million package of assistance for basic education and scholarships over the next four years.
Speaking at the launch of the Comprehensive Education Sector Review on Tuesday, Minister Shorten also reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to Myanmar’s efforts to reform its education sector.
“I welcome the Myanmar Government’s Comprehensive Education Sector Review, as Myanmar looks to set the future course of its education system,” Mr Shorten said.
“The Australian Government will continue to develop its relationship with the Myanmar Government to help ensure Myanmar’s emerging democracy is underpinned by a quality education system and a strong commitment to promoting fundamental labour and human rights.”