New Australia-Singapore Research Centre Opens

By on 24/08/2015
Mr Peter Ong, Head of Civil Service, Singapore

The head of Singapore’s civil service, Peter Ong, has launched a new research centre, which will feed into Singapore’s and Australia’s growth policies.

The Asia Growth Research Centre, based at the Ngee Ann-Adelaide Education Centre – a Singapore-based Adelaide University campus – opened on Tuesday.

Ong, who is also permanent secretary at Singapore’s finance ministry, said the new centre would seek to answer the question: “What will drive growth in Asia and in Singapore?”

Its work will focus on services, skills and connectivity as future drivers of growh and “will help us answer the challenge of maintaining our competitiveness.”

The Hon. Jay Weatherill (premier, South Australia)

The Hon. Jay Weatherill (premier, South Australia)

Ong also said the centre will help Singapore and Australia “explore new opportunities” offered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – a political and economic organisation of ten Southeast Asian countries.

Experts estimate ASEAN could become the fourth-largest single market in the world by 2030, after the US, China, and EU.

Mr Peter Ong (head of civil service, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore) and the Hon. Jay Weatherill (premier, South Australia)

Mr Peter Ong (head of civil service, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore) and the Hon. Jay Weatherill (premier, South Australia)

Ong said that ASEAN, which is currently the world’s seventh–largest single market, would “overtake economies such as the EU to become Singapore’s largest final demand market, particularly for services exports.”

The launch was also attended by the Australian high commissioner to Singapore, Philip Green; South Australia’s premier Jay Weatherill; vice-chancellor and president of Adelaide University Professor Warren Bebbington and the university’s executive dean of the Faculty of the Professions, Professor Christopher Findlay.

From left: Professor Christopher Findlay (executive dean, Faculty of the Professions, University of Adelaide), Mr Peter Ong (head of civil service, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore), the Hon. Jay Weatherill (premier, South Australia), Professor Warren Bebbington (vice-chancellor and president, University of Adelaide), and Philip Green (Australian high commissioner to Singapore).

From left: Professor Christopher Findlay (executive dean, Faculty of the Professions, University of Adelaide), Mr Peter Ong (head of civil service, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore), the Hon. Jay Weatherill (premier, South Australia), Professor Warren Bebbington (vice-chancellor and president, University of Adelaide), and Philip Green (Australian high commissioner to Singapore).

Speaking to Global Government Forum after the launch, Findlay said the research centre would set up a range of communications channels to inform policy decisions of both the Australian and the Singaporean government.

“We see the work being the result of a two-way communication between the centre as well as civil servants in Australia and Singapore,” he said.

Asked which departments the centre expects to work with primarily, he said: “Any officials dealing with growth issues, so civil servants from the manpower ministry; anyone working on workforce development, technology, infrastructure – just about every ministry has a dimension of interest. There’s going to be quite a wide range.”

 

See also:

Our full interview with Peter Ong

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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