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Seoul broadband summit builds on bilateral ties.



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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Media Release

068/05 9 June 2005

Seoul broadband summit builds on bilateral ties

The strong historical ties and growing economic relationship between Australia and South Korea provide the foundation for this week’s summit in Seoul on broadband (9-10 June) to be attended by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan.

“The growth in bilateral trade is just one example of the links between our countries continuing to strengthen,” Senator Coonan said.

South Korea is now Australia’s fourth largest trading partner and both countries participate in numerous regional and global economic forums.

Korean investment in Australia is expanding and exports to Korea are growing, with plenty of potential for further development. Education, tourism and cultural and media exchanges are expanding, supported by the respective governments and the 40,000-strong Korean community in Australia.

In 2003, the strong relationship between the two countries led to the Seoul-Melbourne Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Countering Spam, which has now expanded to include 12 communications and Internet agencies across the Asia- Pacific region with provision for additional signatories in the future.

“South Korea is recognised as the global leader in broadband uptake and Australian consumers are rapidly taking up broadband,” Senator Coonan said.

“In Australia, the latest data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission showed total broadband subscribers had increased 121.6 per cent in the last year to 1,548,300 in December 2004. It is clear that broadband has a growing importance in both countries.

“The first bilateral broadband summit at the Gold Coast in 2003 was attended by over 100 government and commercial representatives and since then the Korean and Australian Governments have moved ahead with collaborative projects.

“This week’s summit will expand on that experience. It will include a number of New Zealand delegates and cover issues such as broadband networks, government broadband initiatives, applications such as e-health and e-learning, digital content and industrial and research collaboration.

“It remains an Australian Government priority to encourage accelerated uptake and effective use of broadband by Australian businesses and domestic consumers because of the potential for increased efficiency and opportunity.”

Senator Coonan will lead a group of around 27 Australian delegates, including officials from her department and representatives from Australian companies, research organisations, industry bodies, Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305

www.minister.dcita.gov.au