Chapter 6

Shared historical and cultural values, tourism, and education and research

This chapter details the shared historical and cultural values between Australia and France, specifically through commemorative activities and connections formed through the arts. The chapter also considers the tourism sector, as well as the range of, education, research and scientific programs and exchanges which support and promote people-to-people ties, and considers opportunities to strengthen those links.

Shared cultural values and exchanges

Culture and the Arts

Professor Ruth Bereson, Dean, Engagement (Creative Arts), Griffith University spoke about the importance of cultural exchange:
Culture is critical to the establishment of deeper understanding and goodwill between our countries and our shared Indo-Pacific interests. It is integral to a coherent basis of exchange in all bilateral communication as well as engagement in the arts, cultural and educational sectors, whether they be through DFAT programs, such as the New Colombo Plan, or 'Australia now'—France 2021. Such activities assist countries to develop economically through tourism, people-to-people diplomacy, and form the foundation of bilateral comprehension. They also create opportunities for researchers and innovators to assist in the promotion of understanding and collaboration across academic disciplines.1
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) highlighted the selection of France as the 2021 partner for its premier public diplomacy program, Australia Now, as underlining the depth of the cultural ties between the countries:
Australia Now will promote collaboration and strengthen international dialogue between Australia and France in business, research, technology, education, tourism, sport and the arts. The program, which is currently under development, will:
promote Australian entrepreneurs, artists, innovators and thinkers through an extensive program presenting Australian companies at major French venues;
raise Australia’s profile as an innovative, inclusive, and contemporary nation; connect individuals, institutions and businesses; and
build our cooperation and coordination in the Indo-Pacific region.2
French cultural and language institutions in Australia provide the opportunity for learning, exchange and promotion of French culture, and are central in fostering people-to-people ties. A number of submissions3 noted the opportunities for two-way cultural cooperation offered by institutions such as Alliance Française which promotes 'the French language and culture and…encourage[s] cultural, intellectual and artistic exchange between Australia and the French-speaking world'.4
The Committee also heard about French-Australian schools which operate around Australia. His Excellency Mr Christophe Penot, the French Ambassador to Australia, described the recent cooperation between France and Australia in education as very dynamic. There is a network of French/Australian bilingual programs in 16 schools across the country.5
The Government of South Australia advised that it has:
… identified a number of opportunities to strengthen relations with France including through formal collaboration agreements in education, research and vocational training, student exchange, and French language programs.6
The Committee was advised that 41 schools in South Australia offer French language programs. Additionally, two schools have implemented a French bilingual program to support the Future Submarine Program (FSP).7
Dr Romain Fathi8 suggested that, while English proficiency has increased in France, language continues to represent a barrier between French and Australian people:
Australian authorities need to heavily invest in French language courses if they want to develop a long lasting and respectful relationship with the French (English is already compulsory in French high schools). They also need to understand French expectations when visiting tourist sites both in France and in Australia. For instance, it is surprising to note the absence of French brochures and translations at many Australian cultural institutions. For those who are not fluent in English, this renders forging any meaningful connection with Australian culture very difficult.9
Cultural and film festivals also develop shared cultural values. Both DFAT and the Government of South Australia10 noted the Adelaide Festival's three-year partnership with the Festival International d'Art Lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence which was described as:
Provid[ing] a conduit to jointly creating arts programmes, promoting intercultural and people-to-people relationships.11
Film festivals have been embraced in both countries and 'provide another way for the two countries to learn and experience from [their] respective cultures and artistic expression'.12 In France these include the Rencontes Internationales du Cinema des Antipodes in St Tropez; and the Festival de Cinema Aborigène Australien and Australian Short Film Today, which both screen annually in Paris.13 It was noted by Ambassador Penot that the annual Alliance Française French Film Festival in Australia is now the biggest festival of French films abroad, with nearly 200,000 spectators in 2019.14
DFAT also noted the Australia-France film co-production agreement as another area of enhanced cultural and economic engagement. The agreement has resulted in 34 productions with budgets totalling $279 million.15
The Government of South Australia noted that the Adelaide French Festival was held in 2018 and 2019 and provided the opportunity for arts and culture exchange and promotion of bilateral tourism opportunities. It also works with Alliance Française to promote French culture and language and strengthen relationships.16
South Australia has also benefitted by the close partnerships between the Art Gallery of South Australia and a number of French cultural institutions. The Government of South Australia noted that the Colours of Impressionism exhibition in 2018, which included key pieces on loan from the Musée d'Orsay, attracted record breaking attendances.17
The Northern Territory Government outlined areas of support for cultural development activities to support the French and French speaking community in the Northern Territory. This included funding support for cultural events and Bastille Day celebrations; and the use of a facility by Alliance Française De Darwin to conduct French language and cultural education.18
The Government of South Australia advised that the selection of the Naval Group (formerly DCNS) as Australia's international partner for the FSP 'presented South Australia with a unique opportunity to maximise opportunities arising from the FSP and develop strong ties with France'.19 In addition to maximising economic development outcomes, the Government of South Australia has looked at opportunities to engage with France on broader social and cultural outcomes.20 To facilitate the development of economic and cultural activities, the Government of South Australia established the following partnerships:
The Government of South Australia and the Embassy of France’s 2016 broad collaboration agreement.
The Government of South Australia and the Regional Council of Brittany formal Sister Region Relationship established in September 2017. This has been an important driver to promote economic, cultural and education outcomes; the bilateral ties with Brittany have also enhanced the State’s relationship with France at a National level.
The City of Port Adelaide Enfield and the City of Cherbourg en Cotentin Civic Relationship Agreement signed in 2017. This has been key to developing partnerships and activities that support the Future Submarine Program by supporting Naval Group’s growth in South Australia and its program of training Australian workers in its yards in Cherbourg en Cotentin.21
Professor Bereson highlighted a project 'between Indigenous students from the Griffith University Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art program, the University of New Caledonia and the Tjibaou Cultural Centre to collaborate in the creation of cultural works, to enhance mutual appreciation of Indigenous Australian, Kanak and French culture'.22
Professor Bereson said that in her view there are:
…extraordinary opportunities for Indigenous cultural bilateral cooperation in the South Pacific as tourism opens up, because it's also been less affected by COVID than other areas. There is quite a lot of demand and interest in co-productions, co-creations and filmmaking around the region. I get the sense that this will certainly assist capacity building, but also enhance skill development and employability amongst these communities.23
Dr Pascale Quester, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), University of Adelaide added:
There is, I think, a very genuine and profound interest in Indigenous culture in France. It is not a recent development, but it's certainly something that is very consistent. The state of South Australia, where I still live, is actually a sister state to the region of Brittany. I'm from Brittany originally. From that first initiative of taking Indigenous artists to tour the Brittany region of France—which is also where some of the Impressionists came from in the exhibition that was organised in Australia last year—I think there is a very strong affinity for learning more. I think that it would be a very strong foundation for educating the French public to all aspects of Australian culture, to actually attract them through the lens of Indigenous culture. I think there is a very fertile field for development there.24
Professor Katherine Daniell, President, Australia-French Association for Research and Innovation noted an 'Indigenous art exhibition that's about to go to Brittany'. She also saw opportunities in areas like 'the Great Barrier Reef and thinking about climate and coral reefs. We have some amazing Australian immersive artists like Lynette Wallworth, and I imagine her kind of work would strike a chord with many of our French colleagues around that climate diplomacy area'.25
Professor Bereson also noted that there are a number of Australians who travelled to France in the 19th century and suggested '[a]n exhibition perhaps on Australian artists working in France and bringing their work back and transfer of artistic skills could be interesting'.26 She added that in relation to performing arts:
I think a very interesting model is an Australian company called Marrugeku which actually presents co-productions developed in New Caledonia and Australia and brought to France. It's not just looking at the other; it's actually about the exchange of the work itself. I know that President Macron visited their work in Sydney last year. That kind of model could actually facilitate greater comprehension between cultures, both in the production phase as well as in receiving the work.27

Indigenous repatriation

The repatriation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains that are known to be held in French institutions was identified by DFAT as a priority area of Australia's cultural engagement with France.28 This was also identified as a priority by the two Governments under the Joint Statement of Enhanced Strategic Partnership between Australia and France (Joint Statement) where it was agreed that they would:
Continue to work together to determine solutions to enable the return of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral human remains from French museums and public collections.29
The Committee notes that in November 2014, the then Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, and the then French President, His Excellency Françoise Hollande, committed the Australian and French Governments to:
… establishing a consultation process aimed at facilitating the return of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ human remains from French public collections. The French and Australian Governments are committed to working together on this subject in a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding.
The Governments of the two countries will establish a joint expert committee to coordinate and determine the processes needed to identify and also to ascertain the origin of the Indigenous Australian human remains conserved in French public collections. This committee will be steered, for France, by the Ministry of Culture in liaison with the French National Museum of Natural History and, for Australia, by the Ministry for the Arts and the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation, and include experts from France and Australia.30
The Australian Government's Indigenous Repatriation Program sits under the Communications Portfolio and is currently administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. The annual reports for the former Department of Communications and the Arts for 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 report on outcomes under the Indigenous Repatriation Program in relation to international returns. These reports indicate that there were no returns of Indigenous ancestral remains and sacred objects from French institutions or private collections over these reporting periods.31

Marine and underwater cultural heritage

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) noted the unique place that maritime and underwater cultural heritage have in the relations between Australia and France and suggested opportunities for future cooperation. DAWE proposed that there was potential for collaboration on underwater cultural heritage projects in both Australian and French waters. These include 'searching for potential survivors from La Perouse's voyage who are believed shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef'. In French waters, DAWE noted potential for projects to locate and document the sites of vessels acting as troop ships which were sunk in the English Channel during World War One and World War Two. DAWE also noted potential for collaboration with researchers in New Caledonia to undertake capacity building training in maritime archaeology in the Pacific region. 32

Commemorative activities

A number of submissions commented on the strong historical bond between the countries arising from the legacy of 'Australian involvement on French soil in the First and Second World Wars'.33 Australia's commitment on the Western Front in World War One was a significant event in the nation's history. Of the 295,000 Australians who served on the Western Front during World War One, more than 46,000 died and more than 130,000 were wounded.34 Commemoration of the Australians who lost their lives on the Western Front in World War One is an important element of the bilateral relationship. Each year many Australians visit France to attend commemorative services and visit graves, memorials, museums and historic sites related to the service of Australians on the Western Front.
The Joint Statement included cooperation on shared memory of the First World War as a priority area of engagement between the nations. The two Governments agreed that in order to best commemorate the shared sacrifice in the First World War the focus should be to:
Continue to implement a program of commemorative events, and foster initiatives and activities relating to their shared memory through relevant institutions and organisations in each country.
Update the Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and France on Cooperation in the Field of the Shared History of the World Wars of the Twentieth Century, signed on 14 November 2003.
Promote initiatives to strengthen links between the cities and regions of Australia and France, in the framework of commemorations.35
It is also noted that in the 2018 Vision Statement on the Australia-France Relationship (the Vision Statement), both leaders agreed to establish a 'joint collaborative program to support cultural, scientific, pedagogical and tourist exchanges associated with shared memory'.36
The French Ambassador to Australia acknowledged the strong links between France and Australia with the shared history of World War One and stated that both countries are committed to perpetuating and passing on the legacy.37
The Committee heard that a number of commemorative activities and sites in France attract a large number of Australian visitors each year, including joint commemorative activities for the annual Anzac Day ceremonies at VillersBretonneux and Bullecourt; and the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front in France and Belgium.38 In the Vision Statement, both leaders welcomed the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre at the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux in 2018 to support ongoing shared memory of the First World War.39
The Australian War Memorial (AWM) informed the Committee of the contribution of the Artist in Residence Program to facilitate engagement with people in France through musical performance. The AWM and Department of Veterans' Affairs cocommissioned the artist in residence, Mr Chris Latham, in collaboration with six other Australian composers, to compose the Diggers' Requiem to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One. The work was performed in both Australian and France by artists from both countries and Germany.40
The Government of South Australia supports the recognition and promotion of shared historical and cultural values with France through commemoration and education activities. The Committee was advised that in April 2018, the French town of Blangy-Tronville renamed its local school in honour of South Australian Private Arthur Clifford Stribling who died on the Western Front in April 1918 and was buried in Blangy-Tronville.41 The South Australian education curriculum includes study of the Western Front experience and the Premier's Anzac Spirit School Prize for year 9 and 10 students provides a full funded study tour to France to visit war and cultural sites.42
The Northern Territory Government also noted its commitment to ongoing education and remembrance of Australia's involvement in various conflicts, including Australia's contribution in France in World War One. The Chief Minister's Anzac Spirit Study Tour provides students and chaperones the opportunity to visit battlefields of significance to Australia and the Anzacs.43
The Committee also received evidence that questioned the value of Australian commemorative sites in France in developing people-to-people links. Dr Romain Fathi suggested that '… the vast majority of French people are unaware of Australia's participation to the First World War'.44
Dr Fathi noted that Australia's level of funding for the development of commemorative sites in France was disproportionately high in comparison to other relevant countries and that, if fostering deeper ties is an objective, then those funds would be better directed to promoting other aspects of Australian cultural and historical life.45 It was proposed that many of these sites have been developed for the Australian audience and they generated limited engagement with French citizens.46
However, the AWM noted it's battlefield tour program which provided an alternative view, suggesting that the commemorative events have a positive role in forming people-to-people ties:
These tours highlighted the role played by the Australian Imperial Force and fostered relationships at the individual and community levels. Our visits to towns with significant Australian connections, such as Pozieres, Bullecourt, Fromelles and Villers-Bretonneux, served to reassure both visitors and hosts that the sacrifices made by Australians there have not been, and will not be, forgotten. Members of the French population are often surprised and gratified to find that the descendants of those who fought to liberate their lands over a century ago still think it important to visit these places and to remember what happened there. Australian visitors, for their part, are impressed by the obvious care and affection with which the local communities treat the monuments and memorials of their ancestors, and by the genuine warmth of their welcome. This goodwill has often grown to encompass individual exchanges of correspondence and return and reciprocal visits, which continue to enhance the relationship between our nations.
A very tangible outcome of these close relationships was the decision in 2013 by the Commune of Bullecourt to gift parts from one of the tanks destroyed In the first Battle of Bullecourt (11 April 1917) to the people of Australia. This unique gift now forms one of the key exhibits in the Australian War Memorial’s First World War galleries.47

Tourism and travel

DFAT advised that France is a popular destination for Australian tourists, and Australia is a major source country of tourists to the French Pacific.48
The Northern Territory Government advised that the French visitor market to the Northern Territory is established and stable, currently making up 10.1 per cent market share of the Australian French visitor market:
The market is strategically important due to the high dispersal rate of French visitors, particularly from the youth segment, who also deliver a high spend per trip.49
The Government of South Australia highlighted the Tour Down Under (TDU) as providing opportunities for enhancing people-to-people ties with France and promoting tourism. As the biggest cycling race in the Southern hemisphere and attracting a large number of international visitors, the TDU has:
… developed strong relationships with key French, and France-based, organisations, such as the Tour de France and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which support its success as the opening world tour event of the UCI. These relationships include partnership with the Tour de France – e.g. the “Aussie Corner” activation at Villers Bretonneux in the 2015 Tour de France, and hosting several competing French cycling teams every year, including four Tour de France winners.50
Mr Peter Jennings PSM, Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, appearing in a private capacity, suggested deeper engagement between the countries through the early opening of French Pacific Territories for travel following the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19. Noting that a number of Pacific islands, including both French Polynesia and New Caledonia, have been successful in containing the COVID-19 virus, there may be opportunity to resume travel:
My suggestion would be, in roughly the same time frame as we consider opening up a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, that we should think about the French territories as well as being part of that bubble. Obviously, there's a tourism value there which I think would be worthwhile for both us and for the territories. It would also enable us to look at renewing defence engagement with the French forces based in New Caledonia which are an important element of South Pacific security and looking at opportunities for deepening economic engagement with French Polynesia as well.51

Working Holiday Maker Agreement

The Department of Home Affairs noted the long-standing reciprocal Working Holiday Maker Agreement, signed between France and Australia in 2003, in supporting people-to-people links.52 DFAT has also noted the contribution of this program in advancing the bilateral relationship between the two countries, with over 200,000 French citizens having visited Australian under the arrangement since its commencement.53 DFAT elaborated on the popularity of the program:
France is a top five source country for Working Holiday makers in Australia, under a bilateral Agreement which commenced in 2004. The arrangement contributes to enhancing cross-cultural exchange and interpersonal links between the two countries. In the program year ending 30 June 2019, 24,413 Working Holiday visas were granted to French passport holders, an increase of 5.2 per cent on the previous year. From 1 July 2019, the maximum age for French Working Holiday makers increased from 30 to 35 years of age.54
Ambassador Penot spoke to the Committee about the success of the Working Holiday Visa Program, noting that about 20,000 young French people come to Australia each year, where they learn English and may progress to study.55
The Northern Territory Government also advised the Committee of the popularity of this arrangement by noting that one in six visitors from France that visit Australia, do so for a working holiday, which it noted was much higher than other source markets.56
Dr Romain Fathi commended the success of this program, describing it as 'an outstanding tool to expose more French people to Australian life and culture'.57

Education and Research

The Committee received evidence about the range of programs in place which support education, research, training and exchanges and alumni links between Australia and France and French Indo-Pacific territories.
This Committee notes the Joint Statement in relation to education and research, where the two Governments agreed to:
Continue their cooperation in education, higher education and research, through student grants, undergraduate, masters, doctoral and postdoctoral programs, support for early career researchers to establish networks and linkages, and exchanges between academics from tertiary education institutions and research institutes…58
DFAT advised that in 2019, France was the fourth largest source of international students from Europe studying in Australian universities, English colleges and vocational education and training institutes.59
Ambassador Penot's view was that education mobility programs were 'quite successful', but noted that the number of French students compared with other foreign nationals is still modest in Australia.60 He acknowledged that the focus of France was on attracting Australian students there, rather than the reverse.61

University exchanges and Australian Government programs

The Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation Inc (AFRAN) advised that '[c]ulture is critical to the establishment of understanding between our countries and our shared Indo-Pacific interests, including in research and innovation':
Exchanges in the arts, cultural and educational sectors are foundational in bilateral communication, whether they be through DFAT programs such as the New Colombo Plan or Australia Now – France 2021. These cultural activities represent opportunities for humanities and other researchers/innovators to assist in the promotion of understanding and collaboration across academic disciplines.62
The Committee was interested in exploring how to increase the numbers of French students in Australia. Professor Daniell saw:
… huge opportunities for exchanges and for bicultural and bilingual education, starting right from primary school level, having those bicultural experiences, through school and then the cultural exchanges. These can happen both in secondary school and in university but also afterwards in training programs.63
While noting the great interest in France to study in Australia, Dr Quester, provided more detail on the impediments to increasing numbers emphasising the need for reciprocity. She pointed out that in France 'fundamentally, studies are free—or, at least, they're paid by the taxpayer and not by the students—so we can only operate within the parameters of exchange. We have to reciprocate and there have to be the same number of students going in both directions'.64
Dr Quester noted also that it is 'a little bit more difficult to build the expectations for Australian students, who very often do not speak French at a level where they would be comfortable living in France for any duration'. She reported that Australian students have trouble believing that 'most of the French institutions they would study at, in terms of universities, will have the capacity to speak English to them and will have the capacity to develop the linguistic skills they require'.65
Highlighting a successful industry focus, Dr Quester indicated that at the University of Adelaide, they have been looking at the future submarine project and the defence sector and 'have been very successful in building up an internship within the degree, within the curriculum':
In engineering, for instance, we've been successful in having the same number of students going in both directions, because in both countries it is seen very much as a future-making investment, to be able to operate with fluidity in both cultural settings.66
When asked about programs including support from industry, Dr Quester suggested replicating the successful CIFRE67 industry PhD model used in France 'where the French company actually sponsors the students to undertake their studies, of which at least one year can be spent overseas'. She added that in Australia when they speak to potential industry partners, 'we usually do it in the context of an ARC [Australian Research Council] linkage, where we have a core investment by the grants body and the industry partner and the university'. However, she pointed out that this 'usually falls short of actually covering the expenses that the student would face by going to and spending an extended amount of time in France'.68
In relation to the CIFRE model, Professor Daniell added that it is not just for large industry:
It's been used with a lot of small and medium enterprises. The idea is that the PhD student has a salary that is paid by the company, but there is an amount of money that that company gets for the student, plus an R&D tax credit. So it becomes a very low-cost model for small businesses to take on someone who can expand their businesses, and then those students also get training in enterprise and how to think about things in an economic way.69
AFRAN also highlighted the 'Nicolas Baudin “Internships in France” initiative' which provides Australian students the opportunity to 'undertake a research internship at a French host university in collaboration with an industry partner', thereby connecting Australian research and French industry.70 AFRAN pointed out that this program would be useful to enhance defence cooperation noting the recent announcement of the new OzCean Technocampus in Adelaide. This international research laboratory, to develop naval and maritime innovation in Australia, will be established by Naval Group and CNRS71 together with 14 Australian companies, universities, R&D institutes and various government bodies. AFRAN reported that:
Research and innovation on artificial intelligence and autonomous systems will take place at the campus, and Naval Group will also fund students to participate in the Nicolas Baudin “Internships in France” initiative to support skills and research cooperation between the two nations.72

Australian-France Alumni Network

Since 2012, the Australian-France Alumni Network has brought together French nationals who have studied at an Australian tertiary institution at undergraduate or postgraduate level. It is administered by the Australian Embassy in Paris, where several times a year, the Australian Embassy organises networking events in Paris to bring members together; as well as inviting them to cultural events at the Embassy.73

Australia Awards and New Colombo Plan

The Australian Government runs programs to support education, research and training exchanges between Australia and French Pacific territories. The Australia Awards and New Colombo Plan (NCP) provide two-way educational exchange which underpins Australia's bilateral relations with countries in the region through building institutional and people-to-people links.74
The Australia Awards aim to contribute to the development needs of Australia's partner countries in line with bilateral and regional agreements. They provide opportunities for people from developing countries, particularly those countries located in the Indo-Pacific region, to undertake full time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions.75 However, it does not include French Polynesia or New Caledonia because they are not considered to be developing countries.76 DFAT advised that:
Australia Awards contribute to the long-term objectives of promoting growth and stability in our region, as well as strengthening links between people and organisations to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation. They equip recipients with the skills and knowledge to drive change and contribute to the economic and social development of their own countries, in effect, building the human resource capacity of partner countries within mutually agreed development sectors.77
The NCP supports Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region. There are 40 eligible host locations for NCP supported study across the Indo-Pacific region, including French Polynesia and New Caledonia:
The New Colombo Plan is intended to be transformational, deepening Australia's relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other links. 78
The University of Wollongong outlined the benefits provided to students who had undertaken study at the University of New Caledonia under the NCP grant and noted that in the last two years, 24 students had participated.79
The Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations (ISFAR) in its submission considered how well the current exchange programs are meeting their objectives and looked at factors negatively impacting on attracting students. It noted that the NCP has been successful in subsidising short-term study tours for undergraduate students to New Caledonia and French Polynesia, usually lasting two to three weeks and which participating universities have reported positively on; but not semester-long courses which enable the deeper immersion.80
They go in groups of 10 to 20 Australian students—who then talk to each other in English, no doubt—and they attend special courses that are delivered often in language schools, such as CREIPAC in Noumea. So their immersion in the life and culture of the territory, their language development and their contact with people are pretty limited.81

University exchanges and research collaboration

DFAT advised that there are number of agreements and memoranda of understanding between Australian and French universities in place which facilitate academic and research exchange.82
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment advised the Committee that the legislative and regulatory framework supports French students attending Australian universities:
The Australia-France education relationship is mature and there are no regulatory impediments to French tertiary students studying in Australia.
Tertiary education providers are autonomous institutions and make their own decisions about how to attract and retain international students, and on which global partnerships they wish to focus.83
The Embassy of France advised the Committee of significant recent progress in bilateral cooperation on science and higher education:
A good measure of the intensification of our cooperation on science and higher education was the visit to Australia in February 2019 of the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation with a historic delegation of 50 high-level representatives of universities and research organizations. This visit resulted in 25 agreements on research and training.
The Joint Science and Innovation Meeting that took place during this visit gave the opportunity to exchange on our research and innovation ecosystems and assess the most promising fields of cooperation. This meeting paved the way for the drafting of an Australia-France Roadmap for Innovation and Science Collaboration, which is now nearly finalized.84
The Embassy of France informed the Committee of common areas of interest identified by French and Australian research institutions, including energy and material, health, space, environment and biodiversity.85 The Embassy of France also informed the Committee of major strategic partnerships that have been implemented between Australian and French universities in the areas of astrophysics, film studies, economics, climate/environment and artificial intelligence. The Embassy of France further advised that:
The Embassy of France is committed to fostering these collaborations in science and higher education through various programs, totalling AUD 350.000 in 2020, particularly with two growing programs : the FASIC (French-Australian Science and Innovation Collaboration), which helps to nurture emerging projects and consolidate them (70 submissions in 2020), and the Nicolas Baudin program which offers students from Australian universities the opportunity to undertake a research internship in a French host university in collaboration with an industry partner (46 candidates in 2020, 27 laureates in 2019).86
The Committee heard that exchanges between universities, also described as memorandums of understanding are good arrangements to facilitate exchanges between universities because these:
… agreements are semipermanent—they don't rely on the initiative of individual academics and they survive staff changes; they establish close working relations between universities; they can cover undergraduate, postgraduate and staff within the one agreement; and they are actually costneutral, since the universities simply exchange students. However, they are costneutral for the institution but they can be very costly for the students if there is no system of grants to cover travel, accommodation and living expenses.87
The Committee was advised that this was particularly the case in relation to exchanges in the Indo-Pacific region. ISFAR advised that exchange programs between the University of New Caledonia and Australian universities which allow for semester or year-long courses of study have generally had low uptake and fallen into disuse by some institutions. A cost deterrent for students was a factor that ISFAR advised was contributing to the situation:88
We've found that, in the past, Australian students were not that keen on undertaking a year of study in the Pacific. They prefer to go to university in France, where, naturally enough, they can use the opportunity to travel around France and Europe. Moreover, the cost of living in, say, Noumea, is quite high; it's not a cheaper option. And on the other hand, it's true that Pacific island students find Australia expensive and they receive little financial support from their home universities.89
Dr Rechniewski explained to the Committee the considerable benefits of having more Australians study in French territories:
I've had long contact with students who have gone overseas— to France, Italy and elsewhere in Europe—and it's a genuinely transformative experience, and they retain the contacts they've made there. Quite often they go back to study there for a higher degree or they work there. Of course, in terms of advocating for particular policies and in terms of knowledge of the problems that the overseas territories face, they would be experts and specialists in that field.90
ISFAR suggested annual scholarships and living stipends for undergraduate students from the French Pacific territories to study in Australia, and Australian students to study in French Polynesia or New Caledonia, to overcome any cost deterrent.91
ISFAR also advised that:
Postgraduate scholarships for longer term exchanges between Australian universities and French Pacific universities are rare and at the initiative of specific universities … PhD students from UNC, UPF and UR do not have access to the same level of funding as Australian students and this has been a deterrent.92
In regard to academic exchanges, ISFAR advised that there is limited collaboration taking place between Australian and French universities in the Indo-Pacific region. At present, there are relatively few such exchanges, which are dependent on:
… the goodwill and resourcefulness of individual academics to secure highly competitive funding such as that offered by the Australian Research Council. As a consequence, such initiatives may be abandoned once funding is over or researchers move on.93
ISFAR advised that the establishment of more formal and long-lasting exchanges would provide the stability needed in research, industry and commerce; and could be achieved through targeted government backing for priority research to address climate, ecological and health challenges in the region. 94 ISFAR suggested that:
Funding could be allocated either through DFAT or by establishing a 'Special Project' priority scheme, to be administered through the Australian Research Council's Discovery and Linkage grants programme. Australia has research centres focusing on the Asia-Pacific region … that could be part of a network for the exchange of personnel and ideas, if they received funding that encouraged sustained engagement with [University of New Caledonia], [University of French Polynesia] and [University of Reunion].95
The University of Wollongong advised that it had established a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of New Caledonia to promote exchange and language learning in context. It advised that New Caledonia is seen as 'an important destination for Australian students to improve their French language skills'.96 It also advised of its academic staff undertaking research projects in the French Pacific, and aims to collaborate on research projects with the University of French Polynesia.97
The University of Adelaide advised that engagement with France has been a priority, with collaboration on research and education projects with a range of partners in France, noting that it was focussing on building partnerships with defence-related institutions. The University of Adelaide highlighted some areas of cooperation with France:
The University of Adelaide, with two other South Australian universities, is a key partner with CNRS International Research Laboratory, with Naval Group as an industry partner. This joint laboratory will focus on autonomous systems, human factors and artificial intelligence, in a range of key interdisciplinary research areas that are of strategic interest to both countries.
The University of Adelaide has established two dual Master's degrees in the field of defence with ENSTA Bretagne in Marine Engineering, and Ecole Centrale de Lyon in Mechanical Engineering and Acoustics.
The participation of students with an interest in the naval industry from the University of Adelaide in a short program run by the Western Alliance for Scientific Actions with Australia Consortium in 2019 and 2020, which brings together six Breton higher education institutions.
The University of Adelaide has formed a strategic partnership with Dassault Systémes to enhance the focus of its curriculum on digital technologies. Dassault Systémes' office in South Australia has been located on the University campus since 2018.
An agreement with Dassault Systémes and Capgemini to launch a collaborative education program to develop key workforce skills in the marine and offshore sector.98
While the University of Adelaide demonstrated strong academic cooperation with France, it identified areas where support and coordination from governments could grow the relationship further. Firstly, it suggested enhanced collaborative activities beyond the FSP. The Committee was advised that the sensitive nature of the program has limited potential cooperation activities and that there is scope to consider cooperation activities related to defence technologies that are not tied to FSP milestones:
A more aggressive pursuit of cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity, digital engineering, transcultural and transdisciplinary team performance and human factors, or biology, could engender a series of activities that are in synergy with the FSP rather than directly part of it and therefore magnify the impact of this considerable investment.99
Secondly, the University of Adelaide proposed that there could be greater coordination and consistency between both governments on student programs. The Committee was advised that while the French Embassy in Australia initiates and delivers programs which support academic engagement, it suggested that administrative processes were 'onerous and stressful for students'. Additionally, it was noted that there was a disparity in the financial support provided between the countries:
There is also a mismatch in expectations from both sides, as the range of financial support mechanisms is broader in France than it is in Australia, and there are very few long term support schemes in Australia dedicated to cooperation with France. It may also be beneficial for the embassies of both countries to coordinate their activities in order to maximise the opportunities for exchanges.100
Mr Jennings described people-to-people links as the foundation of the future relationship. To further foster those ties he proposed the establishment of a scholarship named after the battle of Le Hamel which he noted was the first battle in which Americans fought under Australian command:101
I suggest the Le Hamel Scholarship should be offered to Australian French and US students to study in Australia on collaborative projects focused on emerging technology and social issues. As with any such scholarship program, the idea is to build a community of individuals committed to supporting productive engagement.102
It will probably only be the government in combination with the universities that can work out a way to do that. My own view is that it would probably be money well spent if you took a long-term view of the return on equity that you'll get by building a cadre of people who have been trained in each other's countries, like each other's countries and want to do business with each other. So I think we'll only benefit from it in exactly the same way that we benefited from the Colombo Plan with Malaysia and Singapore, which is really still the foundation of the closeness of those relationships with Australia. My own view would be that it's money worth investing, but it certainly comes at a cost. There will be no doubt about that.103

Bilateral science and research relations

The Joint Statement called for enhanced scientific relations between the two countries and prioritised the following sectors for development and strengthened cooperation, including health, environment, marine biodiversity conservation, agriculture and energy transition.104
The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) advised that Australia and France have long-standing research collaborations which are 'highly valued'. It noted the long-standing scientific interest in Australia by France, which dates back to 18th century explorers and naturalists who visited Australia. Today, the AAS advised that:
Australia's relationship with France has developed into a friendly and functional one. The relationship is a vital source of inspiration and collaboration across scientific disciplines in both countries.105
Australia and France have demonstrated broad-based research excellence and are at the leading edge in areas such as health and medical research, food and agriculture, marine sciences and the environment, among others. The two nations enjoy a long and outstanding history of good collaboration. Australia should invest in enhancing these relationships and in exploring other research fields to uncover new opportunities for enhancing collaborations between the countries.106
The AAS advised that it has built strong links with French bodies. For example, it has developed a 'strong relationship' with the French Academie des Sciences since the mid-1980s; and has had a 'long and fruitful relationship' with the French Embassy in Australia, aided by the science attaché:
… whose role is to facilitate bilateral scientific and technological cooperation, promote Australian scientific and technological assets in France and French assets in Australia, and strengthen complementary and common fields of interest. The embassy funds these programs through an annual budget of about AUD350,000. The existence of and support for such an office demonstrates the commitment of the French government to support science and research collaborations between the two countries.107
The AAS advised that it managed the France-Australia Science and Innovation Collaboration (FASIC) Program for early career fellowships until its cessation in 2015 due to the discontinuation of Australian Government funding:
FASIC was a joint Australian and French government-funded program that supported high-calibre early career researchers to expand research and innovation activities and initiate substantial research networks and linkages to support both countries’ research and innovation priorities.108
The AAS also highlighted the Bede Morris Fellowship which was established in 1990 to support Australian scientists to travel to France to undertake short-term research projects. The value of these initiatives was underlined by AAS:
The FASIC program and Bede Morris Fellowships are important initiatives that have enabled both Australian and French scientists to access knowledge and innovative technologies to which they would not otherwise have been exposed. They foster creativity in our approaches to research and grow strong collaborations, working relationships and friendships that can last a lifetime.109
The AAS noted the important role of science as a diplomatic tool, contending that close engagement with other countries on science and innovation is critical to Australia's national interest:
Australia has the potential to broaden and deepen the role of its scientific sector as a soft power asset. It has an opportunity to build on the highquality research and strong links it has with traditional powers, and to connect to other established or emerging states. Active and strategic science diplomacy delivers benefits such as influence in international and regional science programs and developing and strengthening geopolitical influence through the provision of science and technology aid to both developed and developing countries.
The Academy interacts with scientists and officials from academies, research organisations and governments of many countries to promote and increase awareness of Australia's capabilities in science and technology, and to create opportunities to influence and contribute to international research agendas and policy development activities. 110
The AAS sees France as a like-minded country that recognises the positive contribution of science to the advancement of foreign policy goals, and included some recent examples demonstrating France's support to enhanced diplomatic relations through science, including:
A large French delegation comprising more than 50 representatives of French universities and research organisations accompanied Minister Frederique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, in February 2019.
More than 20 agreements were signed during Minister Vidal’s visit, such as between the French National Centre for Scientific Research’s (CNRS) joint and associated labs, joint Master’s degrees and student mobility and research agreements on renewable energy, space and health.
The 2018 French Presidential visit to Australia hosted an important science education component.
A France-Australia roadmap for science and innovation is currently being drafted. Thematic priorities are health, energy, environment, agriculture, Industry 4.0 and space.111
The AAS also advised that the current state of the Australian-French research and higher education as very strong, driven broadly by partnerships involving universities and industry partners, highlighting the following two:
The first CNRS International Research Lab in Australia will begin in 2020, involving three South Australian universities and the French Naval Group;
Initiatives such as the Nicolas Baudin internship program continue to develop joint research projects and improve student mobility through participation of major French companies such as Thales, Naval Group, Airbus and Dassault Systems.112
Additionally, AAS advised that several French research organisations have a strong presence in Australia, playing a key role in the scientific cooperation between the countries, including CNRS and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research.113
The AAS also noted the benefit to Australian universities from strategic partnerships between research intensive universities across disciplines, including:
Université Paris Sciences et Lettres collaboration with the Australian National University in astrophysics, film studies and economics;
Université Paris-Saclay collaboration with the University of Queensland in aerospace engineering and hypersonic research; and
Sorbonne Université collaboration with the University of Sydney in climate/environment and artificial intelligence.114
There has been agreement to regular government-to-government science and innovation meetings, approximately every two years. The Joint Science and Innovation Meeting (JSIM) was first held in October 2016 in Paris and is cochaired by senior officials from both countries. Discussions cover 'policy matters, leverage bilateral science opportunities and overcome possible collaboration impediments'.115
The 2019 JSIM was a further opportunity to 'consider closer science and innovation alignment in areas of mutual interest'. It was preceded by six thematic workshops on: 'Industry 4.0; Space; Climate, Environment and marine science; Plant ecology, Biodiversity on land and agriculture; Materials, energy, and mining; and health'.116 These workshops 'provided an opportunity for discussions in areas of mutual interest and an opportunity to connect French and Australian research organisations and universities'. The discussions have also led to the development of a joint roadmap which focuses on identifying and developing future collaborative opportunities.117
The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) noted the Global Innovation Strategy which is a whole of government approach to 'increasing Australia's innovation and science connections internationally'. The submission listed a number of programs involving collaboration with France.118
AFRAN consists of nine scientific communities in a range of areas. It represents an extensive network of experts and existing collaborations in areas relevant to Australia-France relations including: energy; advanced manufacturing; space and remote sensing; Internet of Things; health and medical science; defence; industry 4.0; environment, agriculture and sustainable development of communities; and culture and governance in Oceania.119
AFRAN pointed out that 'France is indeed one of the key drivers of the entire European research and innovation ecosystem and thus one of the most important partners for Australians who have a desire to collaborate in EU research and innovation programs'.120
The AFRAN submission noted the 'strong political support for cooperation in research, innovation and higher education from both nations'. AFRAN highlighted that the quality of Australian scientific research makes Australia's research institutions attractive partners for France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). The submission also noted the agreements signed during the French Minister of Education's visit in 2019 as well as the development of a France-Australia roadmap for science and innovation.121
AFRAN supported increasing French and Australian research and innovation relationships, outlining a number of opportunities in the areas detailed below.


Speaking on the opportunities in terms of the submarine project, Dr Quester advised:
In terms of the submarine project in particular, but defence more broadly, we have been able to establish a relationship—and many other universities like the University of Adelaide have done this—with the grand ecole network, the very elitist and incredibly advanced network of schools that deal with specific areas of endeavour, and technology in particular. There is a little bit of an obstacle in that France is not a part of the Five Eyes. So, in terms of defence clearance and all the rest of it, sometimes recruiting students who can be welcomed in both systems is not so easy. But, on the technology, front I think it's fair to say that the submarine project has put Australia on the map in a way that was not necessarily as clear before. I think all universities are working very hard at finding the complementarity and the synergies with the French research institutions and I think that's going to bear fruit for both sides.122
Professor Daniell added that there has been interest in areas associated with the defence program 'in energy, in artificial intelligence, in human relationships to technology'.123
AFRAN suggested a model to support Australian students to undertake industry PhDs in France to:
… increase collaboration for the Strategic Partnering Agreement signed in 2018 for the Future Submarine Program and beyond. These could be as full French programs or under joint ‘co-tutelle’ PhDs with an Australian university partner.124


As noted in Chapter 2, AFRAN reported that 'existing successful bilateral cooperation and business opportunities are already evident in the energy sector'.125 The inaugural French-Australian Energy Symposium held in 2018 outlined specific areas of strategic importance for bilateral cooperation in research and innovation including: energy storage; renewable energy; hydrogen; electrical engineering; and smart systems.126
Professor Aguey-Zinsou, Vice President of AFRAN, noted the potential in the renewables space for both countries to 'partner in developing start-ups in using the complementary expertise of both countries to breach gaps'.127
The Committee was advised that AFRAN was instrumental in the establishment of a new mechanism to strengthen cooperation in the energy sector, the FrenchAustralian Research Network on Conversation and Energy Storage for stand-alone and maritime applications (FACES). This collaboration is 'mainly supported by the [French National Centre of Scientific Research] (CRNS) and this is one of the mechanisms used by the CNRS to support those bilateral collaborations'. However, due to COVID-19, the launch has been delayed.128 Details of the economic opportunities in the energy and renewable technology sectors are in Chapter 2.


Professor Frederic Hollande, Clinical Pathology Department, University of Melbourne noted that the current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for enhanced cooperation between Australia and like-minded international partners in the health sector, 'both through direct bilateral engagement and through coordinated action with global institutions such as the WHO [World Health Organization]'. He added that '[f]rom a strategy point of view, Australia and France face very similar health related concerns and challenges'.129
Noting that Australia is internationally recognised 'for the excellence of its biomedical research, medical practice and public health sectors', Professor Hollande suggested Australia 'would strongly benefit from improved medical and commercial translation of its discoveries'. He advised that in France, 'the private innovation sector is extremely dynamic, particularly in the areas of oncogenetics, digital health and medical technologies'. He therefore saw that 'the complementarity between Australia and France in the health sector is very strong, opening a large number of opportunities for increased investment and cooperation across both the public and the private sector for the benefit of both nations'.130
AFRAN noted the potential for Australia-France cooperation in the health sector, including with public-private partnerships. It saw potential for investment and partnerships in the following areas:
building on existing cooperation in infectious diseases with potential for global impact, for example Hepatitis B virus and other viral infections;
personalised oncology to personalise cancer treatment; and
incorporating digital technology and artificial intelligence in the clinical decision-making process and in the research training space.131
Other important health areas include: decision analytics and big data analysis to map the effectiveness of mental health services in France and Australia; and health issues in communities of the Pacific/Indian Ocean areas.132
The Committee notes the AUSMIN 2020 Global Health Security Joint Statement released on 28 July 2020 by the Australian and United States Governments. The Joint Statement prioritises bilateral and regional engagement to respond to infectious disease outbreaks and other health emergencies across the IndoPacific and to expand Indo-Pacific health security engagement.133


The space sector was identified in the key strategic documents as an area of collaboration with France. Commercial opportunities are detailed in Chapter 2. The work of the Australian Space Agency with France is supported through 'close engagement with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC) on opportunities for collaboration in space, which will flow through to member nations, such as France'.134
Noting the Australian Government's vision to triple the size of Australia's space economy, AFRAN reported that 'bilateral cooperation in space research and innovation is already present in Australia' and provided the example of space mission software development by UNSW (University of New South Wales) using the expertise of the French Space Agency. AFRAN also noted the Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian National University (ANU) and French National Space Agency (CNES) which 'supports and implements cooperative activities in space, focusing on quantum communications, optical communications and earth observations'.135
AFRAN emphasised that the expansion of research and innovation in the space sector would directly support the growing space economy, highlighting ANU’s InSpace Institute, as well as the CRC SmartSat, facilities which 'bridge academy and industry'.136
When asked about the potential to develop space initiatives, Professor Daniell responded:
The CNES does have a range of relationships already with some of our university partners. What we've found is that there are many small businesses on both Australian and French sides who are able to use some of the outputs of these technologies. At the Australian National University, InSpace is an innovation institute that has been set up to help spin out small companies in both earth observation and small satellites. We have now the SmartSat CRC cooperative research centre in Australia that is developing some of these businesses. So there are really enormous opportunities.137
Dr Quester added that in her view, in South Australia, 'defence and space are seen as part of a similar type of ecosystem' and:
There is great interest from the French side of things because, obviously, what it does do is provide them with the capacity for satellite follow-up around the globe. To have stations located in Australia or in the Pacific is a very essential part of being able to track down the satellites as they go around. There is, I think, mutual interest here.138
Mr Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head, Australian Space Agency, also stressed the links between defence, in areas such as submarines, and space as the workforces have similar skills. Space needs manufacturing skills and 'many space activities can be used in a defence context as well'.139
DISER indicated that 'continued engagement by the Australian Space Agency with Centre national D'Études Spatiales (CNES) and the European Space Agency (ESA) will support mutual growth of the space sectors in both social and economic benefits'.140
DISER added that 'French-Australian relationships in the space sector are continuing to develop through existing collaborations between Australian research institutions and CNES'. For example '[v]isiting Scientist exchanges with CNES and CSIRO are being explored to share knowledge and expertise between the two nations'.141


DISER noted that Australia is partnering with France in two international astronomy collaborations: the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory and the European Southern Observatory.142 DISER observed that:
As fellow members of both the SKA Observatory and ESO, there would be significant opportunities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Australia and France in various areas of science and technology.143

Environmental technologies and management services

AFRAN highlighted the potential for research and innovation partnerships in future growth areas of environmental and agricultural technologies:
There are long-term partnerships in water management, climate change adaptation and agriculture between INRAE,144 CIRAD,145 AgroParisTech,146 CSIRO and multiple Australian universities including ANU, UTS, UNSW, UQ and the University of Adelaide, including those working in the Pacific Islands. With some of the largest companies in the world in water, environmental management and agrifood business, France has a thriving industrial research and development complex that presents significant opportunities for future cooperation, including through industry-based PhDs and joint research and innovation labs.147
In relation to Agriculture, Professor Daniell provided the following example:
… Tasmania has been pioneering its precision agriculture and supply-chain management. There are lots of really high-value applications for produce that can be tracked. We've got Internet of Things oyster beds there, smart grids and all sorts of other things that can benefit from this kind of technology.148
Providing further detail, Professor Daniell explained:
[Tasmania has] some of the best precision agriculture systems set up, and they do precision manufacturing and 3D printing and other things. Because it's fairly small scale and they're often very high quality green products, they have remarkable success in the European market, where they're looking for interesting, clean, green produce. So this is a real opportunity for us to blend a great environment and high technology so that people can trace, for example, on an app, 'Where did my beautiful Tasmanian apple,' or whatever it might be, 'come from?149

Enhancing strategic cooperation

AFRAN pointed out that bilateral research and innovation provide opportunities to enhance strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. It noted examples of cooperation through multilateral fora in areas of environmental research including: water, climate change adaptation, coral reef and fish stocks.150 For example, recently:
French and Australian researchers working in New Caledonia have found 50 species of coral that thrive in climate change–like conditions.151
AFRAN advised that it is developing an Oceania hub of the Association that will 'help support research and innovation with researchers and innovators not only in the French Overseas Territories, but with regional organisations like the Pacific Community and [The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme], as well as Australian and French-based members with interest in Oceania'.152
AFRAN also advocated for the Australian Government to develop relations between bilateral research communities and the EU which would include 'cofunding for French and EU research schemes in bilateral priority areas'.153

Collaboration with CSIRO

DISER noted that 'Europe is a key partner region for the CSIRO, both in relation to basic scientific research and for commercialisation and applications of our industrial research'. CSIRO has a number of key stakeholders in France, particularly in the agricultural science field. In addition:
Based on arrangements CSIRO has established with a number of institutions in France, CSIRO researchers host over 20 French interns each year. Many of these high-quality Masters-equivalent students go on to careers in key French industries, including the aerospace industry.154
In 2019, the French Science Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal brought a delegation to Australia to attend the most recent JSIM, hosted by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP. The program of meetings included the announcement of a number of new initiatives, including:
France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and CSIRO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and an Agreement for the creation of an International Research Laboratory on membrane biogenesis with the University of Melbourne, University of Grenoble and Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research;
CNRS and the Australian National University signed an MoU launching a joint call for PhD grant support;
establishment of an International Research Laboratory on photonics with five Australian and ten French partners;
a Letter of Intent with CNRS and three universities in Adelaide to launch the creation of an international research laboratory, enhancing cooperation on human-machine cooperation and autonomous systems; and
a Letter of Intent between CNRS and four Australian Universities for the creation of a network on conversion and energy storage.155
DISER advised that offshore offices and research laboratories provide opportunities for linkages and exchange, for example:
CSIRO operates the CSIRO European Laboratory at the Agropolis International Campus near Montpellier in France, which focuses on environmental, agricultural and biosecurity research.156
There are also strong relationships with French counterparts in third countries in the Indo-Pacific, 'particularly through CSIRO’s ASEAN Director, located in Singapore':
CSIRO and CNRS representatives in Singapore have identified several opportunities to expand cooperation in the region, including in Earth Observation and Renewable Energy.157

Collaboration with ANSTO

DISER advised that the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) 'has strong ties with French nuclear services companies Orano and CERCA' and has 'entered into a contract with Orano for the reprocessing of spent fuel from the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor in Sydney…CERCA supplies ANSTO with proliferation-resistant low enriched uranium fuel for the OPAL reactor and target plates for nuclear medicine production'.158 In addition:
ANSTO has entered into a Technical Agreement with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a consortium of six countries and the EU, located in Cadarache in the south of France. ANSTO also has a range of other collaborations with French nuclear and research institutions, including an agreement with CNES and Inserm signed in the margins of the recent JSIM.159
Further 'ANSTO offers yearly scholarships, in partnership with the French Embassy and the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering, to support graduate students exchanges between the two countries'.160

Collaboration with Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia (GA) has a number of agreements and partnerships with the French space agency, CNES, including:
an agreement to operate two radio uplink stations;
in partnership with CNES, operation of two Doppler Orbitography and Radio-positioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) beacons at Mount Stromlo, ACT and Yarragadee, WA. There are discussions to extend the DORIS network with a site proposed at Katherine; and
GA also collaborates with CNES on data sharing and access of French Earth observation satellites.161
In addition, GA:
… together with Australian state and federal partners under a cooperative funding model, operates the Copernicus Regional Data Hub under [a] MoU with the European Commission. CNES operates a similar service called PEPS. Earth observation value adding entities within New Caledonia make use of the Regional Hub in preference to PEPS, largely as a result of low bandwidth connections with France. CNES and GA discussed partnering on this and opportunity exists for co-investment in the regional hub.162

Australian Institute of Marine Science

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) advised the Committee of the close and longstanding history of research cooperation with French research institutes, both bilaterally and through international marine initiatives. It noted in particular the collaboration with the Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l'Envrionment (CRIOBE), principally located in French Polynesia, which it described as 'one of France's pre-eminent laboratories for the study of coral reef ecosystems'.163
In regard to collaboration on international initiatives, AIMS noted in particular membership of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) which is 'an informal partnership between nations and organisations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world'.164 Australia and France are two of eight founding members of ICRI; with Australia currently serving as co-chair, with Monaco and Indonesia, having succeeded France in 2018.165
The countries also work together through the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) which AIMS is the Global Coordinator for. GCRMN works through a global network of scientists, institutes and organisations that monitor the condition of coral reefs throughout the world. AIMS advised that as Global Coordinator, it works with closely with CRIOBE, which coordinates the Pacific node the GCRMN.166
In recognition of the world leading research in the area of coral reef science being carried by Australia and France, under the Vision Statement, the leaders committed to:
… deepen our collaboration and to work together in understanding the selfresilience of coral reefs in the broader pacific region, including through a jointly funded study of up to three years on reef resilience in the Pacific, which will also be aimed at building capacity of Pacific countries and territories to understand reef self resilience factors. They agreed to develop practical approaches to build scientific knowledge, and to enable developing countries, especially in the Pacific, to access cutting edge reef management practices.167
AIMS noted that it would be working with DFAT and in partnership with CRIOBE and the Embassy of France in Australia to progress this work. AIMS noted that, while progress has been impacted by COVID, it is continuing to work with collaborators on the final project proposal.168
AIMS noted the critical importance of coral reef ecosystems to Pacific Island countries in relation to food security, the tourism industry, and as an important element of cultural identity. Consequently the health of marine environment, including coral ecosystems, should be considered central to the security, stability and prosperity of the Pacific region and an important priority under the Government's Pacific Step-Up program.169 AIMS, therefore suggested that this offers strategic opportunities for Australia and France with mutual interests in the region:
The presence of the French territories in the Indo-Pacific provides an opportunity to partner with France to learn more about local marine environments and needs, and engage meaningfully with local communities in developing, trialling and implementing accurate, efficient, scalable and culturally-appropriate reef monitoring and management solutions.
Funding sources under the Pacific Step-Up which could support projects focusing on the resilience of coral reef ecosystems should be considered – particularly where there are opportunities to partner with France, given its shared geostrategic interests in the Pacific, scientific expertise in coral reef ecosystems and local knowledge.170

  • 1
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 3.
  • 2
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Submission 19, p. 5.
  • 3
    See for example DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6; Northern Territory Government, Submission 1, p. 8; Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 6.
  • 4
    See Alliance Française Australie, About DGAF, (accessed 20 July 2020).
  • 5
    Embassy of France, Submission 22, p. 7.
  • 6
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 6.
  • 7
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 7.
  • 8
    Dr Romain Fathi is a Senior Lecturer in History at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.
  • 9
    Dr Romain Fathi, Submission 4, p. 6.
  • 10
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6; Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 6.
  • 11
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 6.
  • 12
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6.
  • 13
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6.
  • 14
    Embassy of France, Submission 22, p. 8.
  • 15
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6.
  • 16
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 6.
  • 17
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 6.
  • 18
    Northern Territory Government, Submission 1, p. 8.
  • 19
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 2.
  • 20
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 2.
  • 21
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 5.
  • 22
    Professor Ruth Bereson, Dean, Engagement (Creative Arts), Griffith University, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 3.
  • 23
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 5.
  • 24
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 6.
  • 25
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 6.
  • 26
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 6.
  • 27
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 6.
  • 28
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6.
  • 29
    Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, France, His Excellency Jean-Marc Ayrault, Joint Statement of Enhanced Strategic Partnership between Australia and France, Media Release, 3 March 2017, Section H, paragraph 11.
  • 30
    The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia, Joint Press Statement with the President of the French Republic, 19 November 2014.
  • 31
    Australian Government, Department of Communications and the Arts, Annual Report 2015-16, p. 44; Australian Government, Department of Communications and the Arts, Annual Report 201617, pp. vii, 4, 48-49; Australian Government, Department of Communications and the Arts, Annual Report 2017-18, pp. vii, 67, 69; Australian Government, Department of Communications and the Arts, Annual Report 2018-19, pp. 71, 87.
  • 32
    Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), Submission 16, p. 10.
  • 33
    See DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6; Embassy of France, Submission 22, p. 2; Australian War Memorial, Submission 21; Government of South Australia, Submission 17, pp. 5-6.
  • 34
    See Department of Veterans' Affairs, Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front, 23 January 2020, (accessed 9 July 2020).
  • 35
    Joint Statement of Enhanced Strategic Partnership between Australia and France, Section J, Cooperation on shared memory of the First World War.
  • 36
    Vision Statement on the Australia-France Relationship by the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia and His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, 2 May 2018 (Vision Statement), paragraph 48.
  • 37
    Embassy of France, Submission 22, p. 4.
  • 38
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6.
  • 39
    Vision Statement, paragraph 48.
  • 40
    Australian War Memorial, Submission 21, [p. 4].
  • 41
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 5.
  • 42
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 6.
  • 43
    Northern Territory Government, Submission 1, pp. 8-9.
  • 44
    Dr Romain Fathi, Submission 4, p. 2.
  • 45
    Dr Romain Fathi, Submission 4, pp. 1-2.
  • 46
    Dr Romain Fathi, Submission 4, p. 2.
  • 47
    Australian War Memorial, Submission 21, [pp. 2-3].
  • 48
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 7.
  • 49
    Northern Territory Government, Submission 1, p. 7.
  • 50
    Government of South Australia, Submission 17, p. 6.
  • 51
    Mr Peter Jennings PSM, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 13.
  • 52
    Department of Home Affairs, Submission 18, p. 2.
  • 53
    See DFAT, France country brief, (accessed 1 July 2020).
  • 54
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 7.
  • 55
    His Excellency Mr Christophe Penot, the French Ambassador to Australia, Proof Committee Hansard, 26 June 2020, p. 18.
  • 56
    Northern Territory Government, Submission 1, p. 7.
  • 57
    Dr Romain Fathi, Submission 4, p. 5.
  • 58
    Joint Statement of Enhanced Strategic Partnership between Australia and France, Section H, paragraph 5.
  • 59
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6.
  • 60
    Ambassador Penot, Proof Committee Hansard, 26 June 2020, p. 18.
  • 61
    Ambassador Penot, Proof Committee Hansard, 26 June 2020, p. 18.
  • 62
    Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation Inc (AFRAN), Submission 7, p. 9.
  • 63
    Professor Katherine Daniell, President, AFRAN, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 3.
  • 64
    Dr Pascale Quester, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), University of Adelaide, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 3.
  • 65
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 3.
  • 66
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 3.
  • 67
    CIFRE stands for Industrial Agreement of Training through Research.
  • 68
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 4.
  • 69
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 4.
  • 70
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 7.
  • 71
    The French National Centre for Scientific Research.
  • 72
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 7.
  • 73
  • 74
    See DFAT, Australian Awards, (accessed 10 July 2020).
  • 75
    See DFAT, Australian Awards Scholarships, (accessed 13 July 2020).
  • 76
    Dr Elizabeth Rechniewwski, Co-chair, Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations (ISFAR), Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 20.
  • 77
    See DFAT, Australian Awards, (accessed 10 July 2020).
  • 78
    See DFAT, About the New Colombo Plan, (accessed 10 July 2020).
  • 79
    University of Wollongong, Submission 8, p. 2.
  • 80
    ISFAR, Submission 6, p. 2.
  • 81
    Dr Rechniewski, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 20.
  • 82
    DFAT, Submission 19, p. 6.
  • 83
    Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Answer to written question on notice, 30 June 2020 (received 10 July 2020).
  • 84
    Embassy of France, Submission 22, p. 6.
  • 85
    Embassy of France, Submission 22, p. 7.
  • 86
    Embassy of France, Submission 22, pp. 7-8.
  • 87
    Dr Rechniewski, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 19.
  • 88
    ISFAR, Submission 6, p. 2.
  • 89
    Dr Rechniewski, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 20.
  • 90
    Dr Rechniewski, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 21.
  • 91
    ISFAR, Submission 6, p. 3.
  • 92
    ISFAR, Submission 6, pp. 2-3
  • 93
    ISFAR, Submission 6, p. 3.
  • 94
    ISFAR, Submission 6, p. 3.
  • 95
    ISFAR, Submission 6, p. 3.
  • 96
    University of Wollongong, Submission 8, p. 3.
  • 97
    University of Wollongong, Submission 8, p. 3.
  • 98
    University of Adelaide, Submission 15, p. 1.
  • 99
    University of Adelaide, Submission 15, p. 2.
  • 100
    University of Adelaide, Submission 15, pp. 1-2.
  • 101
    Mr Jennings, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 12.
  • 102
    Mr Jennings, Submission 23, p. 1.
  • 103
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 17.
  • 104
    Joint Statement of Enhanced Strategic Partnership between Australia and France, Section H, paragraph 7.
  • 105
    Australian Academy of Science (AAS), Submission 9, [p. 3].
  • 106
    AAS, Submission 9, [p. 4].
  • 107
    AAS, Submission 9, [pp. 3-4].
  • 108
    AAS, Submission 9, [p. 4].
  • 109
    AAS, Submission 9, [p. 4].
  • 110
    AAS, Submission 9, [p. 1].
  • 111
    AAS, Submission 9, [p. 2.]
  • 112
    AAS, Submission 9, [p. 2].
  • 113
    AAS, Submission 9, [p. 2].
  • 114
    AAS, Submission 9, [p. 2].
  • 115
    Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), Submission 20, p. 7.
  • 116
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 8.
  • 117
    DISER, Submission 20, pp. 7-8.
  • 118
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 8.
  • 119
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 2.
  • 120
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 3.
  • 121
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 3.
  • 122
    Dr Quester, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, pp. 5-6.
  • 123
    Professor Daniell, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 6.
  • 124
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 7.
  • 125
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 4.
  • 126
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 4.
  • 127
    Professor Francois Aguey-Zinsou, Vice President, AFRAN, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 6.
  • 128
    Professor Aguey-Zinsou, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 2; AFRAN, Submission 7, pp. 4-5.
  • 129
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 2.
  • 130
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 2.
  • 131
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 5.
  • 132
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 5.
  • 133
    Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, 'AUSMIN 2020 Global Health Security Statement', Joint Statement, 28 July 2020.
  • 134
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 9.
  • 135
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 6.
  • 136
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 6.
  • 137
    Professor Daniell, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 7.
  • 138
    Dr Quester, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 7.
  • 139
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, pp. 26-27.
  • 140
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 3.
  • 141
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 10.
  • 142
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 8.
  • 143
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 9.
  • 144
    France's National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, established 1 January 2020.
  • 145
    A French agricultural research centre working with developing countries to address international agricultural and development issues.
  • 146
    Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences.
  • 147
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 6.
  • 148
    Professor Daniell, Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 7.
  • 149
    Proof Committee Hansard, 24 June 2020, p. 7.
  • 150
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 8.
  • 151
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 8.
  • 152
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 8.
  • 153
    AFRAN, Submission 7, p. 2.
  • 154
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 12.
  • 155
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 12.
  • 156
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 12.
  • 157
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 12.
  • 158
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 13.
  • 159
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 13.
  • 160
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 13.
  • 161
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 13.
  • 162
    DISER, Submission 20, p. 13.
  • 163
    Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Submission 5, p. 1.
  • 164
    See International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), About Us, 2020, (accessed 13 July 2020).
  • 165
    See International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), About Us, 2020, (accessed 13 July 2020).
  • 166
    AIMS, Submission 5, p. 2.
  • 167
    Vision Statement, paragraph 57.
  • 168
    AIMS, Submission 5, p. 2.
  • 169
    AIMS, Submission 5, p. 2.
  • 170
    AIMS, Submission 5, pp. 2-3.

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