Andrews upbeat about trade office

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Photo: Peter Haskin

PREMIER Daniel Andrews has told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) luncheon that the Victorian Government’s Trade and Investment Office in Tel Aviv will be “a permanent testament to the partnership we share”.

Speaking to guests at the Government House luncheon on January 31, Andrews said the office, announced during his recent trip to Israel, received the commendation of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

To be housed in a technology centre alongside the Israeli offices of Google and Paypal, the office “will pursue [Victoria and Israel’s] shared interests in biomedicine. Even more, it’ll be a permanent testament to the partnership we share – and the future that we will forge together,” the Premier noted.

Andrews spoke warmly of his first official visit to Israel as Victoria’s Premier. “I felt at home in Israel. I saw the vibrant and modern Tel Aviv that complemented the timeless and spiritual Jerusalem. Both cities are unique and both have bright futures.

“With Israel’s modern, growing economy and world leading tech sector, Victoria has much to benefit from building stronger business, research and personal connections with Israel,” he said.

Andrews had a “warm and productive” 90-minute meeting with Netanyahu. “We spoke about the things that bring our regions together — our common ground and our common interests.”

Victorian Governor Linda Dessau greeted the luncheon’s special guest, Major General (Ret) Ido Nehushtan, chair of the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce (IACC) and his wife Orna with the Hebrew greeting “Baruch haba”.

Dessau said that “as the Governor of Victoria, I have the privilege of an excellent vantage point from which to observe the specific commonalities between us. We have in common our people: Victoria is home to the largest Israeli population in Australia. And Israel and Victoria have enjoyed a long history of friendship and support”.

“We see many fruitful partnerships growing between us,” said Dessau, pointing out “the outstanding medical research undertaken here in our Parkville precinct, combined with Israel’s brilliance as a leader in the commercialisation of such research”.

Nehushtan told the audience that the IACC “is here to help anyone here today wishing to see the innovation ecosystem in Israel and we are willing and able to assist with any interest or needs they have in Israel”.

The IACC chief praised the Victorian government for its trade and investment presence in Israel and paid tribute to his AICC counterparts as “a unique and special relationship that works to the benefit of promoting bilateral trade and relations”.

PETER KOHN