Fact Sheet on New Australia-United States Cooperation
WED 16 NOVEMBER 2011
Prime Minister, President of the United States of America
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Barack Obama met on November 16 in Canberra and announced a series of initiatives to expand and deepen cooperation between Australia and the United States.
Partnering in Education
Australia’s Minister for School Education, Early Childhood, and Youth Peter Garrett and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have issued a statement (attached) outlining new initiatives to: conduct experts-level policy dialogues on issues like teacher quality and school improvement; expand virtual exchanges between schools in both countries on sustainable communities; and establish a Global Connections and Exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in consultation with Australia’s Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations, to enable collaboration on environmental issues between American and Australian secondary schools in remote areas of both countries.
Partnering on Clean Energy
Australia and the United States have detailed new cooperation on clean energy in a statement (attached) that covers: seven new solar research projects to be conducted under the U.S.-Australia Solar Energy Collaboration (USAEC) Initiative; enhanced collaboration on best practices for promoting energy efficiency; and the Sydney Theatre Company and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are exploring the adoption of clean energy and energy efficient technologies to reduce the carbon footprints of cultural institutions.
Partnering in Development
Australia and the United States are to work together as outlined in the attached statement to address global development challenges, including: launching a new joint partnership called All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development to improve reading outcomes for 100 million children in primary schools by 2015; launching the GSMA mWomen Global Development Alliance to empower women and girls through improved access to mobile phones; and cooperating on development challenges in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Afghanistan.
Partnering to Combat Serious Crime
Criminal activity increasingly spans international borders, necessitating close cooperation and information-sharing between law enforcement agencies around the world. On November 16, Australia and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Enhancing Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Crime (attached). The MOU augments the ability of the two countries to prevent, detect, and investigate serious crimes by providing for the sharing of biometric data, including fingerprints, on a case-by-case basis. The MOU reinforces cooperation on common challenges while respecting shared values regarding the privacy of each country’s citizens.
Partnering for Justice in Afghanistan
As Afghan forces begin to take the lead in defending their country, Australia and the United States are committed to working together to promote transparency, accountability, and strong Afghan civil institutions such as the justice system. Australia will assist efforts to strengthen the Afghan justice system by deploying three Australian Civilian Corps justice advisers to the Justice Center in Parwan (JCIP). Established in partnership between the U.S. and Afghan Governments in 2010, the JCIP enables the transition of U.S. military detainees into the Afghan criminal justice system through fair and transparent trials conducted by the Government of Afghanistan under Afghan law. The Australian Civilian Corps deployment is expected to occur in early 2012. The Australian advisors will be the first non-U.S. advisors to Afghan justice officials at the JCIP.
Partnering on the TPP
Australian Trade Minister Emerson and U.S. Trade Representative Kirk met on the margins of the November 11 APEC meeting, and reiterated their strong commitment to successfully concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations as soon as possible. The United States and Australia are the two largest economies of the nine countries negotiating the TPP agreement. They also expressed satisfaction with the robust growth in two-way trade since the start of the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in 2005, noting that bilateral trade in goods and services grew 53% (based on official Australian statistics converted to US$) through the end of 2010, with total U.S. exports to Australia reaching US$35.2 (A$35.3) billion in 2010, and total Australian exports to the United States at US$14.6 (A$14.5) billion. Investment has also increased significantly, with a 20% jump in bilateral investment flows over the past year alone (U.S. official figures). The United States is the largest foreign direct investor (FDI) in Australia, with a cumulative FDI total of US$134 billion in 2010 (based on official U.S. data), while for Australia, the United States is the largest destination for outbound FDI, with a cumulative total of US$94.9 (A$93.4) billion (based on official Australian data). Minister Emerson and Ambassador Kirk noted that the U.S.- Australian economic relationship is a strong example of the kind of open, transparent, and fair trade and investment ties that the two countries hope to expand throughout the Asia-Pacific region with other TPP partners.
Partnering in Space
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research (DIISR) have announced their intent to extend two bilateral space agreements scheduled to expire in 2012. Under the Space Vehicle Tracking and Communications Facilities Agreement, first agreed in 1980, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) operates the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, one of three global facilities that provide data to NASA to track and maintain contact with NASA and other spacecraft operating in deep space. The Agreement on Scientific Ballooning, signed in 2006, assists NASA and its Australian partners, CSIRO and the University of New South Wales, in developing new technologies and payloads for NASA missions by using cost-effective balloons to place scientific payloads high in the atmosphere.
Partnering in Commemorating the Battle of the Coral Sea
In recognition of the exceptional bravery and sacrifice exemplified by our sailors and airmen who fought together in the May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea, historically regarded as the start of U.S.-Australia military cooperation, Australia and the United States are to work together, in advance of the battle’s 70th anniversary in May 2012, to locate the wrecks of three U.S. warships (the USS Lexington, USS Neosho, and USS Sims) sunk in Australian waters during this pivotal two-day clash. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, a leader in archival research on historic naval battle records, is to provide expertise to identify these wrecks for formal designation as protected heritage resources under the laws of both nations. Australia and the United States will also continue to advance collaboration on marine and climate science in the Coral Sea and other areas.
Partnering to Address Digital Issues
New digital technologies like cloud computing and smart phones offer further opportunities to enhance people's lives through digital technologies. However, challenges such as cyber security and safety, privacy, or jurisdictional issues could prevent our societies from tapping the digital revolution's true potential. In order to bring together U.S. and Australian public and private sector experts to discuss how best to address these issues, and compare domestic experiences and perspectives, the United States and Australia, together with the private sector, are to hold a dialogue on “Cloud Computing,” featuring former U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, in Canberra in February 2012. The dialogue will address how to eliminate obstacles to trans-border flows of data or information, while maintaining data security and privacy as well as law enforcement and national security. The two governments will explore the possibility of future dialogues on other digital topics of mutual concern.
- Statement on Education Cooperation [PDF 69KB]
- Statement on Clean Energy Cooperation - [PDF 79KB]
- Statement on Development Cooperation [PDF 129KB]
- Statement on Memorandum of Understanding on Combating Crime [PDF 72KB]
- Memorandum of Understanding on Combating Crime PDF [3.3MB]