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From October 23 to 27, Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, representing His Majesty the King, is leading an economic mission to Australia. This Wednesday, October 25, the Belgian delegation of more than 300 participants left Sydney to continue this mission in Melbourne, the second most populous city in Australia and an important economic center.
Princess Astrid is accompanied by a ministerial delegation comprising the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Rudi Vervoort, the Vice-Minister-President of the Walloon Government and Minister for the Economy, Foreign Trade, Regional Planning and Agriculture, Mr. Willy Borsus, and the Minister of Finance and Budget, Housing and Heritage, Mr. Matthias Diependaele, representing the Flemish Government.
Wednesday October 25
The delegation began its program with a visit to the “All-Energy Australia and Waste” exhibition which offered Belgium an ideal setting to present the expertise of its companies to the main local and international players operating in the field of energy transition and waste management.
After a meeting between HRH Princess Astrid, accompanied by the three ministers, and Mrs. Margaret Gardner, Governor of the State of Victoria, the delegation was received at the Governor's residence for a reception. On this occasion, Mr. Roland Peelman, born in Belgium and active in Australia for more than 30 years as a conductor, pianist, mentor and artistic director, was presented with a decoration by Princess Astrid.
Thursday October 26
The day will begin with a commemorative ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne to pay tribute to the many Australians, members of the armed forces and auxiliary services, who lost their lives in Belgium during the First World War.
Afterwards, Princess Astrid and the ministerial delegation will attend three seminars. The first seminar will be devoted to the close cooperation between Belgium and Australia in the field of nuclear medicine for the production of radioisotopes. The recent investment in Seneffe by the Australian company Telix Pharmaceuticals, in a brand new European radiopharmaceutical production center, will be highlighted in particular to illustrate the leading pole that our country has become in this field in Europe. The second seminar will focus on the theme of smart cities and regions, in the presence of Melbourne Mayor Sally Capp. The third seminar will provide an overview of Belgium's pioneering efforts in the field of the blue economy, more specifically in sustainable seafood production, offshore renewable energy and innovative fishing.
In the afternoon, after a visit to the Alfred Medical Center where the potential of data and innovation to improve patient care will be highlighted based in particular on research carried out in several Belgian and Australian universities, Princess Astrid and the delegation will return to Marvel Stadium in the heart of Melbourne. This will notably be an opportunity for the Belgian company RefAssist to present its digital platform, used by the Australian Football League and Cricket Australia, to automate referee management solutions, club finances and training modules.
This fourth day of the mission will end with a new signing ceremony of several contracts between Belgian and Australian companies, before a reception for the Belgian delegation.
Friday October 27
The last day of the economic mission will start with a working breakfast, organized by the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium. In the presence of Princess Astrid, ministers and invited officials, Belgian business leaders will have the opportunity to explain how they have succeeded in the Australian market.
Several seminars and visits will follow. First of all, a seminar organized in the presence of the Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Growth of the State of Victoria, Mr. Tim Pallas, will highlight the strong economic ties between this Australian state and Belgium, as well as the numerous collaboration opportunities in key sectors such as renewable energy, clean technology, logistics and biopharma. Next, an event will see Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB explain how it is concretely helping Australian researchers assess the economic value of rapid genome sequencing in severe childhood epilepsy. Finally, after attending a panel on female entrepreneurship and diversity, Princess Astrid and the ministerial delegation will enhance with their presence a conference dedicated to the university-industry nexus during which several representatives of the Belgian and Australian academic and entrepreneurial worlds will testify to their collaboration to stimulate research and innovation.
The mission will close with a visit by Princess Astrid and the ministerial delegation to the department of otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne where cooperation between the Giga Institute of Liège and the University of Melbourne, two pioneers and world leaders in the field of hearing treatments, will be highlighted. It will also be an opportunity for Princess Astrid to present a decoration to Professor Jean-Marc Gérard, Belgian head of the otology unit at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne and symbol of the fruitful collaboration between the Belgium and Australia in this area.
The full program and all useful information on the Belgian Economic Mission to Australia are available on the following website: https://www.belgianeconomicmission.be
Follow the Belgian Economic Mission to Australia on our social media channels: #BEmissionAUS
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