The Australian Office
Representative Ms Jenny Bloomfield
5 February 2021
I am very happy to be here and look forward to celebrating my first Lunar New Year in Taiwan. Thank you for your warm welcome and support.
It was great to have the wonderful musicians from the National Taipei University of Education orchestra perform for us today. I was privileged to attend their concert celebrating the University’s 125th anniversary on 23 December 2020 at the National Concert Hall – a very special event.
The Lunar New Year is the most anticipated holiday of the year – a time when many people, wherever they are in the world, return to their family homes to celebrate together the coming of the New Year.
I know there are many traditions, special foods, ceremonies, and a wonderful festive atmosphere, and I look forward to experiencing some of that in my first year here.
And even though this year’s celebrations may be a little different, the New Year is about family, and the Australian Office is our family. So I wish everyone a happy new year.
Looking back, COVID obviously made 2020 a much more difficult year than we would have expected.
Although Taiwan’s excellent pandemic management meant that it didn’t have the devastating effects that it did in many other places around the world, it still made our work more difficult.
We had to get used to remote working and limitations on travel, and there was a great deal of uncertainty, including around post’s budget. But I know that you managed to keep our bilateral agenda on track, and trade continued to be strong across all sectors.
And I also know that 2020 finished with a particularly busy period around the “Rediscover Australia” campaign. I was impressed that all of you, working together – Australian Office, Commercial Office, Trade and Investment Queensland, ANZCham colleagues – managed to deliver an amazing series of events that clearly made an impact both here in Taiwan and in Australia.
This was followed almost immediately by preparations for a changeover in Head of Post, as well as the arrival of many other colleagues over 2020. I am very grateful to all of you for your hard work, and for making me feel welcome and supporting me as I take on the role at an important time in our relationship.
Looking forward, we have reason for cautious optimism in 2021. Vaccines will start to be rolled out in both Australia and Taiwan in the period ahead; and our economies are both projected to grow strongly over the coming year.
COVID has also provided a silver lining, in that our cooperation, for instance, on PPE, has brought us closer together; and Taiwan’s success in managing the pandemic has also given it much greater recognition in Australia, and around the world.
And I know Australians have also appreciated Taiwan’s support for our exporters, and particularly our winemakers, as we’ve faced challenges.
In many ways, our relationship is at a high water mark, and we should use the high level of recognition of Taiwan in Australia to build an even deeper and stronger relationship.
So I look forward to working closely with all of you to further strengthen our relationship – stronger trade and investment, closer people to people links, and deeper dialogue and cooperation across the range of our shared interests.
And, of course, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of this office – and fittingly show off the long-lasting, strong bonds that we have.
I am excited about the year ahead, and working with you all.