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    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Premier’s Special Award for India partnerships builder

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Premier’s Special Award for India partnerships builder

    One of the State’s most senior academics has been recognised for his major contribution and leadership in strengthening Queensland’s relations with India, receiving the Premier’s Special Award at the 21st Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards.

    Premier Anna Bligh said that Professor Arun Sharma, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and President of the Australia India Business Council (QLD), was an outstanding candidate for this prestigious award.

    “The Premier’s Special Award goes each year to an individual or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to Queensland’s export profile and success, and this is certainly true of Professor Sharma,” Ms Bligh said.

    ”Professor Sharma has been a strong advocate of Queensland – India trade relations and promoting Queensland as a leading destination for study in India and the wider global market.

    “His work has contributed to a growing and thriving international education and training sector in Queensland, with the State hosting more than 16,000 Indian students alone at the end of August 2010.

    “The direct economic benefit of international education and training to Queensland’s economy is approximately $2.7 billion, and an estimated 17,000 full time equivalent jobs.

    “Additionally, and probably with even more importance, there are the lasting diplomatic, cultural and trade relationships formed through the presence of intentional students in our communities,” Ms Bligh said.

    Congratulating Professor Sharma, the Premier said that his academic speciality in research, commercialisation and entrepreneurship see him play a leading role in developing the State’s and Australia’s research capability in information and communication technology.

    “Queensland’s research and development commitment will continue to grow under our new Queensland Research and Development investment strategy 2010 – 2020, with a focus on working with partners internationally to achieve our common goals,” Ms Bligh said.

    “Professor Arun Sharma will remain a key player in achieving the targets of the strategy to make Queensland a stronger and smarter state, by continuing to help form the vital connections between researchers, end users and investors in Queensland, India and across the globe.

    “He is an outstanding export ambassador for our State and I congratulate him on receiving the Premier’s Special Award for 2010,” Ms Bligh said.

    In 2009-10, India was Queensland’s third largest merchandise export destination, with merchandise exports totalling $5.15 billion.

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