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Taipei City Mayor Chiang Meets with New Representative of Australian Office Taipei, Robert Fergusson, to Promote Further Cooperation and Exchanges Between Taiwan and Australia


On January 2, Robert Fergusson, the newly appointed Representative of the Australian Office Taipei, visited Taipei City Government, where he exchanged views with members of Taipei City Government on various matters related to exchanges and cooperation.

Mayor Chiang began by welcoming Representative Fergusson to his new post in Taiwan, recounting the close ties between Taipei and several Australian cities, including Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Perth. He emphasized the shared values and strong economic and trade partnership between Taiwan and Australia, noting their frequent and close cooperation in fields such as economics, technology, energy, education, culture, and agriculture. Representative Fergusson expressed his honor in serving in the Australian Office Taipei and shared his experiences of visiting various Australian cities before his arrival in Taiwan. These experiences helped him to understand the interest of these cities in engaging in exchanges with Taiwan. For instance, he visited the Perth City Council and learned about its keen interest in further smart city development exchanges with Taipei. In response, Mayor Chiang warmly invited the Perth delegation to attend the Taipei Smart City Exhibition in March 2024.

Mayor Chiang highlighted two key policy goals for Taipei this year, that is, establishing Taipei as the most friendly city in Asia for startup incubation and transforming Taipei into an artificial intelligence–driven smart city. Given that major cities in Australia also have startup industries and hubs similar to those in Taipei, Mayor Chiang expressed hope for collaboration with these cities to share various resources, including talent and space. He also invited leading Australian corporations to establish branches in Taipei City or recruit local talent, highlighting that the Invest Taipei Office, overseen by the Taipei City Government, provides one-stop services for investment assistance. For the promotion of smart cities, Taipei City boasts a wealth of talent in the field of artificial intelligence and looks forward to opportunities for mutual exchanges and cooperation with Perth and other Australian cities. Representative Fergusson responded that he would thoroughly consider Australian states and cities suitable for exchanges with Taipei and looked forward to future cooperation between the two sides.

Representative Fergusson stated that the development of renewable energy is crucial for achieving Australia’s 2050 target of net-zero emissions. Australia has implemented a national hydrogen energy strategy, aiming to become a major global hydrogen producer by 2032. It also plans to export hydrogen energy to Northeast Asian countries, particularly South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. In response, Commissioner Chen of the Department of Economic Development mentioned that the development of hydrogen energy is also a key initiative for Taipei City. Taiwan’s central government has established its first demonstration site for hydrogen-powered public buses in Kaohsiung. In Taipei, a metropolis with a dense public transportation network, the city government has already started negotiations aimed at establishing a hydrogen bus demonstration route in 2024. Taipei city government will also promote the transformation of natural gas refueling stations into hydrogen energy stations, and it may seek technical assistance from Australia if necessary.

Representative Fergusson also expressed pleasure in witnessing the fruitful exchanges between Taiwan and Australia in the economic and technological domains. Regarding youth exchanges, he noted that numerous Taiwanese youths have chosen Australia as their working holiday destination, with more than 180,000 visas issued since the inception of the working holiday program. He also observed an increasing number of Australian youths opting to learn Chinese and seeking employment or even joining startups in Taiwan. Commissioner Chen added that since taking office, Mayor Chiang has been dedicated to transforming Taipei City into a startup-friendly city. This year, a Taipei City version of the South by Southwest event is scheduled, and it will feature an international startup festival. Entrepreneurs from various countries will be invited to participate in the festival, and Mayor Chiang hoped that startup teams from Australia will participate in this event. In response, Representative Fergusson requested his trade team to follow up with the Department of Economic Development on related matters.

Representative Fergusson remarked that being a multicultural society, Australia hosts approximately 500,000 international students annually and possesses extensive experience in language teaching. Although Taiwan and Australia have already been engaging in educational exchanges, he expressed the desire to further deepen this cooperative relationship. In response to Representative Fergusson’s comment, Mayor Chiang stressed that bilingual education is a key policy of Taipei City, with students being highly receptive to bilingual courses. However, he indicated that Taipei lacks qualified teachers for such courses and expressed the hope of strengthening teacher training collaborations with Australia. Spokesperson Yin of the Taipei City Government added that he had worked and lived in Australia, to which Representative Fergusson jokingly remarked that this explained Yin’s Australian English accent.

Mayor Chiang also took the opportunity to enthusiastically promote the 2025 World Masters Games, which Taipei is hosting next year. He noted that Australian cities, such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, have previously hosted the Games, and he warmly welcomed Australia to form a competitive team and actively register for participation in various competitions. Representative Fergusson expressed his agreement and support.

After the meeting, Mayor Chiang presented Representative Fergusson, who is an avid hiker, with a map of the Taipei Grand Trail and introduced him to several hiking trails. Representative Fergusson humorously mentioned that he had hiked in Yangmingshan on the previous day and still felt some soreness in his legs. However, he intended to make the most of his time in Taipei City and complete the trails highlighted on the map. The meeting concluded in a relaxed and amiable atmosphere.