The Hon Martin Foley MP - travel report Israel and Hong Kong 3 - 10 December 2017


Martin Foley MP


Creative Industries

Housing, Disability and Ageing

Mental Health

Countries visited


Hong Kong
Date of travel3 - 10 December
No of official travel days
(including date of departure and date of return)
8 days
Number of accompanying Ministerial StaffOne
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacityNo
Funding sourceDepartment of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares (including taxes and fees)$39,844.00
Accommodation (including taxes and fees)$8,806.00
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances)$4,112.10
Travel cost for minister and staff$52,762.10

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The overall purpose of my international travel was to support and promote Victoria's diverse and economically thriving creative industries, and develop new investment, job and export opportunities.  During my visit, a major screen investment was secured, which will see millions spent in Victoria and up to 220 jobs created for the duration of the production. The partnership with Hong Kong Business of Design Week opens up new opportunities for Victoria's design sector to make important connections in Hong Kong and beyond and develop new export opportunities - growing the 27% of Victorian design firms that currently export.

The visit to Israel supported and contributed to the strengthening of the Victoria-Israel bilateral relationship. During this visit, I met with leading creative industry representatives and cultural institutions, service delivery agencies and senior government representatives from areas related to my portfolio responsibilities for creative industries, mental health, equality and housing. I also accompanied the Premier at his official events, including paying my respects to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust by laying a wreath on behalf of the Victorian Government at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Centre. 

In Hong Kong, I led Victoria's 53-strong delegation, representing 40 design-focused organisations at the 2017 Hong Kong Business of Design Week, in addition to key meetings with stakeholders on screen investment in Victoria. I represented Victoria at the official handover to Melbourne as the partner city for the 2018 design week event.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria 

The benefits of the travel will be in the relationships that have been formed and the promotion of Victoria as a cultural and creative, and trade and investment centre. Some of the findings and insights will be adapted to a Victorian policy and service delivery context, particularly related to disability services and equality.

Creative State 2016-2020 sets out a five-year plan for developing and growing the creative industries sector, and international engagement is highlighted as a key platform for sector development. At my meetings with some of Israel's best known cultural institutions, I took the opportunity to promote the advantages of sharing collections, resources and expertise with Victoria's world class institutions, and talk about Victoria's growing international reputation as a major cultural tourism destination.

I joined the Premier at some of his official events, including the important visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem for a wreath laying ceremony. This visit was a significant, but solemn, highlight of the travel, paying respects to those who lost their lives, and to those who helped save lives. I also accompanied the Premier at government meetings and supported the opening of the new Victorian Government Trade and Investment Office in Tel Aviv, which will strengthen the growing trade, export and investment links Victoria and Israel share.

I also met with Israel's leading screen sector organisations – the Israel Film Fund and the digital games peak body GameIS. I used the opportunity to learn about these growing sectors and the role they have working with government on creating an environment conducive to growth.

The meetings with leading disability service providers and the Pride Centre provided an opportunity to share policy and strategy directions with organisations delivering innovative service delivery, community engagement and policy reform programs.

The handover to Melbourne as the partner city for the 2018 Hong Kong Business of Design Week was a highlight of the travel. Partnering with Hong Kong Business of Design Week provides Victoria's design sector access to potential new trade and investment partners and a platform to showcase their businesses, services and expertise.

Findings and insights gained from the visit are summarised below:

Victoria's creative industries have a strong international reputation

The global reputation of Victoria as a creative industries centre and global cultural tourism destination is strong in Israel and Hong Kong.  My visits to some of Israel's leading cultural institutions, including the Museum of Israeli and International Design, The Library Tel Aviv and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, were valuable opportunities for me to promote the benefits of collection, research and resource exchanges with Victorian institutions, the significant economic benefits of cultural tourism and the work our cultural institutions do to attract world class and exclusive cultural attractions to Victoria.

At The Library Tel Aviv, I toured the Space for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which is a world class start-up/co-working space that fosters creative and innovative talent from ideas through to commercialisation and business development. I took this opportunity to advance the potential partnership between The Library and of Victoria's leading cultural institutions to develop a digital co-working space, and its Vision 2020 Redevelopment.  Developing co-working spaces and business acceleration programs are actions outlined in Creative State, providing a strong foundation for international partnerships.

Two important outcomes for Victoria's creative industries can be attributed to my visit.

At the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Centre I talked about, and promoted, the joint project between Melbourne's Jewish Holocaust Centre, Jumpgate Virtual Reality and Yad Vashem. These three organisations are working together to document holocaust survivor stories in an immersive experience. This joint project demonstrates Victorian creative industry excellence and importantly, records survivor stories and experiences for posterity. During this visit, a $30,000 Victorian Government investment in this project was announced.

In Hong Kong, I met with senior screen representatives to confirm a significant film co-production for Victoria. This project is a multi-million dollar Australia-China co-production, with significant expenditure expected to be spent in Victoria, up to 220 jobs created for the duration of the production. My department has been working on this proposal for some time, demonstrating that the value of long-term international engagement with partners of this calibre is in the investment and creation of new jobs in our screen sector.

Promoting Victoria's creative industries at key international events is vital

The Hong Kong Design Council's flagship design event – Hong Kong Business of Design Week – is a prestigious international design event focusing on all elements of design as central to enhanced economic, social and environmental outcomes. Melbourne is the first southern hemisphere partner for the event, placing it in the company of renowned design centres like Copenhagen, Milan and Chicago.

The delegation of Victoria's leading design businesses, organisations and institutions undertook a week-long program of events and meetings with potential business, export and investment partners and joined business matching, industry forums and conference events with the objective to grow their business, share their expertise and develop new partnership opportunities.

Creative State recognises design as one of Victoria's most important sectors – as a creative tool, a capability and also as one of Victoria's fastest growing creative exports. The strategy includes specific actions to elevate Victoria's reputation as an international design leader, and develop our design sector's export capabilities. Currently, 27% of Victoria's design sector exports, with one-third of these exporting their services to China and Hong Kong. Partnering with the Hong Kong Business of Design Week provides a strong foundation for our design sector to grow exports in this important market.

During this visit, I also promoted Melbourne Design Week and the Victoria Invitation Program, and I invited a senior delegation from the Hong Kong Business Council to visit during Melbourne Design Week to experience the very best of Victorian and international design.

Equality and Disability discussions and outcomes

I met with the Pride Centre in Tel Aviv to learn about its governance structure, mission, community engagement and service delivery program. I also shared information about Australia's first Pride Centre, in Melbourne. The success of Victoria's Pride Centre lies in its ability to connect to the wider community, and create an open and accessible environment. 

I visited Israel Elwyn, a disability service delivery organisation with a reputation as a world-leader in supporting children and adults with training, supported living, transition programs and advocacy services and programs. The findings from this meeting will be applied, in specific areas such as setting targets for businesses and employers to encourage participation for people with a disability.  

Next Steps / Follow Up

The next steps to ensure the benefits of this travel are realised include:

  • Using and applying the findings and insights to inform policy, strategy and service delivery systems across my portfolio responsibilities.
  • Continue to support creative industries trade missions, including hosting a senior delegation from Hong Kong Design Council in Victoria during the VIP inbound trade mission to showcase elements of Victoria's design sector, such as Melbourne Design Week, ahead of the 2018 Hong Kong Business of Design Week.
  • Continue to support our talent and expertise in competitive international markets to  generate export, investment and jobs, as well as institutional partnership opportunities.
  • To ensure that the new screen investment creates new job opportunities for our talented screen sector, and promotes Victoria as an attractive production partner.
  • Findings and insights from my meetings with leading care and service providers will be used to inform the implementation of strategies and policies related to my Equality and Disability portfolios. I will adapt my findings to frame our service delivery approaches and ensure that the needs and well-being of vulnerable people are met.

Page last updated: 22 May 2018