Working hard to ensure ties with India strengthened: Gillard

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Julia Gillard
Melbourne, June 3: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said she is working very hard to ensure bilateral ties with India are strengthened, as her government was making efforts to help Indian migrants settle in the country.

"I can certainly tell the Indian community that we are investing in settlement services and monitor work with community members as they settle into Australia," Gillard told reporters yesterday.

"I can also say to the Indian community that as Prime Minister I work very hard to make sure that our relationship with India is strengthened," she said, admitting that Australia's refusal to sell uranium to India was a blockage in their bilateral relationship.

"I have cleared that out of the way. So I'm incredibly optimistic about the relationship between our two countries," Gillard said, adding, "And also about the prospects for the Indian community members who come to settle in Australia."

Gillard made the comments at a Labor party supporters' meeting held here which was organised by Indian and other South Asian communities.

Gillard said her government was investing heavily on settlement services for new migrants and have also invested heavily on low social houses to help people with accommodations.

"So there are various supports there. But I'm not saying that problem is resolved. Actually this government has a very proud track record of investing heavily to support people in times of need," she said.

She also spoke about a new student welfare system that she was working on with education ministers in the country.

"I work with education ministers around the country to create a new student welfare system which I believe is making a difference," the Prime Minister said.

"We certainly have addressed the student safety issues. There were some dreadful problems and some heartbreaking incidents, including one here locally (Werribee)," she said.

Answering a question on declining number of international students from India, Gillard said that the country was seeing an increase in overseas student numbers.

"We are seeing huge numbers of international students and growth is continuing ... from India, China, we are continuing to see growth. We are seeing growth in Indian migrants," she said.

PTI

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