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S'poreans living in Australia can help to strengthen bilateral ties: Tony Tan

President Tony Tan Keng Yam says every Singaporean living in Australia plays a crucial role in strengthening ties between Singapore and Australia.

SINGAPORE: Every Singaporean living in Australia plays a crucial role in strengthening ties between Singapore and Australia, said President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

This may be through the work they do, friendships forged, and links established with the business and community networks.

Dr Tan, who is on a six-day state visit, was speaking at a dinner reception for Singaporeans in Perth on Thursday (June 19), hosted by Singapore's High Commissioner to Australia.

President Tan said the Singaporean community has been active in promoting trade ties through the establishment of chambers of commerce and business councils.

He encouraged them to continue working with the High Commission to forge strong Singapore-Australia links for "mutually beneficial outcomes".

Perth has the largest community of Singaporeans - more than 14,000 - in Australia.

Dr Tan said: "I am delighted to learn that the Singaporean community in Perth has been active in organising community initiatives to foster closer ties among Singaporeans and keep the Singapore spirit strong.

"Besides National Day celebrations, you have the Singapore Film Festival and an upcoming Singapore Community Day.

"I encourage all of you to participate actively in these community events so that you can keep in contact with fellow Singaporeans and experience 'Home Away from Home'."

Joachim Tan, president of the Singapore Western Australian Network (SWAN), said: "It's important in a sense that you're able to connect with Singapore because you're a part of the culture.

"They grew up there... so it's important for a lot of Singaporeans to feel connected not just to a community, but also back home."

President Tan landed at the Pearce Airbase in the Western Australian city of Perth on Thursday afternoon.

The airbase is used for training by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

Dr Tan was given a tour of the facilities, including a flight simulator and the Pilatus PC-21 aircraft trainer, which are used to prepare pilot recruits for flying.

He was then hosted to a reception, where he met some 90 RSAF personnel and their families.

The Pearce Airbase is one of the busiest in Australia, and the RSAF has been training there for 21 years. Besides the training, the RSAF and the RAAF also conduct joint exercises regularly which Singapore's Defence Ministry says underscores the close defence ties between the two countries.

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