(Australian Associated Press)
A former Howard government minister has been appointed to chair a new body set up to improve ties between China and Australia.
Warwick Smith will chair the board of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, to be headquartered in Sydney from next year.
The foundation will provide grants to support Australian business, cultural, sporting and education sectors, build connections in China and support community programs in Australia.
It will also commission research, support training and coordinate exchange programs.
“The foundation is the first of its kind,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It will bring together state, territory and local governments, business, education institutes, community and cultural sectors, and Chinese Australian communities to further build and strengthen our bilateral engagement.”