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Australian pavilion starts to take shape

WORK on the foundations for the Australia Pavilion for the 2010 Expo was completed yesterday.

At a ceremony marking the event, an official said the Australian government's investment in the Shanghai event was greater than any of its other six World Expo showcases.

It had allocated A$61 million (US$40 million) for the construction and exhibition of the pavilion and gathered another A$22 million from enterprises and state governments.

Peter Tesch, commissioner-general for Australia's exhibition section, said Australia was making this unprecedented effort in Shanghai because of the importance of the relationship between China and Australia, Tesch said.

The pavilion will be complete around October when the inner decoration will begin, he said.

The pavilion will be on three levels with a structure comprised of several cylinders merging together.

It will be a place for the public to explore and re-visit over the six months to experience the diversity of Australia's stories, lifestyle and culture, Tesch said.

On entering the pavilion, visitors will be greeted by a team of Australians, many of them bilingual, acting as on-the-ground ambassadors.

In the public area, pavilion merchandise and gift bags will be given to lucky school groups, and visitors will be able to purchase a range of Australian gifts.

Visitors will also be able to relax and enjoy Australian food and drinks or experience a vibrant cultural program which will bring the best of Australian music, physical theater and dance to Shanghai.

The pavilion will be recruiting soon for English-Chinese bilingual people to work in the pavilion. Tesch said local people would be most welcome.

The country will showcase its practice of keeping a balance between urban construction and the natural environment under the theme "Mastering the challenges: Australia's smart solutions for our urban future."


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