07 November 2017

Bapak-bapak , Ibu-ibu dan saudara-saudara sekalian.

Terima kasih atas undangan untuk berbicara pada hari ini.

Indonesia adalah salah satu negara yang penting bagi saya dan saya menyambut kesempatan untuk berbicara tentang hubungan antara Indonesia dan Australia, tentang bagaimana hubungan kedua negara dapat bekerjasama memperhatikan peningkatan hubungan dalam bidang ekonomi.

When I am talking in Australia about the need for a step-change in our levels of engagement with Asia and South East Asia in particular, I often pose the following questions:

  • How can it be that a country that sits on Australias doorstep and is on track to become the worlds fourth largest economy by 2050 is not in our top ten trading partners?
  • How can it be that Australia has more foreign direct investment in New Zealand than in China, Japan, all of ASEAN and India combined?
  • How can it be that more Australian school students studied Bahasa Indonesia in 1972 than today?
  • How can it be that more universities offer Bahasa Indonesia studies in Germany than in Australia?

The topic of this session of the conference Building Trade and Investment is relevant to all the above questions.

My friend and colleague Jason Clare and I are delighted to be participating in the Australia-Indonesia Business Council Conference in Surabaya, the fastest growing region in the fast growing Indonesian economy. The Conference is an important opportunity for us to engage on a which has been a priority for the alternative Australian Government: what policy settings need to be changed in order to bring about a step change in engagement with our region.

We have the view that this step-change in our national approach is what is required: not tinkering, not a minor tweak to our national policies but a shift in the way the Australian Government and the entire country thinks about Asian engagement and a recognition that despite the Garnaut Report was released almost thirty years ago, the Henry Report on Australia in the Asian Century Report is now five years old, we continue to pay the Asian Century lip-service and fail to substantially lift our engagement.

In particular, Jason and I have set the goal of lifting Indonesia into our top ten trading partners within 10 years. Recently, more broadly, Labor announced FutureAsia a framework of policies to underpin a lift of engagement in the region. There are two themes to the policy framework weve announced: lifting capability and regional collaboration. Weve announced a series of policies underpinning the FutureAsia framework and well have many more to announce before the election which go to these two themes.

Weve said well prioritise through the Council of Australian Governments lifting Asian literacy through our education system and announced that we will restore funding previously cut to the Asian Education Foundation.

Weve announced that well fund a mentoring program through the Australian Institute of Company Directors to lift the representation of people with experience doing business in Asia on company boards in Australia, noting that 67% of ASX Top 200 board members show no evidence of extensive operating experience in Asia and 55% demonstrate little or no knowledge of Asian markets.

Well also establish programs to make sure we are harnessing the experience and skills of the Asian diasporas living in Australia. Jason recently announced the next phase of our FutureAsia focused on trade, including ensuring good quality free trade agreements by having the Productivity Commission conduct a cost benefit analysis of each proposed free trade agreement.

In terms of deeper collaboration and engagement, particularly in support of our efforts to lift Indonesia into Australias top ten trading partners, Jason and I have indicated that if we come to government well propose an annual 2 +2 meeting between the Australian Treasurer and Indonesian Finance Minister and the respective trade ministers as well as closer collaboration between the Australian Treasurer and Indonesian Minister for Finance in the lead up to G20 Finance Ministers meetings.

Weve announced other policies as well, and well have more to say.

Im also keen to engage with you and other experts in lifting our trade and investment intensity as go about the work of preparing future policy announcements.

I can think of few more important things for Australia in deepening our economic engagement with Indonesia. The policies weve announced and will continue to announce underpin our commitment to do so.

Thanks for engaging with Jason and I as we prepare for the tasks of government and the important national task of lifting economic engagement with Asia broadly and Indonesia in particular.