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Thursday, 19 September 2019
Intercontinental Hotel
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC

I am honoured to be here to open the Indonesia Australia Business Summit. In the welcoming tradition of our traditional owners, the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, I extend a warm welcome to all delegates and I pay my respects to Elders, past, present and emerging of our First Peoples, the vibrant and oldest continuing living culture in the world.

Indonesia and Australia have had a long relationship. Throughout our history, Indonesia has been a long-time friend, neighbour and trading partner of - and with - Australia.

Some three hundred years ago, Macassan fishermen, from the island of Sulawesi, made their way to the northern shores of Australia, where they found a lucrative commodity. It was the humble sea cucumber, or what the Macassans called trepang, which were in abundance on the shores of Australia's Top End. They employed Aboriginal people to help them to fish and cure the cucumber and many other trading links developed as a result, including in the pearling industry. Those links are still evident today in the form of art, language and architecture.[1]

Indeed, if you look at the art of the Torres Strait and Tiwi Islands, it is heavily influenced by Indonesian batik and woodblock design.

At a regional geopolitical level, Australia and Indonesia work cooperatively to contribute to a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. We, in New South Wales, value this friendship and our close relationship, formalised in our longstanding sister state – province relationship with the Jakarta Government, established under a Memorandum of Understanding in 1994, and updated in 2015. (The areas of focus of the MOU are: urban sustainability and transport connectivity for ‘smart cities’; education and training; food safety, food security and logistics for agribusiness; sharing public sector management expertise; bilateral zoo collaboration).[2]

The strength of this relationship is reflected in our trading relationship.

Indonesia is the 14th largest export market for New South Wales[3], including exports from the resources and energy sector, food, agriculture and agribusiness, services including travel, transport and education, and information and communications technology.[4]

It is also reflected in our people-to-people relationship. Almost half of all of Australia’s residents who were born in Indonesia live in NSW (43%),[5]  and over 32,000 people in New South Wales are of Indonesian descent.

With 11,000 enrolments, Indonesia was the seventh largest source of international students for NSW in 2017, representing 54% of all Indonesian students studying in Australia.[6]

I am pleased to say, the office of Governor of New South Wales, the oldest public office in the country, has played its role in helping to build these friendships through hosting receptions and program participants of the Australia: Indonesia Leaders Program, Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program and the Australia Indonesian Muslim Exchange Program.

Why is this Indonesia Australia Business Summit so important?

Indonesia is the world’s third largest democracy and 16th largest economy in the world. Australia’s 13th largest trading partner, Indonesia is one of our most important bilateral partners.[7] With over one million Australians visiting Indonesia each year, it is the number two destination for all outbound Australian tourists.[8] Indeed, Travel, including education, tourism and business, was one of the Top 5 service exports in 2017-18.[9]

On the back of the signing of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) on 4 March 2019, our two nations have entered a new chapter in economic relations between Australia and Indonesia.

I join my voice with His Excellency Ambassador Legowo ... This agreement will create the framework for closer engagement between Australia and Indonesia and open new markets and opportunities for businesses, primary producers, service providers and investors.[10]

As I have already indicated, a strength of a relationship can be found in nations’ people-to-people links. One of the values that Indonesia and Australia share is a commitment to education and I note this Summit will also include a focus on Vocational Education and Training.[11] The Australia Awards Indonesia scholarship program, established in 2017, is now in its 3rd year.

After a successful start, the workshop and seminar series [12] has now been extended to Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa students studying in NSW, providing students with a deeper understanding of how NSW government services are implemented across various government portfolios such as infrastructure, health and education.

On behalf of the people of New South Wales, again I welcome you to Sydney and I wish you all the best for your productive discussions and for the partnerships that will emerge from this Summit.

It is my pleasure to now open the 6th annual Indonesia Australia Business Summit 2019.



 [2] NSW Indonesia Trade Relationship September 2019

[3] NSW Indonesia Trade Relationship September 2019

[4] Fact Sheet Indonesia – Compiled by NSW Department of Industry in December 2018

 [5] NSW Indonesia Trade Relationship prepared by NSW Treasury, September 2019

[6] Fact Sheet Indonesia – Compiled by NSW Department of Industry in December 2018


[9] Fact Sheet Indonesia – Compiled by NSW Department of Industry in December 2018

[11] Plenary session II

[12] Now called the Australia Awards

[13] NSW Indonesia Trade Relationship prepared by NSW Treasury, September 2019

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