Remarks following Indonesia-Australia Leaders' Meeting, Darwin
TUE 03 JULY 2012
Thank you very much.
I have been delighted to welcome President Yudhoyono and his senior ministers to Darwin for the second annual leaders meeting. It’s the first one to be held in Australia.
President Yudhoyono and I participated in the last one in Bali last year. It’s been a special delight to be able to welcome the President to Darwin, which is the city of Australia closest to Indonesia, our closest capital city.
Indonesia is a close friend and neighbour and one of our most significant partners. It’s a true strategic partnership of great importance to both our countries.
We are living in this Asian century of remarkable transformation and change. And in this time of change, Australia very much welcomes the transformation that has taken place within Indonesia itself.
It’s now a strong and vibrant democracy, an economy that’s growing rapidly and a leader in the region and beyond.
Today, we’ve had broad-ranging and productive discussions. The President and I have had the opportunity of meeting together personally and then conducting discussions around a table with our ministers.
We have agreed, through those discussions, that as close neighbours, we should continue to enrich our understanding of one another's country and culture.
I am therefore delighted to be able to announce that we will significantly increase the number of work and holiday visas available to Indonesians, up from 100 to 1,000.
I am also delighted that the second Indonesia/Australia dialogue will be held in Sydney on the 24thof September. That will be looking at a change of ways of strengthening the links between our two peoples.
And we’re pleased today to welcome a new partnership between Charles Darwin University and Indonesia's Nusa Cendana University and that is going to build on research and education links currently in place between the Northern Territory and eastern Indonesia.
Mr President, we have a very strong interest in each other’s prosperity and I have appreciated our discussion on how we can work together to strengthen the prosperity of both of our nations.
We are looking forward to the first round of the Indonesia/Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations, which will take place ahead of the annual Trade Ministers Meeting later this year and that will provide great impetus to our commercial relationship.
I have also taken very careful note of the President's interest in developing greater Australian engagement in the economic development of eastern Indonesia and we have agreed that our relevant ministers, particularly for Australia's behalf, our Minister for Trade, will work together to take that forward with Australian business leaders.
I am glad too that we could talk about trade in agriculture, including cattle. We look forward to continuing to support Indonesia's food security through our export trade and support for Indonesia's own beef industry.
I am also very pleased that Australia has contributed to a World Bank program for economic resilience in Indonesia through a $1 billion contingent loan to help safeguard our economic stability.
We also discussed how we can enhance our security cooperation and defence cooperation.
I am delighted that we signed a memorandum of understanding for the transfer of four Australian C-130 aircraft to the Indonesian air force. And we’re looking forward to signing our Defence Cooperation Agreement in the near future.
The President and I discussed the importance of the Bali process in combating human trafficking and people smuggling.
I welcomed the strong cooperation we have with Indonesia on people smuggling, including Indonesia's law enforcement efforts against people smuggling syndicates.
We also discussed opportunities to strengthen our maritime cooperation, including in search and rescue. And I’m pleased that a delegation of Australian ministers and senior officials will visit Indonesia for discussions on maritime cooperation.
Australia will also work with Indonesia's search and rescue agency to help strengthen its ability to communicate with merchant vessels during safety of life at sea incidents. And we will explore an exchange program of search and rescue specialists.
President Yudhoyono, let me take this opportunity to thank you for the work that our two nations are doing together.
To thank you for your leadership in our region of the world, and to thank you too for the work that we have been able to share together at the G20, where you bring such a strong voice for Indonesia and on behalf of our region, more generally.
We can build on that partnership in upcoming years, in particular as Indonesia hosts APEC in 2013 and Australia hosts the G20 in 2014.
Mr President, a busy agenda is in front of us, we’ve agreed much and there is much to do. Thank you for making the time available to come here with your esteemed delegation, to spend this time in Darwin.
It’s been a special opportunity for our two nations.
I thank you.