Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the Indonesia Australia Business Forum in Jakarta, Saturday, September 1, 2018.

Indonesia-Australia Business Forum

01 Sep 2018
Jakarta, Indonesia
Prime Minister
Check against delivery
International and Trade

Image: AAP Image

Good morning and thank you.

I was in a school yesterday in Bogor and I was sitting with the students and telling them a story about an incredible man I was going to meet. I said he was like you, he sat in a classroom like this and came from a very humble background. He worked hard and worked jobs and put himself through university and studied forestry and set up a business. I said do you know who this is? They all looked at me wanting to know who this incredible person was. I said, well his picture has been in your classroom the entire time and I pointed at the President.

President Widodo is a sign of hope to every young boy and girl in this country in what he has been able to achieve and it was indeed a privilege to meet such a wonderful man as him yesterday.

President Widodo is heading to Lombok today to view the earthquake recovery efforts.

What has occurred on Lombok has been devastating more than 560 who have perished, countless homes and buildings destroyed.

We express our deep sympathies for the nation of Indonesia and the people of Lombok - Australia stands with Indonesia, as it has always done.

There is currently a team of Australian engineers and construction experts working on the ground with their Indonesian counterparts, assessing the structural damage and integrity of buildings, particularly local schools, many of which have been funded through the Australian development program.

I wanted to make a statement by coming to Indonesia on my first international visit as Prime Minister.

I also wanted to underline Australia’s commitment to regional engagement and pursuing economic opportunities through trade.

As Australia’s Prime Minister, I know that Indonesia’s success is our success. But it is bigger than that - it is important to our regional and global economy.

As the world’s third largest democracy. Fourth most populous nation. The home to the largest Muslim population in the world. The prosperity, harmony and success of Indonesia is a ‘must’ for our shared global future.

And I am delighted to be here focused on the opportunities and potential of our partnership.

Most of all, I come recognising our two countries as friends.

And we have no greater friends here than President Widodo and Vice President Kalla.It was a real pleasure to meet President Widodo yesterday.

We elevated our ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and announced the conclusion of negotiations to the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, known as IA-CEPA.

A landmark agreement and Indonesia’s most ambitious to date.

Both are real achievements and I’ll return to them shortly.

Let me start though by talking about what I want to achieve for Australia in our international engagement. We are witnessing the most fundamental shift in global economics in 200 years.  Our region, the Indo-Pacific, is now the fulcrum of the global economy.

At the same time, unprecedented technological changes are creating new opportunities and posing unique risks.

Set against these rapid social and economic changes, our region is experiencing sharpening strategic competition. In an era of rapid change and uncertainty, we must know who we are, what we offer and what we’re about. There can be no wasted effort.

My Government has three clear goals to ensure an even stronger Australia: keep our economy strong so we can guarantee the essential services Australians rely on, keep Australians safe and keep Australians together.

Prosperity, security, unity.

Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper, which as the new Prime Minister I am pleased to affirm, works to achieve these goals.

The White Paper outlines an agenda for opportunity, security and strength, working with our partners to drive better outcomes for all of us.

That is my agenda, whether here on this my first international visit and for my engagement with other world leaders.

We pursue opportunities through trade and investment because this makes our economy stronger and helps deliver jobs for Australians.

And trade brings opportunities for our partners, as President Widodo affirmed yesterday when discussing the potential for trade and investment between Australia and Indonesia.

We pursue security with our neighbours to keep Australia and Australians safe and our region secure and open. And by working with partners, we keep their citizens safe and secure.

We are committed to close cooperation with Indonesia and others to tackle common threats such as terrorism. We are steadfast in strengthening our alliance with the United States.

We will deepen our engagement with our regional partners like Indonesia, India and Japan to keep the Indo-Pacific secure, prosperous, open and inclusive.  

I am committed to deepening our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China, which has brought great benefit to both sides.

Australia will remain a leading security and economic partner of ASEAN.

We had a very successful ASEAN Australia Summit in Sydney in March.

I will build on that foundation because ASEAN sits at the centre of Australia’s vision for the Indo-Pacific. Together we must build our region’s resilience to all forms of coercion and commit to protecting the rights of all states.

My Government will boost further our engagement with our partners in the Pacific, with whom we agree a new security declaration next week.

The peoples of the Pacific hold a very special place in our regional family. There is a special affection and closeness between us that enables us to speak warmly but candidly with each other to address the many challenges and opportunities that we face together. The key is we will always face them together.

At the Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting next week in Nauru we will continue Australia’s walk together with our Pacific friends. We will keep our commitments and do all we can to protect and preserve the sustainability, prosperity and security of the Pacific family of nations, as we always have.

While I will be a reluctant absence at next week’s meeting, I look forward to remedying this when we gather together at the time of the APEC meeting in Port Moresby.

We will also work with others around the globe to guard the institutions and rules that keep markets open, keep the world safe and help build a better future for the next generation. To be successful and influential internationally, Australia needs to be strong and united at home.

Our democracy, our economy, our multicultural society and our people give us the confidence and strength to make our way in the world.

We are pragmatic and committed to action. 

We come to get things done.

We also come with respect to listen and to learn.

As a partner and a friend, we are committed to doing the heavy lifting when required, to deliver for our people in partnership with our friends and neighbours.

Under my leadership, the Australian Government will continue to work with Indonesia and our other partners to pursue common interests.

Indeed Australia has no more important partner in our region than Indonesia. 

I want to work together to make our economies stronger, to make our people safer and to keep our people together. One thing both Australians and Indonesians know is that we can’t achieve prosperity without security — one underpins the other.

That has never been more true than it is today.

Which is why on this visit President Widodo and I have elevated the formal status of the relationship between our countries.

We’re already partners. But this new agreement— the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership — reflects the new ambition we share for our relationship and our region, and the increasing importance each of us places on working together.

This new partnership gives Australia and Indonesia the framework to build even closer ties — to boost prosperity for our people, strengthen the connections between our communities and increase security not just for us, but across the Indo-Pacific.

As Australia’s Prime Minister, I’m proud of our shared efforts to make the world, and our region, safer. This agreement will ensure we work together more closely than ever to keep the oceans that surround us open to trade and free from trans-national crime.

We will step up our cyber security cooperation, protecting our growing digital economies from the scourge of cybercrime.

Indonesia and Australia are together leading the fight against terrorism and transnational crime in our region. As co-chairs of the sub-regional meeting on Counter-Terrorism and the Bali Process on People Smuggling our partnership is having a genuine impact.  We are achieving so much more together than what either of us could do alone.

But we must be ever vigilant. Terrorists continue to seek new ways to spread fear and violence. As the tragic bombings so recently in Surabaya show us, the threat of self-radicalisation is real and it is serious. We must continue to stand as one against this ideology of hate.

Indonesia, like Australia, understands that there is “unity in diversity” and that our societies are strengthened by embracing a wide range of faiths and cultures.

We must continue to learn from each other.

Connections between our faith communities and young people, through initiatives such as the New Colombo Plan and Muslim Exchange Program, have brought depth and resilience to our relationship and have our support.

We need to make much more of these people-to-people and community contacts, especially among our young people.

As Prime Minister I will strongly encourage young Australians to embrace the opportunities offered by our dynamic, diverse neighbour to the north.

Our strategic engagement underpins our economic prosperity and every year our economies are becoming more integrated.

But there’s still a huge amount of untapped potential.

I don’t think anyone in this room would disagree that for two economies the size of ours, two G20 nations, our trade and investment relationship has been underdone.

I am here to put more grunt into the economic relationship.

That is why IA-CEPA is so important.

IA-CEPA is not a transaction; it is a partnership.

It will open the door to a new era of opportunities for Australian and Indonesian business. Whether in agriculture and manufacturing, services or investment, this new agreement lays a foundation to realise the economic potential of our partnership.

It will create jobs and it will create wealth for both countries.

Ninety-nine per cent of Australia’s goods exports will be able to enter Indonesia duty free or with significantly improved preferential arrangements.

And all of Indonesia’s exports will enter Australia without tariffs or tax – which means more exports for Indonesia and cheaper inputs for Australian business.

Because we know from first-hand experience that free trade works — it has underpinned Australia’s economic success for more than half a century and fuelled Asia’s rapid growth.

It will enable companies like BlueScope, Telstra, Elders, Astra, Indofood and Tatalogam to create new opportunities — shared opportunities.

Just take Bluescope as an example.

Once this agreement is ratified, the raw materials Bluescope Indonesia needs from Australia to produce its high-quality steel will be more affordable and supply will be more reliable.

That means Bluescope’s manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, and other Indonesian steel manufacturers, will be better able to supply markets across the region – further boosting the attractiveness of Indonesia as an investment destination and creating more jobs and economic opportunities in both Indonesia and Australia. In agriculture, Australian cattle producers will benefit from greater certainty, while Indonesia will have greater food security and cheaper beef prices, as well as the space to continue to build its own cattle production. Prospects are better for investors like Jetstar, which is now expanding its presence with more flights, jobs and training in Indonesia.

Because the driving principle of these agreements, just like the Australian concept of a fair go, is that another country does not have to be worse off to make Australians better off. When we reduce barriers to trade, we create win-win outcomes.

Both Indonesians and Australians can be, and will be, better off.

That’s how the global trading system works.

We both gain from trade and investment.

The agreement is a win for both sides as we prosper together.

For example, Australian majority-owned vocational educational providers will be able to partner with Indonesian firms, giving young Indonesians the chance to gain internationally competitive skills, and Indonesia the opportunity to make the most of its young and dynamic workforce.

But this agreement isn’t only about the goods and services that we buy and sell.

Importantly, it will give Australian investors greater certainty in Indonesia and promote more two-way investment. The hardest part is over – we’ve finished the negotiation.

We’ve both still got some legal and technical details to finish and domestic processes to work through, but we want the agreement signed and up and running in the months ahead.

Before I conclude, may I personally thank Vice President Kalla for your decisive leadership in bringing this agreement to fruition.

I’d also like to thank the business community in both countries for your strong support, including the Indonesia-Australia Business Partnership Group, which played such an important role in the negotiations. The people at the coal face of both our economies know that with perseverance we can make it. As partners, we need to deliver for our people to make most of the opportunity and potential between us. Our partnership has a promising future built on a long history of cooperation, going back to the origin of Indonesia as an independent nation.

It’s a fact perhaps lost to time for many, that Australia was one of Indonesia’s strongest supporters in its bid for independence.

So strong, in fact, that President Sukarno chose Australia to represent Indonesia in the United Nations negotiations in the lead up to Independence.

It was an honour for Australia then, and remains so today, to have been present at the birth of modern Indonesia. And so to all of you here today and all of the people of Indonesia, on behalf of all Australians I say: Ayo! Kita maju bersama.

C’mon lets go forward together.

Thank you — thank you for your friendship in the past, thank you for welcoming me here today as Australia’s Prime Minister, and thank you being our trusted partner in the exciting journey ahead. Terimah Kasih.

As I conclude can I ask you to do one thing? Think about the kids in the local school where you live - in your kampong, in your part of Sydney or Perth. What we have done here in this agreement was for them. It will long outlast any of us in this room today and we can feel good about that.

Good job. Thank you very much.