Australia can move from a ‘mining boom’ to a ‘dining boom’ according to talks yesterday between The University of Western Australia’s Perth USAsia Centre and former Indonesian President His Excellency Professor Doctor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Speaking with key University leaders at UWA, Dr Yudhoyono said his newly appointed position as Senior Fellow with the Perth USAsia Centre could assist in strengthening relations and interactions with ASEAN nations and in particular in encouraging agricultural partnerships which would integrate economies throughout the region.
Dr Yudhoyono referred to research he commissioned when President of Indonesia which revealed a cost of $US500 billion to build infrastructure to assist with food distribution and meet the changing agricultural needs of the country. He said Indonesia needed friendly partners like Australia to support infrastructure development and innovation in Asia.
He said with more grains, meat and other products not typically grown in Indonesia being increasingly consumed throughout Asia, infrastructure such as ports, roads and airports would be required to sustain the demand and import products. Australia, as a producer and near neighbour, could be a key partner in this ‘dining boom’.
Dr Yudhoyono also encouraged the Perth USAsia Centre to convene programs and research that strengthened bilateral relations and focused on the stability and peace of the Indo-Pacific region. He said he strongly believed that education was important for bilateral frienships and cooperation.
“I have a strong commitment to maintaining and strengthening our Indonesian- Australian relations. We cannot choose our neighbors but we can choose to be good neighbours,” Dr Yudhoyono said.
Perth USAsia Centre CEO, Professor Gordon Flake said the Centre was looking forward to working with Dr Yodhoyono and being a vehicle for him, post-Presidency, to advance his goals in enhancing the understanding, prosperity and security in the region.
UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson said he believed UWA’s relationship with Indonesia was a two-way relationship.
“We have a lot of facilities and expertise to provide but equally, we have much to learn,” Professor Johnson said.
“Dr Yudhoyono’s investment of a full week in Perth despite his busy schedule speaks volumes about his commitment to the Indonesia-Australia relationship and his determination to build on his legacy of leadership in the region,” Professor Flake said.
The Perth USAsia Centre is an international policy think tank at the University of Western Australia focusing on Australia’s role in the emerging Indo-Pacific region and the Australia–USA–Asia strategic triangle.
Sonia Nolan (Perth USAsia Centre Communications Manager) (+61 4) 01 034 103
Professor Gordon Flake (Perth USAsia Centre Chief Executive Officer) (+61 8) 6488 4322
Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Officer) (+61 8) 6488 6876