Address to business reception | Prime Minister of Australia
Thank you all for coming today.
And thank you Ambassador Williams and Pak Arsjad for hosting this event.
It’s great to see so many leaders from our business communities here.
Since my government was elected in mid-2022, I have had the pleasure of regularly meeting leaders in government and business from across this region.
And a common thread through all my interactions has been a sense of energy and enthusiasm to work together in new ways.
On the security issues facing our region.
And on growing our regional economies and, importantly, lifting the prosperity of our people, too.
Already, Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.
We’ve seen an enormous expansion of the middle class here in Indonesia, for example.
So when we’re thinking about market opportunities, that’s huge.
And Indonesia is just one market among many.
The Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam are also set up to see immense growth over the next few decades.
I visited Vietnam in May this year and look forward to visiting Manila on Friday.
And all of it adds up to opportunity.
We were elected in May last year.
By June, Penny and I were here in Indonesia — with business representatives.
We had representatives of the Commonwealth Bank, Wesfarmers, Fortescue, Bluescope, Sun Cable and Thales, and the Business Council of Australia.
And in November, we appointed Nicholas Moore as special envoy to chart our Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.
Since November, Nicholas Moore’s consultations have been extensive.
He’s visited all ASEAN countries, except Myanmar.
He’s met with more than 750 people – across business, diaspora communities, government and the private sector.
And he’s received almost 200 submissions.
If you fed into that process, I want to thank you for being a part of it.
And all that work led towards this morning, when I had the great pleasure of launching Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 at the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum.
As the Strategy makes clear, Australia’s economic future is with Southeast Asia.
My government will take some time to properly consider the strategy’s 75 recommendations.
But today we’ve made a commitment of $95.4 million to get the work started straight away:
We’ll form Deal Teams to identify opportunities for Australian investors and support projects to finalisation.
A new Southeast Asia Business Exchange to boost two-way trade.
And an exchange program for young professionals to build enduring links between Australian and Southeast Asian businesses.
One area we’re particularly invested in is Southeast Asia’s energy security and clean energy transition.
Australian businesses are always telling me how keen they are to be partners in the net zero transition, and indeed many are already doing so and its good to see many of them here.
Governments in Australia and across the region can do far more to address perceptions of risk, remove barriers, and create better business enabling environments.
We want to get that communication, and those settings right.
So you can get on with it.
And do what you do best.
In Southeast Asia we have great friends and close neighbours.
Dynamic business partners, too.
Together, we can seize the opportunities ahead.