Guest Article – Western Australia and Indonesia - Linkages and Opportunities

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Australia and Indonesia have a long, prosperous trade and investment partnership. For over 25 years, the Government of Western Australia and its Jakarta office have helped Western Australian businesses seize opportunities in Indonesia, particularly in the areas of education, training, tourism, resources, energy, agribusiness and food.

In 2018, Indonesia was Western Australia’s 13th largest trading partner. The State’s main exports to Indonesia are crude petroleum, wheat and iron ore and its main imports are refined petroleum, crude oil and industrial machinery and equipment.

The Sister State Relationship between Western Australia and East Java has been a core element of this partnership since its establishment in 1990. This relationship has brought to life a number of collaborative initiatives across the resource, energy, culture, education, vocational training, food, agriculture and sport sectors. East Java and Western Australia are now exploring opportunities for collaboration in the fields of social welfare and human resources development.

This special partnership will be reaffirmed in the State’s soon-to-be released Asian Engagement Strategy, which identifies Indonesia as a priority partner. This Strategy highlights six priority sectors in which greater trade and investment ties can be forged between Western Australia and Indonesia.

One of these sectors is tourism. The growth of Indonesia’s middle class and the country’s geographical proximity are clear opportunities for Western Australia to remain a premier tourism destination for Indonesian tourists.

The growth in Indonesia’s middle class is also expected to drive an increase and diversification of food imports. This opens further opportunities for Western Australian farmers who already export large quantities of wheat, meat and live cattle to Indonesia. Gaining a better understanding of Indonesia’s food priorities over the next few years will be critical to seizing these opportunities.

Education is another priority sector in the partnership between Indonesia and Western Australia. Western Australian educational institutions can support Indonesia’s focus on workforce upskilling and vocational educational reform to promote their own services and engage with Indonesian education providers.

The Indonesian mining industry is looking for software, innovative equipment, training and consultancy services to boost its production. Western Australian resource and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies are well placed to take advantage of this demand and need to promote their technology, services and capability, accordingly.

In the energy sector, Indonesia is looking at increasing its imports of LNG, which will grow as an emerging market for Western Australian LNG projects. Indonesia is also committed to including more renewables in its energy mix and deploying advanced micro-grid technology to supply power to isolated communities. Western Australia has competitive expertise in micro-grid deployment which could be exported.

Finally, Indonesia’s modernisation opens new opportunities for Western Australian businesses. Indonesia’s rapid urbanisation is a critical challenge. Engagement between Western Australian and Indonesian stakeholders at a provincial, municipal and industry level to identify infrastructure gaps and develop innovative solutions could help address this challenge. Increased digitisation of the Indonesian economy may also provide opportunities for innovative Western Australian companies to collaborate with local start-ups and foster innovation.

The future of the trade and investment partnership between Western Australia and Indonesia is bright. As Indonesia continues to develop and its middle class grows, there will be increasing opportunities for Western Australian businesses to meet demand.


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