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Aust Gov Drives “Asian Century” Reforms
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Country: Australia
Created: Nov 06, 2012

Australia’s engagement with its Asian neighbours has received a major boost – with the Federal government delivering a raft of reforms supporting better engagement with its Asian partners.

This engagement is supported by a White Paper, “Australia in the Asian Century.” This widely-debated document lays down a roadmap for Australia to become an integral part of the Asian region.

PM Julia Gillard’s government notes that the “scale and pace of Asia’s rise is staggering, and there are significant opportunities and challenges for all Australians.”

It is not enough for Australian policy-makers to rely on luck: “Our future will be determined by the choices we make and how we engage with the region we live in.”

Among the policy reforms, Asian studies will form a core part of the Australian school curriculum. Students will have access to a “priority Asian language,” including Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese.

Plans are under-way to make Australian leaders more “Asia literate.” One-third of board members of Australia’s top 200 publicly listed companies and Commonwealth bodies are expected to have “deep experience in and knowledge of Asia.”

On the diplomatic front, Australia is seeking more comprehensive ties with key regional nations, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

This engagement taps into an astute political reading of the massive growth driving regional economies.

Recent modelling by the Australian government’s Department of Treasury notes that by decade’s end, Asia will overtake the economic output of Europe and North America combined to become the world’s largest economic power.

The Department of Treasury forecasts that by early next decade, the combined output of China and India is expected to exceed that of the whole Group of Seven (G7).

The average GDP per person in Asia is set to almost double by 2025 — a feat that took the United Kingdom over 50 years to achieve during the Industrial Revolution.

By 2025, four of the world’s ten largest economies are expected to be in the Asian region, and Asia may account for almost half of the world’s economic output.

Between now and 2025, China and India are expected to make the largest contributions to global and regional economic growth relative to any other national economy. Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries will also grow rapidly.

Given these rates of growth, the Australian government is realigning its geopolitical alliances with its closest neighbours. This replaces a traditional allegiance with Europe and North America.

PM Julia Gillard’s Labor government is actively canvassing regional engagement. This enables Australia to benefit from escalating demand for its domestic goods and services, while shipping resources to energy-hungry Asian economies.
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