Australia needs to re-think key national priorities and strategies if it is to take advantage of the Asian Century, according to a leading expert from The Australian National University.
Professor Peter Drysdale, from the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, has been working on the Australian Government’s ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ white paper as an advisory panellist providing guidance to the whole-of-government task force. Speaking at a parliamentary briefing in Canberra today, Professor Drysdale said that four key priorities stood out for Australia in the Asian Century.
“The first is for Australia to get domestic economic and social policies right, including macroeconomic and regulatory frameworks. Australia also needs to ‘act regional’ to help deliver global outcomes, recognising the importance of forums like the G20 as well as being proactive in other international institutions like APEC and the East Asia Summit,” he said.
“On top of this, Australia needs to construct comprehensive economic and political arrangements with key players and emerging powers like Indonesia, China and India as well as deepen our existing relationships with Japan, Korea and ASEAN.
“Finally, Australia needs to build national and Asia-relevant capabilities in business, the public sector, educational institutions and across the wider community. We have many assets, including investments in Asian literacy and our large overseas-born population, but these are no longer adequate to the task.
”Professor Drysdale added that Australia needs to rethink its national strategies regarding the region’s unprecedented growth and development.
“The economic changes taking place and driving growth in Asia have only barely begun, but they have gained a momentum which will profoundly impact on Australia’s future. However, there are risks to maintaining this momentum.
“Being able to help sustain these changes will require vast investment in, and improving the quality of, human capital in emerging Asian economies, deep reform in governance, and managing the effects of environmental impacts caused by economic growth, as well as the issues of climate change, food security and energy security. Australia has a role to play in helping address all of these issues,” he said.