Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

12 November 2008

Joint Ministerial Statement - 9th Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum

1. The ninth meeting of the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum (AIMF) was held in Canberra on 12 November 2008. The Australian delegation was led by Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Indonesian delegation was led by Dr N. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs. The delegations are at Annex A.

2. Ministers welcomed the strength of the bilateral relationship, reflected in the high number of bilateral visits in both directions in the past 12 months, including the visit of Prime Minister Rudd to Indonesia on 13 June 2008. These visits had led to a number of important initiatives, including the entry into force of the Lombok Treaty, the launch of a new strategy to guide the Australia Indonesia Partnership for development cooperation for the years 2008-2013, the launch of the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership and enhanced support for education links.

3. Ministers reaffirmed that shared interests in addressing global and regional challenges made Australia and Indonesia important partners. These challenges included the global financial crisis; transnational crime; climate change; environment; food security, energy security and human security issues, including those flowing from natural disasters and economic conditions. Ministers discussed the current global financial crisis and the importance of reform to deal with domestic economic challenges. Ministers reviewed and advanced valuable cooperation in these areas and in defence, education, trade and investment facilitation, labour and social protection and development cooperation. Ministers released a separate Statement on People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons.

4. Ministers noted the progress of the working groups of the AIMF (Annex B) in advancing cooperation and welcomed the signing of Memoranda of Understanding, including in education, and work and holiday visa arrangements. Ministers agreed that the development of greater people-to-people links should be a focus of future cooperation.

5. Ministers agreed to consolidate the Ministerial Forum and use the Working Groups and Security Cooperation Consultation Group as an avenue to advance bilateral cooperation in all areas of common concern within the context of the Comprehensive Partnership and the entry into force of the Lombok Treaty and the adoption of its Plan of Action.

SHARED RESPONSES TO REGIONAL AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES

6. Ministers discussed the challenging set of circumstances facing the global economy and implications for both countries and the region. The depth and scope of the current global financial crisis is unprecedented and its impact has not been contained to developed economies. Australia and Indonesia agree on the need for the G-20 to have a key role in strengthening the global financial system. Ministers welcomed the upcoming G-20 Leaders’ Summit on 15 November, noting that it provides an important opportunity to establish a coordinated strategic plan to address the current crisis and strengthen the global financial system for the future.

7. Ministers welcomed the entry into force of the Australia-Indonesia Agreement on the Framework for Security Cooperation (the Lombok Treaty) in February 2008, which provides a strong legal framework for strengthening the already extensive security cooperation between Indonesia and Australia. Ministers also recognised the important treaty-level obligation within the Lombok Treaty to respect and support each country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Indonesian Ministers recalled with appreciation Australia’s commitment that development assistance will be consistent with the principles of the Lombok Treaty. Ministers welcomed practical implementation of the Lombok Treaty through a Plan of Action outlining priority areas for further security cooperation, adopted at the inaugural meeting of the officials’-level Security Cooperation Consultation Group on 10 November 2008. As an initial step to implement the Lombok Treaty, Ministers welcomed results of the joint feasibility study on disaster relief and coordination.

8. Ministers confirmed the excellent state of law enforcement cooperation including police to police cooperation. Through joint and coordinated operations, Indonesian authorities had prevented and disrupted the criminal activity of several organised transnational crime syndicates, in particular in relation to people smuggling and trafficking in persons, illicit trafficking in drugs and terrorism. Ministers welcomed the continuation of important law enforcement capacity building projects such as the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC), and the commencement of joint legal training programs in July 2008, focusing on the investigation and prosecution of transnational crime. The Police to Police Memorandum of Understanding would be renewed in November 2008, underpinned by the principles outlined in the Lombok Treaty.

9. Ministers welcomed progress in combating terrorism in the region, noting in particular the excellent work of Indonesian authorities in arresting and convicting senior terrorist leaders. Ministers welcomed the renewal in February of the Counter-Terrorism Memorandum of Understanding for three years and the holding of inaugural counter-terrorism consultations in Jakarta in May 2008. These developments, underpinned by the principles outlined in the Lombok Treaty, enhanced ongoing bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation in areas such as law enforcement, border control, maritime and transport security, legal assistance, financial monitoring, defence, and management of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorist threats.

10. Ministers noted continuing cooperation across the legal sectors, including under the Memorandum of Understanding on Legal Cooperation, and committed to intensify activities in areas such as mutual legal assistance, extradition, human rights and asset recovery, as well as the development of legislation. Ministers agreed to continue to strengthen bilateral relations in legal cooperation including through bilateral meetings at officials level.

11. Ministers described the bilateral defence and security relationship as confident and maturing. Areas of engagement included counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, governance and education, peacekeeping and maritime security.

12. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation, including to strengthening the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation regimes. Both countries pledged their strong support for all three pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Ministers welcomed the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament established by Australia and Japan. They encouraged wide support for the Commission’s aim of reinvigorating global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Ministers noted with satisfaction the appointment of former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas as one of the Commissioners.

13. Ministers noted transport security capacity building initiatives underway in Indonesia, including measures to improve aviation security at several airports, and continuing bilateral engagement on port security issues. The next Australia-Indonesia Bilateral Aviation Security Forum is scheduled for early 2009. Ministers also expanded the scope of the Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package to include a number of targeted road safety and rail accident investigation projects, in addition to the extensive capacity building initiatives already underway in the aviation and maritime safety sectors.

14. Ministers noted joint measures to tackle illegal fishing, including through public information campaigns, regional workshops, improved information sharing, capacity building, port visits and coordinated fisheries surveillance activities. Ministers also referred to the shared commitments for effective implementation of the Regional Plan of Action (RPOA) to promote responsible fishing practices, including combating IUU fishing in the region, adopted in Bali 4 May 2007. Ministers expressed their concern at the links in many cases between illegal fishing and transnational organised crime groups. Ministers further noted the need to explore effective measures in combating this issue, including within the framework of the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. Likewise, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in preventing and combating IUU fishing, including through the comprehensive framework of the Lombok Treaty.

15. Ministers further noted the need for both sides to conduct joint research in order to assess the level of sustainability of fisheries stocks in the area covered by the 1974 Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Australia and the Government of Indonesia regarding the Operation of Indonesian Traditional Fishermen in Areas of the Australian Exclusive Fishing Zone and Continental Shelf (MoU Box) and its Practical Arrangement of 1989. Ministers noted the need to develop innovative ways to progress all aspects of management measures in the MOU Box, acknowledging the interests of traditional fishermen and the importance of sustainability of the resources.

16. Ministers commended the increased levels of immigration cooperation between Australia and Indonesia. This includes the implementation of a comprehensive bilateral technical cooperation program, particularly the Enhanced CEKAL Border Alert System at five key immigration ports in Indonesia. Ministers reiterated their mutual commitment on technical human resources development and welcomed further joint capacity building initiatives including document examination and immigration data analysis, and information technology.

17. Ministers welcomed the workshop on transfer of sentenced persons (TSP) held in May 2008, which was jointly organised by Australia and Indonesia. The workshop was considered a useful undertaking in sharing experience on legal instruments and practical implementation of international TSP. Ministers agreed to cooperate on further activities in this matter.

18. Ministers reaffirmed the right of both countries to protect the interests of their respective nationals residing in the territory of the other country, in accordance with their respective obligations under domestic and international law. Ministers agreed to discuss further the Indonesian proposal for the establishment of a bilateral arrangement on consular assistance in the near future.

19. Ministers recognised Indonesia’s leadership in addressing climate change inter alia by hosting the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2007 and by assuming the role of the President of the 13th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, and acknowledged the close bilateral cooperation on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). In particular, Ministers welcomed the announcement of the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership in June 2008. The $40 million contribution to activities had already led to significant progress, including on the development of Indonesia's national carbon accounting system and policy frameworks. Ministers noted the pioneering role of the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership as the first large scale REDD demonstration activity in Indonesia aimed at informing how REDD could be fully integrated into the post-2012 international climate change framework. Ministers agreed to develop a second demonstration activity in Indonesia under the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership, and agreed that it should be differentiated in location and forest type from the Kalimantan Forest and Climate Partnership. Ministers also agreed the Roadmap for Access to International Carbon Markets (attached at Annex C) that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd agreed to develop in June 2008, which will assist Indonesia access international carbon markets, for the forest sector.

20. Ministers also agreed that the Roadmap could be broadened to other sectors in the future. Ministers welcomed new discussion and early work on cooperation to share lessons learned and best practices on the development path toward a low carbon economy.

21. Ministers noted that, as major producers and consumers of fossil fuels, Indonesia and Australia recognise the key role that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies will play in reducing future greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining energy security. Ministers welcomed the commitment of both countries to continue cooperation on CCS technologies, renewable energy and clean coal technologies. Indonesia welcomes the Global CCS Initiative as making a major contribution to accelerating the development and deployment of low emissions technologies and Australia would welcome Indonesia's participation in the Global CCS Institute.

22. Ministers encouraged further exchange and cooperation on environmental management in mining, the management of hazardous wastes and ozone depleting substances, environmental education for sustainable development, water resource management and climate change.

23. Ministers recognised the value and importance of coral reefs and threats to their survival, noting that 2008 was the International Year of Coral Reefs. In that context, Ministers welcomed Indonesia's leadership on the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security to safeguard the region's marine and coastal biological resources and looked forward to the CTI Leaders’ Summit in 2009. Ministers also welcomed Indonesia's initiative in hosting the World Ocean Conference in May 2009 to advance discussion on oceans and climate change

24. Ministers welcomed the signing of a Letter of Intent on cooperation in forestry, including capacity building for sustainable forest management practices, combating illegal logging, enhancing forest law enforcement and governance, and combating illicit international trafficking in forest products.

25. Ministers noted their interest in ensuring global food security through increasing food production and improving the efficiency of global trade in agricultural and food products, including through greater investment in agricultural research and development, infrastructure development and capacity building. Ministers agree that the Doha Round is the best opportunity the world has to reform agricultural markets and work towards improving long-term global food security. Australia continues to support Indonesian efforts to strengthen the productivity of its agricultural sector, particularly beef and dairy cattle industries, while providing assistance to address the impacts of the rise of food prices to the nutrition status of rural poor households in Indonesia.

26. Ministers reaffirmed both countries’ shared democratic values and welcomed Indonesia’s initiative on the establishment of the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) which aims at promoting regional and international cooperation to strengthen democratic institutions in the region through dialogue and practical cooperation. To support the activities of the BDF, Ministers noted the establishment, by the Government of Indonesia, of the Institute for Peace and Democracy located at the University of Udayana, Bali. Ministers noted that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would co-chair with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the inaugural BDF Ministerial-level meeting in Bali in December 2008.

27. Ministers welcomed the important roles being played by key regional forums including ASEAN, the East Asia Summit and APEC, and committed to continuing to work constructively and proactively with and within these fora in support of a stable, peaceful and prosperous region. In this regard, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to support the integration process to establish the ASEAN Community that will contribute to maintain peace, stability and promote prosperity in the region. At the same time, Ministers noted the desirability of ongoing dialogue regarding regional arrangements to ensure our countries are collectively well-placed to respond to emerging challenges. In this context, Ministers welcomed the regional consultations being undertaken in relation to Australia's proposal for an Asia Pacific Community.

STRENGTHENING TRADE AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

28. Ministers exchanged views on the current global financial crisis, including the importance of reform and the capacity to deal with challenges to domestic economies.

29. Ministers reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to enhance trade and investment cooperation and trade opening including lowering tariffs and addressing ‘behind the border’ barriers to trade and investment. International trade opening has benefited both exporters and consumers, promoting economic development and alleviating poverty, while opening of world agricultural markets improved global food security. Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment for a comprehensive, balanced outcome in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round of trade negotiations and agreed on the crucial importance of an effective multilateral trading system. Ministers also agreed on the importance of WTO Trade Ministers meeting before the end of the year to conclude Doha modalities on the basis of progress reached in July, and to set out the next steps for concluding the Doha Round. A successful conclusion to the Doha Round will help to sustain confidence in global co-operation and institutions in the face of the international financial crisis. Ministers recognised the value of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as a key forum for promoting trade and investment in the region.

30. Ministers welcomed the conclusion of a comprehensive ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and noted its considerable potential to reinforce existing strong bilateral trade and investment linkages. Ministers agreed to the creation of a Task Force on Agribusiness Investment to examine bilateral investment opportunities in the agriculture sector. Ministers noted the importance of concrete efforts to facilitate and promote agribusiness investment as well as to build capacity with special emphasis on Indonesian beef and cattle industries. Ministers noted progress on the feasibility study to examine the merits of a bilateral FTA. The study, which will be informed by the outcomes of the AANZFTA negotiations, will be concluded as soon as possible, preferably during the first half of 2009.

31. Ministers noted the importance to strengthen collaboration in agriculture, food, fishery and forestry through the implementation of activities as stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding on Collaborative Animal, Fish and Plant Health and Quarantine Activities. These activities include, among others: trade facilitation by cooperation on sanitary and Phytosanitary measures, capacity building and collaborative agricultural research.

32. Ministers welcomed the opportunity to meet with senior Australian and Indonesian business representatives during the Business Dialogue to identify opportunities to increase bilateral trade and investment. Ministers recognised the contribution of the two bilateral Business Councils to facilitate bilateral business linkages and looked forward to their joint conference in Indonesia in November 2009. Ministers supported and encouraged efforts to expand direct investment further, including through reform of Indonesia’s investment framework, exchange investment data and information between the two countries, especially on Indonesian investment in Australia and Australian investment in Indonesia and noted that there was particular scope for improvement in trade in services and investment in agriculture, energy, minerals, and construction.

DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

33. Ministers welcomed the new strategy to guide the Australia Indonesia Partnership for development cooperation for the years 2008-2013 launched during Prime Minister Rudd’s visit to Jakarta in June 2008. Ministers acknowledged that the Australian development assistance worth up to $2.5 billion over five years was a key element of the bilateral relationship.

34. The new strategy is driven by Indonesia’s development priorities and both countries’ interests in a strong, stable and prosperous Indonesian economy and society. Cooperation under the Partnership will focus on assisting Indonesia achieve its Millennium Development Goals through addressing constraints to growth to reduce poverty and create job opportunities; addressing gender equality; combating corruption; addressing environmental sustainability and climate change; improving government systems to deliver services (including health, education, social welfare, water and sanitation); strengthening legal and democratic institutions and processes and addressing security threats.

35. A further priority of our two governments is to work together to improve aid effectiveness, such as by better aligning Australian assistance with Indonesian government programs and systems. Ministers noted that assistance of up to $12.5 million would be provided to facilitate joint activities between Australian and Indonesian public sector institutions, to implement priorities of the AIMF. Australian Ministers also announced a $6.2 million contribution to assist Indonesia prepare for activities supporting the 2009 elections in the field of voter education and capacity building.

36. Ministers reflected on achievements of the Partnership and lessons learned from the joint review of the $1 billion Australia Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development (AIPRD). In particular, they noted the value of ongoing assistance to basic education and people-to-people links, the concessional loan-funded program to construct roads and bridges and the completion of the Aceh reconstruction program which built and repaired schools, health facilities, the port at Banda Aceh and other public infrastructure.

37. Ministers noted the commencement of discussions on a debt for health swap between Australia and Indonesia.

38. Ministers agreed to propose to the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Indonesia that the work of the Joint Commission of the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development (AIPRD) has concluded and that Ministerial oversight of the Australia Indonesia Partnership should be elevated to plenary of the AIMF.

PROMOTING UNDERSTANDING AND PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE LINKS

39. Ministers noted the importance of strong people-to-people ties between Australia and Indonesia. Education and training links were strengthened by the signing of a new and updated Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Education and Training. Ministers welcomed Indonesian enrolments in excess of 15,000 in Australia, and supported increasing the numbers of Australians studying in Indonesia under the Endeavour Student Exchange Awards, the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies, the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship programme among others. Ministers strongly supported both countries’ scholarship programs, including those for faculty members and students that are fully funded by Indonesia and those being provided through the Australia Indonesia Partnership, and welcomed Australia’s initiative to allocate $62 million over three years to boost the study of Asian languages in Australia. Indonesian is one of four priority languages under this initiative.

40. Ministers are committed to continuing dialogue on the Australian travel advisory in the spirit of frankness and mutual respect and in the context of our commitment to strengthen people-to-people links.

41. Ministers noted that the Australian Government will host a major conference on the Australia-Indonesia relationship in early 2009. They welcomed the conference as an important opportunity to enhance public understanding in both countries of the strengths and opportunities in the bilateral relationship, and to deepen community links between the two countries. The conference will involve Ministers, political and business leaders, and leading community, academic and media figures.

42. Ministers commended the work of the Australia-Indonesia Institute in promoting greater mutual understanding, including through the Myer Foundation/Australian Government-funded BRIDGE (Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement) program, which brings together Australian and Indonesian schools to build professional skills of teachers and support ongoing internet-based collaborative learning. The project will involve 90 teachers from each country over three years. Ministers welcomed the impact of IN2OZ, Australia's cultural diplomacy program in Indonesia in 2008, in strengthening two-way cultural links and understanding. Ministers also recognised that the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship (IACS) programme and Darmasiswa Scholarship programme conferred scholarships on a significant number of Australian participants.

43. Ministers agreed to explore ways to promote the capacity of Indonesian skilled workers in their English language ability and professional standard competency to meet the Australian requirements, particularly through direct engagement with major state government employers.

44. Ministers welcomed the negotiation of a reciprocal Work and Holiday Visa Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Indonesia. The introduction of this visa arrangement will allow a quota of university-educated Australian and Indonesian travellers aged 18 to 30 to work and holiday in the other country for up to 12 months. This will strengthen links between people in both countries, and foster understanding of each others’ culture and business environment.

45. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to protecting human rights, promoting tolerance and mutual understanding between different religions and cultures, and working together to counter radicalisation, noting the important role of religious and community leaders, in collaboration with government, in strengthening moderate voices within their respective communities. Ministers looked forward to Australia hosting the next Interfaith Dialogue in 2009.

46. Ministers welcomed the regular exchanges occurring between the Australian and Indonesian Parliaments in deepening and strengthening bilateral relations. Through these exchanges a better understanding and a network among Parliamentarians and its public service officers is expected to be established.

TENTH MINISTERIAL FORUM

47. Ministers agreed that the tenth meeting of the Indonesia-Australia Ministerial Forum be held in Indonesia, and be tentatively scheduled for late 2009.

Signed in duplicate at Canberra on 12 November 2008 in the English language

For the Government of Australia

Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs

For the Government of The Republic of Indonesia

Dr N Hassan Wirajuda
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555