Remarks at the opening of Surabaya Australian Consulate-General

  • Speech, check against delivery
05 August 2018

JULIE BISHOP: Governor Soekarwo, distinguished guests,friends of Australia, friends of Indonesia.

In the last couple of days I have spent time with your ForeignMinister Retno Marsudi at the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers' meetings inSingapore. During our many meetings, multilateral and regional, Ibu Retno and Iremarked often how aligned our regional view was in relation to the challengesand opportunities across the Indo-Pacific. Together Australia and Indonesia areworking to ensure we live in a prosperous, secure, free, open Indo-Pacific.

We are longstanding partners across a range of areas and we areworking together to deepen our trade and investment relationship through anIndonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. I know thebusiness representatives here are looking forward to the conclusion of thatagreement.

That underscores the depth and the strength of theAustralia-Indonesia relationship, and for this reason Australia has beenexpanding our diplomatic network in Indonesia. We have an Embassy in Jakarta,and Allaster Cox is our Deputy Ambassador. We have a consulate in Bali, inMakassar, and now here in Surabaya.

I'm delighted to officially open the Australian Consulate-Generalin Surabaya today, even though we have been here since September last year, andI know our Consul-General Chris Barnes has done a remarkable job in getting toknow the business community, encouraging two-way investment, and immersing theConsulate-General into the local community. That's evidenced by the number ofcommunity representatives from organisations across East Java who are presenthere today.

This building is an extraordinary addition to the landscape here,and I want to thank the owner Mr Sampoerna for being our landlord and welcomingus to his magnificent building which I understand has an Australian connection– an Australian firm of architects, Denton Corker Marshall, were behind thedesign of this building some time ago.

There is so much potential for us to do more business together.Our trading relationship can be greatly enhanced, and we recognise that Surabayais the second largest city after Jakarta in Indonesia, and that East Java is adynamic and growing area of potential trade and investment for Australia andother countries.

I note that East Java has a sister relationship with my home stateof Western Australia. Western Australia thinks that it is the powerhouseeconomy across Australia, and I think East Java believes that it is thepowerhouse economy in Indonesia, so we have a very similar attitude from EastJava and Western Australia.

I am looking forward to hearing more about how we can deepen andstrengthen our ties across education, tourism and sports. There are so manyareas where the people-to-people links will be strong, but trade and investmentis our focus because that drives economic growth, that drives job opportunitiesfor the citizens of East Java and the citizens of Australia.

So I'm very pleased to have met so many Australian alumni in theshort time that I've been in Surabaya already. Education exchanges between ourtwo countries underpin the strength of our relationship, and many Indonesiansstudents have studied in Australian schools and universities, and an increasingnumber of Australian students are now studying here in Indonesia under our NewColombo Plan. In fact almost 7,000 Australian undergraduate students areliving, studying and undertaking work experience here in Indonesia, andhopefully more will come to Surabaya. That's one of Chris' key performanceindicators to get more Australians into East Java.

So it is with a great deal of pride that I am here to officiallyopen Australia's fourth diplomatic post in Indonesia, our Consulate-General inSurabaya. Long may Australia and Indonesia be reliable partners and trustedfriends.

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