For Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) the most intriguing event at Parliament House today was not the leadership spill, but the launch of a Federal Government funded review, which reveals that Australia’s capacity to benefit from the Asian Century is being hindered by our lack of Indonesian language skills.

According to the report by Murdoch University Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, David Hill, university enrolments in Indonesian language fell nationally by 40% between 2001 and 2010. It identifies 20 strategies to help Australia build its Indonesian language capacity. This report is of particular relevance to AIYA, a youth-run organisation that aims to connect Australians and Indonesians to each other and other Indonesia related opportunities.

‘Our members have reported that companies, government and other organisations are less efficient, and do not operate as effectively as they could if they are not resourced with individuals who speak and understand Indonesia and Indonesian. Yet, despite the value of these skills to Australian organisations, our members also report that Indonesia-literacy skills are undervalued by Australian employers, especially in the private sector’, says AIYA Executive Director, Arjuna Dibley.

AIYA has recently completed research about the value of Indonesian literacy skills for Australian business, governments and other organisations for its submission to the Henry Review on Australia in the Asian Century. AIYA’s submission supports all of Professor Hill’s recommendations, and also recommends that Australian organisations pay more attention to the value of being resourced by staff with Indonesia-literacy.

‘Professor Hill’s report recommends that the Government encourage corporate support for Indonesian language programs and, through its negotiations with Indonesia, help to improve the visa restrictions that currently impede university-educated young people from working in each other’s countries. We have made the same recommendations in our submission to the Government’s White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century, says Mr Dibley.

Professor Hill’s report is available at: and AIYA’s submission to the Henry Review on the Asian Century is available at

For more details please contact:

Rachelle Cole
[email protected]