Over the holiday break, we’ve been putting the finishing touches on a response to the Australian Government’s Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, released in October 2012.
While we were generally very pleased with the tone of the document, and its emphasis on improving people-to-people links between Australia and Indonesia, our response raises two criticisms of the policy suggestions put forward in the White Paper.
Firstly, we urge the government to consider the issues facing Australians who apply for the Indonesian work and holiday visa scheme. While this scheme is promoted in the White Paper as a way of improving people-to-people links between Australia and Asia, our research shows that problems with its implementation undermines its ability to serve this purpose.
Secondly, we argue that the White Paper does not adequately outline how government and business might create sustainable demand for an Asia-capable workforce. To this end, AIYA makes a number of policy recommendations, such as targeted concessions through HECS, tax incentives, and changes to government recruitment processes to encourage more young people to develop Asia-capabilities.