January, 2013: The Australia Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) today released its response the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.
AIYA were generally pleased with the tone of the White Paper, and its emphasis on improving people-to-people links between Australia and Indonesia. However the organisation raises two criticisms of the policy suggestions put forward in the White Paper.
Firstly, AIYA urges the Australian 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, AIYA’s White Paper response shows that problems with its implementation undermine its ability to serve this purpose.
AIYA President Arjuna Dibley said that “as the Australian government rolls out its proposed work and holiday visa schemes with other Asian countries, it should be conscious of the Indonesian experience, to ensure that the schemes are implemented properly in the countries in which they are proposed to operate.”
AIYA also argues 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 young people to develop Asia capabilities.
The Australia-Indonesia Youth Association is a non-government, youth-led organisation which aims to better connect young people in Australia and Indonesia to each other and to Indonesia-related opportunities.