As many of you will have noticed, AIYA recently undertook a survey of our membership base to inform our submission to the DFAT Indonesian Country Strategy. The Indonesia Country Strategy forms part of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper process, and will outline an aspirational vision of where the Australia-Indonesia relationship should be by 2025.
The Indonesia Strategy will be shaped by submissions made by various organisations and individuals as well as by a public consultation process DFAT has undertaken throughout Australia. Members of AIYA attended a number of these consultations in order to present the perspective of young people passionate about the bilateral relationship.
For our AIYA Indonesia Country Strategy Survey we asked members about the current state of the Australia-Indonesia relationship and their hopes for the future. We also asked members about their personal experiences of engagement efforts and about the challenges and opportunities presented by the growth of Indonesia.
We received 206 responses to the survey, which meant that we could identify key thematic trends to present to government. Respondents told us the most critical aspects of the relationship today and the future were close government-to-government relationships, strong economic ties, including trade and investment, and education. Meanwhile, the biggest impediments to the relationship were seen as cultural misunderstanding, mutual suspicion, and the inability of political leaders to successfully engage each other.
Consequently, AIYA will recommended that to progress the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship, the Australian government should:
- Work with the Indonesian government to resolve bureaucratic hurdles involved with Australians wanting to access the Work and Holiday visa.
- Develop an information pack about the visas available for Australian businesses and universities regarding the most appropriate visas for interns.
- Involve a greater cross-section of both Australian and Indonesian societies in the bilateral relationship through a diversification of engagement efforts, which could include holding another OzFest.
- Launch an online cultural centre to promote Australian / Indonesian lifestyle and cultural activities, supported by coordinated social media outreach and fixed or mobile physical centre (s) in Jakarta.
- Expand the AsiaBound grant program and ensure inclusion of university consortiums such as ACICIS.
- Form a unified alumni network for all inbound/outbound scholarship programs that receive Australian government funding and support network-building events between current participants abroad with returned alumni from the opposite country.
- Expand initiatives that support in-country study in Asia such as AsiaBound to include later year high school students.
- Make more internships/secondments or other short‐term work placements publically available within Australian Government offices in Indonesia.
- Create more opportunities for young people to participate in the formal structures of the Australia Indonesia relationship.
- Determine a national criteria and accreditation framework to define and measure Asia capability for individuals and organisations and implement this in public sector recruitment processes.
Our survey also uncovered interesting demographic data about AIYA members. We discovered that AIYA members tend to be:
- Professionals (39 per cent) or undergraduate students (33 per cent).
- Work predominantly in Professional Services (33 per cent) or Government/ Defence (30 per cent) sectors;
- Below 35 years of age (82 per cent).
- Studied Indonesian at university (88 per cent) or in high school (43 per cent).
- Would consider a career in Indonesia (84 per cent) or Australia (80 per cent).
- Advanced (36 per cent) or fluent (19 per cent) in their Indonesian language abilities.
We’d like to thank all members who took the time to complete the survey, and shared their thoughts about the Australia-Indonesia relationship. DFAT is currently reviewing submissions and formulating the various country strategies and we expect to see an Indonesian Country Strategy released fairly shortly.
Our hope is that the Indonesia Country Strategy will outline practical, concrete and achievable goals that will both broaden and deepen the relationship between Australia and Indonesia, thereby setting Australia up for success in the Asian Century.
What do you think of the recommendations? Do you have any feedback on the process? Let us know in the comments below!