AIYA submitted a formal response to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s call for submissions to the Foreign Policy White Paper in 2017. The Foreign Policy White Paper will create a comprehensive framework to guide Australia’s international relationships over the next five to ten years, and is the first of its kind since 2003.

AIYA’s submission presents a series of comprehensive recommendations to deepen and diversify the Australia-Indonesia relationship, and is based in part on the results of the 2016 AIYA Survey.

AIYA asserts that language skills, cross-cultural competency and understanding, and youth initiatives are paramount to developing strong relationships that advance Australia’s national interests in the region.

AIYA submits that the Australian Government should focus on successfully managing relationships and forming mutually beneficial partnerships with countries in the Asian region, with Indonesia being the country that matters most, in forming its foreign policy narrative for the next decade and beyond.

You can read our full submission here.

A summary of the recommendations made in the AIYA submission are as follows:

Recommendation 1:

The Australian Government should place greater emphasis on building meaningful and lasting people-to-people links between Australians and Indonesians through community based not-for-profit organisations.

Recommendation 2:

The Australian Government should increase its promotion of Australian culture in Indonesia as well as demonstrate Australia’s readiness to engage with Indonesia by sufficiently advertising Australians’ unique specialist Indonesian skills.

Recommendation 3:

The Australian Government should broadly promote positive opportunities to work in or with Indonesians to all Australians as well as focus on bolstering the capability of all Australians to understand and operate in Asia.

Recommendation 4:

The Australian Government should improve its promotion of innovative initiatives developed by Australians and Indonesians together and individually in one another’s countries.

Recommendation 5:

The Australian Government should increase support services to Indonesian students studying in Australia and alumni of Australian universities, making Australia a more attractive study destination for international students.

Recommendation 6:

The Australian and Indonesian governments should discuss, as part of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) negotiations, favourable immigration policies that:

  • simplify and expand visa options, such as the reciprocal work and holiday visa scheme; and
  • allow companies to easily employ interns and professional skilled workers on appropriate visas.

Recommendation 7:

The Australian Government should encourage all sectors to better match employees with Indonesian cultural literacy skills to Indonesia related work and/or posts.

Recommendation 8:

The Australian Government should consider developing a secondary school level exchange program to Indonesia, in collaboration with AIYA, to encourage the continuation of Indonesian language studies.

Recommendation 9:

The Australian Government should, through the Department of Education and Training, establish a National Register of Indonesian Enrolments to monitor annual enrolment data for Indonesian in schools (at all levels) and universities.

Recommendation 10:

The Australian Government should:

  • provide greater financial, in-kind and advisory support to AIYA and likeminded volunteer-youth-led organisations (VYLOs) and reduce the red tape in existing funding and acquittal processes;
  • assist VYLOs to connect with Commonwealth departments, state and territory bodies, and relevant private and public sector organisations; and
  • improve the frequency and pro-activity in which it reaches out to VYLOs to seek input on youth related issues,

to allow VYLOs to focus on developing and delivering innovative and cost efficient solutions that will advance our foreign policy interests in future years.

This submission was researched and written by Sally Hill and Nicholas Mark. Thanks also for input from Melanie Kilby, Sheila Hie, Samuel Bashfield, Katrina Steedman and Natasha Burrows.