The Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) conference for 2018 was held from the 11th-13th of November on the Gold Coast in Queensland.  With its theme ‘Partnering for Prosperity in a World of Change’, the conference stressed the importance of strengthening the relationship between both countries and overcoming challenges in order to achieve mutual prosperity.

© Nina Williams Photography

AIBC Chapters Presidents with Indonesia Ambassador to Australia, Kristiarto Legowo and Consulate General, Heru Subolo.

Commencing on the afternoon of the 11th, the conference kicked off with relaxing pre-dinner drinks and networking before the opening dinner warmed up the Ballroom Hall of the Marriot Resort & Spa. An opening address by AIBC President, Phil Turtle welcomed honourable guests including The Minister for Defence Industry, Hon. Steven Ciobo MP, Minister of National Development and Planning of Indonesia (BAPPENAS), Mr. Bambang Brodjonegoro, Chairman of Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Mr Thomas Lembong, Indonesia Ambassador to Australia, Mr. Kristiarto Legowo, Minister Counsellor, Economic, Investment and Infrastructure Branch, Australian Embassy Jakarta, Dr. Steven Barraclough, IABC President and the former Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, Mr Hamzah Thayeb, Sally-Ann Watts, Minister Commercial (Indonesia) & GM-ASEAN and Pacific, Austrade and other distinguished guests. A special thanks was also given to the AIBC Executive Officer, Sharon Enriquez and the team as well as AIYA Volunteers for their great support of the conference.

© Nina Williams Photography

President of AIBC, Phil Turtle welcoming delegates and guests

The conference included features such as live-streaming for those who are unable to attend in person, QR scan code for a real-time update changes and online interactive through the hashtag #aibc18. The opening dinner continued with a welcome performance by the Yugambeh Aboriginal Dancers to pay respect to the Indigenous owners of the land. The brief culture sharing closed with a kind reminder that of all the dance, language, histories, songs and stories belong to both the land and its people (every Australian).

© Nina Williams Photography

The indigenous welcome performance was represented by the Yugambeh Professional Dancers

Representing Telkomtelstra, Asia Practice Leader/Partner PwC and Coca-Cola Amatil, respectively Erik Meijer, Andrew Parker and Liz McNamara shared their experiences and learnings both in business and people of both nations. Erik chose Telkomtelstra as a testament to demonstrate how two hugely successful companies in Australia and Indonesia could maintain a sustainable business in peace and harmony. Andrew stated that the relation between Australia-Indonesia is still far from what it could be, with shifts and changes needed in order to capture the opportunities. Whilst the inevitable risks is everyone’s responsibility. Liz also gave insight into genuine partnerships and not a mere business by sharing the story of Coca-Cola Amatil growth in Indonesia. Whilst its growth has been remarkable, CCAI has come a long way from employing 25 employees to currently having 12,000 employees with its access to market of 270 million people.

© Nina Williams Photography

Andrew Parker, Erik Meijer and Liz McNamara sharing their experience in doing business in Indonesia

Continuing with the discussion, Mr. Lembong expressed the positive view of the Indonesian government for the future. Tom pertained the time in which the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) was mapped out and although it has come a long way, the work is just about to begin. Tom expressed his personal involvement and called everyone to engage in the continuous work and put the practice of the available trade facilitation (usage of investment protections and trade realisation) to boost investments in both countries. He closed his address with a few surveys and polling that put Indonesia on the uppermost ranks for the most generous, happiest, optimistic society, and society which trusts its government—signalling the government is not working alone calling for the international investments.

© Nina Williams Photography

“Perceptions will catch up to reality.” Tom Lembong during his speech on the welcoming dinner


The Acehnese dance of thousand hands (Tari Saman) was performed by Queensland based Indonesian student, highlighting the first day of the conference. Prior to the performance, Nadira, Nabila, Nadiva and the team shared with us that they are not professionally trained and most of the dance and performances were self-taught. They admitted that although they could only use resources such as learning the rhythms from videos online and being each other’s choreographer, the challenges didn’t stop them from presenting and sharing Indonesia cultures with Australia.

© Nina Williams Photography

Showcase of Tari Saman, Acehnese signature dance.

Representing the city of Gold Coast, Mayor Tom Tate welcoming the delegates and guests to Australia’s tourist city with a brief story of how closely Australia has been influenced by Asia. Mayor Tom Tate, as one of every five Aussies with shared Asian heritages, he proudly presented his Thai and Laos heritages. With his humour and the warmth of Gold Coast hospitality, the night was capped.

© Nina Williams Photography

Mayor Tom welcome speech marked the first day of the conference.

Early morning on day two, the Marriot’s hall was swamped with the attendees who used the excellent opportunity to network and get to know the day’s panellists. The presence of the event sponsors such Coca-Cola Amatil with their specialty Melbourne coffee, and Telkomtelstra booth enabled the attendees to seek professional advice and gain a better understanding of the companies during the first morning of the conference.

© Nina Williams Photography

The friendly atmosphere of the conference mirroring the familiarity with both nations. 

Amongst the 300 attendees, 10 Indonesian scholars were able to be involved in the discussions as part of AAI’s Enrichment Activities. With their participation, Australian Awards-Indonesia scholars provided a fresh look of youth involvement in the future relations between the nations, bridging the policymakers, business, and professionals. The opportunity was maximised with the initiative of the scholars’ leader, Martin Newbery along with the help of AIBC to bring together the future leaders and Mr. Lembong in a roundtable discussion.

© Nina Williams Photography

Australian Awards-Indonesia scholars with the Indonesia Ambassador to Australia

Hosted by AIBC Executive Director, Leith Doody presented the day first speaker, Hon. Steven Ciobo MP. In which he recapped in 2016 when he was working closely with Tom Lembong as Minister of International Development and the Pacific to help make IA-CEPA a reality. In his testament, Hon. Steven Ciobo MP convinced professionals and their businesses that both Australia and Indonesia have put their goodwill in IA-CEPA, reflecting the initiatives and priorities of business communities. Mr. Ciobo confidently shared his visions of where to take the relationship in the future. Underlying ambition and relationship, the potentials of both countries shouldn’t be seen as a threat, but rather complimentary of one another. He also urges to have ongoing dialogues and continuous open discussions in business communities. Furthermore, Mr. Ciobo emphasised the long-friendship shared between Australia-Indonesia, and hoped to see both Australia and Indonesia leaning to each other just like old times.

© Nina Williams Photography

Hon. Steven Ciobo MP opening the second-day discussion

Starting his Keynote Address with a little quiz, Tom Lembong sparked laugher when discussing millennial abbreviations such YOLO (You Only Live Once) and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Tom encouraged everyone to take this youthful mentality of FOMO in taking part in Indonesia’s future. Through conferences such as the AIBC Conference, Mr. Lembong believes that connections and word of mouth are still the most effective ways in building relationships. Sourcing from economic magazines, Tom revealed that Australia’s economic growth will reach a low point, hence it is time for Australians to look at their largest neighbour as an opportunity for economic growth. Briefly explaining the existence of IA-CEPA in the heart of the relationship, businesses will have the autonomy to invest in Indonesia with a focus on execution and implementation. Tom assured that the Indonesian government directly through President Jokowi has called for fundamental bureaucracy changes both in hardware (infrastructures) and software (human resources) to enhance future investment in Indonesia.

© Nina Williams Photography

Tom Lembong proposing his idea of being a powerhouse and fun at the same time

Flew straight from Indonesia on the day, Minister of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), H.E. Prof Bambang Brodjonegoro gave a presentation discussing the Indonesian economy outlook. He believed that the fear and unfamiliarity of Indonesia market to Australians is due to lack an of shared information. Along with his slides, Mr. Brodjonegoro shared Indonesia’s ambitions, although Indonesia short of 0.4% of it’s target of 5.7% growth, the nation is still top 3 in terms of economic growth, behind China and India. Throughout his presentation, Bambang pointed out the shifts and ups and downs in Indonesia’s recent economic situation. In his calculation, by 2045, Indonesians will have 230 million middle-class income earners and a total population of 320 million, making up a large long-term market. Closing his speech, Pak Bambang announced 10 new tourism destinations or “10 new Balis” currently being developed and open for investment.

H.E. Prof Bambang Brodjonegoro’s full presentation is available here.

© Nina Williams Photography

The presence of Indonesia Minister of National Development Planning shown a serious commitment of the country’s calling for investment. 

The conference included 11 sessions of discussions covering most of the underlying concerns preventing business taking place. The conference brought together lawmakers of both countries, business leaders and experts, future leaders and business mediators. The long and fruitful discussions produced from this interactions touched on the significant participants of Australia and Indonesia in the ASEAN region, partnerships in technology, tourism, education and training, sustainable agriculture, resources and energy, to transform business relationship under IA-CEPA. Open discussion conducted with the attendees provided the opportunity for direct questions to the panellists, in conjunction with online interactivity on Twitter featuring live-streaming discussions.

© Nina Williams Photography

 The limited given time was maximised in the intensive discussions conducted by experts 

The conference also addressed favourable and unfavourable news in the panellists’ field experience and advice, providing the necessary information to solve them. For those with puzzled and unsolved concerns were encouraged to consult privately with its experts during the remaining time. On the second night, a gala dinner featured cultural performances such as Balinese Dance and The Indonesian Umbrella & Fan Medley Dance (Tari Rampai Payung & Kipas Nusantara). A fun lucky dip with prizes included a free stay in Lombok, enhancing the rousing atmosphere of the gala night.

© Nina Williams Photography

The Balinese dance (Tari Gabor) performed by Jane Ahlstrand and The Indonesian Umbrella & Fan Medley Dance (Tari Rampai Payung & Kipas Nusantara)

The final key address on the third day was presented by Hon. Dr. Andrew Leigh MP, Australian Shadow Assistant Treasurer & Shadow Minister for Trade in Services. Andrew shared his concerns regarding that despite both countries are involved in G-20, there has been a lack of business activities. According to the Australian Investment Survey, only 7% of Australian business chose Indonesia as their first overseas market despite the geographic benefits of operating in Indonesia. Having spent 3 years of his childhood in Aceh, Andrew has an understanding of Indonesia better than most Australians. He assured that Indonesia is more than just Bali, Batik and Bintang (beer). He encouraged Australian businesses to gain a better understanding of Indonesia and learn about what it has to offer – including its productive sides, infrastructures that support the leading sectors and regulations assisting private participation.

© Nina Williams Photography

Hon. Dr. Andrew Leigh MP through his personal experience shared a deeper essence understanding Indonesia

The official signing of MoU with Australia-Indonesia Centre and presentation to Australian Red Cross, RedR and NTA: East Indonesia Aid by Phil Turtle wrapped the AIBC conference for the year.

© Nina Williams Photography

Moment of  MoU signed between AIBC and Indonesia Centre

This great initiative of the AICB brought together 300 attendees across Australia and Indonesia, 48 panellists, 11 sessions, countless ideas and opportunities and a MoU signed has marked the 3 intensive days. It is clear that the signing of IA-CEPA in the near future will mark the development of areas that need improvement and the challenges both Australia-Indonesia will face. With or without IA-CEPA the involvement of both Australians and Indonesians will ultimately pave the route of mutual prosperity for the future[.]


© Nina Williams Photography

Snapshots of #AIBC18 

The Full Conference Sessions can be accessed here

Conference Session 1 – Australia and Indonesia Significant Participants in the ASEAN Region

Conference Session 2 – Shape of the Trade Relationship

Conference Session 3 – Technology and the Digital Economy: Unlocking Scalable Growth

Conference Session 4 – The Digital Era: The New Wave of Services

Conference Session 5 – Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture

Conference Session 6 – tourism Services and Infrastructure

Conference Session 7 – Business: Getting it Right

Conference Session 8 – Financing of Growth

Conference Session 9 – Education and Training

Conference Session 10 – Resources and Energy

Conference Session 11 – A Transformed and Relationship Under IA-CEPA


Special thanks to AIBC, Phil, Sharon, Leith and the team who has given AIYA the chance to be a part of the conference.

Also, Nina and AIBC who kindly shared the captures of the event.

Terima kasih kepada Kepala BKPM Bapak Tom Lembong, KonJen Bapak Heru Subolo, Asisten Deputi Jasa Kemenko Maritim, Bapak Okto Irianto, yang sudah bersedia menyediakan waktu dan tempat kepada AIYA.

Stay tuned for the upcoming exclusive interview with Tom Lembong, Konjen Heru Subolo, and Assistant Deputy Minister of Maritime Service Bapak Okto Irianto and feature profiles in Career Champion!