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Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program morning tea, Government House


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good morning, everyone.

Linda and I are delighted to welcome the participants in this year's Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program and the cadets from the University of New South Wales at ADFA.

Indonesia is one of Australia's most important strategic partners. But we are much more than this; we are also friends and neighbours.

Both the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program and the Bachelor of Arts program through UNSW at ADFA reflect those close ties.

Our mutual success matters to us, and Australia recognises fully Indonesia's importance as the world's third largest democracy, the fourth most populous nation and the home of the largest Muslim population in the world.

In turn, Australia offers a wide range of economic, trade, security, services and educational opportunities for Indonesia.

Earlier this month our Prime Minister attended the inauguration of President Widodo in Jakarta. And at their previous meeting in August 2018 they agreed to elevate the Australia-Indonesia relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

These visits provide a strong signal of our two countries' mutual commitment to strengthening cooperation across a range of issues and to the importance of personal relationships.

One aspect of the relationship where we can always do better is to promote greater understanding between the peoples of our two countries. Exchanges such as the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program is a good way of doing this.

Australia hosts about 20,000 Indonesian students each year, and Indonesia is the most popular destination for Australian students under the New Colombo Plan. But we can still do more.

To the Indonesian participants in the exchange — I understand that you are nearing the end of your time in Canberra and will soon head to Brisbane. I hope that you have enjoyed living and working in our national capital. I hope that you will return to Indonesia with new friendships and new insights, and a renewed determination to deepen connections between our countries.

To the Australian cohort — I understand that you will go to Indonesia in December. I wish you the same outcomes from your time in Indonesia.

I look forward to talking with you all this morning.

Thank you.