Tuesday 5 September 2023 – The transition to net zero carbon emissions is both the most significant challenge facing our region, and a major opportunity for Australia’s economic relations with South-East Asia, according to the Federal Government’s South-East Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, released today.
The strategy, written by South-East Asia special envoy former Macquarie Bank CEO Nicholas Moore, recommends boosting key projects in the battery, electric vehicle and solar sectors. It also recommends clean energy science and technology partnerships, a regional market for low-energy electricity, standard climate disclosure rules and education qualifications for the South-East Asian Market.
“Australian and Southeast Asian companies will have major opportunities to partner in solar, battery storage and electric vehicle supply chains,” the report said.
In the area of batteries, the report went on to say that “There will be opportunities for Australian companies to move up the battery value chain and supply high-value battery material exports”.
However the report warned that capitalising on opportunities is contingent on “clearing blockages”, identifying policy/regulatory uncertainty, construction risk, data and limited knowledge among investors of regional energy markets as clear barriers.
The report was released as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong prepare to travel to Jakarta for the ASEAN leadership summit and East Asia forum. West Australian Premier Roger Cook also led a contingent of mining executives to the summit to explore critical mineral export opportunities.
It comes as the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, China, the EU and the UK signal major public investment in green industry capability, as nations compete to secure territory in the post-carbon global economic order.
Centre for Policy Development CEO Andrew Hudson said that the report was an important guiding document for Australian economic and foreign policy over the coming decades, and illustrated the importance of problem-solving efforts such as the Australia-Indonesia Energy Transition Policy Dialogue.
“This report shows Australia can build deeper, more beneficial economic relationships with our closest neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region by pursuing the opportunities created by the global clean energy transition,” Mr Hudson said.
“Australia is well-positioned to pursue these opportunities. We have abundant critical minerals like lithium. Our workforce is highly skilled. Our education system and research and development capability are second-to-none. Our fund managers are eager to invest with confidence in long-term opportunities.
“The Prime Minister’s visit is an important opportunity to negotiate for new opportunities, industries and projects with our neighbours that can support decades of Australian prosperity, partnership and influence in the region.
“It is clear that there are challenges to overcome. This is a mission that our region can and must pursue if we are to capture economic benefits from green industry, decarbonise our economies, and build better living standards in Australia and across the Indo-Pacific in the post-carbon global economy.”
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