The Centre for Policy Development (CPD) welcomes Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s visit to Australia next week, underscoring it as a pivotal opportunity to bolster the strategic partnership between the two nations.

In just 7 years, the Indonesian economy is forecast to be bigger than Germany or the United Kingdom, on its way to eventually being the fourth largest economy in the world. The Australian government is right to focus on enhancing this vital relationship that has been overshadowed in the past.

As the world’s two largest coal exporters, both countries bear a shared responsibility to spearhead regional energy transition. Indonesia is Chair of ASEAN this year, providing a decisive opportunity to solidify collaborative strategies on climate change and just transition.

CPD recommends intensified collaboration on renewable energy, including advancing the idea of an ASEAN Green Deal, as ASEAN develops its long-term renewable energy roadmap.

Initiatives such as the Australia-Indonesia $200 million Climate & Infrastructure partnership should be used strategically and meet local Indonesian needs. CPD’s Australia-Indonesia Energy Transition Policy Dialogue offers an ideal platform for ideation and innovation.

CPD also highlights the significant potential in Indonesia’s renewable energy sector for Australian investment, including through superannuation funds. Increased investor engagement should be prioritised to increase awareness of opportunities, notably in local electric vehicle development.

Additionally, CPD stresses the need to leverage untapped potential in constructing clean energy supply chains across Australia, Indonesia, and the broader region.

The Australia-Indonesia relationship also plays a significant role in managing forced migration and displacement. Australia and Indonesia are co-chairs of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. CPD calls on both countries to make the most of the active Consultation Mechanism to coordinate a response to the regional refugee crisis and prioritise effective protection-focused strategies, beyond awareness-raising.

A joint effort by Australia and Indonesia to facilitate the resettlement of long-term displaced Afghans in Indonesia should also be a priority. This could fit into Australia’s existing commitment to resettle 31,500 Afghans over four years or align with the Government’s objective to increase the annual humanitarian quota to 27,000. This collaborative action is crucial not only for fulfilling these targets but also to improving the lives of those stuck in limbo for a decade and improving Australia’s international reputation.

Centre for Policy Development CEO Andrew Hudson said that the Indonesian President’s visit to Australia presents a tremendous opportunity to build on the partnership between the two nations.

“As long-time allies, Australia and Indonesia hold a pivotal role in our region. With Indonesia’s escalating influence as a global leader, it is essential for Australia to strengthen this critically important relationship.”

On the issue of energy transition, he added, “No single country can tackle the climate crisis alone, which is why it’s vital that Australia and Indonesia jointly spearhead this decarbonisation journey. Frameworks like the ASEAN Green Deal are essential for energy transition within the region and driving us towards a sustainable future.”

He also reiterated the importance of this visit on tackling other regional challenges.

“Australia and Indonesia have repeatedly demonstrated their capacity to pioneer compassionate, impactful strategies to address displacement in the region. President Widodo’s visit is an opportunity to intensify our commitment to aiding those escaping violence and persecution, not least from Myanmar where more than 3,600 civilians have been killed since the military coup in 2021.”