Prime Minister Julia Gillard will launch Australia's Asian Century white paper on Sunday at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. The 300-page policy blueprint, which took the federal government 13 months to prepare, will spell out long-term targets for the country's political, economic and personal ties with Asia.
When she announced the crafting of the white paper in September 2013, Ms Gillard said that the shift of economic and strategic power from the west to the east would have a major and unparalleled impact on Australia's future prosperity and security.
"Asia presents enormous opportunities for Australia but they won't come to us simply because we're geographically next door. We need a change of mindset if we're to make the most of the opportunities that are likely to arise," Nine News quoted former Treasury head Ken Henry, who authored the white paper.
He said the document would not be a shopping list of short-term policies, but will spell out Australia's long-term vision. The white paper will focus mainly on Australia's relationship with five giant Asian nations: China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.
"The white paper will be the beginning of a much longer conversation. It's not intended to offer instant solutions," Mr Henry added.
He said all Australians, from corporate heads to students, would need to have a better understanding of Asia, seen as the growth region due mainly to the tiger economies of China and India which combined have a consumer market of more than 2 billion people.
"It's that kind of deep understanding that will enable Australian businesses, and Australians more generally, to integrate with the region," he said.
Besides the launch of the white paper, Ms Gillard is expected to have more opportunities to address the region with her attendance in leaders' summit in Bali, Laos and Cambodia.
In a speech that she delivered at the National Farmers Federation conference in Canberra this week, Ms Gillard pointed out that while minerals such as iron ore and coal made up the first wave of Australia's exports to Asia, the second wave would be composed of agricultural produce and know how such as how to increase yield, reduce water use, cut environment degradation, manage soil and improve marine aquaculture.
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