Tasmanian Premier reports successful outcomes to state's mission to Indonesia

Australia’s smallest state, Tasmania, sent its first trade mission in decades to Indonesia on 1-4 September. The multi-sector trade delegation of businesses and organisations was led by Ms Lara Giddings, Tasmanian Premier and state parliamentary leader of the Australian Labor Party.

Events included a business dinner with members of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), a breakfast meeting with Indonesia Australia Business Council, industry round tables on remote area power generation, higher education and VETS, a visit to an Indonesian school conducting Skype exchanges with Tasmanian schools, and a function for the Premier to address Indonesian female politicians and administrators about women in politics and advocate Tasmania broadly.

Renewable Energy

Premier Giddings with Vice
Minister for Energy and Mineral
Resources  Susilo Siswoutomo
Ms Giddings and officials from Hydro Tasmania, Entura, and the University of Tasmania, met with Indonesia's Vice Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Susilo Siswoutomo, to develop a Memorandum of Understanding between Tasmania and Indonesia on renewable energy.

"This MoU will help us work cooperatively to build the skills and capacity within the Indonesian population needed to address the country's resource and infrastructure challenges," the Premier said.

"The Indonesian Government is prioritising the development of renewable energy sources, including mini-hydro, wind and solar to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels.  This represents an opportunity for Hydro Tasmania, which has demonstrated its expertise in overcoming similar challenges in remote areas across Asia and closer to home on King Island,” she said, adding that the University of Tasmania had internationally recognised expertise in water management and biofuels.

Education and Training

Premier Giddings and the University of Tasmania delegation led by deputy vice chancellor David Sadler also met with Indonesian Vice-Minister of Education and Culture, Prof Dr Ir Musliar Kasim, to discuss a range of issues, including increasing the intake of Indonesian students and contributing to the training of Indonesian educators.

Premier Giddings meeting with  Vice Minister for Education, Dr Musliar Kasim.
Ms Giddings said Dr Kasim, was keen to discuss opportunities for closer engagement between Indonesia and Tasmania. "Currently 25 Tasmanian Government schools are teaching Bahasa Indonesian, with six participating in the Bridge Program, which supports increased cultural awareness.  Dr Kasim was very enthusiastic about increasing the number of Tasmanian schools teaching Bahasa. He was also interested in potential collaborations between UTAS and TasTafe and Indonesian institutions, particularly Andalas University, Padang, which he has previously chaired. He already had an understanding and awareness of UTAS' strengths in areas like aquaculture and scientific research."

A UTAS Alumni Event for former graduates was also held in Jakarta. "Hearing about what these people have achieved in industries from software development, telecommunications and fisheries is inspiring and demonstrates the quality of the University of Tasmania's lecturers and its courses," Ms Giddings said.  "These alumni are ambassadors, not only for UTAS but for Tasmania as a whole."

Freight logistics and transport 

Premier Giddings and Launceston City Council Mayor, Albert Van Zetten, hosted a meeting with Mr Sumadi Kusuma, the founder of Global Putra International, Indonesia's biggest shipping company, and other Indonesian logistics experts.

Global Putra International is partnered with Cosco in China, the world's second biggest transport network group and Mr Kusuma has been invited to Tasmania to advise the Freight Logistics Council on how to address the state's freight problems.

"Mr Kusuma has been involved in shipping across the Asian region for more than 30 years and he has an intimate understanding of the challenges of freight logistics," Ms Giddings said. "Mr Kusuma echoed the advice of our own Freight Coordination Team in identifying the need for a coordinated freight solution, including increasing volumes, as the key to restoring a direct international shipping link.

Mr Kusuma said he was keen to use his networks and connections to work with the Tasmanian Government and the private sector to increase cargo traffic and overcome the impediments to direct international shipping.

Ms Giddings also reported successful meetings with other high ranking Indonesian government officials including the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Youth and Sports, and the Secretary-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

See also: Australia's regions accelerate trade missions to Indonesia and official offices (13 Aug 2013)