Labor’s Plan to Deepen Australia’s Engagement with Southeast Asia

Supporting Southeast Asian development 

Labor will deliver as additional $470 million over the forward estimates for Australia’s bilateral and regional Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) programs for Southeast and Asian developing countries (including Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam).  

ASEAN Special Envoy 

Labor will appoint a dedicated high-level roving regional Ambassador to complement existing missions and cut through bureaucratic blockages. 

ASEAN Economic Strategy 

Labor will deliver a comprehensive ASEAN Economic Strategy to 2040, based on the Varghese India Economic Strategy, to map current and future export and investment opportunities across key ASEAN markets for Australian business and transform Australia’s economic links to the region.

Establish Office of Southeast Asia 

Labor will also establish an Office of Southeast Asia in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure whole-of-government coordination of Australian efforts in the region. 

Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesia Studies Vietnam Pilot Program 

Labor will deliver a two-year pilot program for flexible in-country language studies programs in Vietnam, based on the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesia Studies (ACICIS) model. This will help promote student mobility to Vietnam, using a network of universities in Vietnam and fostering collaboration with Australian universities.  

Australia-Indonesia Climate Resilience and Infrastructure Partnership 

Labor will establish an Australia-Indonesia Climate Resilience and Infrastructure Partnership with an initial $200 million in grant funding from the ODA program. In office, we will discuss with Jakarta the scope for expanding this Partnership through provision of loan financing in addition to ODA grants.