Issue Number 154 - January 2017
In this issue
President's Column
QLD Update
NSW Update
TAS Update
WA Update

Please check the AIBC Website here for upcoming Events.


Debnath Guharoy
AIBC National President

President's Column

Dear Members and Friends,

Welcome to 2017. The Post-Truth Era. Of Alternative Facts. The New Abnormal.

Millions of women around the world have let President Trump know they will not be silent. The voices rang out from more than 60 cities, including Sydney. Not a word from Business, anywhere in Australia.

We live in a connected world. This is the Asian Century and this is our neck of the woods. We do not need a confrontation with China.  It would be catastrophic for Business, and not just Big Business. We need to speak up, because Business and Politics are inextricably linked. Anybody who suggests otherwise is preaching a falsehood or ignoring reality. And while you're thinking about it, add Religion to that very real mix.

I hope you had a Happy Australia Day. I did. Especially because we have reiterated our independence this week.

Congratulations Prime Minister Turnbull. Congratulations Trade Minister Ciobo. Congratulations Treasurer Morrison.

Your words ring loud and clear. It is obvious to all in Australia, Asia and around the world, that you have reacted with courage and conviction to President Trump tearing up the TPP on his first day in office. By contemplating an invitation to China, India and Indonesia to join the TPP, you have reassured everyone in our neighbourhood that we remain committed to the promise of the Asian Century.

Personally, I see Australia finally throwing the Deputy Sherrif's badge away. The alliance with the United States will live long beyond the current occupant of the White House. Having China inside the tent would make it easier to negotiate a diplomatic solution to the tussle over the South China Sea. With India on board, an economic community much larger than any other can still become a reality. I hope our Prime Minister will lead the delegation to Jakarta for IABW 2017, March 6-10. I hope he will use the goodwill he enjoys to convince President Jokowi to join TPP, or whatever the new name of the regional partnership may be.

Such a partnership will create even bigger opportunities for our export-oriented country to find new markets for our products and services. It will have a positive impact for Australia as a whole including our AIBC Members, Big Corporates and SMEs alike. On behalf of AIBC, I urge the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten to support the Government in its push to widen the scope of TPP and embrace all the rising economies of the Asia Pacific region. It is a collective effort certainly worth making.

As former Foreign Secretary Richard Woolcott so eloquently puts it, no country is more important for Australia than Indonesia. Our neighbour is a good place to start building a new future, a new economic future for Australia. It can be our testbed for a new set of economic relationships in Asia, one that goes beyond the transactional nature of our business ties today.

Looking back to a quarter century ago, AIBC's founding President Peter Church reminisces here, underlining the challenges that remain in forging a stronger bilateral relationship. The old diehards will look for reasons to keep our neighbour at arm's length. The Ahok drama is costing Indonesia Political capital on the world stage. Pundits are holding forth, few are generous in their view of Jokowi's handling of the situation. They ignore the challenges of a President who has no political party base, only the power of the people he remains so popular with. The Governor did his friend the President no favours when he sailed so close to the religious edge, talking glib to win votes. The maelstrom that ensued was unavoidable. 'Political actors' took full advantage of the opportunity to impede the progress of secular Indonesia. Jokowi and Ahok are posterboys for the coming together. With the race and religion cards at play, the President had no option but to let the drama play out, painful as it is.

In the background, the reality is different to the hype. Research continues to show the steady decline of interest in Syariah law, now well into the minority. In a world that faces the scourge of extremism every day, we are failing to support Indonesia's moderate brand of Islam. Democracy is alive and well, secularism is holding strong despite the pressure their society is under. Fanning their fringe fires doesn't help Indonesia. Or us. Our commentators need to look beyond the obvious.

We are working on our ideas to help make business a force for good. AIBC will now invite all the relevant Chambers to team up, to help form collective opinion on our nation's way forward in these turbulent times. It is reassuring to know that the Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth welcomes opinion. Your views on the bilateral ties with Indonesia can be sent to the Joint Standing Committee, via this link.

The IA BPG Report is being sent in, AIBC will also make its own submission. The foundation of our report is outlined in this column. I will be grateful for your input, not later than February 7.

All the best, once again, for a Prosperous New Year.

Warm regards,

QLD Update

Farewell to Ambassador Nadjib
AIBC Queensland were absolutely delighted to host His Excellency, the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, Bapak Nadjib Riphat Kesoema and this wife, on behalf of the Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) at their Annual Christmas Networking Drinks in Brisbane on Wednesday 30th November, and kindly sponsored by CPA Australia. It was a special occasion to farewell the Ambassador as he finishes his term in Australia, and to thank him and his wife for their continued and unwavering support to AIBC over the years.


Kathleen Turner,
Chairman-Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) QLD

NSW Update

AIBC NSW welcomes Sydney based marine and airport infrastructure management specialist ComOps as a Corporate Member. NSW Chair made a courtesy call to ComOps on January 16th to provide further background on opportunities for cooperation and updated them on the proposed IABW event in March 2017.


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AIBC NSW is now planning 2017 membership events in the months of February, April,June, August October and December.

Michael Fay,
Chairman-Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) NSW

TAS Update

Richard Lowrie [Chair] Bruce Williams [Deputy Chair], and Peter Craven [AIBC Member Tasmania] were pleased to attend the recent AIBC Conference in Perth. In addition to attending an excellent conference and the various meetings and sessions, we were pleased to meet old friends and make new ones. Following the conference there have been a number of business opportunities that have been followed up which has resulted in further visits to Indonesia as well as return visits to Tasmania.  

A very special note of sympathy and sadness for the passing of our dear friend and member of the AIBC Tasmanian Board, George Huizing.  George had been an active proponent of Indonesia in Tasmania and enjoyed his involvement with the AIBC and especially his work with our Cultural and Business activities.

We are looking forward to a bigger year for the AIBC Branch in Tasmania, building on the growing interest in the products and services that our State has to offer and the strong business ties that are developing.

Richard Lowrie,
Chairman - Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) TAS

WA Update

AIBC WA Appoints new Chairman

AIBC WA is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Sills as Chairman.

Robert has a strong affinity with Indonesia, and Asia more broadly, and brings with him a wealth of experience and connections. Having recently served with Asialink Business, Robert is well placed to take the WA Branch of AIBC forward, building particulary on the success of our 2016 biennial Conference in Perth.

As we get into 2017, we look forward to delivering a varied and interesting program of events for our Members and Friends over the coming months.

Robert Sills
Chairman - Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC)WA WAChair@aibc.com.au


Indonesia Among Asia's Top Destinations Attracting Investors

Jakarta. Indonesia is among Asia's most attractive investment destinations, thanks to a robust private demand combined with expectation of improvements in its business climate, a survey from The Economist Corporate Network (ECN) showed.

Published on Tuesday (17/01), the survey — titled "Navigating Asia's Risks and Rewards: Asia Business Outlook Survey 2017" — asked 223 Asia-based business executives in November last year about how their business were performing and their expectation for the year ahead.  To read the complete article, please click here.

Indonesia-Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector

​​​​The Indonesia–Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector (the partnership) is a bilateral initiative established in 2013. Its aim is to develop a competitive, efficient and sustainable Australia–Indonesia red meat and cattle industry as part of a globally competitive supply chain.

The partnership is a unique forum that brings together Indonesian and Australian decision makers from government and industry to foster enduring relations and to maximise the opportunities for development and collaboration amongst the Indonesian and Australian red meat and cattle sector.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is represented on the partnership’s Australian delegation and provides secretariat support along with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  To read the complete Report of Edition 1, please click here.

Australia Indonesia Business Council
Deloittes recently prepared an Overview of AIBC in the following categories:

  • Global Economy;
  • Australian Economy;
  • Indonesian Economy;
  • Trade Relationship;
  • Future of Australian and Indonesian trade

To read the complete article, please click here.

South China Sea: Australia in firing line if US and China go to war, experts warn

The South China Sea sits about 5,000 kilometres from Australia. That puts us in the firing line of a war between the United States and China.

If a major global conflict erupted many observers believe it will happen right there in Australia's backyard.  To continue reading the full article, please click here.

President Trump and getting on the front foot in Asia

The inauguration of the 45th US President, Donald Trump, is a millennial game-changer and the fallout threatens Asian interests perhaps more than those in any other part of the world.

'For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry', Trump declared in his inaugural speech, '[we've] subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we've defended other nation's borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay'.  To view the full article, please click here.

Relief for PMA Construction Companies

In his latest articles, Bill Sullivan of Christian Teo Purwono & Partners, looks at new regulations affecting PMA Construction Companies.

"After a long delay, the Minister of Public Works & Housing has finally amended his February 2016 regulation which appeared to significantly restrict the right of foreign investors to be involved in carrying out construction work and construction related consultancy services (including design and engineering) for energy, infrastructure, mining and O&G projects.

Although not addressing all the concerns of foreign investors, carrying out construction work and construction related consultancy services, the recent amendments go a long way in this regard."

To read this article in full, click here.

Relaxation of Metal Mineral Export Ban

In a recent briefing note, Bill Sullivan of Christian Teo Purwono & Partners, looks at the recent relaxation of Indonesia's Metal Mineral Export Ban.

"Our detailed analysis of this development and the implications of the same, for the mining industry and foreign investment, will follow in due course and once it becomes clearer how, precisely, GoI intends to implement the export ban relaxation."

To read this briefing note in full, click here.


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