Australian Embassy

MR121030 Australia in the Asian Century White Paper: Australia’s Roadmap for Navigating the Asian Century

Australia in the Asian Century White Paper:

Australia’s Roadmap for Navigating the Asian Century

On 28 October 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard released the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, a roadmap showing how Australia can be a winner in the Asian century.

The White Paper lays out an ambitious plan to ensure Australia will emerge stronger over the decades ahead, by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Asian century.

In this century, the region in which we live will become home to most of the world’s middle class and will be the world’s largest producer of goods and services, and the largest consumer of them.

The scale and pace of Asia’s rise is staggering, and there are significant opportunities and challenges for all Australians.

It is not enough to rely on luck—our future will be determined by the choices we make and how we engage with the region we live in. We must build on our strengths and take active steps to shape our future.

The White Paper sets out a number of targets for our country over the next 13 years to 2025 to ensure Australia can fulfil its ambitions and compete effectively within Asia, including:

• By 2025, Australia’s GDP per person will be in the world’s top 10, up from 13th in 2011, requiring a lift in our productivity.

• This will mean Australia’s average real national income will be about $73,000 per person in 2025 compared with about $62,000 in 2012.

• By 2025, our school system will be in the top five in the world, and 10 of our universities in the world’s top 100.

• Globally we will be ranked in the top 5 countries for ease of doing business and our innovation system will be in the world’s top 10.

• Studies of Asia will be a core part of the Australian school curriculum.

• All students will have continuous access to a priority Asian language—Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese.

• Our leaders will be more Asia literate, with one-third of board members of Australia’s top 200 publicly listed companies and Commonwealth bodies having deep experience in and knowledge of Asia.

• Our economy will be deeply integrated; our trade links with Asia will be at least one-third of GDP, up from one-quarter today.

• Our diplomatic network will have a larger footprint across Asia supporting stronger, deeper and broader links with Asian nations.

The White Paper sets out a comprehensive agenda for making the most of the opportunities ahead. It considers how Australia will successfully navigate the years ahead across five areas: strengthening our economy; building our capabilities; connecting to growing markets; ensuring sustainable security; and nurturing deeper and broader relationships.

It sets out what actions can be taken by governments, and also calls on businesses and communities to play their part in shaping our future.

By 2025, this means real change for Australians.

Children in kindergarten now will graduate from high school with a sound working knowledge of Asia because, throughout their schooling, the curriculum will have included studies relevant to Asia and access to a priority Asian language.

Work and holiday agreements between Australia and its neighbours in Asia will mean more opportunity for work and study in the region and to take up professional opportunities as they emerge.

The financial markets will be better integrated and capital will flow more easily across borders for investment, innovation and jobs growth.

Global and regional value chains will be broader and deeper across the region - with opportunities for both small and large businesses.

Explosion in demand for high-quality agricultural products will mean opportunities for our farmers and regional Australia.

More tourists from nations in Asia will choose Australia as a holiday destination and more students from the region will study here in more advanced universities.

The National Broadband Network will reach across Australia giving access to the furthest corners of the region.

Australia will have more comprehensive diplomatic ties with key regional nations - China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea—and will have expanded them with many others, from Mongolia to Vietnam and beyond.

Australia comes to these challenges with firm foundations: a strong economy, a track record of engagement in the region, and the person-to-person connections many Australians already have with people in Asian countries.

The White Paper calls on all of us to play our part in becoming a more Asia-literate and Asia-capable nation.

The Australian Government will play its part in leading our nation to this vision of the future during a time of enormous change. Like past Labor governments, we will manage and shape change with the aim of providing better opportunities for all.

To support the implementation of this ambitious plan for the future, Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, will take on the responsibility for assisting the Prime Minister to deliver on the objectives of the White Paper. His new responsibilities, as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Asian Century Policy, will complement his existing portfolio responsibilities.

Prime Minister Gillard thanked each of the White Paper Task Force and Advisory Panel members, and those organisations and individuals who contributed to the White Paper consultation process, both in Australia and overseas, as she asked for the broader community to consider their part in shaping a shared future.

Copies of the White Paper are available online at