MEDIA RELEASE
Friday 01 February, 2013

Developing an Asia Ready State

Former Australian Ambassador Mr John McCarthy has advocated more awareness of Australia’s neighbouring countries and supports the Governments White Paper Australia in the Asia Century. The WA Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA WA) is pleased to be hosting a morning seminar with Mr McCarthy on 6 March 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Perth, focusing on how WA can become Asia Ready.

“More needs to be done by all governments in Australia to become more familiar with the countries of the region. The Government’s Asian Century White Paper was right to advocate a much closer association by our public services with Asia” Mr McCarthy said.

As the National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Mr McCarthy also highlights the important role WA plays in enhancing the engagement with Asia due to our geographic and economic position.

“Given the role that WA plays in Australia's international economic relationships as well as its geostrategic location in relation to South Asia and South East Asia, engagement with Asia is arguably particularly relevant to WA.”

President of the Australia China Business Council WA, Mr Duncan Calder will be joining Mr McCarthy as a speaker for the seminar and says that local business and private sector should also be working together with government for the State's future.

“The continued prosperity of Western Australia lies with Asia. WA businesses know that any business strategy must involve Asia at its core. But knowing and doing something about it are two different things.  We must put in the hard yards to truly understand the complexity and diversity of Asian societies, business structures and political governance, and to be culturally literate and empathic in our dealings with Asia.” Mr Calder said.
 
“Asia should not be approached as a block. From the open market economy of Hong Kong to the Western style democracies of Japan and South Korea and increasingly Indonesia to the more centrally planned economies of China and Vietnam, there is no one prescribed model for Asia.  An Asia ready public service must first recognise this fact.

Our public service needs to be at the forefront of our engagement with Asia and to work together with the private sector to expand our business interests in Asia. To do this, our public servants should be equipped with the right skills and attitudes.  In an ideal world, they should know just as much about China’s four modernisations as they do about the civil service structure we inherited from Great Britain.”

With China currently WA’s major trading partner and Perth now overtaking Sydney as Australia’s most multicultural capital city (according to a FACTBase report by the Committee for Perth and University of WA) Mr Calder believes ‘there is a clear and strong business case for the WA Public Service to receive training and investment to increase its Asian literacy.’

For more information on the Asia Ready Public Service seminar, click here.

For further media enquiries please contact Kylie Macqueen on 08 9221 1177.