A capacity audience attended a public forum on 20 February 2014 launching the latest issue of the East Asia Forum Quarterly magazine, ‘Indonesia’s choices’. The forum featured Indonesian Foreign Minister Dr Muhamad Chatib Basri in discussion with a panel comprised of experts on Indonesia and the region from the ANU – Professor Andrew MacIntyre, Emeritus Professor Virginia Hooker, Professor Hugh White and Dr Shiro Armstrong. Together the panel explored the main themes of Indonesia’s choices including the country’s economic progress, the choices it faces sustaining this growth into the future and how these choices will be shaped by domestic and regional developments.
Dr Basri spoke of recent fiscal and monetary tightening measures to stabilise the Indonesian economy including recent reforms to Indonesian fuel subsidies. In addition to these short-run measures the keys to Indonesia’s growth, he argued, lie in supply side reforms. He highlighted support for human capital development, a regulatory environment conducive to investment and sound infrastructure as the keys to securing Indonesia’s future growth. Professor MacIntyre discussed how the upcoming Indonesian presidential elections may impact future economic and foreign policy priorities in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s growth has transformed the country into an important player in the region. Dr Basri pointed to Indonesia’s leading role in the ASEAN economic community and bilateral relationships with other countries in the region as central to future economic growth, citing that there were mutual gains to be had from strengthening the relationship between Indonesia and Australia. Professor White discussed the end of the ‘post-New Order era’ and how economic growth in Indonesia is changing the terms of the Indonesian-Australian bilateral relationship.
A full copy of the ‘Indonesia’s Choices’ issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly is available online.
This public forum was presented by the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research at Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.