DESPITE Indonesia’s political instability there are opportunities for WA companies willing to tough it out, particularly in the area of services.
That’s the message from State Development Minister Clive Brown, who visited Indonesia recently to explore trade opportunities with senior Indonesian Government and industry leaders.
During the five-day trip Mr Brown visited Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar in a bid to strengthen the trade relationship between Indonesia and Western Australia.
Indonesia represented more than $1.5 billion in joint trade and was an important growing market for WA, Mr Brown said before his trip.
High on the agenda for Mr Brown were meetings with Indonesian Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Dr Purnomo Yusgiantoro, regarding the capability of WA mining and oil and gas operators and the current issues surrounding mining legislation in Indonesia.
Mr Brown said those meetings would be followed up at an official level and that the Australian and Indonesian governments were looking at continuing to work together to “improve those arrangements”.
“We have a capability to export an enormous amount of mining services to Indonesia,” he said.
While conceding that the instability of the region still posed major concerns for some WA companies, particularly in mining, Mr Brown said there were still WA companies forging ahead with plans in Indonesia.
Mr Brown met with several mining companies and discussed their plans in Indonesia, although he did not disclose the names of the companies or what their plans involved.
“There are some challenges and there are some companies that have decided that the challenges are too tough and they are withdrawing. But equally, there are some companies that are entering or growing their presence in the region,” he said.
“Services are growing and I think in many areas there are opportunities, particularly in joint venture arrangements.”
The trip also served as a platform for Mr Brown to hold discussions with the World Bank concerning a number of issues, including WA’s role capabilities as providers of services to World Bank-funded projects.
Nursing and education also featured on the agenda.
Mr Brown met with the Indonesian Health and Education Ministers where nursing education and training agreements were signed between the Indonesian Government, the National Nursing Institute and Edith Cowan University.
“Through meeting with the World Bank we will be looking at ways to pick up a formal proposal for funding and to provide a level of training and advisory services in Indonesia for the nursing industry,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said that WA still needed to raise its profile in the education sector to overcome the perception that WA was a less attractive option for students than other States.
He said this meant promoting the world-class research undertaken in Perth, along with the strong ties that exist between WA-based education institutions and industry.
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