Asia plan to power Australia, PM says

Asia plan to power Australia, PM says

SYDNEY - Agence France-Presse
Asia plan to power Australia, PM says

People exercise at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, Australia’s mining-powered economy currently ranks 13th in the world according to the IMF figures. AFP photo

An ambitious plan aimed at maximizing links with booming China and other soaring Asian economies will power Australia into the world’s top 10 wealthiest nations by 2025, the government said yesterday.

The sweeping policy blueprint, titled “Australia in the Asian Century”, sets a series of goals for the next 13 years to seize upon Asia’s rapid ascent as a global economic powerhouse led by the modernisation of China and India.

“The scale and pace of Asia’s rise is staggering, and there are significant opportunities and challenges,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

Gillard said Australians had long seen Asia as a threat “racially, militarily and economically” but the region had changed dramatically in the past 30 years, demanding “new changes of us today. 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.” By 2025, Gillard said Australia’s GDP per person -- a measure of personal wealth -- would jump into the world’s top 10, joining the likes of Qatar, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

It is currently ranked 13th according to the International Monetary Fund, which calculates the gauge by dividing goods and services produced by a country by its population and adjusting for relative cost of living and inflation. Australia dodged recession during the financial crisis due to its links to Asia but the mining-powered economy slashed its growth and surplus forecasts last week as China’s slowdown hits commodity prices.

Gillard said her vision was for Australia to “stand strongly as a mature and confident power” in the region.“We are supporting the stabilizing presence of the United States, a strong defense force, building habits of trust and co-operation in our region and a rules-based regional order,” she said.
Gillard said China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and the US would be Australia’s key partners, and the rise of Asia’s middle classes would bring opportunities in industries from health and aged care to food and travel.