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Australia and Indonesia: partners in a new era.

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19 February 2009

Australia and Indonesia: partners in a new era Australia will host a High Level Conference on the future of the Australia-Indonesia relationship in Sydney from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 February 2009.

Prime Minister Rudd announced the Conference following his meeting with Indonesian President Yudhoyono in Bali last December.

The Conference will bring together leading Indonesians and Australians from a range of backgrounds, including government, industry, academia, the media, community organisations, faith groups and youth.

This will be the first time such a diverse and influential group from both countries have met to strengthen our bilateral networks and to generate ideas to help shape our future cooperation.

Indonesia is a very different country from a decade ago. It has transformed into an open and robust democracy in our region. It is the world's third largest democracy.

At the government-to-government level, Indonesia and Australia are increasingly important and valuable partners on trade, development, security and environmental issues.

Perceptions held by Australians and Indonesians about each other need to be updated. We need to have a deeper understanding of each other's unique political, economic, social and religious character.

Conference participants will address these issues and consider how we might more effectively address common challenges, including strengthening democratic institutions and protecting the environment.

The commitment to the Conference is underlined by the range of Ministers from both countries who will participate.

The Prime Minister will open the conference on 19 February, speaking at a dinner which will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Australia-Indonesia Institute.

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I will participate in the Conference with my Indonesian counterpart Dr Hassan Wirajuda, Trade Ministers, Simon Crean and Dr Mari Pangestu, Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, and Indonesia's Minister for the Environment, Mr Rachmat Witoelar.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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