Wesfarmers boss Rob Scott and FMG deputy chairman Mark Barnaba lend weight to Anthony Albanese in Indonesia

Danielle Le MessurierThe West Australian
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Anthony Albanese is seeking deeper trade and investment ties with Jakarta.
Camera IconAnthony Albanese is seeking deeper trade and investment ties with Jakarta. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Wesfarmers chief Rob Scott and Fortescue deputy chairman Mark Barnaba were among a group of blue-chip company bosses to accompany Anthony Albanese to Indonesia for the annual leaders meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

In his first visit to Jakarta, the Prime Minister briefed the high-level business delegation on the Labor Government’s plans for elevating the relationship with South East Asia and Indonesia, and boosting trade and investment links.

The meetings come as China tries to convince Pacific island nations to join a regional security partnership.

CEOs in attendance also included Commonwealth Bank’s Matt Comyn, BlueScope Steel’s Mark Vassella and Telstra’s Andy Penn.

Meanwhile, the Business Council of Australia was represented by Jennifer Westacott and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) by Xavier Simonet.

The CEOs shared their views on how they planned to grow trade links and investment partnerships in Indonesia, which is forecast to be the world’s fifth largest economy by 2030.

Mr Barnaba said bilateral relationships in South East Asia were critical to the prosperity of Australia.

“This is even more so the case for Western Australia, given Indonesia is our closest neighbour,” he added.

Mr Barnaba said Fortescue Future Industries, the green energy arm of Fortescue Metals Group, had been operating in Indonesia for some time and had advanced green energy projects in the region.

“(These are) mostly in hydro, which will produce green hydrogen and ammonia, in North and also East Kalimantan and also in Papua,” Mr Barnaba said.

“We are very committed to Indonesia and hence we deeply appreciate having been invited by the Prime Minister to join this Australian delegation, so we can further deepen our already warm and close relationships “

BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the opportunity for Australia was huge in areas such as education, clean energy and agriculture.

“It’s crucial that business form strategic partnerships with Indonesian companies because this economy will be critical as we diversify our supply chains, and in particular as we cooperate to decarbonise energy supply chains,” she said.

“This is a chance to lock in the benefits of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, giving Australian businesses greater access to one of our closest neighbours and one of the region’s biggest markets.”

Mr Albanese described the business and ministerial delegations as an strong signal to Indonesia that reflected the respect Australia had for one of its most important trading partners.

“I think it is significant that I brought with me the Foreign Minister, the Trade Minister, the Industry Minister, here as part of the delegation, but also we have serious business leaders from Australia here because they want to deepen the economic ties between Australia and Indonesia,” he said late Sunday after landing in Jakarta.

Mr Albanese met with Mr Widodo at Bogor Palace, in West Java, on Monday ahead of a state lunch and a trade and economic delegation dinner.

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