Source: Prime Minister of Australia
PRIME MINSTER: G’day everyone, from Australia. I’m pleased to be joining the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
I thank our hosts and recognise His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, the Guest of Honour.
Australia enjoys a close friendship with Brunei, and I really want to thank His Majesty the Sultan for his steady leadership at this very difficult time.
I had the opportunity to thank His Majesty personally recently in one of our recent calls.
Sadly, the pandemic has kept us apart again this year.
Yet the relationships between our governments, businesses and people – they’re as strong as ever.
During this time of uncertainty, we do stand together – as partners – in facing the economic, health and environmental challenges facing our world, and especially our region.
ASEAN is a long-time, valued partner of Australia.
Our futures are intertwined.
Your growth underpins our prosperity.
Your stability is fundamental to our own.
And our enduring relationship is critical to an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific region.
I am here to affirm that Australia strongly supports ASEAN’s centrality.
ASEAN and its forums are an essential pillar of our engagement with the Indo-Pacific.
Our interests align closely with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
Our partnership with ASEAN is one that we are always seeking to strengthen.
And we want our businesses to invest in the region with confidence, and for yours to do the same here in Australia.
Today, I will speak briefly about our partnership and how we are responding to the health, economic and environmental challenges we collectively face.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of what we can achieve when we work together.
We all know that the way forward from here is vaccines.
Access to safe and effective vaccines is the highest priority for Indo-Pacific nations.
And Australia is stepping up to help our friends, stand with them, our neighbours, and those in need.
Together with our Quad partners – the United States, India and Japan – we have pledged to donate at least 1.2 billion vaccine doses globally.
And Australia has committed 60 million doses to the Indo-Pacific by the end of 2022.
Already, we’ve delivered two million doses directly to Southeast Asia, and we expect to share millions and millions more by the end of this year.
We’ve also contributed $130 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which so far has delivered over 33 million doses to Southeast Asia.
We’ve committed $21 million to support the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.
And we’re also combatting vaccine misinformation, we’re training health workers, we’re providing much-needed medical equipment and expertise across Southeast Asia.
These investments are an addition to the $500 million to support new security, economic and development cooperation with Southeast Asia, which I announced at the ASEAN-Australia Summit last year.
And we’re working towards safely restoring international travel, which will be vital for reinvigorating all of our economies.
We all want our economies to rebound strongly from COVID-19.
And we all know that this can be accelerated through trade and investment under an open, rules-based international system.
This makes agreements, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, more important than ever.
These agreements bring together the shared economic weight of ASEAN and the region’s other major economies.
Through our $46 million Australia’s Regional Trade for Development and our Digital Standards Initiatives, we are working with ASEAN to support implementation of RCEP, including by bringing a larger focus to e-commerce and digital trade across the region.
We are also working bilaterally to forge new agreements and deepen existing arrangements with regional partners such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore, to boost two way trade and open up new frontiers in the green economy.
This is a vibrant and dynamic region, and we want to ensure the opportunities and benefits of trade continue to flow unimpeded, and that supply chains remain open and connected.
At the same time, we’re also very focused on the global challenge of climate change and the world’s transition to a new energy economy.
We know reducing emissions – domestically and internationally – will require practical, scalable and commercially viable technologies.
And that’s why we are making major investments to drive our energy transition, including around $20 billion to commercialise promising new technologies like clean hydrogen, green steel, long-duration energy storage and carbon capture.
We expect this will leverage some $80 billion in total investment by 2030.
And this will help drive our energy transition.
And it will help our friends and neighbours too – including our ASEAN nations – to transition to secure and affordable low-emissions technologies that can drive development and jobs within the ASEAN region.
As part of this work, we’ve agreed to pool the collective resources and expertise of Quad partners – the United States, Japan and India – to work with other Indo-Pacific partners to build the reliable and resilient supply chains needed to support the region’s energy transition.
And I look forward to inviting your best and brightest clean energy experts and minds to Australia’s Clean Energy Summit in early 2022.
I want to assure you Australia is embracing the opportunities of the new energy economy, as the world accelerates its pursuit of net-zero emissions.
And, today, we join ASEAN member countries in looking to the future with great optimism, confident that together we can meet the challenges before us all.
Thank you very much for your attention.