You might think that Australia’s miners stand to gain the most from a landmark free trade deal between Australia and Indonesia. Or perhaps the cattle industry.
While both sectors do indeed stand to benefit, it turns out that Aussie universities look to be the biggest winners.
With the agreement inked in Jakarta on Monday, 99% of Australian goods will be able to enter Indonesia duty free, or on significantly improved terms.
Aus unis to operate in Indonesia
Crucially, Australian-owned universities will be able to operate in Indonesia as well.
According to AAP, the Group of 8, which is the advocacy group for Australia’s top research universities has welcomed the deal as it will allow for greater movement of students between the two countries.
Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson said, ‘Deepening engagement with ASEAN nations — including Indonesia — is a key priority for the Go8, especially as the world’s focus shifts to our region.’
‘The (agreement) signed today is a positive step forward in the relationship between our two countries,’ she continued.
The group of universities will continue their push for Indonesia to also be permitted to establish Australian campuses, as well as more streamlined visa processes.
There are currently 20,895 Indonesian students on the books at Australian institutions.
The Education Minister Dan Tehan says that the Australian government is keen to seize on new opportunities as a result of the deal.
‘Indonesia is an important education partner with Australia, with engagement across all education sectors,’ Tehan remarked.
Labor the only obstacle for the bill
Meanwhile, Bill Shorten has vouched that he will study the details of the deal, as Labor decides whether to throw their weight behind the measure.
Shorten says the party is ‘positively disposed’ to the pact, which will pass through parliament and the treaties committee before being formally ratified.
PM Scott Morrison has warned that Labor’s position on the matter is the only potential difficulty for the bill.
Speaking to reporters in Sydney he said, ‘The Labor Party has often baulked on these arrangements in the past, so that would be the only risk to it as far as I can see.’
It is worth noting that Australia and Indonesia are both in the world’s top 20 economies but are not in each other’s top 10 trading partners.
Free report: Australia’s right to free speech is under attack! Discover how a select group of Australians want to stifle your fundamental right to speak your mind — and what you can do help turn the tide.