Strengthening Economic and Cultural Ties: Padang and Fremantle

I have spent the last couple of days in Sumatra Indonesia, in our friendship city of Padang where are celebrating 20 years of our friendship city relationship.

I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Indian Ocean Local Government Forum which was attended by around 70 mayors and local Government leaders from the region. I had the honour of the sharing the City of Fremantle’s experience in climate change adaptation in coastal areas.

In addition it was on opportunity to acknowledge and strengthen our 20 year old friendship city relationship between Fremantle and Padang and Mayor Mahyeldi was great to get to know. He was a wonderfully generous and thoughtful leader. It was especially nice of him to make me an honorary citizen of Padang.

The Fremantle delegation included representatives from the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Fremantle Ports, the Indonesia/Australia Business Community, Indonesia language organisations, and the WA State Government. It was a packed itinerary which we hope will yield some tangible results.

It emerged that there are huge opportunities in the economic relationship between Australia and Padang. Indonesia is Australia’s nearest neighbour, a rapidly developing country of over 250 million people (which is largest economy in South-east Asia and the 16th biggest economy in the world)  but our trade with Indonesia is less than it is with New Zealand that has less than 5 million people!

Between Padang and Fremantle there is huge opportunities that go beyond the cultural exchanges that have defined the last 20 years to move into a stronger focus on:

  • reciprocal tourism promotion including sporting events and festivals
  • education including links between Australian universities
  • sustainable low, cost building was a particularly interesting theme to emerge out of the meetings as was supply of material including concrete building panel

The conclusion the delegation came away with is that there is considerable opportunity for Fremantle and West Australia more generally to expand its trade, investment and economic cooperation relationship with Indonesia.

Here are some photos from the trip:

Ario and Leny from the Australia Indonesia Diaspora Business Community along with Ainslie from Fremantle Ports and Olly from the Fremantle Chamber at the Business Forum

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

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