Seaweed can play a part as Indonesia and Australia seek to decarbonise, IndOz Conference 2022 hears

Conference delegates in a large room with the flags of Indonesia and Australia illuminated on ceiling.

Seaweed can play a crucial role as Indonesia and Australia seek to decarbonise.


That was the message from Sally Deane, Austrade’s senior trade and investment commissioner for Indonesia, who spoke at the IndOz Conference 2022 in Brisbane.

The event got underway in a spirit of good will, with several mentions of the need to bring people together in the post-pandemic era.

Ms Deane, who spoke during the panel session ‘Stronger relationship through green economy’, talked of building an environment-based economic partnership and noted conditions were ripe for closer ties as energy demands increased.

She noted Indonesia’s plans to increase its use of renewable energy and that international investors, including from the Australian superannuation sector, were already looking for Indonesian opportunities.

“Indonesia is one of the world’s leading producers of seaweed and Australia in recent times has developed great innovations in our use of seaweed to reduce methane gas emissions from cattle,” Ms Deane said.

“How good would it be to bring those two together with a view to building a new industry with a sustainable outcome.”

The Indonesian seaweed sector potential has been widely recognised and is the focus of new work being conducted via the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research.

Ms Deane talked about opportunities for collaboration on solar energy and with a high proportion of Australian households already generating solar power, Australian engineering expertise could benefit Indonesia.

She noted a quote from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a recent energy forum.

“If we empower businesses, scientists, engineers and workers from the private sector to work together across our region, we can unleash investment and innovation and clean energy at a scale not seen before,” Ms Deane said.

“To Indonesia and Australia I say, ‘let’s be ambitious together’.”

The session also included discussion about an Australian hydropower development in collaboration with Indonesian business.

Positive momentum

The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Penny Williams addressed the conference via a video call and talked of the two countries’ strong relationship.

“There is positive momentum in the Australia-Indonesia relationship of late with Prime Minister Albanese’s visit to Indonesia just days after the election and his first visit to any country as prime minister,” Ambassador Williams said.

“It was also the first visit by an Australian prime minister to Makassar demonstrating our government’s recognition that the relationship extends beyond Bali and Java.”

Ambassador Williams said it was “perhaps equally impressive” that the Prime Minister had brought with him “ministers who he had sworn in just days earlier and a delegation of 10 very senior business executives from Australia”.

“This visit was well-received in Indonesia and a demonstration of just how important Australia’s relationship is to our prime minister and that he is committed to making it even stronger,” the ambassador said.

“We have new ways to work together and collaborate.”

She noted challenges such as the recent foot and mouth disease outbreak but that there were also opportunities in the “transition to a green future”.

Indonesian musicians on stage in front of a large screen
Musicians prepare to provide entertainment at the IndOz Conference 2022. Image: IndOz

Panel session discussions

The conference also included panel sessions on transforming trade and investment digitally, stronger partnership through cross-border investment and building a resilient health system, the latter chaired by the Australia-Indonesia Centre’s head of communications Helen Brown.

Speakers noted the importance of data and digitisation in providing health services, something noted by Agus Rachmanto, deputy chief, Digital Transformation Office, Indonesian Ministry of Health.

The CEO of Lipotek Group, Ines Atmosukarto, talked of learning from other nations to facilitate better use of data, considering the Indonesian government initiative to build a national biobank to hold genomic information.

“We are really building an asset for the Indonesian Ministry of Health which in the long term should actually spur or encourage collaboration not only within Indonesia but outside Indonesia,” said Dr Atmosukarto.

Senior consultant for architecture firm ThomsonAdsett, David Lane, also addressed the health session and noted the importance of development that was “culturally appropriate”.

To this end, it was vital to engage local communities and ensure development had the backing of people living in the area.

Mr Lane spoke of the potential of Indonesia with its growing prosperity among its middle classes as well as a young population that was “both a benefit and a burden”, with younger people needing jobs.

The conference also heard a discussion on ‘Transforming trade and investment digitally’ with Katalis director Paul Bartlett explaining how vocational skills providers were finding ways to collaborate with Indonesian entities to help fill a national goal for skills and development.

Katalis is the hub designed by both governments to progress the bilateral economic partnership.

Digital skills are a focus for the Australia-Indonesia Centre which is also working with university partners on research that uncovers skills gaps and access to education.

The event also included a significant cultural component with dance performances from across the Indonesian archipelago as well as a dinner for conference participants in the evening.

Image at top: IndOz

Picture of David Sexton

Digital Communications Coordinator,
Australia-Indonesia Centre

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