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Southeast Asia

Deepening engagement with Southeast Asia

Australia is invested, engaged and committed to Southeast Asia. In May 2022, the Australian Government announced its intent to deepen our engagement with the region as a priority. Since then, the Foreign Minister Penny Wong has visited every country in Southeast Asia, with the exception of Myanmar. This is a clear statement of Australia's intent and priorities in the region.

To deliver against its commitment, the Australian Government has:

  • Facilitated over 40 visits between Southeast Asia and Australia by senior Ministers, including four by the Australian Prime Minister, since May 2022.
  • Agreed to upgrade our relationships with Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam and fully implemented the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • Increased ODA to an estimated $1.24 billion in 2023-24, in line with the additional $470 million in ODA to Southeast Asia over four years.
  • Expanded the cap on the Emerging Markets Impact Investment Fund (EMIIF) to mobilise more private sector finance including in Southeast Asia.
  • Appointed a Special Envoy for Southeast Asia and committed to delivering a Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 to bolster our economic engagement with the region.
  • Announced a new Southeast Asia Government-to-Government Partnerships program to deepen government agencies' relationships in the region.
  • Supported 100 Australia for ASEAN scholars and committed to hosting a Special Summit to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations in March 2024.
  • Established and continued to expand DFAT's Office of Southeast Asia, including to support increased engagement with Timor-Leste.

The Government is also:

  • Investing $200 million into an Australia-Indonesia Climate and Infrastructure Partnership to support Indonesia's clean energy transition.
  • Offering new specialised scholarships complementing the Australia Awards scholarships program, accessible to Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Designing a new scholarships program for Southeast Asian partners to offer more Australian education and training opportunities to the region.
  • Doubling the number of Canberra Fellowships Program visits from the Indo-Pacific, offering around 10 additional visits per year.

Australia shares a region and a future with Southeast Asia. We will continue to build on our longstanding connections with the region, and to support a region that is open, stable, and prosperous, where ASEAN and ASEAN-led institutions hold the centre.

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