Global insights - Dispatches from Australia’s diplomatic network

24 May 2019

From ASEAN Mission: Australia’s leadership in animal disease control

Effective engagement on cross-border issues through a regional disease control model is critical in a region like ASEAN that shares land borders, formal and informal trade, and cultural understanding. Regional cooperation and national action can protect Australia’s livestock industry from animal disease risks, support market access and trade relations.

Foot and mouth disease presents significant risks to Australia’s biosecurity, trade and market access. In 2013, Australia’s Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences identified the disease as our most costly biosecurity threat due to implications for animal control measures and export restrictions.

Dependence on agriculture and small-scale farming in the emerging ASEAN countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam is high, and animal diseases can often have a disproportionate impact on markets.

Some outcomes from Australia’s support for foot and mouth disease control include contributing to improved livelihood security and rural incomes for over 55,000 people in Myanmar and 120,000 people in Laos.

Photo of a Vet examining a calf.

From Canberra: Australia ratifies PACER Plus

Australia ratified the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) on 20 December 2018. Australia is the second country after New Zealand to ratify PACER Plus. Other signatories are working towards ratifying the Agreement.

PACER Plus will come into force 60 days after the eighth signatory notifies the Depositary in Tonga that they have completed their domestic ratification processes. The other signatories are: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

PACER Plus is an important element of Australia’s engagement in the Pacific and provides an avenue to help foster a secure, stable and prosperous region. PACER Plus will provide commercial opportunities for Australian exporters and investors in a range of sectors.

These opportunities will increase over time as the provisions of the Agreement lead to more open access and transparent policies.

For more information on PACER Plus

From Brisbane: ‘SportAccord 2019’

‘SportAccord 2019’, the largest annual global networking opportunity in world sport, was held on the Gold Coast from 5 to 10 May. This was the first time the event has been held in Australia and the Oceania Region.

The summit theme, ‘The Future of Big Data and Analytics’, included sub-streams focussed on sports law, health and participation, sports media and major event host cities.

Activities showcased local capability in the ‘business of sport’; enhanced the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia’s sporting relationships, particularly throughout the Pacific; and encouraged youth and female participation in sport through a Sports Festival organised in parallel with the summit.

Capitalising on the success of last year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast,
Tourism and Events Queensland led on the delivery of the event in collaboration with state, local and federal government organisations, including Austrade, DFAT and the Office of Sport, and industry partners.

See the SportAccord 2019 website

From Makassar and Bali: Economic Diplomacy – tapping into tourism in eastern Indonesia

Australia’s missions in Makassar and Bali are leveraging Australia’s considerable expertise in tourism industry development to bring together Australian tourism sector participants with counterparts from across the eastern islands of Indonesia.

Key recent events include Makassar post hosting the Australia-Eastern Indonesia Tourism Forum in March, and Bali post holding an Island Tourism Forum in Lombok in late April.

Targeted economic diplomacy events boost productive engagement between tourism industry participants from Indonesia and Australia and enhance people-to-people links.

They provide the opportunity to identify possibilities for building partnerships, including in education and vocational education and training (VET).

Traditional fishing boat, West Sulawesi. Credit: Richard Mathews, Australian Consul-General Makassar

From Australia’s Permanent Mission to the OECD: business lays out its priorities in digital

The OECD held its annual Liaison Committee Meeting consultations between the OECD and the Business and Advisory Committee (BIAC) in January with a focus on business sector priorities in the digital space.

BIAC represents national businesses and employers’ federations covering over 7 million companies.

A 2019 BIAC ‘Statement to Ambassadors: Expanding Digital Opportunities: Agreeing Priority Actions’ provided an early contribution on the digital agenda from the business sector. Among other issues, the statement argues digital transformation requires a broad, rather than singular digital policy focus, and a multi-stakeholder approach.

A copy of the statement can be found at:

The statement is expected to assist in building momentum for greater business engagement this year, including with respect to the OECD’s flagship ‘Going Digital’ project.

Last Updated: 14 May 2019
Photo of a snorkler in the ocean.
Snorkelling off Manado, North Sulawesi. Credit: Richard Mathews, Australian Consul-General Makassar.