I am pleased to launch the Australia-ASEAN Council, an Australian Government initiative to strengthen our links with the countries of South-East Asia.

South-East Asia is the one of the most important strategic and economic regions in the world with a combined GDP of around USD$2.5 trillion and a population of over 620 million people. The 10 member nations of ASEAN now represent almost 15 per cent of Australia’s total trade, with two-way trade valued at almost $100 billion in 2014. 

The Australia-ASEAN Council will shape our engagement with South-East Asia and strengthen partnerships through stronger business, education, science, arts and cultural links.  It will also work closely with the New Colombo Plan and Australia Alumni networks to facilitate ongoing links between individuals and organisations.

Today I also announce Ms Christine Holgate, CEO and Managing Director of Blackmores, will be appointed Chair of the Council. Ms Holgate has extensive experience working in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia bringing strong leadership and knowledge of Australia’s trade interests in South-East Asia to the role.

The Australia-ASEAN Council board members are:

  • Ms Lesley Always, Asialink Arts, University of Melbourne; 
  • Professor Alice Woodhead, University of Southern Queensland;
  • Dr Imran Lum, National Australia Bank;
  • Mr Greg Earl, Australian Financial Review; 
  • Professor Talal Yassine, Crescent Wealth; 
  • Ms Margaret West, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; and
  • Mr Gary Quinlan, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

More information on the Council is available on the DFAT website.

Media enquiries

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