After a year of consultation, the Asian Century White Paper was launched by The Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia today.

Corrs partner and CEO John W.H. Denton was appointed to the advisory panel and to a special sub-committee of Cabinet for the “Australia in the Asian Century” White Paper in September 2011. John has played an extensive role in the preparation and development of the White Paper, which will guide policy in Australia over the long-term, and act as a road map to identify the best national policies for Asian engagement for the next ten to fifteen years.

The Asian Century White Paper was led by the former Secretary of the Treasury, Dr Ken Henry AC. The advisory panel and the task force consulted widely across the business, government and community sectors.

The Paper looks at the current and likely future course of economic, political and strategic change in Asia, and how Australia needs to prepare for the developments which characterise the “Asian Century”.

John W.H. Denton said the past year has seen an intensive consultation process to support the drafting of the White Paper. We see a country whose people understand, and have the capabilities to deal confidently with, the challenges of this Asian Century—to make the most of its myriad opportunities. But success won’t come to us simply because of our geographic luck. The challenges for government, business and the community are immense. It is no exaggeration to say that a new mindset is required.

“The White Paper is a strategic leadership document setting a framework for policy making. It is Whole-of-Government view of the direction the whole of Australia should be taking with our engagement with Asia and will mean reforms in economic policy and in other areas as diverse as trade, education, immigration, and social and cultural policy.”

“But this is not a task for government alone. It will be up to all of us to create the change that will make Australia’s economy and society stronger,” he said.

A high level of interest was demonstrated by Australians in response to the release of the Issues Paper, with the receipt of over 270 submissions on how Australia is going to approach its relationship with Asia into the future.

Various themes emerged from the consultation process and are explored in the White Paper, including economic integration; building Asia-relevant capabilities; people-to-people links and global / regional supply chains.

Mr Denton said Australia is facing an economic, political, social and strategic landscape that’s changing from the one we’ve lived with for the past half a century.

“Having this longer-term vision is imperative. How we respond to those changes will determine how prosperous Australians are in the decades ahead,” he said.

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