Photo: PPATK staff at Australia Day 2017 morning tea hosted by AUSTRAC in Jakarta.
AUSTRAC staff have been working alongside international colleagues from our counterpart in Indonesia, Pusat Pelaporan Dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan (PPATK). This has generated many opportunities for our staff to immerse themselves in a different culture, as well as support Australia's foreign policy efforts.
Over the past few years we have received support from government, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Their support helps us deliver important capacity building, relationship building and national interest outcomes.
This work is part of the 'PPATK-AUSTRAC Partnership Program', and the new 'Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice' program. There are also important regional initiatives led by AUSTRAC and PPATK, such as the Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit.
You may wonder why the Australian government (and AUSTRAC) places so much importance on Indonesia.
More Australians travel to Indonesia than to any other country except New Zealand. Indonesia is a major partner in Australia's overseas development funding programs. The largest embassy Australia has anywhere in the world is in Jakarta. Many of Australia's major government departments, agencies and businesses are represented in Indonesia.
Indonesia has a population 10 times that of Australia. It is hard to imagine many other neighbouring countries that are so different from each other. At the closest point, Australia and Indonesia are less than 200kms apart.
It is in Australia's national interest to collaborate with Indonesia to maintain its stability and prosperity. Our military, national security and financial intelligence agencies (among others) are working closely together with Indonesian counterparts on this.
As the world's sixteenth largest economy (Australia is twelfth), and with a rapidly growing middle class of 75 million people, Indonesia is a huge market for Australian business, and vice versa.
With over 1 million people travelling between Indonesia and Australia every year, it is inevitable this will include criminals or people looking to harm our countries. Through our aid programs, Australia helps ensure our Indonesian counterparts are able to collaborate closely with us. We share a common goal of defeating criminals and terrorists. This also minimises the risk to Australians and Australian interests.
We look forward to even more opportunities to strengthen this important bilateral relationship, for many years to come.