Green economy, security in focus as Indonesia, Australia leaders meet in Sydney

By Kirsty Needham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The green economy, an easing of business visas for Indonesians, and regional security will be discussed as Indonesian President Joko Widodo meets his Australian counterpart on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said.

Widodo met business leaders in Sydney on Tuesday morning. The economy will be a key topic when he meets with Anthony Albanese, and Australia is set to announce visa changes to make business travel easier for visiting Indonesians, Wong told ABC radio on Tuesday.

Indonesia is Australia’s 13th largest trading partner, and Australian investment in Indonesia totalled A$4.3 billion ($2.87 billion) in 2021, with coal the top export, government data shows.

Widodo wants to build an electric vehicle battery production industry in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest nickel reserves, and has said in interviews he is seeking cooperation from Australia, a major supplier of key battery component lithium.

Widodo understands the importance of making the transition to a green economy, Wong said. The leaders would discuss how Australia and Indonesia could “collaborate together” on supply chains and getting to net zero emissions, she added.

Australia will be transparent as it discusses the plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines in the next decade through the AUKUS defence partnership with the United States and Britain, she said.

Indonesia is “keen to ensure nuclear material is not allowed to proliferate… We both want a peaceful and stable region,” Wong said.

($1 = 1.4972 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham. Editing by Gerry Doyle)