Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan stated that Australia and Indonesia share a vital common interest to create a resilient neighborhood by overcoming inequality.

"This is because inequality is a bad thing, and principally, it leads to many difficulties for a country to maintain its confidence, coherence, and resilience," he noted during a press conference of the Indonesia Development Forum (IDF) 2018 in Jakarta on Tuesday.

According to Quinlan, Australia has been able to maintain uninterrupted economic growth for over more than two and a half decades -- an unparalleled record among developed economies -- by carrying out a series of economic reforms that have enabled the country to build a flexible and resilient economy.

Trade liberalization and reducing protectionism have been central strategies to boost Australia`s economy, help lower prices, and boost general competitiveness.

Unlike Australia, Indonesia, which is estimated to be the world`s fourth-largest economy by 2050, still faces regional disparity that remains a major obstacle to broad-based inclusive growth.

Western Indonesia contributes some 80 percent of the gross domestic product, and poverty rates are seven times higher in Papua than Jakarta.

According to the government`s data, nearly 90 million Indonesians are poor or vulnerable.

"That is why supporting Indonesia to grow its economy and tackle inequality across the country lies at the heart of the Indonesia-Australia development partnership," Quinlan remarked.

The Australian government views Indonesia`s development as essential in achieving regional stability, security, and trade partnership.

As estimated 356.9 million Australian dollars have been granted by the Australian government to Indonesia through the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget, with more than 60 percent invested in the education sector.

To maintain effectiveness of the Indonesian governance, the National Development Planning Agency and Australian government have established the Knowledge Sector Initiative program aimed at improving people`s day-to-day lives through research, analysis, and evidence as the basis of public policy making.

The IDF, which was held for the second time this year, is part of the cooperation to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences to address the inter-regional development gap challenges facing Indonesia by engaging all government partners and communities.

Under the main theme of "Pathways to Tackle Regional Disparities across the Archipelago," the forum strives to find inspiration and best practices concerning seven focus areas: develop growth centers, make efforts to improve the welfare of underdeveloped regions and border areas, enhance basic services to reduce regional disparities, utilize the potential of the digital economy to encourage regional development, strengthen connectivity in Indonesia, as an archipelago, and bring about innovations in local governance.


Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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