Chapter 3: Australia in Asia
Australian interactions with the Asian region have a long history and have evolved over time in response to developments at home and abroad.
In the post-war period, Asia’s commitment to internationally oriented development opened unprecedented new opportunities for the resource-abundant Australian economy.
Australia’s economic integration into Asia has accelerated over the past four decades. Steps to open up the Australian economy began in the 1970s with landmark tariff cuts in 1973. Comprehensive reforms to Australia’s economic institutions and frameworks then gathered pace from the mid‑1980s.
These reforms and Australia’s more recent successful response to the Global Financial Crisis have laid the foundation for Australians to benefit from the opportunities stemming from the region—such as the surge in resource demand and the rising middle class in Asia—with the gains of success spread across the nation.
More recent policy reforms—including in tax, regulation, skills, school funding, managing the resources boom, increasing connectivity and investing in infrastructure—are important components of our agenda to further strengthen the economy’s resilience and diversity and enhance our ability to engage with Asia.
Cultural diversity is at the centre of Australia’s identity. The face of Australia has changed dramatically in recent decades and Asia is now an important part of our identity.
The Australian Government is engaging more with regional partners through multilateral institutions, regional forums and bilateral exchanges. Australia has built deep and broad relationships within the region, across educational, cultural and social dimensions. Our people-to-people connections with Asia have deepened and have transformed our society.