Post the resources boom, Australia will be looking to Victoria to drive our economy in Asia – the export of iron ore and coal might be replaced by the export of key services. Most of Victoria's output is services so it is well placed to be a leader.
The Victoria and the Asian Century Conference to be held on 8-9 August 2013 will examine the opportunities and challenges facing Victoria in the Asian Century.
Keynote speaker will be renowned economist, Dr Ken Henry, Chief Architect of the White Paper: Australia in the Asian Century.
In the lead up to the Federal election, influential Victorians – Federal Minister for Education and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten and Ms Kelly O'Dwyer, Liberal Member for Higgins – will explain how government might contribute to advancing Victoria's potential in Asia.
Dr Ken Henry says, "Victoria is a state of remarkable economic diversity; a state which, with the right investments, will see itself well-placed to make the most of the opportunities of this Asian century."
Expert commentators with experience in Asia will explore how industry and government can work together to build stronger relationships across the region and develop closer educational, cultural and people-to-people links.
Topics include: tertiary education in the Asian Century; creating sustainable and liveable cities; engaging with Asia in business opportunities; and capabilities for Victoria and the Asian Century.
Chairman of the Committee for Melbourne and Chancellor of Victoria University, George Pappas, says, "Victoria has a truly strong internationally competitive position in one particular service industry – higher education. Not only is this our largest export generator but it is one of the very few sectors of our economy where our exports significantly exceed our imports, and provides the foundation for the future economy of the 21st century."
Professor Bruce Rasmussen, Director for the Centre of Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University, supports the concept that there is great potential to grow the export of education services – worth over $4billion in 2012 – but he also asks if other professional services can crack the immense Asian market, "Will firms used to cosy domestic relationships have the 'ticker' for it?"
Jenny McGregor, CEO of Asialink, which is leading the establishment of the new Australian Centre for Asia Capability, says Victoria needs to identify the industries most likely to succeed in Asia but also to understand the necessary skills. "What we need is a practical, long-term, coordinated measure to improve the ability of businesses and other organisations, big and small, to succeed in Asia. The higher the proportion of senior leaders who have cultural training, speak an Asian language or who have lived and worked in Asia for more than three months, the more likely business performance will exceed expectations."
Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins says, "Our ability to leverage our skill in providing tertiary education; be clever in developing sustainable and liveable cities; and grow our professional capabilities will make us well placed for the Asian Century. The message coming through loud and clear is that we need to 'skill up' in order to embrace these opportunities."
Editor-in-Chief of The Age, Andrew Holden, Master of Ceremonies says, "Last year we held an excellent conference on Victoria at the Crossroads, with excellent presentations and discussions with key business leaders. This year's theme is a logical progression to ensure our state is well-prepared for future challenges."
Public Affairs Department, Victoria University,
9919 4322; 0434 602884; [email protected]