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Trade, visas and tigers on agenda for Widodo visit

Andrew Brown -

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has landed in Australia ahead of crucial talks in a bid to boost trade amid growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific.

Mr Widodo landed in Sydney on Monday night ahead of a three-day visit in what is likely to be his last trip to the country as leader before his term ends.

He will hold talks with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday, with trade and investment, infrastructure and the climate transition as well as education initiatives on the agenda.

Visa arrangements between Australia and Indonesia will be part of the bilateral talks in a bid to increase movement between the countries.

Mr Widodo will hold an event with business leaders in Sydney before meeting with Governor-General David Hurley at Admiralty House.

Indonesian ministers as well as their Australian counterparts will also take part in the talks.

The two leaders will then hold one-on-one talks at Taronga Zoo, where the pair will visit a Sumatran tiger exhibit.

It is expected education initiatives involving boosting the number of people speaking Indonesian in Australia will be announced.

It comes as international students from Indonesia at Australian universities have rebounded following COVID-induced disruptions to the sector.

West Australian Premier Roger Cook will also hold talks with the Indonesian president in Sydney, with the pair likely to discuss Indonesia's transition towards renewable energy and the development of its electric vehicle manufacturing industry.

Indonesia has been looking at developing electric vehicle infrastructure across the country.

An agreement is expected to be signed between the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and WA on critical mineral supplies.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two parties on the issue in February.

Defence issues, such as the AUKUS partnership and tensions in the region, are also expected to be discussed between Mr Albanese and his Indonesian counterpart.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Gatra Priyandita said Australia's development of the AUKUS security pact with the United States and United Kingdom would be central to international relations in the area.

"There's a position of cautious optimism, particularly about AUKUS, but Jokowi (Widodo) and senior defence command have been more open to the idea of collaboration and see AUKUS and the Quad more broadly as an opportunity," he told AAP.

"Once Jokowi leaves office, this will be one of the primary challenges in relations."

Regardless of who succeeds Mr Widodo, Mr Priyandita said the relationship with Australia had stabilised in the past decade.

"Whoever replaces Jokowi inherits a much more developed and cooperative relationship compared to when he assumed the presidency in 2014, when the relationship was recovering from the phone-hacking scandal and Australia was spying on the political elite," he said.

Andrew Brown - AAP


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