Prime Minister Julia Gillard is calling on all Australians to do what they can to ensure the nation is an economic and employment 'winner' in the Asian century.
Ms Gillard on Sunday unveiled the government's long-awaited Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, which sets out a series of ambitious goals to boost prosperity through closer engagement and integration with the rapidly rising region.
'It is not enough to rely on luck,' she said.
'Our future will be determined by the choices we make and how we engage with the region we live in.
'We must build on our strengths and take active steps to shape our future.'
The 312-page paper aims to serve as a roadmap not only for government but for businesses, unions and the broader community as Asia's rise transforms the global economic and political order.
It sets out 25 national objectives to 2025, covering improvements in productivity, skills, education, Asian language capabilities and cultural ties, requiring concerted and co-ordinated efforts.
Ms Gillard urged Australia to shed its 'economic cringe' and embrace the region's unstoppable rise with confidence.
'Can we be a winner in the Asian century? Absolutely, we can get it done,' she said.
The paper predicts average annual wages could rise by $11,000 to $73,000 by 2025 as Australia moves into the top 10 countries in gross domestic product (GDP) per person.
It also sets the goal of increasing the value of Australia's trade with Asia to one-third of national GDP by 2025, up from about one-quarter currently.
The paper places a heavy emphasis on education, saying Asian studies will become a core part of the Australian school curriculum and every student will have the opportunity to study Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian or Japanese.
The nation's leaders will also be expected to be more Asia literate, with one-third of board members of the top 200 publicly listed companies and commonwealth bodies to have 'deep experience' in and knowledge of Asia.
The government will also expand its Australia Awards scheme to Asian nations over the next five years to promote people-to-people links with the region, make it easier for low-risk visitors to come to Australia and to attract more tourists from China and other key Asian markets.
The paper outlines plans to open more diplomatic missions, once 'circumstances allow'.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott welcomed the thrust of the paper, but said it lacked funding and specific detail.
'My fear is unless the government can do more to boost our domestic economy, inevitably we are going to be left behind,' he told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Abbott's deputy, Julie Bishop, said the paper was disappointing and appeared as if it had been rewritten by a 'posse of Labor spin doctors'.
But most business and education groups welcomed the paper's vision, while warning the challenge would be its implementation.
The Business Council of Australia (BCA) called for political bipartisanship on Australia's approach to Asia and highlighted the crucial leadership role to be played by industry in building links.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Peter Anderson applauded the government's initial steps, even though the paper often stated the 'bleeding obvious'.
The Australian Industry Group was disappointed there was no mention of workplace reform.
National Farmers' Federation president Jock Laurie said the paper recognised major opportunities in Asian markets for the farming sector in food and agricultural know-how.
Educators liked the skills and training focus of the paper, saying the government must overhaul education funding and foreign student visa provisions.