Education and personal links and flexible leadership will boost relationships between Australian and Asia, Treasurer Wayne Swan says.
Mr Swan will tell a delegation of China's up and coming leaders in Canberra on Tuesday that Australia's Asian century white paper is a major planning document that lays down an 'ambitious roadmap' for the nation's engagement with Asia over the coming decade and beyond.
'It also provides a set of pathways to ensure we have the domestic policy settings and skills we need to advance our strong links with Asia and, of course, with China,' the treasurer says.
Mr Swan's talk to the China Advance Leadership program is the first time the federal government has had the chance to sell its message directly to foreign counterparts since the paper was released on Sunday.
He will tell the group the immense scale and pace of China's transformation, along with the rise of other countries in the region, is going to see Asia achieve some incredible milestones in the years ahead.
Mr Swan talks up Australia's economic growth, low unemployment, contained inflation, low interest rates, sound public finances and very large investment pipeline.
But he says for Australia to harness the opportunities that are emerging in the Asian region, it will need to build on capabilities and improve links with Asia across government, business and the broader community.
'Education and people-to-people links are an integral part to gaining deeper connections, be they economic, political, social or cultural,' he says.
'More Australian students will be exposed to studies of Asia across the curriculum, and have opportunities to study overseas as part of their studies.'
Mr Swan says the white paper has many pathways for government action, but also proposes action for the private sector and for the broader Australian community.
'Because the Asian century will depend as much on the private sector and the broader community's willingness to adapt and transform as it will on governments,' he says.
'Education can help us here. But establishing robust people-to-people links will also play a large role.
'In many ways, the China Advanced Leadership Program is exactly the kind of pathway the white paper is describing.'
Mr Swan says the leadership of their respective countries have built a firm foundation for strengthening that relationship well into this century and beyond.
'The Asian century is the time for our countries - China, New Zealand and Australia - to build prosperity and spread opportunities together,' he says.