GoLive Indonesia and Indonesian Student Association South Australia chapter (PPIA-SA) co-organised the 2014 Indonesian Research Day on Wednesday, 23 April 2014. The event was attended by more than 50 participants from three universities in South Australia, namely the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and Flinders University.
Professor Christopher Findlay, Dean of Faculty of Professions at University of Adelaide, in his keynote speech on the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationships reinforced three principles needed to improve bilateral relationships between the two countries, namely economic integration, ‘no-surprise’ policy and consultations and respect.
The President of PPIA-SA, Mr Dias Satria, also a PhD candidate at University of Adelaide, expressed his confidence that with the support from various organisations in SA this event will be held annually.
For GoLive Indonesia, this is the third event that the project has co-organised following succesful PhD conference in Canberra partnering with Indonesia Synergy in November 2013 and early career researcher conference at Bogor Agricultural University in March 2014 collaborating with InterCafe.
The 2014 IRD presented eight outstanding Indonesian research scholars, namely Ani Wilujeng Suryani, Asma Sembiring, Daudi Lazarus, Wan Nishfa Dewi, Fadillah Amin, Ruth Widiastuti, Syarifah Amaliah and Yessi Peranginangin.
Each of the presenters presented topics that are important for policy discussions as well as building capacities of Indonesian researchers.
Yessi Peranginangin, for example, presented his work on foreign trades how these impact on domestic stock market liquidity. This is to address long-debated topic in Indonesia whether foreign investment is good or bad for Indonesia.
Asma Sembiring brought up issues in vegetable wholesale market in Indonesia by making a comparison to similar markets in Taiwan to derive recommendations on how traditional markets should be improved.
Daudi Lazarus talked about issues in Indonesian higher education and argued that the higher education curriculum should give provide more skills that will help increase the employability of graduates.
Wan Nishfa Dewi presented her PhD project addressing issues in hospitals in Indonesia. Dewi’s research emphasises the importance of person-centre approach for nursing care practice.
Fadillah Amin addressed issues related to fiscal decentralisation policy at local government level. He concerned about whether such policy has impacted social welfare.
Syarifah Amaliah discussed traffic congestion in major cities in Indonesia and proposed several strategies to overcome this problem including road pricing as has been applied in other countries such as Singapore.
Two presenters presented strategies in developing capacities of Indonesian scholars. Ani Wilujeng Suryani explained strategies to deal with ‘missing data’ in statistical analysis. This is a common issue in quantitative research. Yet, there is no general concensus on how we should address this issue. Therefore, Ani’s presentation has delivered new knowledge for many of Indonesian research students attending the forum. Ruth Widiastuti organised a 15-minute interactive workshop addressing strategies to improve skimming and scanning skills in reading.
In the keynote speech, Prof Christopher Findlay defined several contributors to economic growth in Indonesia. These include lower trade barriers, resources boom, urbanisation, growth of manufacturing, demographic dividend, better education, and inflows of foreign investments. It is fair to say that as the Indonesian economy grows, there are wider opportunities for Australia and Indonesia to work cooperatively.
Indonesia, however, should address some impediments to its economic growth. These include the middle income trap. According to a World Bank study in 2011, looking at the list of 101 middle income countries in 1960 only 13 countries managed to be high-income countries. Other impediments also include risks in manufacturing sector, services sector that is generally growing but majority of work is within the informal sector; and low productivity in agriculture. Prof Findlay suggested that some policy measures may be able to address these challenges such as improvement in education (both participation rates and quality of education), infrastructure development, creating an enabling environment for doing business, getting decentralisation right and effectively managing the risks of protectionist policies.
Prof Findlay viewed that the above challenges create opportunities for Australia and Indonesia to engage in deeper relationships. In education sector especially tertiary education secotr, Australia should be seen as ‘natural partners’ where research collaboration, joint deliveries and articulation programs between Indonesian and Australian universities seem to be strategic move considering the two countries’ needs and strengths. The two countries can also increase the trade and investment links in agriculture, defence, infrastructure development. An important platform is the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic and Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA). This should be seen as a ‘living document’ that will assist the two countries continue to run conversations on bilateral agreements.
Assuming that the two countries strongly hold the three principles defined before, namely economic integration, ‘no-surprise’ policy and consultations and respect, partnerships between Indonesia and Australia will not only make the two economies closer together but also play an important role in strengthening regional economic intergration.
We see you again at IRD2015!
*This report was written by Risti Permani and may be subject to her personal interpretation.
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