Today I welcomed Indonesia’s Minister for Transportation, Lieutenant General (Ret.) E.E. Mangindaan to Australia to further strengthen the transport bonds between our nations.
Together we jointly signed a Transport Security Annex to our recently renewed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Transport Sector. The Annex will ensure the continuation of our very successful transport safety program – the Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package, known as ITSAP – that has been in place since 2007.
The annex also includes the establishment of a Transport Security Forum as the peak body for managing the bilateral transport security relationship. This will ensure mutual cooperation and assistance in policy development; information sharing and relationships with industry.
We also signed a new Air Services Agreement to replace our last Agreement which has been in force since 1969. The new Agreement sets out an updated legal framework with modern safety and security provisions.
This new agreement builds on our ongoing negotiation with Indonesia on enhancing access to Australia for Indonesian tourists, students and business travellers – currently airlines of each country may operate up to 27,500 weekly seats to Australia’s four main gateways.
Transport is a key enabler of economic growth and development in our region so we have a clear national interest in working cooperatively with Indonesia to improve the safety and security of our air and shipping links.
The case for increased cooperation with one of our most important neighbours is underpinned by the fact that passenger movements between our two countries in 2012 exceeded two million– doubling in just three years.
The relationship between our countries will without doubt become even closer over the Asian Century.
I thank the Minister for coming to Australia, giving me the chance to reciprocate the warm hospitality I have received on each of my four official visits to Indonesia, including last December when we ratified prior additions to the joint MoU.