Australia's economic destiny lies in Southeast Asia: PM

Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS

Anthony Albanese says security links with the Indo-Pacific will be bolstered alongside an upgrade to economic ties with Southeast Asian nations.

The prime minister unveiled Australia's Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 at the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on Wednesday, which sets out ways to increase trade links with the fastest growing economy in the region.

The report lists 75 recommendations to boost trade and investment ties with the region, which is expected to become the world's fourth largest economy by 2040.

The first initiatives for the strategy include $95.4 million being spent over the next four years on teams identifying investment opportunity, business exchange programs and pilot programs for placements for young professionals.

Mr Albanese said the government would work through implementing all 75 recommendations in an "orderly way", saying the strategy would also strengthen security links with Asian nations.

"There's a complete link between the economy and economic relations and national security," he told reporters in Jakarta.

"This is a positive report that will be seen positively by all of the nations in Asia."

Australia's two-way trade with ASEAN nations last year was about $178 billion - greater than the two-way trade with Japan, the United States or European Union.

However, Mr Albanese said trade ties with the region had been underdone.

"Australia's economic engagement with the region has not kept pace with the growth of Southeast Asian economies," he said.

"The strategy we outline today reflects an enduring truth: this is where Australia's economic destiny lies, and this is where our shared prosperity can be built."

Southeast Asia special envoy Nicholas Moore, who developed the strategy, has identified 10 priority sectors for Australia including agriculture and food, resources, infrastructure, energy and education.

The strategy also calls for further efforts to remove trade blockages, including establishing an all-in-one service for further foreign investment.

Extending partnerships for infrastructure with the region, with a mix of public and private-sector funds, is part of the plan.

The prime minister said a streamlining of Indonesian visas to Australia was still being examined.

"We have a migration review taking place ... my government works issues through in a logical orderly way to make sure that we get decision making right," he said.

Mr Moore said Southeast Asia represented a lot of untapped potential for Australia.

"Our trade has been constant while the region has been growing. Our investment actually going backwards is an issue," he said.

At a business function in Jakarta coinciding with the launch of the strategy, the prime minister said net zero would be a key component of investment in the region.

"We know that as the globe moves towards net zero, here in this region there's a particular challenge," he said.

"Because you want to be moving to net zero while you're gving much more of the population of Southeast Asia access to energy ... that presents a challenge and presents an emormous opportunity which we can seize."

Mr Albanese met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit on Wednesday.

He will also held bilateral talks with leaders from Laos, Malaysia and East Timor.

But despite the improving trade relations with China following the removal of tariffs, the prime minister won't be holding talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is not attending the ASEAN summit or the upcoming G20 summit

Premier Li Qiang will instead represent China at the G20.

"I'm sure that over the next period, both here and the G20, Premier Li will be present and we'll certainly be in the same room," Mr Albanese said.

"China, of course is our main trading partner. We support trade with China and we've been working through some of the issues."

The prime minister also announced ASEAN leaders would meet in Melbourne in March 2024, commemorating 50 years since Australia became a dialogue partner of ASEAN.