Australia in the Asian Century (Week 2)

White Paper

October 2012

Released in 2012 by the Labor government, the ‘White Paper’ is a plan to shape Australia’s future and build on strengths, so by 2025 Australia will have benefited and continue to benefit from the economic rise and growth of Asia.  In other words, the White Paper is a ‘roadmap showing how Australia can be a winner in the Asian century’.  This will enable new opportunities, while allowing Australia as a nation to become more prosperous and resilient.

The main motif throughout the document is addressing the Asian rise and growth, a significant feature in the 21st century – the Asian Century.  By exploring this rise in Asia, the issues and opportunities that arise for Australia and more importantly, the Australian people become apparent.  It is stated in the Executive Summary, “This White Paper provides a roadmap for the whole of Australia—governments, business, unions, and the broader community—in this next phase. Our goal is to secure Australia as a more prosperous and resilient nation that is fully part of our region and open to the world.”

The document details five key areas that Australians need to act and succeed in order for Australia to gain maximum benefits.

  • Building on our strengths-
  • Develop capabilities that will help Australia to succeed-
  • Develop relationships with others in the region
  • Offer and support others in the region with our stable and sustainable security.
  • Strengthen and deepen Australia’s relationships at every level. Whether they be:
    • Social
    • Cultural
    • Political
    • Economic

Finally as it states in the executive summary, “It is in the interests of all Australians—and therefore in the national interest—to develop the capabilities and connections that Australia will need, so that we can contribute to, and learn from, the region, and take full advantage of these opportunities.” (p.3)

–   Ryan Tilley

How does the paper impact you understanding of design in Asia and your role/opportunity as a designer.

The ‘White Paper’ is a very informative and optimistic document of the economic growth and power in Asia in what is known as the ‘Asian Century’.  It highlights opportunity and enhanced job prospects if one is willing to adapt and conform to this ever-changing economic environment.  As Julia Gillard stated in the opening sentences of her forward to the ‘White Paper’, “Predicting the future is fraught with risk, but the greater risk is in failing to plan for our destiny. As a nation, we face a choice: to drift into our future or to actively shape it.”  And this is exactly what one must be doing as individuals, actively taking control of our future and planning ahead.  Expanding out horizons is essential, not just being focused on Australia and opportunities within our own country, but thinking globally.  Special focus needs to be on the Asian countries as their increasing rate of growth creates many unique and exciting opportunities.

– Ryan Tilley


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