First Murdoch Commission provides regional roadmap

November 21, 2013

Commissioners Dr Denis Hew, Professor Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, Mr John McCarthy AO, Mr David Flanagan.

The First Murdoch Commission, an independent inquiry on Western Australia in the evolving regional order, has tabled its Final Report.

The report was officially launched on November 19, 2013 at a cocktail reception in Kings Park by Commission Co-Chairs Professor Lee Chung Min and Mrs Kerry Sanderson AO to an audience of local stakeholders.

Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Higgott praised the Commission’s work and commended its recommendations to policy communities in Australia and in the region.

“One of my core goals when I was appointed Vice Chancellor was to create a commission of inquiry to analyse the major challenges facing our region over the coming decades, concluding with a set of applied policy recommendations,” Professor Higgott said.

“We wanted to move beyond the perception of Asia as simply a destination for exports and look at how we may engage actively in the region as it evolves and develops.”

“We were determined to conduct the inquiry as a regional enterprise and recruited our Commissioners from across the region and within Australia. This connected the Commission into government, business and civil society circles around the region. Our aim was to combine evidence-based research with insider views and perspectives on the ground.”

The Commission schedule included meetings in Perth, Jakarta, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Delhi, Tokyo and Canberra, consulting a wide range of agencies and policy leaders from government, business, academia, media, NGOs and community groups.

In many of the destinations, the Commission conducted roundtable sessions with emerging leaders, seeking their views about their nation's development prospects and societal challenges, as well as how they viewed regional engagement and interdependency.

Among the Report’s findings:

  • The future offers great opportunities in the Asian region but also presents major challenges including resource and food security issues, environmental pressures and shifting strategic tensions;
  • Australia and Western Australia are already hard-wired into the region and Australia’s core interests are now closely intertwined with Asia’s continuing prosperity and stability;
  • The Australian community needs to see itself more as part of the region and to appreciate the benefits of increasing interregional investment and partnerships;
  • The Western Australian and Australian economies need to become more diversified to reduce exposure to external shocks and to develop areas of international competitiveness;
  • Western Australia has the capacities and expertise to make significant contributions to efforts addressing some of the major social and environmental problems facing the region, and this should be pursued with vigour.

To learn more and read the full report, please go to the First Murdoch Commission website here.

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