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Ai Group comment on Federal Labor's FutureAsia proposals

"Ai Group welcomes the further development of the Federal Opposition's FutureAsia initiative including the new proposals to substantially boost the development of Asian language teaching and learning in Australia," Innes Willox, Chief Executive, Australian Industry Group, said today.

"We are very much underdone in Australia in terms of the development of our Asian language capabilities. This represents a missed opportunity given how important the accelerating rise of the 'Asian middle class' is to our current and future economic potential. To make the most of these opportunities it is essential that we have closer and deeper engagement with our Asian neighbours, including through improving our language capabilities.

"A critical factor in the success of initiatives such as these is close engagement with the business community. This will ensure that business opportunities are thoroughly understood and ways are identified for businesses themselves to contribute to the national effort. In this context the offer to include business voices in the proposed Asia Council on Asian Capabilities is particularly welcome.

"The proposals announced today by the Opposition deserve support from all parties," Mr Willox said.

Media Enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347