Celebrating 50 years

The ASEAN-Australia partnership contributes to the region's security and prosperity. 2024 marks the 50th Anniversary of Australia's dialogue partnership with ASEAN. The strength of our relations reflect half a century of cooperation.

Since becoming ASEAN's first Dialogue Partner in 1974. Australia and ASEAN have worked together to address the complex challenges facing our region. Our practical cooperation contributes to making the region more peaceful, open, stable and prosperous.

Black and white newspaper photograph of ASEAN Secretaries-General meeting in Canberra in 1973
ASEAN Secretaries-General meet with Australian officials in Canberra, 1974.
Image courtesy: National Library of Australia (nla.obj-919321907)

In 2013, the Australian Mission to ASEAN was established in Jakarta to enhance our cooperation. In 2014, Australia and ASEAN formally became Strategic Partners, recognising the importance of the relationship in building mutual security and prosperity.

In 2021, Australia and ASEAN made the historic decision to establish a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), recognising the importance of the relationship to both ASEAN and Australia. Since establishing the CSP, we've been working with our ASEAN partners on giving effect to our partnership, agreeing shared priorities, increasing resources and advancing new programs. Our Plan of Action guides the implementation of the goals and objectives of the partnership.

Each year, Australia's Prime Minister and leaders of ASEAN Member States meet to discuss ways to deepen our cooperation at the Annual ASEAN-Australia Leaders' Summit. We collaborate closely and support practical implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), including through the ASEAN-led regional architecture, such as the Annual ASEAN-Australia Leaders’ Summits, the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and ASEAN-Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus.

We support a wide range of practical cooperation with ASEAN including economic growth and integration, climate change, transnational crime and enhanced maritime security projects. Through the $204 million Australia for ASEAN Futures Initiative, Australia will support ASEAN-led projects through ASEAN systems to address complex regional challenges and support implementation of the AOIP. An example of this practical support is the development of the ‘ASEAN Strategy for Carbon Neutrality’ to assist the region with their energy transition.

ASEAN is a key trading partner for Australia

Australia recognises that our prosperity, security and economic future are intimately linked to Southeast Asia. As a bloc, ASEAN is Australia's second largest trading partner, representing around 15 per cent of Australia's total trade. In 2022, our trade with ASEAN Member States was AUD178 billion and our two-way investment with ASEAN was AUD248.7 billion.

The region offers increasing opportunities, with deepening regional integration through Free Trade Agreements and stronger ties seeing significant prospects for businesses in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Our strong trade links are supported by our regional and bilateral free trade agreements, which include:

These agreements, along with our bilateral trade agreements with individual ASEAN Member States, provide a solid foundation for further regional growth.

On 6 September, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, launched Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, a report to the Australian Government by Special Envoy for Southeast Asia Mr Nicholas Moore AO. The Strategy is a practical roadmap aiming to significantly increase two-way trade and investment, in recognition that Australia's prosperity and security is linked to the region.