The CPA Australia survey report shows that Australia's lack of integration with Asia is affecting its ability to compete internationally.
Australian respondents typically placed a relatively low level of importance on access to, and knowledge of, Asian markets and bilingual staff, while overseas respondents generally rated Australia as relatively poor in its knowledge of Asia and its languages. "This discord should act as a wake-up call for Australia to realise that it may not be as closely integrated with Asia as it believes," says CPA Australia CEO Alex Malley. "Furthermore, Australia's apparent disengagement from Asia and the lack of Asian literacy in the broader population is a distinct competitive disadvantage. "
As we await the government’s much-anticipated Asian Century white paper, CPA Australia has shown that far from being ready to take advantage of the Asian Century, Australia is well behind in beginning this journey," says Mr Malley.
The report explores initial findings of a survey of more than 6000 business decision-makers in Australia and internationally, and was conducted by Professor Michael Enright, a world expert on country competitiveness.
The report shows that:
overseas respondents rate Australia as an economy that is disengaged with Asia
overseas respondents rate Australia's performance in accessing Asian markets and Australia's knowledge of Asian markets as relatively poor
overseas respondents rate the bilingual skills of the Australian workforce as relatively poor
Australian businesses typically place a relatively low level of importance on Asian markets in comparison with the domestic market.
However, this is not the case for certain industries such as mining and agriculture "Geographic distance may not be a handicap, but our cultural distance is. There is a strong risk that without a change in mindset from Australian business, Australia will be a peripheral player in the Asian Century," says Mr Malley. "As the rules of the competitiveness game change, it's imperative we begin to take tangible steps to ensure Australia is actually a player, rather than a spectator."