Mike Smith (CEO of ANZ)

Mike Smith

When I first worked in Australia in the late 1980s, Australia’s then Prime Minister Bob  Hawke said that for the country to succeed it needed to be prepared to enmesh itself with the dynamism of our region, the Asia Pacific region.

Today, China is Australia’s largest trading partner, our largest export market, our largest source of fee-paying students and of tourists, and one of its largest sources of direct foreign investment.

Given the massive economic dependency Australia has on China, it’s clear from recent events that a more sustained effort has to be put into framing the relationship properly. To achieve this I believe there needs to be increased and sustained dialogue and engagement across all levels of society.

An organisation like the Australia China Youth Dialogue plays an important role in making that happen, and I applaud the initiatives that our young leaders have taken to develop China-Australia relations by bringing together key people from both sides to forge deeper understanding and connections for the future.