The Founder, Chairman and Patron of Future Directions International, Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd), sadly passed away in December of last year. One of his many legacies, that will continue to touch the lives of Australians, was his dedication to the regeneration of the landscape. To acknowledge his contribution FDI is today publishing a Feature Interview with General Jeffery in his role as National Advocate of Soil Health.
From 2012 to very shortly before his passing, General Jeffery strove to provide leadership and national strategic direction to the good work being done by soil scientists and landscape managers across Australia. He worked tirelessly to raise public awareness of the critical role soil plays in underpinning sustainable productivity and helping to meet global challenges, including food and water security and climate change.
Boosting Trade and Investment Integration among Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Countries: Professor Peter Draper
Each of the five IORA sub-regions contains core member states that are driving trading patterns and trade integration across the wider IORA region. It is a region with tremendous demographic potential, which will be significant from a trade and investment point of view. As a leader in the mining and services sectors, Australia should be looking more closely at ways to harness the demographic and economic growth of the East Africa sub-region, where, in the medium term and beyond, there is a lot of potential in those areas.
Rick Wilson Federal Member for O’Connor and Chairman of the House of Representative Standing Committee for Agriculture and Water Resources
Mr Rick Wilson is the Federal member for the electorate of O’Connor, an electorate that covers a large area of Western Australia. He is currently the Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources. He is also a member of the Parliamentary Friends of Soil. Recently, FDI took the opportunity to interview Rick about these organisations and Australian agriculture and water resources generally.
UK sovereignty over the islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory (also known as the Chagos Archipelago) has been ruled to be illegitimate by the International Court of Justice and the UN General Assembly. US and British concerns over Mauritian sovereignty of the territory are centred on the possibility that the US military might be evicted from Diego Garcia, but retaining the US presence has strategic and financial value for Mauritius.
Indonesia in 2020 and Beyond: Bill Sullivan – Part Two: COVID-19, Economic Reform, Foreign Relations, 2024 Election
In its relationship with China, Indonesia faces very similar issues to Australia and is realising that having a close relationship with Beijing brings risks for Indonesian sovereignty and interests. Given their historical closeness, Indonesia may follow India’s lead and develop a closer relationship with the United States as a way of counterbalancing Chinese expansionism.
Indonesia in 2020 and Beyond: Bill Sullivan – Part One: Australia, Legal System, IA-CEPA, Mining and Resources
The Australia-Indonesia relationship will inevitably include rocky patches and may never be truly close, but there are enough incentives for both countries to enjoy a productive working relationship. The principal challenge faced by all foreign investors and businesses in Indonesia is the opaque and non-transparent nature of the Indonesian legal and court systems that are inherently difficult for foreigners to deal with.
Indonesia’s decentralised, three-tiered regional autonomy structure of governance exacerbates the difficulty of doing business in the country and has heightened the confused responses to Covid-19. While Australia and Indonesia are working very well together across a range of issues, awareness of that needs to be raised in both countries because any coverage of the relationship still tends to be dominated by the things that go wrong, rather than by all the things that are going right.
The energy sector faces significant challenges in attracting foreign investment, as the Indonesian Government is moving towards nationalising the industry. There is a push to bring defence down to the people, and which is largely supported by the public, with a focus on the equipping of a more localised military force, as opposed to expenditure on aircraft and submarines. Australia has arguably gone backwards in its understanding of its giant neighbour and needs to develop a deeper awareness of the shifting geopolitical realities in the region.
Phytophthora dieback poses a significant threat to the Australian environment. This introduced plant pathogen spreads easily, causing disease, death and potential extinction in susceptible plants and the loss of habitat for native animals. It poses a major threat to over 40 per cent of the native flora in Western Australia, particularly in the South-West regional area. Justin Bellanger, from the South Coast Natural Resource Management agency recently spoke to FDI, outlining the extent of the disease, its impacts and the work his organisation is doing in dealing with the problem.
Recent catastrophic bushfires on the east coast of Australia have forced many Australians to question the sustainability of a lifestyle that has been both cherished and taken for granted. The prospects, however, may not be as bleak as some sources predict. Chris Ferreira of the Forever Project, an organisation dedicated to protecting our environment for a sustainable, happy and prosperous future, maintains that a key consideration for dealing with future bushfires, is to inspire and empower members of fire-affected communities to be better prepared.