Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner and CEO John Denton has been appointed to help former Treasury boss Ken Henry AC conduct a major review of Australia's links with Asia.
Denton will sit on a Federal Government advisory panel, headed by Henry, to oversee the development of a white paper on the social, economic, strategic and environmental implications of the so-called Asian Century for Australia.
In a statement delivered yesterday (12 October), Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the shift of economic and strategic weight to Asia has never been more profound for Australia's interests than it is now.
"The white paper will provide a national blueprint ... and help Australia navigate the challenges the Asian Century poses for Australia," said Gillard.
Denton will be joined by Catherine Livingstone, chair of Telstra Corporation, and Peter Drysdale, head of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research and East Asia Forum at Australian National University, in considering Australia's economic and broader relationships with Asia.
Denton has extensive experience working in Asia. He is a board member of the Asia Society AustralAsia Centre and one of three Prime Ministerial representatives on the APEC Business Advisory Council.
"Australia's competitiveness over the next two decades will depend on our ability to maximise economic opportunities from commercial engagement with Asia," said Denton.
"Australia needs to broaden and strengthen our economic relationships throughout the region, and government and business need to collaborate effectively to ensure Australian businesses are equipped to operate in Asia. This includes developing cross-cultural knowledge and skills."
Denton said the white paper is also an opportunity to examine the types of structural adjustments needed domestically to ensure Australia benefits from the Asian Century.
The advisory panel will provide guidance to the whole-of-government taskforce, make a major contribution to public debate, and develop analysis and proposals for consideration by the Government.
Henry's taskforce is due to report to Cabinet in the first half of 2012, with the white paper to be released in mid-2012.