APSN Banner

EV, capital city among points in Indonesia, Australia talks

Jakarta Post - March 8, 2024

Yvette Tanamal, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has heralded a fresh agreement on electric vehicle (EV) collaboration with Indonesia's southern neighbor Australia, while attempting to entice Canberra in his other legacy project, building the new capital city Nusantara.

Australia is a key country for Indonesian and ASEAN interests, Jokowi said of its neighbor following the bilateral talk with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday that aimed at boosting strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Among key projects discussed in the meeting were follow-up talks on the long-term collaboration for manufacturing EV batteries inked last July between the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and the Western Australian state government.

The deal, which allowed for Australian lithium to be supplied to Indonesia for EV battery manufacturing, was deemed a significant development in Jakarta's plan to take advantage of its vast nickel resources and capture the lion's share of the EV supply chain.

This ambition has so far been promoted as one of the major means to elevate Indonesia's economic status, and another hallmark of the Jokowi administration.

After Tuesday's talks, Jokowi announced that a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) on EV collaboration had been signed, which would be implemented through the formation of a joint steering committee and the drafting of a work plan.

"For nickel specifically, I emphasized that the two countries should prioritize collaboration before competition," the President asserted.

Less luck?

Also at the forefront of the two leaders' discussion was Nusantara, the nation's new capital under development in East Kalimantan, which has been eclipsed by a significant lack of foreign investments, causing a massive hole in its Rp 466 trillion (US$30 billion) budget.

With less than 20 percent of the project's costs shouldered by the state, Jokowi and his ministers have been scrambling to find foreign investors willing to put their hats into the ring, an effort also seen during the outgoing President's Melbourne trip.

"I want to, once again, encourage Australian private sectors to come along in building IKN," Jokowi, referring to the Nusantara project by its Indonesian acronym.

However, Canberra only agreed to sign an MoU establishing the potential for citizen exchange and joint studies and exhibitions.

The MoU was signed between the IKN Authority and Australia's National Capital Authority (NCA) virtually last week.

"The Australian government will continue working together with its Indonesian counterpart for Nusantara's development," said Deputy Australian Ambassador for Indonesia Steve Scott during the signing.

"We will continue to work together to develop a master plan designed for accessible city mobility, sustainability and safety."


Despite the mixed results on some of Jokowi's most essential projects, the President's meeting with Albanese saw the two leaders affirm their commitments to continue working together on several avenues, including through the finances sector, expanding market access and encouraging people-to-people connection.

In the past two years, Albanese's ascent as Canberra's top official has put Indonesia among Australia's top diplomatic priorities.

"You are a very regular visitor and a great friend of our country. It is so wonderful to welcome you here," Albanese told Jokowi following their talks.

A similar embracing tone was also expressed by Jokowi. "Australia is a strategic partner of Indonesia," he said. "In a region where we share a future and a joint responsibility to maintain stability."

Source: https://asianews.network/ev-capital-city-among-points-in-indonesia-australia-talks