Australia and Indonesia have long enjoyed a strong, stable bilateral relationship as close neighbours in the Asia Pacific, with many shared political, economic and social interests.

As resource-rich countries, both face challenges related to sustainability, managing the environment and natural resources, and planning for climate futures. Further, both countries are grappling with how to respond to climate change and at the same time build climate resilience in communities, cities and regions, and nationally. Even so, there are many innovations emerging to respond to these challenges. The University of Melbourne, in partnership with Universitas Gadjah Mada, will host a mini-conference on July 20-21, 2022, consisting of a series of round table panel discussions for Indonesian and Australian academic, policymaker and practitioner audiences.

The Australia-Indonesia in Conversation conference seeks to further enhance bilateral partnerships and shared knowledge, experiences and insights into each country's efforts to manage environmental and resource challenges and to protect the Anthropocene through a range of policies, actions and innovations. The hosts of the conference have strong ties and an ongoing history of collaboration as well as being partners in the Australia-Indonesia Centre and many other initiatives. Five sequential panels involving diplomats, researchers, and other representatives from government, the private sector, and civil society organisation representatives, as well as Q&A from audiences, will be held online over two half-day sessions.


Watch the conference recording and access the proceedings


Download the conference proceedings:

Australia Indonesia in Conversation 2022 proceedings (PDF file)

Panel discussions

  • Opening Panel: Australia-Indonesia in conversation 2022: Managing environmental and resource challenges and thinking about climate futures

    In this panel, senior representatives from both universities and the governments of both countries will share expertise and insights into the challenges of managing environmental resources, key initiatives undertaken, and how research on these topics is incorporated into the goals of both universities.


    • Professor Kate McGregor (UoM)
    • Dr Poppy Winanti (UGM)


    • The Honorable Penny Williams, Ambassador of Australia to the Republic of Indonesia
    • The Honorable Siswo Pramono, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Australia
    • Professor Ova Emilia, Rector (Vice-Chancellor), Universitas Gadjah Mada
    • Professor Vedi Hadiz, Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, Director of the Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne
    • The Reverend Professor Russell Goulbourne, Dean of Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
    • Dr Wawan Mas’udi, Dean of Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada
  • Panel 2: Responding to national and global energy and climate challenges: policy and innovation

    In an increasingly interconnected and globalised world, the diverse natural resource endowments in Australia and Indonesia are under increasing pressure for competing uses, from extraction to tourism. As populations grow and economic sectors change in both countries, there is growing demand for fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. The growth of the middle class in Asia and elsewhere is also driving consumer demand and the consequent upscale in the expansion of agribusinesses and the use of natural resources for global and local economic development, with implications for the degradation of land and the environment as well as the  wellbeing of peoples in these regions. Equally, as the globe begins to warm, both countries face significant future challenges in responding to extreme weather events, changing patterns of rainfall and temperature, rising oceans and many other issues. This panel considers policies and innovations in responding to national and global energy and climate challenges.


    • Dr Rachael Diprose (UoM)
    • Dr Fina Itriyati (UGM)


    • Professor Jacqueline Peel, Director, Melbourne Climate Futures and Professorial staff in the Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne
    • Professor Jatna Supriatna, Chair, Research Centre for Climate Change (RCCC), Universitas Indonesia (UI) and Professorial staff at the Department of Biology, UI
    • Associate Professor Llewelyn Hughes, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, and Steering Committee Member of the Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific initiative
    • Dr Sarjiya, Head of the Center for Energy Studies and the Center of Excellence (CoE) on Green Energy, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and Professorial staff in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, UGM
    • Professor Kathryn Bowen, Deputy Director, Melbourne Climate Futures, and Professorial staff in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne
    • Mr Andri Akbar Marthen, Co-Founder and Research Director, Indonesia Research Institute for Decarbonization (IRID)
  • Panel 3: Social inclusion and local knowledge in environmental management and sustainability

    Communities, indigenous groups, and disadvantaged groups are frequently impacted by environmental degradation and pollution from natural resource extraction, large-scale agribusiness, plastic pollution, and the growing impacts of climate change, often with limited avenues for protest or redress. Many that live in and around forested areas, or in coastal areas have significant knowledge on how to sustainably draw from and protect the environment. Community groups have used significant innovations to repair or improve the environment, or adapt to challenges. Further, activists have used the creative arts in innovative ways to address sustainability and draw attention to the urgent climate crisis. Bringing together examples from both Australia and Indonesia, this panel will explore how to ensure planning for environmental management, sustainable resource use and climate futures incorporates the concerns and needs of more vulnerable and often marginalised groups, as well as drawing from local and indigenous knowledge. It will also highlight innovative grassroots responses to raise awareness about, and to address, environmental degradation, pollution and climate futures.


    • Mr Kevin Evans (Australia-Indonesia Research Centre)
    • Dr Fina Itriyati (UGM)


    • Dr Virginia Marshall, Inaugural Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellow, RegNet & Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, and Water Expert Member, World Economic Forum
    • Ms Ewa Wojkowska, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Kopernik
    • Dr Lara Stevens, Arts Researcher at The University of Melbourne, and artist and activist
    • Mr Gregorius Ragil Wibawanto, Environmental activist & Lecturer, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada and Professor Pam Nilan, Conjoint Professor in Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Newcastle
    • Ms Yuyun Ismawati,  Senior Advisor and Co-founder Nexus for Health, Environment, and Development Foundation
    • Dr Stibniati Atmadja, Scientist, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Forest, Climate Change and Livelihood Interactions in Tropical Countries
  • Panel 4: Sustainable agricultural landscapes

    Amidst rising concerns about the dual climate and biodiversity crises, agendas seeking to promote the more sustainable management of forests, natural resources and agricultural landscapes have continued to rise in prominence around the world. In both Australia and Indonesia, the urgency of such agendas is intensified by these countries’ ownership of unique ecosystems of enormous significance to the planet’s future, and by the acute risks posed to these ecosystems by models of agricultural production that prioritize economic or developmental aims in tension with conservation agendas. Against this backdrop, alliances of government and private sector actors are increasingly working to develop innovative new approaches oriented towards supporting transitions to more sustainable agricultural landscapes. While such agendas are being supported by some powerful government and market actors, they also face significant challenges, as they grapple to navigate conflicting pressures from conflicting economic and policy agendas—linked to wider debates about both food security and changing use of biofuels. This panel will bring together a diverse array of experts from both Indonesia and Australia to share knowledge and perspectives on promising new approaches for pursuing the challenging yet urgent task of supporting sustainable landscape management.


    • Associate Professor Kate Macdonald (UoM)
    • Dr Bahruddin (UGM)


    • Associate Professor Brendan Cullen, Sustainable Agriculture (Pasture and Grazing Systems), The University of Melbourne
    • Professor Arya Hadi Dharmawan, Faculty of Human Ecology, Bogor Agricultural Institute
    • Ms Serenity Hill, Director, Open Food Network Australia
    • Mr Olivier Tichit, Director of Sustainability, P.T. Musim Mas
    • Mr Norman Jiwan, Member of Supervisory Board, Transformation for Justice (Transformasi untuk Keadilan/ TuK) Indonesia
    • Ms Gita Syahrani, Executive Director in the Secretariat of the Sustainable Districts Association (Lingkar Temu Kabupaten Lestari/ LTKL)
  • Panel 5: Sustainable cities and local/ regional initiatives

    It is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals to achieve sustainable cities and communities. This involves engineering plans to reduce the environmental impact of cities and communities by means of urban planning and management. Yet reaching this goal involves multiple challenges. Becoming a sustainable city in the context of climate change requires paying attention to issues such as growing urban populations, building sustainable housing and managing urban heat, transport and water supplies. This panel will discuss the challenges that city governments and residents face in terms of achieving sustainability. Speakers will present examples of initiatives as well as policies and on the ground adaptations that have been made to make cities and regions more sustainable. They will address issues that are shared challenges for Australia and Indonesia such as rising urban densification and urban sprawl in addition to the increasing threats of climate change such bushfires and flooding resulting from extreme weather.


    • Professor Kate McGregor (UoM)
    • Dr Amanda Achmadi (UoM)


    • Mr Ridwan Kamil, Governor of West Java, Republic of Indonesia
    • Professor Alexander Felson, Elisabeth Murdoch Chair of Landscape Architecture, The University of Melbourne
    • Dr Dwinanti Rika Marthanty, Senior lecturer, researcher, and engineer in the Department of Civil Engineering, Universitas Indonesia
    • Professor Alan March, Professor in Urban Planning, The University of Melbourne
    • Ms Joanna Kormas, Manager Statutory Policy for Planning Systems Reform, Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
    • Dr Miya Irawati, Research Associate, Urban-Rural Systems (URS) and Future Cities Lab (FCL), ETH Zurich