Governor Soelarso of East Java and Premier Carmen Lawrence today gave their backing to a major new exchange program under the Sister-State agreement between the Indonesian province and Western Australia.
At a signing ceremony in Perth they endorsed a comprehensive exchange of experts and reciprocal visits covering diverse areas of interest such as environmental management, health, agriculture, and the media.
In a joint statement, Governor Soelarso and Premier Lawrence said the 1993 program was the largest so far arranged since the original Sister-State Agreement was signed three years ago.
"We have now reached the point where the program has begun to pay important dividends in commercial and cultural development," said the joint statement.
"Each side is learning just how wide the benefits of such co-operation can be, and for those people who have had the opportunity to become directly involved the experiences will be valued for many years to come."
The statement said it was now recognised that the Sister-State agreement had contributed to the general improvement in relations between Australia and Indonesia.
The agreement's successful operation also owed much to the enthusiasm of those in Surabaya and Perth who were directly responsible for its administration.
"At many levels of government, business, and tertiary education, individuals from East Java and Western Australia are now forming important networks to exchange information and tackle problems," said the joint statement.
"For example, we are finding exciting possibilities for co-operation in environmental management.
"In fact Western Australia's Environmental Protection Act has been used as a model for similar legislation to be enacted by Indonesia.
"At the same time, East Java has been able to provide valuable information on the engineering techniques developed for the maintenance of airfields in tropical zones."
The statement said the 1993 program would see technical exchanges in animal husbandry; tourism; aquaculture; education; forestry; and transport, as well as various cultural exchanges.
"We know the commercial benefits of this program are real but the new friendship and understanding which have so quickly developed can not be ignored," said the statement.
"It is the important bonus and the one which will serve our region well in the years to come."