Second Youth Policy Meeting

The Second Youth Policy Meeting of China Matters was held on 20 April 2016 in Sydney. Convened in partnership with the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI), it focused on the controversies surrounding Chinese investment in Australia. The aim of the meeting was to discuss and formulate recommendations for the Australian Government among a group of 30 or so young professionals.

The discussion was led by three panellists – Mr Thomas Boak, Ms Hannah Bretherton and Ms Annie Shu  – and moderated by Ms Natalie Cope, Manager of Partnerships and Development at Asialink Business.

The key questions spurring the discussion included the extent to which Chinese investment should be considered an opportunity or threat; whether or not a threshold needed to be set; what could be done to allay public fear over foreign investment; and what the implications of Chinese investment would be if there was a major deterioration in the Australia-China relationship.

The participants came up with the following recommendations:

  • FIRB needs resources to appoint to the Board and its Secretariat a greater number of knowledgeable individuals with Chinese business and cultural expertise.
  • Government ministers, senior public servants and FIRB members must be explicit in their public commentary about Chinese investment. They must emphasise that Australian living standards will fall without acceptance of foreign investment and China is likely to be one of the main sources of foreign investment for decades to come. Senior officials also must be candid in public about some of the challenges related to Chinese investment while at the same time they need to encourage investment forms that decrease public anxieties, for example investment partnerships.