The centre's mandate will be to strengthen and deepen Australia-Indonesia business, cultural, educational, research and community links. The centre would also promote greater understanding of contemporary Indonesia and its growing importance to Australia, Xinhua quoted Abbott as saying in Indonesian capital Jakarta.
"Strong relationships are based on mutual knowledge and understanding, which is why this Centre will make such an important contribution," he said. The centre will be headquartered at Monash University in Melbourne, with nodes at the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation will also be a partner, as will be the Victoria government. The centre is expected to work in collaboration with Indonesian institutions and companies to meet the shared challenges of the 21st century, such as health and primary care, resources and energy, food and agriculture, infrastructure, education, and regional security.
"The centre, along with the New Colombo Plan, will help Australians get to know contemporary Indonesia better, build personal connections and foster collaboration with Indonesian counterparts on important research projects," he added.
The government's 100 million Australian dollar ($93.9 million) New Colombo Plan aims to encourage more Asians to study in Australia and more Australians to study in Asia.