Economic success for Australia lies as much in international success as domestic factors, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Secretary, Peter Varghese has told CEDA's State of the Nation 2013 audience in Canberra.
Speaking as part of a panel on Capitalising on the Asian Century, Mr Varghese said in any discussion about where a country is heading it can be tempting to focus on domestic factors.
"They will be discussed extensively today (at the conference). Productivity, infrastructure, investment in education and health, competitiveness - all are critical components of our national economy," he said.
"But in a globalised world, for an economy like Australia, national success lies as much in our degree of internationalisation as in domestic factors."
He also highlighted the need to minimise risk as we seek to capitalise on the Asian Century.
"The strategic challenge of our time is that, more and more, our relationships will be multidimensional: economic interdependence sitting on top of deeply entrenched strategic rivalry," he said.
"The reweighting of economic power in Asia will inevitably have strategic consequences. It will place greater pressure on the major power relationships in the region. The US-China relationship is undoubtedly the most significant in this regard.
"We all have a stake in the success of that partnership. We have to ask ourselves what we can do - large nations and small - to help keep great power relationships stable."
Ambassadors from Indonesia and Japan and the High Commissioner of India also participated in the panel discussion on where opportunities exist for Australia.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Indonesia, His Excellency Mr Nadjib Riphat Kesoema said relations between Australia and Indonesia were at their highest level but there was still room for improvement.
"The groundwork has been laid out, let's make the most of it," he said.
"Let's continue to foster a operational affinity in light of the physical proximity we have been endorsed with.
"I know Indonesia and Australia are lucky to be neighbours but I can't wait to see what happens next as both countries elaborate on what it also means to be a good friend."
On opportunities for Australia in the Asian Century, High Commissioner, India, His Excellency Mr Biren Nanda said there were significant opportunities with the growth occurring in India and business needed to look at where public and private money was being invested locally.
"For example in the next five years we are doubling our infrastructure spend to one trillion dollars. Almost half of it will come from the private sector and I understand Australia has a lot of experience with PPPs so there are opportunities there," he said.
He also said there were opportunities in education and the mining sector with a number of Australian mining companies already operating in India.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Japan, Mr Yoshitaka Akimoto said business ties between Japan and Australia are very strong, but there is work being undertaken to expand ties to non-traditional areas.
He said infrastructure, an area Japanese businesses lack experience, was one area of opportunity for Australian businesses.