AUSTRALIA has the potential to become a regional food superpower, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.
Ms Gillard said in an address to the Global Foundation in Melbourne that Australia could provide growing Asian economies with high-quality food, just as it had done with minerals and energy in recent times.
"In doing this, we are not just an exporter of commodities but a partner in growing international markets and a provider of higher value products and services for the global food industry," she said.
Joint ventures and mergers between Australian and Asian businesses needed to become "absolutely routine" in the next decade, the prime minister said.
A government commissioned white paper on Australia's relations with Asia, due for release in mid-2012, would explain how these business transactions would be achieved, she said.
For Australia to prosper in the 'Asian Century', more Australians must be encouraged to study and work in the region, Ms Gillard said.
"We must broaden and deepen these 'Asia relevant capabilities' across the whole of Australian society," she said.
The Global Foundation is a think tank which aims to encourage Australia's national development within a global context.