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PM lays out ambitious Asia plan to power Australia

SYDNEY -- An ambitious plan aimed at maximizing links with booming China and other soaring Asian economies will power Australia into the world's top 10 wealthiest nations by 2025, the government said Sunday.

The sweeping policy blueprint, titled “Australia in the Asian Century,” sets a series of goals for the next 13 years to seize upon Asia's rapid ascent as a global economic powerhouse led by the modernization of China and India.

“The scale and pace of Asia's rise is staggering, and there are significant opportunities and challenges,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

Gillard said Australians had long seen Asia as a threat “racially, militarily and economically” but the region had changed dramatically in the past 30 years, demanding “new changes of us today.”

“It is not enough to rely on luck — our future will be determined by the choices we make and how we engage with the region we live in.”

By 2025, Gillard said Australia's GDP per person — a measure of personal wealth — would jump into the world's top 10, joining the likes of Qatar, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

It is currently ranked 13th according to the International Monetary Fund, which calculates the gauge by dividing goods and services produced by a country by its population and adjusting for relative cost of living and inflation.

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks during the release of the government's white paper on “Australia in the Asian Century,” at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Sunday, Oct. 28. The ambitious plan outlined in the white paper and aimed at maximizing links with booming China and other soaring Asian economies will power Australia into the world's top 10 wealthiest nations by 2025. (AFP)

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