An expert on Indonesia has urged WA to look beyond the three Bs - Bali, beef and boats - to build an A-grade business relationship based around agriculture.
WA-based Indonesia Institute chairman Ross Taylor said polarising issues such as the debate over asylum seekers overshadowed the need for closer ties.
Mr Taylor said WA farmers, pastoralists and agribusinesses could lead the way through joint ventures in dairy, cattle and other areas of food production.
He said the joint venture opportunities were not restricted to Indonesian investment in production on agricultural land in WA.
"We hear that farmers are worried about the Chinese, and others, buying our land but in the case of Indonesia, we can turn that around using our fantastic agricultural intellectual property - in science, water management, genetics, marketing and farming methods," Mr Taylor said. "A farmer doesn't have to run a dairy herd exclusively in Brunswick Junction. He could also run it on mountain slopes in east Java under brand Australia.
"Some people think the WA dairy industry will get gobbled up because it is small, but it is only small because we think small."
Mr Taylor said there were already about 2500 WA dairy cattle in Indonesia. He said there was a huge opportunity to supply not just the domestic market but third-party countries like China.
Mr Taylor will be a guest of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for national day celebrations at the presidential palace tomorrow.
He will be joined by 10 guests from selected countries after being named the 2013 Australian Presidential Friend of Indonesia.
Six days of meetings with government ministers and senior public servants will follow the celebrations.
Murdoch University professor David Hill received the honour last year. Indonesian Consul-General in WA Syarief Syamsuri said both men had "worked tirelessly to build closer relations".
Mr Taylor hopes Indonesia will review its policy of achieving self-sufficiency in beef production in favour of joint ventures.
He said the Federal Government's snap ban on cattle exports in 2011 played into the hands of lobby groups, and in some cases corrupt interests, who wanted Australia out of the local market.
Import quotas have caused beef shortages in Indonesia and sparked a recent appeal for an additional 25,000 slaughter-ready cattle from Australia.Australian exporters found it difficult to respond immediately but the Wellard-owned Ocean Drover was yesterday loading 10,000 cattle bound for Indonesia in Darwin.