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The measures, outlined in a report by a government-appointed taskforce, include offering thousands of scholarships to Asian students, new diplomatic posts across the region and requiring that a third of all company directors and senior civil servants have a "deep knowledge" of Asia. In addition, every schoolchild will be able to learn one of four "priority" languages: Chinese, Hindi, Japanese and Indonesian.
Ms Gillard said the "unstoppable" rise of Asia and its massive new urban middle class was "a transformation as profound as any that have defined Australia throughout our history".