Thursday, 13 September 2018
Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018, Customs Tariff Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018; Second Reading
I rise to speak on the Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018 and the related bill before the House. This government has already negotiated, signed and delivered a number of free trade agreements right around the world with Japan, China, South Korea and Peru. We continue to advance an aggressive trade agenda because on this side of the House we know that trade means jobs. More trade means more jobs. We are a trading nation.
In my contribution today, I want to make this more personal. In particular, I want to talk about some individuals in my electorate: a gentleman by the name of Enio Troiani—better known as ET—David Pickering, Giuseppe Barazza, Rob Zahn, my good friend Leone Aslett and my very good mate Scott Collins. I can see you're wondering where I'm going here, Mr Deputy Speaker Vasta, so let me make the link for you. As part of the TPP-11 agreement, we have negotiated a very good outcome for the sugar industry, which for me is personal. This is something that I've been involved in for decades. In fact, my family are still harvesting contractors in the Bundaberg region. I have been involved in the sugar industry for as long as I can remember, literally. I was an apprentice and then a tradesperson inside the sugar industry. I've worked as an engineer and as a manager. I've had all sorts of different positions over many, many years. However, I now find myself in the federal parliament talking about a deal which will be of benefit to them.
Enio Troiani and David Pickering, who was actually a couple years older than me when I started my apprenticeship, were tradesmen. Leone Aslett started her career as a clerk. Giuseppe Barazza was a chemical engineer. Robbie Zahn was a fitter and turner who came through the system, as was Scott Collins. These were local people who took up the opportunity for an apprenticeship, a traineeship or similar positions with Bundaberg Sugar. Enio Troiani is now the general manager for Bundaberg Walkers foundry. David Pickering is the general manager for Bundaberg Sugar. Leone Aslett is the chief financial officer for Bundaberg Sugar. Giuseppe Barazza runs the Bundaberg refinery. Robbie Zahn is the mill manager for Bingera mill, and my good mate Scott Collins is a mill supervisor at that same mill. These were local people who took an opportunity for training and worked their way through the system inside what, at the time, was a large company, with roughly 1,600 employees across 15 different business units operating around the state of Queensland.
Mr Katter interjecting—
The link is this: these individuals have their jobs because of trade. The sugar industry is overwhelmingly an export industry. Without those exports, these people would not have been able to get a position, pay for their house, pay for their children's schooling and work their way to some of the top levels of this individual company, Bundaberg Sugar, which is providing jobs in my electorate. It happens because of trade. The TPP-11 will be of great benefit for the sugar industry.
As we continue, if we look at seafood, Urangan Fisheries' Nicky Schulz is a long-time fisherman in Hervey Bay. He was born there, he lives there, works there and now owns Urangan Fisheries, which is famous for things like Hervey Bay scallops, which I'm sure you've heard of, Mr Deputy Speaker Vasta. Australian Ocean King Prawn Company is owned by the Murphy family, who have gone on to develop a slipway in Hervey Bay, doing maintenance for the different ships and boats which progress around the bay area. All of them are involved in exports, and seafood will get a great advantage from this.
But if we do not continue in these opportunities for trade, to do these agreements, to ensure into the future that they are ratcheted down, tied up and locked up, we may find ourselves in the position that others are in. If we look at what is happening between the US and China right now, they are in a trade war, let's be frank. Australia is protected by agreements like this. We need to build those agreements because, at a personal level, it is a what provides jobs for our people, particularly in the regional centres.
Locally, we've had expansions with an organisation called Pacific Tug. Pacific Tug have announced that they will open an operational slipway—
Mr Katter interjecting—
and a 1,200 tonne ship lift in the town of Bundaberg at the Burnett Heads port. They will have hundreds of employees doing maintenance, using local providers, local skilled tradespeople and individuals from the service industry. They will be able to service the Pacific fleet from this location. Trade allows all of these things to occur. Trade delivers one in five jobs in this country. The stronger our trade position, the better we are as an economy, the better we are as a nation and the more opportunities we have for our people.
What is the alternative? The alternative is the one put up by the Leader of the Opposition. He wants to put the economy into reverse; he wants to jump in the car and go backwards. In fact, he has stated that he doesn't think the TPP should move forward. He wanted to run away and put up the white flag. He wanted to surrender. We did not take that view. We dropped down a gear, we put the car into four-wheel drive and we charged on, and we have delivered the TPP-11. I acknowledge that the US are not included, but the door is always open.
Mr Katter interjecting—