Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. How are the opportunities provided by Australia's free trade agreements helping to promote jobs and growth at companies such as A2 Milk in Smeaton Grange, in my electorate of Macarthur?
I thank the member for Macarthur for his question. I enjoyed being out there with him in Smeaton Grange, at A2 Milk, a great Australian success story. It may have been born in New Zealand, but it came here and has experienced spectacular growth. It is a very visionary company. I was very pleased to be invited to join the member for Macarthur there, because it shows the tangible benefit of the extraordinary free trade agreements that have been negotiated by the minister for trade and it demonstrates how this government's strong national platform for growth and jobs is delivering on the ground in south-western Sydney and all around the country.
This is a company that, since the negotiation of the free trade agreement with China, has put on a full extra shift—a full extra shift—out there in Campbelltown. People coming predominately from the local area are getting those jobs, which come from exporting Australian milk produced locally, by cows out at Forbes, and that milk is coming into the surrounding areas of south-western Sydney. And this milk is on its way to China. I am sure that the announcement of the end of the one-child policy in China is also going to do wonderful things for the sale of infant formula and things of that nature to China as well.
That is an opportunity that is going to be able to be realised because of the extraordinary work by the minister for trade and a government that is committed to expanding our trade frontiers—a government that understands that we are a country that needs to earn more, that needs to earn our way, and that we will not have the opportunity of high commodity prices or an investment boom in the mining sector to carry us in the years ahead, so every inch will have to be won. The Australian people know this, and Geoff Babbage out at A2 Milk understands this.
I am pleased to report to the House that the Reserve Bank also understand this, because while we have been here in question time I note that they have decided to keep the cash rate at the same level, and in their commentary they say:
… the available information suggests that moderate expansion in the economy continues in the face of a large decline in capital spending in the mining sector. … This has been accompanied by stronger growth in employment and a steady rate of unemployment.
They go on to say:
… the Board again judged that the prospects for an improvement in economic conditions had firmed …
The reason they have firmed is the outstanding work that is being done by people like Geoff Babbage, who are out there working hard, investing and setting themselves up in China. They put seven staff up there into China to ensure that they could seize the opportunity, and when the opportunity came, courtesy of the minister for trade, they were in there. They are in there and they are securing those markets, and that is securing jobs for Australians of all ages out in south-western Sydney and all around the country.
The member's colleagues from Tasmania and other parts of the country will know that the improvement in trade conditions, particularly with China for dairy products, is one of the great things that this government has been able to achieve, and it is going to secure future employment prospects for Australians all around the country but particularly in the member for Macarthur's electorate in south-western Sydney. (Time expired)