Monday, 8 February 2016
Questions without Notice
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on the implementation of the historic Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement? Why is this trade agreement vital to opening up new market opportunities for Australian businesses to support jobs and growth?
I thank the honourable member for her question, and I note the very keen endorsement she has made and the great support she gives to exporters in her own electorate in Brisbane. Mr Speaker, what we have seen is the return of the trade minister from Auckland after another significant trade agreement has been negotiated. The Tran-Pacific Partnership Agreement is the most significant trade agreement negotiated anywhere in the world in more than 20 years. It includes 12 nations representing 40 per cent of global GDP—the US, Japan and Canada among them, and including of course Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and so many other nations. This is a phenomenal agreement. The trade minister has signed that agreement in Auckland alongside 11 of our key trading partners.
Our exports to the markets in the TPP were worth $109 billion last year—a third of all of our exports—and the TPP will deliver substantial new trade and investment opportunities for business, including the removal of tariffs on $4.3 billion worth of agriculture exports including beef, dairy, sugar, rice and wine. It will include greater access to the world's most dynamic economies for our services industries—these are the real growth opportunities of the future—and freer flow of data across borders, which helps drive innovation and the 21st century digital economy. This is building the jobs of the 21st century. This is an important element in the building block of the foundation of our future prosperity. Just as the innovation minister and I were in a school here in Harrison in the ACT today, and seeing kids learning how to count, preschoolers, and how to get them interested in science. Early counting, young scientists—that is all part of the same package.
Every element of our policy is designed to ensure we get strong economic growth. Now the Labor Party at this stage appears to be reluctant to approve the TPP. I notice they are referring it to a separate Senate inquiry, over and above the work of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. So it may be that we will see their opposition to the TPP, as we did to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Of course, right across the board, Labor seek to oppose important economic measures, opposing our childcare policy, which will increase female participation in the labour force. They are opposing the reintroduction of a strong watchdog on the construction industry. The return of the ABCC will create jobs, it will create enterprise and it will create investment. Labor stands in the way of all of those things.