Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister advise the House how the government's economic diplomacy strategy is helping Australian businesses access new export opportunities through our export trade deals and, in doing so, creating jobs and growth?
I thank the member for Lyons for his question. What a great champion he is for Tasmanian businesses in his electorate. This government is making every effort to ensure businesses across Australia, particularly small and medium businesses, are able to benefit from the opportunities created by the free trade agreements that this government has entered into with massive markets to our north, including with China, Japan and South Korea.
We need to enhance our representation overseas. Last night in the budget the Treasurer announced that there will be two new diplomatic posts and missions in China and in Papua New Guinea as a way of enhancing our presence in these countries and increasing our economic engagement with them. This means that since 2013 this government—
Mr Perrett interjecting—
has presided over the largest single expansion of diplomatic missions and Austrade posts in at least 40 years, with new posts in not only China and PNG but also Indonesia, Mongolia, Qatar, Iran, Thailand and the United States.
Our economic diplomacy efforts do not stop overseas. We are also making every effort to enhance diplomatic representation in Australia, thus increasing our trade and investment. Last week I hosted over 80 Canberra based foreign diplomats on a visit to Tasmania. I want to thank the member for Lyons, the member for Bass and the member for Braddon—the 'three amigos'!—for helping with this visit. Through their efforts, Prime Minister Turnbull and I were able to meet with representatives of Tas Prime Oysters, a Tasmanian company that will benefit from the free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea because tariffs on seafood, particularly Tasmanian oysters—
Mr Conroy interjecting—
to businesses in Tasmania that produce seafood, fruit, chocolates, wine, whiskey and beer—all export opportunities for Tasmanian businesses. I want to thank the members for Lyons, Bass and Braddon for ensuring that these businesses had the opportunity to meet with diplomats who were interested in export opportunities for their produce and goods and services into their countries around the world.
'Made in Tasmania', 'grown in Tasmania' and 'produced in Tasmania' are synonymous with high-quality, clean, green produce and goods, and the world is demanding more. This government is committed to backing Tasmania and backing small business.