Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Investment Statement 2018
I rise to speak today on the annual investment statement by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Australian governments and our business community know from deep experience that foreign investment is, and always has been, critical to our prosperity. Investment, initially from the United Kingdom, then other European nations, the United States, Japan and, more recently, China, Korea and our ASEAN neighbours, has helped develop Australia throughout our recent history, and that trend continues.
As my colleague the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment said yesterday, foreign investment spurs economic growth, creates jobs and raises the standard of living of all Australians. Foreign investment does this by bringing a whole range of benefits to Australia. It provides access to foreign capital required to fuel ongoing expansion of our economy, particularly in key export sectors such as resources and agriculture. It provides access to cutting-edge technology and innovation from around the world. It provides access for our companies to global value chains. It provides access to international markets through the trade relationships that result. And it provides access for Australians to new job opportunities and to competitively priced products and services.
In turn, Australia offers significant benefits to foreign investors: a long history of stable economic growth; a predictable regulatory environment for business; access to world-class resource and agriculture assets; world-class research-and-development capabilities, through our universities and research institutes; a sophisticated domestic consumer market; and access to significant regional markets through our FTA agreements. Our largest export industries, including resources and agriculture, could not have been built to the scale they are without foreign investment.
Foreign investment is also important in the tourism sector, particularly through new investment in tourism accommodation and facilities that are needed to support the ongoing growth in tourist numbers visiting Australia. As Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, I had the opportunity to attend the recent launch of the NTT Dimension Data Client Innovation Centre in Sydney, a significant investment from the largest ICT company in Japan that is creating high-tech jobs for Australians, providing a channel for our companies to access cutting-edge Japanese technology, facilitating knowledge-sharing and enhancing opportunities for Australian businesses and universities to collaborate with Japanese partners. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to see this collaboration between our two countries in this important sector.
During my overseas visits as assistant minister, I have welcomed the opportunity to promote the importance of an open and liberal environment for global trade and investment with ministerial counterparts from around the Asia-Pacific region. I've also welcomed the opportunity to meet foreign companies that have invested in Australia, to hear firsthand their perspectives on Australia as an investment destination, and to talk to Australian businessmen who have expanded their businesses through investment in key international markets.
As assistant minister, I have been actively involved in promoting Australia's existing FTAs, and in supporting the minister to expand our network of FTAs to include more and more of Australia's most important trade and investment partners. These FTAs create a conducive environment for investment in both directions. Through the investment provisions of these agreements, they facilitate foreign investment that helps Australian companies to capitalise on export opportunities created by the FTAs. And as I mentioned earlier, our free trade agreements with key Asian economies are a significant attraction for investors from Europe and North America, as they provide preferential access to high-growth consumer markets to our immediate north.
Finally, I would like to highlight recent government initiatives to ensure foreign investment is in Australia's best interest. These include: strengthening and clarifying the Foreign Investment Review Board rules, the establishment of a register of agricultural land, the introduction of critical infrastructure provisions and the modification of corporate taxation rules to ensure foreign businesses are meeting their obligations. I commend the annual investment statement of the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment to the House.
Question agreed to.