House debates

Monday, 18 February 2019


Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth; Report

12:24 pm

Photo of Ken O'DowdKen O'Dowd (Flynn, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth, I present the committee's report entitled Austrade's role in attracting investment in Australia.

In accordance with standing order 39(e) the report was made a Parliamentary Paper.

by leave—The economic and social benefits to Australia from foreign direct investment cannot be understated. Tax revenue, jobs and social capital all stem from investment into Australia. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission, known as Austrade, is the Commonwealth agency entrusted with facilitating this beneficial investment. The Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth undertook this inquiry to investigate how Austrade's activities could help existing and emerging industries, and how it could improve.

During this inquiry, it became clear that Austrade does an important job, and that all levels of government and industry benefit from its work. Austrade is currently undergoing a change program, targeting business improvements and improved collaboration. The committee acknowledges and welcomes this changed agenda, however, evidence in the inquiry highlighted that certain aspects of Austrade's work could be improved, and this is where the committee's recommendations are targeted.

The report makes four recommendations, focusing on intergovernmental cooperation; online promotion and marketing of local government priority projects; data capture and publishing; and setting of clear performance targets and measurement. Local government submissions highlighted a desire to work more closely with Austrade, and so the committee recommends that Austrade expands its existing partnering processes, also targeting access afforded by Regional Development Australia initiatives.

The committee recommends that Austrade investigate the creation of a vital marketplace for investment promotion by the state, territory and local governments. We also recommend that Austrade prioritise delivering existing digital and data strategies with appropriate resourcing. And, finally, we recommend that Australia sets a clear date on which to complete current business improvement processes, with performance measurements to match.

The international market is forever changing. Austrade needs to keep up with those changes, and the committee believes that our recommendations will help. I would like to close by thanking all those who made submissions or appeared at the hearings for their contributions. I'd also like to thank the members of the committee and, particularly, my deputy chair, Mr Ross Hart, the member for Bass, who, unfortunately, cannot be in the House today for family reasons. I wish him very well with those.

Finally, I'd like to thank the committee secretariat for their support in conducting the inquiry. I commend the report to the House.