Monday, 2 March 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Education, representing the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is responding to the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on Australia's trade sector? Will the minister outline the steps the Morrison government is taking to ensure we continue to respond to these impacts?
I thank the member for Longman for his really important question. The coronavirus is having an impact on our trade sector. The government knows and understands that and wants to make sure that we're working with the sector to put measures in place to help it get through the economic impact of the coronavirus. It's worth reminding everyone of our trade sector's importance to our economy. In 2019—
Mr Brian Mitchell interjecting—
our exports were doing extremely well—up 13.4 per cent in 2019. Our services exports were up 8.9 per cent. They jumped over the $100 billion mark for the first time.
What are we doing to help and support the sector? With the Export Market Development Grants Scheme, we are making sure that through existing programs we bring that forward so that we can help and support the sector. The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, is meeting with all the industries that are being impacted to make sure that they understand the measures the government is putting in place and to help and support them. He's had consultations with the seafood industry and has established a direct point of contact so they get the support they need from the government.
When it comes to our tourism industry, there's the $76 million tourism recovery package which has been put in place, including the $20 million 'holiday here this year' domestic marketing campaign which is under way. All of us understand the importance of the tourism sector to the economy.
When it comes to education, we've been working with the international education sector to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. On Friday I had consultations with all state and territory education ministers so we could also put in place plans to ensure that our schools would have contingencies in place if there were an outbreak of the coronavirus domestically which impacted on our schools. We also had discussions around the child-care sector. Separate to that, I've been having discussions with Universities Australia to make sure that all our universities have contingency plans in place to deal with an outbreak of the coronavirus. I also thank those opposite, the shadow minister for education and the shadow minister for early childhood, because I've had discussions with them around schools and child-care centres, so they're up to date on everything that the government is doing to keep Australians safe and secure.