House debates

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Employment

2:42 pm

Photo of Angie BellAngie Bell (Moncrieff, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government is building export opportunities and creating jobs, which are of critical importance as we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 recession?

2:43 pm

Photo of Dan TehanDan Tehan (Wannon, Liberal Party, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Moncrieff for her question and also for her hospitality last week when I went to the Gold Coast and attended various forums with her and Minister Andrews and Minister Robert and got some very good feedback not only about our tourism sector but also about what great exporters there are on the Gold Coast. One of the things which really stayed with me was that sense of community that's still there on the Gold Coast and how everyone's working together to deal with the pandemic and to come out of the pandemic.

We are working day and night to make sure we are creating opportunities for our exporters. Since we came to government, eight free trade agreements have been finalised, including with Japan, South Korea and China. The reason we're doing this is that trade creates jobs. One in five jobs in Australia is as a result of trade and one in four are in regional Australia. We will keep creating opportunities. That's why we're pursuing free trade agreements with the United Kingdom and with the European Union. Already, through what we've done through our free trade agreements, we now have preferential access to 2.7 billion consumers. That means our exporters are getting an advantage when they're trading with all those consumers. If we can finalise agreements with the UK and with the EU, that will create preferential access to another 515 million consumers, leading to more businesses, more jobs and more exports.

But we're not just resting on our laurels there. We've also announced that we are going to be undertaking scoping studies to Israel and also to a group of countries called EFTA—Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The scoping studies will be completed by the middle of the year. If we finalise what we are doing with the EU and the UK, we will be able to move onto those countries. Why will that be important? Israel is a key destination for many of our exports. When it comes to the EFTA countries, financial services in particular is a huge opportunity.

Mr Albanese interjecting

Others might scoff, but if you look at our track record compared to yours, Leader of the Opposition, ours is second to none when it comes to concluding and finalising free trade agreements on your side. We're about protecting and creating jobs on this side— (Time expired)