Monday, 11 September 2023
Questions without Notice
International Relations: Australia and South-East Asia
My question is to the Prime Minister. The Albanese Labor government has made serious and sustained engagement with our region a priority. What benefits is the Prime Minister's most recent engagement in the region bringing to Australia?
I thank the member for Lingiari for her question. Last week, we launched the report on our South-East Asia economic strategy to 2040 developed by Nicholas Moore, and I thank Mr Moore for it. We launched it in Jakarta. There were leading businesspeople, including the new head of the Business Council of Australia, there with us in Jakarta. It was appropriate to do that. ASEAN represents two-way trade that was worth over $178 billion last year, 15 per cent of Australia's trade, greater than our trade with either the US or Japan. In the report, we also announced three commitments that we have made: funding to deal with investment deal teams; a South-East Asia business exchange; and two-way placements and an internships program for businesses at both ends.
While in Indonesia, I also had a bilateral meeting with President Widodo, and I can inform the House—certainly the member for Lingiari has a great interest in this—that as a result of that and of the work of our officials, including in the agriculture department, Indonesia has lifted the restrictions which were there on live cattle exports, which will restart, following the decision of Malaysia. I thank my friend President Joko Widodo.
This is why you develop relationships: because it matters here. It matters to jobs. It matters to agriculture. It matters to industry as well.
Opposition members interjecting—
This is important because with the live cattle export industry, by definition, you can't just find another market for it. That's why it had to be developed and delivered really quickly, and that is why it was so important. It's a particularly important industry for northern Australia, and I thank the member for Lingiari for her ongoing commitment.
On top of that, the visit to the Philippines was very welcome. It was the first visit for 20 years. We signed and upgraded the relationship to a strategic partnership while I was there. There are more than 250 major Australian companies operating in the Philippines, and that will make an enormous difference. One company, ACEN, is looking at lifting the $2 billion they have invested in solar energy here in Australia to $6 billion over the next three years—just one example of what can be achieved. (Time expired)