Senate debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Questions without Notice

Trade

2:23 pm

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party, Minister for Agriculture) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator Henderson. The widespread benefits for Australian farmers, businesses and investors are a step closer with the enabling legislation for major trade deals with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru passing through parliament yesterday. There are about 85,700 farming families working hard right across the length and breadth of Australia to produce safe, high-quality food and fibre for the world. Each of our farmers grows enough food to feed 600 people. That's more than 50 million mums, dads, kids and grandparents here and around the world.

Our export focus is great for consumers around the world but, more importantly, it's great for our farmers and our regional communities here in Australia. Trade and our free trade breakthroughs give Australian businesses, including our farmers, access to markets many times the size here at home and an opportunity for their businesses to grow.

When we came to office, 27 per cent of Australia's two-way trade was covered by trade agreements. Today, 70 per cent of our trade is covered by FTAs, and our ambition doesn't stop there. We're looking to increase that number to around 90 per cent by 2022.

The passage of the bill yesterday was a demonstration of our government's focus on increasing market access for our farmers. The Indonesian agreement will allow 99 per cent of Australian goods to enter Indonesia duty-free or with significantly improved preferential arrangements. That is great for red meat, live cattle, grains, dairy, horticultural products and sugar. Under the agreement with Peru, we've achieved significant new access to one of South America's fastest-growing economies, particularly for dairy, rice and sorghum being free from tariffs, with new quotas. And there are similar outcomes for Hong Kong.

There has been a lot of talk in this chamber about support for farmers. There's no greater support for farmers than giving them access to markets around the world to sell their produce.

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