Monday, 18 October 2021
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Amendment (Equity Investments and Other Measures) Bill 2021; In Committee
I want to put Labor's position in relation to this further amendment. We have been engaging with stakeholders in this area, particularly about increasing transparency, and we note that the FOI Act provides partial exemptions for Commonwealth agencies. The government has argued that the existing exemption is important, providing certainty to Export Finance Australia customers and financial institutions so that they're assured their sensitive financial information, even including the fact that they might be seeking finance, is confidential. We have the view that we need to look more closely at this area. We will continue to work with stakeholders regarding the impact of the current FOI laws and exemptions on Export Finance Australia's financing practices and we are open to developing genuine standalone policy in this regard.
However, we also note that Australian exporters are facing significant difficulties at the moment because of the inability of the Prime Minister, Mr Morrison, to manage the relationship of Australia with China. Therefore, we don't believe the Senate should be put in a position where we hastily tack on an amendment in this area that risks significant unintended consequences for this critical export agency and the businesses it works with. We therefore oppose the amendment.