Monday, 10 September 2018
Questions without Notice
As I indicated just before, Australia is in its 27th consecutive year of economic growth. That growth has been underpinned by our capacity as a nation to trade successfully with the world—to sell our goods, to sell our services and to generate investment—and be able to build a stronger, better country as a result. That in large part is due to the work of successive coalition governments. You can track back to the good work of the Howard government in building access to other markets and in growing our export capacity, as has this Liberal-National government over recent years. The result is that we have seen significant growth in terms of our reliance on trade and, with that, job opportunities. Around one in five Australian jobs rely on trade, and trade equates to some 40 per cent of our GDP. The average Australian family's real income is almost $8,500 higher due to Australia's work in better engagement with the world over the last few years.
This has been built upon most recently by the agreement reached between Australia and Indonesia for the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. This agreement will allow, by 2020, over 99 per cent of Australian goods exports to Indonesia, by value, to enter that market duty free or under significantly improved preferential arrangements. It will see a guarantee from Indonesia in terms of the automatic issuing of import permits for live cattle, for frozen beef, for sheep meat, for feed grains, for rolled steel coil, for citrus projects, for carrots and for potatoes. The highlights: we will see some 575,000 live cattle duty free in year one; dairy tariffs reduced or removed; 455 semi-loads of oranges will be duty free in the first year, with that growing continuously; and, for example, duty free access sufficient to make five Sydney Harbour bridges each and every year out of Australian steel products. (Time expired)
Many businesses will be great beneficiaries. I know that Senator Brockman will be very pleased to know that Western Australian grain growers will be some of the biggest beneficiaries of this agreement. Despite exporting 25 per cent of our total annual wheat exports to Indonesia, Australia currently doesn't supply any feed wheat to Indonesia. This agreement will allow for up to $150 million of feed grains to be supplied to Indonesia duty free, potentially adding up to 25 per cent to the value of Australia's wheat exports, which significantly stem from Western Australia. Australian Grain Link, which uses natural clean and green farming techniques and is based in the Riverina region of New South Wales, is well placed to build on its existing export markets, as are companies such as Kangaroo Island Pure Grain from my home state of South Australia. Other small and medium sized businesses like Premium Fresh Tasmania are already benefitting from recent FTAs and will have greater access for their horticultural products, particularly vegetables, including carrots. (Time expired)
There has been widespread welcoming of this agreement from a range of key industry sources. The National Farmers' Federation notes that it locks in important new trade opportunities for our meat, grains, sugar, dairy and horticultural producers. Ai Group calls it a 'ground-breaking agreement to dedicate an entire FTA chapter to non-tariff measures, as well as streamlining the export documentation requirements'. The Australian Services Roundtable called it 'a stand-out success on multiple fronts … not only in tourism and education but also in mining services, health, hospital and aged care services, in architecture and engineering'. The Minerals Council said that it would not only provide new export opportunities for Australia, it will also support economic growth and development in one of Australia's nearest and most important neighbours. The Australian Livestock Export Council called the agreement one of 'common ground and substantive outcomes', of 'great significance' for our organisation and that 'red-meat bodies have long argued for and supported'. They are coupled with positive comments from grain growers, from AUSVEG and a range of Australian producers. (Time expired)