Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Birmingham. How is the Liberal-National government's proactive trade agenda helping to deliver a stronger economy, more jobs and greater opportunity for Australian families and businesses?
I thank Senator McGrath for his question and for his unflinching advocacy for Australian farms and businesses, especially those in Queensland. Over the last 24 hours, the release of September quarter balance of payments and national accounts figures show just how strongly our exporters are doing right across Australia. It shows that net exports are contributing 0.3 per cent to real September quarter GDP growth, and there is ongoing contribution that sees exports, overall, sustained as part of our overall trading relationship—around one in five Australian jobs.
We see, in particular, commodities' strong growth—rural commodity prices rising 5.4 per cent, with exports of meat up 3.2 per cent, exports of wool and sheepskins up 6.3 per cent, and exports of oranges and almonds up almost five per cent. In other sectors we see LNG exports are up almost 17 per cent, other manufactured exports are up 3.2 per cent and travel services are up 5.8 per cent. What we clearly see is that, across a whole range of different sectors of the economy, Australian farmers, Australian businesses, are seizing the opportunity to be able to sell more of their goods and services to the world and, in doing so, are lifting their incomes and the income of Australia.
Indeed, in Senator McGrath's home state of Queensland, the company Frosty Boy, a manufacturer and distributor of powdered desserts and beverages, has grown 30 per cent in the last 12 months. It now employs 70 staff and says its exports now make up 70 per cent of its business. Since 2001, we have seen an average yearly growth of about 17 per cent. These are the types of businesses, small and medium-sized businesses across Queensland and Australia, that are seizing the opportunities created by our trade agreements to do more business and to sell more Australian goods and services to the world. (Time expired)
As we sell more to the world, as our exports grow, that means our businesses earn more revenue. When they earn more revenue, they can employ more people. When they are employing more people, those businesses and those individuals are paying more tax and contributing more right across the board to our economy. That's the good news in the virtuous cycle that comes from having such strong export growth across the Australian economy.
Investment is equally a critical part of this contribution. Take the Ichthys LNG project in Darwin which Senator Canavan and I were pleased to be at the opening of just a couple of weeks ago. That project is going to see a 40-year life span and tens of billions of dollars of taxes paid during the life span of that project as well as tens of billions of dollars of export income earned for Australia. That is the type of virtuous cycle that you see from that type of investment driving those types of exports and supporting us to deliver the types of services Australians deserve. (Time expired)
Our government has had a proud record over the last 5½ years of having sealed deals with China, Japan and Korea and having delivered the Trans-Pacific Partnership when those opposite said we should walk away. When the United States decided to withdraw from the TPP, the Labor Party said it was all too hard and Bill Shorten advised the government to walk away. But we didn't, we got the deal done and it will come into force on 30 December this year. That is a demonstration of the commitment we on our side have made to helping farmers and businesses get more access to more exports markets.
All of that will be at risk should those opposite win the next election. All of that will be under threat because they have said what they want to do is go back and renegotiate trade deals. They have adopted policies that will make it harder for them in the future to be able to seal any new deals, which will put at risk future regional cooperation economic agreements and will put at risk further deals we may pursue in our negotiations with the EU, the UK and Latin American countries. (Time expired)