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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 11997


Mr HOGAN (Page) (14:29): I welcome McAuley Catholic College from Grafton to question time today. My question is to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. Will the minister update the House on how the four free-trade agreements and in particular the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will help regional businesses and jobs in areas like my community of Page.

Mr JOYCE (New EnglandMinister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (14:30): I thank the honourable member for his question. He would know better than most, especially with the students here from Grafton, about the work that has been done with this free-trade agreement and with previous free-trade agreements in making sure that we have greater security for jobs in places such as Casino, which employs 1,400 people at its meatworks—70 per cent of that beef is exported. It is a pleasure to see that Norco had a 520-per cent increase in its profits this year to the previous year, which goes to show that a change in government actually brings about a change in outcomes.

We can see with the China free-trade agreement whether it is the meat and offal reduction in tariffs, the dairy reduction in tariffs, the hide and skin reduction in tariffs, the horticultural reduction in tariffs, the wine reduction in tariffs, the seafood reduction in tariffs, the cottonseed reduction in tariffs, the wool increase in volumes, the wool tops that also will give us greater access too, the barley reduction in tariffs or the sorghum reduction in tariffs, that they are all part and parcel of why this nation should be doing everything in its power to increase the capacity to get further employment for Casino, further employment for Grafton, further employment for Lismore and further employment throughout regional Australia.

It is also good to see that we are a government that is actually delivering on our promises. We set about making targets and we hit them. We said that we would open live trade into China and today the first shipment has arrived in China. We have the capacity over time to export live up to a million head of cattle and, with slaughter and breeding cattle, the capacity in a decade to get to around $2 billion in exports just for that industry alone, equivalent to what our exports are in motor vehicles.

Mr Wilkie: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order: systemic animal cruelty.

The SPEAKER: The member for Denison will resume his seat and he is warned. He has heard me on numerous occasions warn against frivolous points of order. The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources has the call.

Mr JOYCE: We always hear from the other side that we have to ask the question about revenue but we do answer that question about revenue. We answer the question about revenue because we find the markets to earn more money. That is how we answer the question about revenue, by making sure that this nation earns more money—not the taxpayer paying more money but our nation earning more money. It is through the actions of people such as the trade minister and through the actions of the department of agriculture that we have a better standard of living not only for the people of Page but for the people of regional Australia and for the people of Australia in general. We have a vision, we have a plan and yet again we are delivering.