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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 12078


Mr HUTCHINSON (Lyons) (18:53): One could feel so depressed. But then, I realise: we should all give thanks this day that never will the member for Melbourne or his cohorts—Ludlam, Whish-Wilson, McKim—be on the government benches. Australians should give thanks today and every day that that is the case. So little faith in the future and the capacity of our country—watermelons: green on the outside but as red as can be on the inside. We have seen it before in Tasmania. The comments that the member for Melbourne made around the ISDS clause are simply, absolutely and utterly false. The examples he gave have been excluded in this agreement, as they have been in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. The man is living in the past.

This agreement, which I am very proud to speak about today, is tailor made for my home state of Tasmania. I think it was epitomised when not so long ago I had the pleasure of meeting Xi Jinping, the President of China, and his wife, Madam Peng Liyuan, when they visited Hobart. The thing that will be crystallised in my mind for years to come is the image of the President and his wife with the then grade 6 students—when they first wrote to him they were in grade 5—from Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston. The way the President embraced these young people and the initiative they and their teachers had shown is, I think, what the future is all about. I am fundamentally an optimist. China is a country of 1.3 billion people, and with the economic growth we have seen in China in the past 10 years there are opportunities for our country with the highest-quality agreement that has been signed today, and I appreciate the support of the Labor Party here in being able to do that.

Indeed, the legacy of this government has been an investment in infrastructure, and the free trade agreements—whether with Japan or Korea or, more recently, today, the Chinese free trade agreement—are indeed the economic infrastructure. Here we have delivered the third piece of the trifecta, and it is all about the future and all about opportunity. I believe that Australians—and Tasmanians particularly, and Tasmanian businesses—are up for this. The innovative people in my home state of Tasmania who have participated in so many world-leading initiatives all around the world over many, many years are absolutely ready to take advantage of these new opportunities that we will see.

I must take this opportunity to thank Minister Andrew Robb and all those departmental people. The slurs that are being made by some in this place today are not only criticism of the government but also criticism of the fine people within the department who have negotiated an agreement of the highest quality for the future of our nation. I represent a rural and regional electorate, and it would be remiss of me not to talk about the benefits that will flow to agriculture directly and to manufacturing businesses indirectly as a result of that negotiation. I welcome today the announcement by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association in their press release, encouraging and being very grateful for the support that the Labor Party has provided for the ratification of and support for this agreement. This is a really good thing.

But to get to the specifics of the benefits for my state in terms of agriculture—the removal of all tariffs on our dairy products—Tasmania is now nearly the second-largest dairy producer in the country. We will produce probably within 12 months nearly a billion litres of milk, and 98 per cent of that will be processed and exported. Some of those products have tariffs as high as 20 per cent, and within four to 11 years they will all be removed. I think of businesses in my electorate like Ashgrove Cheese at Elizabeth Town, and Pyengana Dairy up in the north-east. But I think of the many, many more—the scores of dairy farmers around the state—who are supplying those factories and businesses up in the electorate of my colleague the member for Braddon, in Burnie and Smithton.

Regarding the removal of 12 to 25 per cent of tariffs on beef over the next nine years, I think not only of processors such as Tasmanian Quality Meats, the Regional Exporter of the Year in 2013, and of all the employees at JBS Swift's facility at Longford in my electorate but also of the hundreds of farmers around my electorate who will be receiving—no question at all—better prices for their products in years to come.

The same applies to sheepmeat—between 12 and 23 per cent over the next eight years. I think of those very talented farmers such as the Bond family from Cressy, the Toll family from Cressy and the hundreds of other farmers that are supplying high-quality lamb from my home state of Tasmania.

There will be benefits for the wine industry. Many here would have appreciated the 'Flavours of Tasmania' that was held in this place last Wednesday night, perhaps the best annual event held in this place. Over the next four years, tariffs on wine will be reduced by between 14 and 20 per cent. That will benefit the nation's leading producer of pinot noir, the Brown Brothers, who operate in my electorate between Bicheno and Swansea on the east coast of Tasmania. It will also benefit medium-sized producers like Bec Duffy at Holm Oak, Andrew Hanigan at Derwent Estate and Michael Dunbabin at Milton who are looking to grow their businesses.

I think many people in this place have heard the stories about horticulture, but there is Tim Reid and the expansion that he has seen as a result of the Korea free trade agreement. He sold between six and eight tonnes for the last five years; take off a 23 per cent terrif and he went to 180 tonnes. The opportunities for growth will expand with the China free trade agreement. I think of people like Tim Reid in the Derwent Valley in my electorate and Howard Hanson growing cherries in the Derwent Valley.

I thank Minister Robb for the work he did on wool quotas. Australia now has a country-specific access quota and that is an advantage for an industry that has been very good to me over many years.

Seafood is another product that my state is well-renowned for. I recently went with a crayfisherman out of Eaglehawk Neck. He said that, as a result of the Korean agreement, the price of crayfish has been spurred on and it basically saved his boat. He had his quota cut by the state government, but he is receiving higher prices, largely with Chinese buyers. The Korean free trade agreement enabled him to keep his boat.

I think of Craig Lockwood an oyster producer at St Helens in my electorate on the north-east coast; John Lilly, who owns the abalone farm at Bicheno; and Julian Wolfhagen, who is a honey producer. And I think of the larger manufacturers in my state—Nyrstar in the member for Denison's electorate and Pacific Aluminium. All of these businesses will benefit.

There is the opportunity for pharmaceuticals from the removal of tariffs, including the removal of tariffs on vitamins and other health products. The Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science made mention of this: the relationship that Tassal in Triabunna in my electorate has with Blackmores, and the opportunity to expand their markets around the world. This is indeed a great story for my state.

Services have been touched on and others have spoken on this to a greater extent. Seventy per cent of Australia's economy is made up of services, yet only 17 per cent of our exports are in that space. I think particularly of the largest of those services exports, the tourism sector. The opportunity for my state is enormous. We will see more Chinese visitors coming to Tasmania and more students wanting to study at the University of Tasmania. This is a good thing.

I think of Peter and Elizabeth Hope and the Elizabeth Hope baby club. As a result of the China free trade agreement and the ability to own profit-making health services in China for the first time ever, they are expanding their baby club with water being supplied out of my home state and milk powder currently being supplied out of Victoria to the growing market of mothers who want the highest quality products for their babies.

I look forward to the roadshows that will support the small and medium enterprises in my electorate and encouraging them to take full advantage of what is a wonderful agreement for Australia. As a nation, we will be able to take full advantage of it. It will mean more jobs for our generation as well as the next generation. Thank you.