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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 8

Ms SCOTT (Lindsay) (10:08): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) as part of the landmark China Australia Free Trade Agreement, and the forged relationship will provide:

   (i) broader and improved healthcare options as a result of the clinical and research trials conducted by the UWS's National Institute of Complementary Medicine and the BUCM to validate and translate Chinese medicines into an integrated healthcare setting;

   (ii) the international framework for Australia to become the leading western accreditor of the $170 billion dollar global traditional Chinese medicine market; and

   (iii) formalised connections with the internationally regarded researchers at the BUCM which will further enhance the reputation of the UWS as a leading centre of research excellence that delivers practical social and economic outcomes for the residents of Western Sydney;

(b) the MOU between these two universities was among 14 commercial agreements signed between Australia and China, and will secure unprecedented levels of market access to the world's second largest economy, with a population of 1.36 billion and a rapidly growing middle class; and

(c) households and businesses will also reap the benefits of cheaper goods and components imported from China, placing downward pressure on the cost of living and the cost of doing business; and

(2) commends the Government on its approach to securing a historic free trade agreement between Australia and China.

Today I stand very proud: proud of the community I represent, proud of an innovative university that has gone beyond its reach—a university that sees the future of our great nation. Through our free trade agreement the University of Western Sydney has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. This free trade agreement will open up so much opportunity to the people of Western Sydney. But all too often we hear about the doom and gloom of free trade agreements and why they may be bad for Australia. But the fact is that, overall, a good free trade agreement is about providing a win-win partnership between both countries. This free trade agreement, and in particular the memorandum of understanding with UWS, will provide so many opportunities and new investments and new industries.

Lindsay sits wedged between two of the fastest growing regions in our country, the north-west growth sector and the south-west growth sector, and I would like to acknowledge the presence today of my other Western Sydney colleagues that represent this very diverse and innovative region. I would also like to congratulate the amazing work of the Prime Minister, the foreign affairs minister and the trade minister for enabling this wonderful opportunity to come before the people of Western Sydney. One of the most impressive aspects of this free trade agreement is that it will open up the people of Western Sydney to exposure to a $170 billion industry. The work this government has done in opening the doors for the people in my electorate of Lindsay to involvement as a global industry partner will be absolutely crucial to its success.

I would like to congratulate the University of Western Sydney for seeing this opportunity to establish the new facility in Western Sydney, which the university will make happen, to specifically study and evaluate and validate traditional Chinese medicines. The landmark deal will see the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine link with the University of Western Sydney's National Institute of Complementary Medicine to evaluate different herbal medicines. The plan will use western research to give many of the medicines the credibility they need to be accepted as a genuine alternative or complementary therapy. But there is more than just this.

It is an agreement that will see Chinese remedies translated into an integrated healthcare setting, and that has an enormous spin-off. There are massive patenting opportunities, while there will be more options for patents, and doctors, too, will benefit by potentially offering alternatives to medicines that are overprescribed like we are currently seeing with some antibiotics. I am a person that suffers with this. I am allergic to penicillin and other sulphur drugs. I can only take antibiotics, which means I need to be careful when I do take them in case I have a chronic illness and I need antibiotics in the future.

This deal opens the door to a whole new world in the way we look at prescribed medicines. The new faculty will aim to develop new treatments for unmet medical needs and new medicines for export all around the world. It will also see synthetic re-creations of active ingredients in those medicines, taking pressure off local flora and perhaps, down the track, the fauna populations. As it stands, the new centre will initially be studying the effectiveness of Chinese herbs. In its embryonic stage the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine will give UWS $20 million to build a research and patent facility that will directly employed 60 people, and that does not include workers employed on the site's construction or the cost to get the facility up and running.

But while that is all great news for Western Sydney there is even more exciting news that this MOU has brought to the region. For instance, the Baiada group are looking at a 256-hectare site in the south of my electorate where they want to employ in the vicinity of 25,000 people at a new science park. They have gone to Nashville, they have gone overseas, they are looking at how they can actually bring a new silicon valley to our part of Western Sydney. We are not talking one or two jobs here. We are talking jobs in the thousands. We are talking about Western Sydney being the innovative health leader for well into the future.

This is exciting for an area where it is estimated that anywhere between 180,000 to 220,000 people have a job deficit. In my electorate alone two-thirds of the workforce have to commute every single day. That is about 65,000 people. When we talk about building in the vicinity of 25,000 smart jobs, this is significant. The government's infrastructure plan through the Werrington arterial will link to the Werrington Business Park as well as the Dunheved Business Park. The Penrith Business Alliance estimate that each of these parks will be worth 6,000 jobs. That is more smart jobs for the people of Western Sydney. This is what innovative, smart free trade agreements are going to mean to the people of Western Sydney.

It was my great pleasure to have the Minister for Foreign Affairs in my electorate on Thursday. She has been crucial in the drafting of this policy. And how proud was I to sit there? I could see the policy that she put together in an embryonic stage whilst we were in opposition, now with corporate partners coming online to invest in what will be an amazing future for our part of Western Sydney; a region that for so long has been overlooked—a region that people really have not given the due respect that it has deserved.

I have received a letter from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney. He said, 'I am sure you agree it is notable that the partnership in question was the sole ChAFTA subagreement witnessed by President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Abbott. This illustrates the centrality of views of both the leaders of complementary medicine to the ChAFTA's overarching aim, which is, at its core, to produce substantially beneficial and progressive socioeconomic outcomes for both countries. This particular subagreement certainly promises to do just that.

I am pleased to add that Western Sydney, Australia's third-largest and fastest-growing economy, will be a significant beneficiary of this objective. The subagreement effectively positions the University of Western Sydney's National Institute of Complementary Medicine as a pivotal contributor to the global growth in accredited traditional Chinese medicine. The partnership with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine will significantly strengthen the evidence based efficacy and take up of traditional Chinese medicines internationally through substantially increased research and development capacity.

Australian industry revenue from complementary medicines, of which traditional Chinese medicine is a significant component, is conservatively estimated at $3.5 billion per annum. Prior to the execution of the subagreement, revenue was expected to grow to $4.6 billion by 2017-18, with accompanying employment figures exceeding 40,000. Pleasingly, these are already-strong projections and, of course, will need to be revised in the positive.

The global growth of traditional Chinese medicine is very strong, reflecting the heightened levels of domestic support in China. A 2013 KPMG assessment of the Chinese pharmaceutical industry highlighted a 165 per cent increase in government investment in this industry segment since 2005. In 2011 the PRC government identified research and development as a priority, which includes the establishment of a clinical research and development system. The subagreement enables Australia—and more pointedly, Western Sydney—to be the beneficiary of this process.

Already the subagreement has led to the securing in principle of a bilateral commitment to establish an Australia-China academy for innovative health care in Western Sydney. This facility will support internationally recognised preclinical and clinical research by visiting local specialists within a world-class teaching and research setting. In addition, it is clear that through investment attraction and employment growth potential, the subagreement offers further confirmation of Western Sydney's capacity to transition from a declining manufacturing sector to move towards an innovation based industry. Like you, the university believes that this shift is not only entirely achievable but imperative for securing the region's international competitiveness and prosperity for coming decades.'

I am very pleased to bring this motion before the House. I am very pleased to advocate for the people of Western Sydney and I am excited as to what the future of our region can bring.

The SPEAKER: Is the motion seconded?