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Speech to the Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum.

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

AUSTRALIA-NEW ZEALAND LEADERSHIP FORUM Good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to address this important forum.

Over the past two days, the Forum has delved into some of the areas of common interest to our two nations:

z The global economic challenge, its impact on Australia and New Zealand, and the new

collaborative business opportunities that could emerge to strengthen both economies; z Ways to increase trade and investment between us, in particular extending the operations of

the CER (Closer Economic Relationship); z Closer cooperation on climate change policies and business innovation in low emission

technologies; z Greater defence and strategic cooperation; and

z Better harmonisation of taxation and regulation.

These are significant challenges.

But the past two days also demonstrate that there is much we have done - and much that we are doing - which we can be very proud of.

Though we think of ourselves as small countries, our achievements are in fact much greater than we sometimes realise.

Two decades before the North America Free Trade Agreement, Australia and New Zealand signed the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement.

This created one of the world’s most open and successful free trade agreements.

It is recognised by the World Trade Organization as a model for the rest of the world.

It is comprehensive in scope, effective in its operation, and compatible with international trade liberalisation objectives.

In Australia and New Zealand we celebrate this agreement for the economic benefits it has brought to both countries.

Trans-Tasman merchandise trade has increased at an average annual rate of around 9 per cent since its creation.

And 25 years on - our Governments continue to develop partnerships that will generate great economic benefit.

RET Minister > The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

22 Aug 2009

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And the proof can be seen in one of my own portfolio responsibilities - tourism.

I am very pleased that New Zealand is a participant on the Tourism Ministers Council.

The Council presents us with the opportunity to further explore and progress collaborative tourism initiatives in both our markets - which are a long way from the rest of the world and have a lot in common.

Thanks to an agreement between our Prime Ministers, travel is set to become a little easier between New Zealand and Australia.

Through SmartGate, Australian x-rays of bags at Melbourne airport, for example, will be visible to New Zealand Customs before the passenger even leaves Australia.

I am sure we will all agree: any measure that retains our airport and airline security while reducing the time we spend in airports is a good thing.

But our shared philosophies extend beyond tourism.

As you have discussed, we need greater collaboration on trade promotion, focussing on the synergies rather than competition between our two nations - in sectors of our economies as diverse as agriculture, defence procurement, services such as ICT, and aid to the Pacific.

And both countries have strong deregulation agendas - much could be achieved if we focussed more on harmonisation of them.

Similarly, both countries face a brain drain and skills shortages as our economies grow - this is an important area for us to prioritise.

I understand your discussions today have focussed on mechanisms to enhance our resources and energy cooperation and innovation.

Our countries’ approach to energy policy shows we both understand the urgency of maintaining energy security, while developing clean energy.

If markets are to make the necessary investments they will need to know that their Governments have an eye to the future.

That’s why I have commissioned an Energy White Paper looking at Australia’s evolving energy needs over the coming decades.

In New Zealand, the Energy Strategy to 2050 is the blueprint.

Both documents will provide the vision and the roadmap for energy security, economic prosperity, and the transition to a lower carbon economy.

There have also been initial discussions regarding the linking of our emissions trading schemes.

I note that one of the agreed priority actions relates to ensuring consistency in design of the emissions trading schemes of both nations, and also research and development collaboration on clean energy technologies.

In both Australia and New Zealand, the composition of our energy mix will evolve, but energy

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security must remain the constant.

This means working with present technologies to make them cleaner and more efficient.

I understand the Forum has discussed opportunities in both biofuels and brown coal.

The economic benefits of coal - the jobs, the exports, the energy security - come with a responsibility to manage the environmental impacts associated with both mining and the use of coal.

I know New Zealand shares this view and I am pleased that it is a foundation member of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

The Institute is Australia’s $100 million per year commitment to furthering the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology around the world.

In April 2008 I had the honour of launching the world’s largest demonstration of CO2 capture and storage in Victoria’s Otway Basin.

New Zealand’s Solid Energy is a founding shareholder in the $40 million project.

This is in addition to their $2 million investment in the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies - an involvement that began five years ago.

Ladies and gentlemen, much has been said at this Forum about our countries’ relationship, its closeness and its stability.

It is clear that our countries have a shared vision of what the future can be - and that we are continuing to work in partnership, to achieve our shared goals.

On behalf of the Australian Government, I thank all of you for taking the time over the past two days to plan an even stronger future for our bilateral and people-to-people relationship.

Thank you.

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