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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4351


Mr FALINSKI (Mackellar) (15:04): My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Can the minister update the House on the government's ambitious trade agenda? Is he aware of any alternative proposals?

Mr CIOBO (MoncrieffMinister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) (15:04): I thank the member for his question. The simple fact is that trade creates jobs—415,000 new jobs were created in the last year and 1,013,600 jobs have been created by the coalition since we came into government five years ago. One in five of those jobs is in trade related industry, which goes to the point that, since the coalition has put in place these powerhouse trade agreements, we've seen more than 200,000 Australians who've got an opportunity to get a job now, thanks to the trade agreements that we put in place.

The good news is that, overnight, we've seen the European Union indicate they've got the go-ahead for a new FTA negotiation to commence with Australia. This is the latest in the slew of free trade agreements, export trade deals, that the coalition is doing to make sure that we keep creating opportunities for Australian businesses. It took the coalition to start and finish the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, it took the coalition to start and finish the Japan-Australia free trade agreement, it took the coalition to start and finish the Korea free trade agreement and it took the coalition to start and finish the TPP-11. For many of these, the Australian Labor Party said they were a vanity project. They didn't want to be part of it. They said they had no future. On the TPP-11, which of itself has created new trade opportunities with two brand-new markets, Canada and Mexico, the Leader of the Opposition and the Australian Labor Party said that we needed to walk away and that it was a deal that wasn't worth pursuing.

But the fact is that the coalition will deliver this trade agreement with the European Union in the same way that we've delivered all of these other trade agreements. The reason is that, as I said at the outset, trade creates jobs, and we will absolutely stand by those Australian businesses that are now exporting in record amounts to markets, including, importantly, markets like China—just the latest example of where the Australian Labor Party said that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement shouldn't have gone ahead. They run around now, talking it down, but we continue to see record growth in exports to markets like China, like Korea and like Japan. For all the noise of the Australian Labor Party, the fact is that we continue to see strong growth in exports to markets including China, and that's why I was so pleased to be there last week, to continue to pursue the strength of the bilateral relationship, in the same way that I will continue to pursue brand-new opportunities for Australian exporters in that important market of Europe.