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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1619

Mr MATHESON (Macarthur) (13:46): Last week I had the great honour of taking over the role of chair of the Parliamentary Taiwan Friendship Group from the Hon. Karen Andrews, the member for McPherson, whom I thank for her dedicated work in cultivating relations with Taiwan. Taiwan is our seventh largest export market and our 11th largest trading partner. Last financial year Australia exported over $2.6 billion worth of coal, $1.7 billion worth of iron ore and concentrates and $230 million worth of beef to Taiwan. Taiwan exported telecommunications equipment, refined petroleum, bicycles, motorcycles and machinery to Australia. Each year, roughly 60,000 Australians visit Taiwan and nearly 50,000 Taiwanese tourists come to our shores. In addition, our education sector hosts around 8,000 exchange students from Taiwan and 35,000 Taiwanese youths enjoy living and working here via working holiday visas. As you can see, these facts show not only the strength of our economic and cultural ties with Taiwan but also how beneficial this relationship is to both our great nations.

I believe I speak for both sides of the House when I express gratitude for Australia's close relationship with Taiwan. I take this opportunity to welcome the Taiwanese Ambassador, Dr David Lee, and his wife, Madame Lee, to Australia. Dr Lee's distinguished record of public service spans more than 20 years and by good fortune he is now Representative Ambassador of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia. I look forward to working with Dr Lee and all those involved in the Parliamentary Taiwan Friendship Group in deepening relations between Australia and Taiwan even further.