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Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Page: 13936


Mr KEENAN (StirlingMinister for Human Services and Digital Transformation) (16:55): I present the explanatory memorandum to this bill and move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Just before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the long service of the member for Lilley at the highest levels of the Australian government and congratulate him on a very long and distinguished record of service to Australia.

The Australian government has been working assiduously to protect and promote our market access and other trade interests within the UK and EU in the lead-up to Brexit. This extends to the wine industry, where the Australian government must provide certainty, as market and vintage planning arrangements can be made years in advance before a product is available and ready to export.

The UK is Australia's top wine export market by volume and third-largest market by value. It is therefore vital that we ensure the continuity of trade with the UK, regardless of their Brexit arrangements. Trade in wine between Australia and the UK is currently facilitated by the Agreement between Australia and the European Community on Trade in Wine. This agreement is given effect in Australian law and by the Wine Australia Act 2013. The proposed UK-EU withdrawal agreement envisages a Brexit transition period during which obligations stemming from EU third country agreements will continue to apply to the UK.

This bill introduces amendments to the Wine Australia Act to ensure that Australia's wine trade with the UK continues to be covered by the act during any Brexit transition period, consistent with the terms of the withdrawal agreement. Specifically, the bill will amend the definition of 'EC country' in the act to include the UK during a Brexit transition period. The government tabled last year the Agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom on trade in wine, which was signed between Australia and the UK in London last month. This new wine trade agreement with the UK is part of our preparations for a no-deal Brexit whereby the UK leaves the EU without a transition period or other measures in place.

In the event of a deal or no-deal Brexit, the combined efforts of this legislative amendment and our new agreement with the UK will ensure our wine industry can continue to export to the UK post-Brexit. These measures will ensure the continued facilitation of trade in wine between Australia and the UK and a mutually beneficial trade relationship, whatever shape Brexit takes.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Goodenough ): Is leave granted for the debate to continue?

Leave granted.