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Trade statement: Fischer's admits jobs will go



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SENATOR PETER COOK

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE

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4 March 1998

TRADE STATEMENT:

FISCHER ADMITS JOBS WILL GO

"Tim Fischer's Trade Outcomes and Objectives statement today is a bland, unsophisticated and visionless document, notable only for the government's admission for the first time that Australian jobs will go as a direct result of the Asian financial crisis", Shadow Trade Minister and Deputy Senate Leader, Peter Cook said today.

"This is nothing less than an admission of their failure to be honest with the Australian people.

"The Howard government has no choice now but to come clean on what this means for the average Australian household.

"The Asian financial crisis represents a severe external shock to the Australian economy and means their mid-term economic forecast and average trade performance were signs of complacency.

"The Government made much out of their 1996-97 export result, but this represents only a 2.5% increase over the previous year. Under the Labor Government trade grew by an average of over 10% each of the thirteen years in office.

"Given the admission that the Asian crisis will now lead directly to job losses and in light of today's National Accounts figures, yesterday's Current Account Deficit blow-out and Monday's adverse Balance of Trade result, the priority for Tim Fischer should be the immediate needs of Australian exporters.

"This is what the Trade Outcomes and Objectives should have been about and this is precisely what it fails to deliver on.

"Tim Fischer should have told Australian exporters today that he would restore support to the export enhancement programs that he slashed in the last two budgets —leading to a loss of $3 billion in export earnings for Australia.

"Tim Fischer should have at least reformed the Export Market and Development Grants Scheme to the benefit of small and first time exporters, provided greater resources for market intelligence, restore a mix ' ed credit scheme to allow Australian companies to compete for infrastructure projects in Asia and developed a comprehensive multilateral trade strategy.

ENDS

For further information contact Jo Scard on 026 277 3480 or 0417 206 297 or Trent Smith on 026 277 3700 or 0419 879 104

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