Topics: Trade and export opportunities


Phillip Thompson: Welcome back to town Minister Birmingham. The weather’s held off and it’s nice and sunny today, and it’s not as humid as Cairns I was just told. It’s important that we’re here today with Roy and his team because they provide an essential service to not just Australia and the mines around Townsville, but also the trade to Papua New Guinea and East Timor.

We had a really good conversation about East Timor, we were there at the same time in 2007. I was in greens, a flak jacket, and a helmet and he was there building a service station. So, it’s very important that we highlight the services that Roy and his team do here in Townsville because it is very important that everything goes out through the port. So the port is important, the Townsville Widening Project that’s happening now that the federal government invested $75 million dollars into is imperative for them to continue doing that. So I’d like to welcome the minister to Townsville and to say a few words.

Simon Birmingham: Thanks Phil. It’s fantastic to be here with our outstanding LNP Candidate for Herbert, Phillip Thompson who is such a champion of the Townsville community and particularly ensuring that there are job opportunities for young people in Townsville in the future. Here at Liquip hosted by Roy and his team, we can see an outstanding example of how it is that new jobs for the future are being created. This business is largely built a strong export product just in the last four to five years.

During that time our government has proudly seen the transformation in the way trade and export happens from Australia. We now routinely record trade surpluses in Australia. Gone are the days of regular deficits, here are the days of regular trade surpluses because under our government businesses are exporting more. Businesses like this one who have developed behind us this large truck that’s going to go to Papua New Guinea. Hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of (inaudible) here in Townsville being sold into PNG to carry Liquip fuel that’s essential for aviation industries. It’s just one example of new manufacturing jobs being created and across Australia we’ve seen more than 80,000 new manufacturing jobs created over the last year. And it’s this growth and this boom in exports that is underpinning economic growth, jobs growth, the return to surplus that our government has delivered. The tax cuts that we can then afford to deliver and the investment in services in record education and health funding we can afford to deliver because we have a stronger economy fuelled by stronger businesses like this one.

That’s all at risk if we see Bill Shorten and his mob carry out the type of tax hikes they’re promising for the future which is why we’re going to make sure we work hard, day and night to get great candidates like our candidate here for Herbert, elected to ensure that we can continue the journey of growing the Australian economy, creating more jobs, ensuring we’ve got the revenue streams to be able to keep lowering taxes and to keep creating more opportunities for the future.

Journalist: Are there any free trade deals on the horizon or sort of initiatives that a business like this could take advantage of?

Simon Birmingham: This business is particularly focused on its exports into the Pacific region and our PACER Plus free trade agreement that we’ve negotiated across Pacific Island countries is a really critical part of our Pacific step-up strategy to ensure that we grow the economies of our Pacific friends, but also do that in a way that has mutually beneficial trade arrangements. We look forward to seeing countries across the region ratify that and we’re supporting them to do so. But of course it comes on top of trade agreements our government has struck with China, with Japan, and South Korea. The Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 of the world’s leading economies and the opportunity for us to continue to do so. With Indonesia, with the EU, with the UK, a range of different opportunities in the pipeline with Latin American countries as well. And we want to make sure that we maximise that, but once again it’s a stark choice because our government has delivered more trade opportunities through trade agreements with other countries in our region and around the world. The Labor Party at their national conference just in the last few days have committed to trade policies that would cease new trade agreements coming into effect and jeopardise the opportunity for Australian businesses to keep exporting more goods and services to the world.

Journalist: And overall would you say Townsville trade and export market is going quite well?

Simon Birmingham: Townsville is an incredible city that has demonstrated time and again its resilience and its capacity for businesses like this one Liquip to be able to grow their business to create modern manufacturing jobs, and we really want to see more of that. We know that young people in Townsville need and deserve to go in industries like this, and are going to best get it by having an environment in which the economy grows, businesses are confident to invest. That’s why you’ve got to keep lowering taxes as we are, manage the economy carefully, to create those job opportunities for young Australians. The proudest achievement of our government is that over the last 12 months we saw youth employment grow at a record level faster than ever recorded in Australian history. We want to keep that going and make sure it’s happening in communities like Townsville, which is why we have to keep on the economic course our governments put us on. Thanks guys.