I thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison for my re-appointment today as Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Increasing opportunities for Australian farmers and businesses to sell goods and services overseas, attracting job-creating overseas investment, as well as luring more overseas travellers to Australia forms a critical part of the Morrison Government’s Plan to deliver a strong economy and create 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years.
Our focus on free and open trade supports millions of jobs, with one in five Australians employed in trade-related employment and more than 240,000 trade-related jobs created over the last six years.
Free trade agreements open doors for Australian farmers and businesses but the prosperity is shared by all people through the two-way mutual benefits between countries, including new opportunities for international students, jobs, the bolstering of economies, and importantly, the people-to-people links between countries.
As our economy grapples with global economic uncertainties, we will provide the best possible protections by continuing to implement an ambitious trade and investment agenda that aims to ensure around 90 per cent of Australia’s trade is covered by agreements by 2022.
We’ll do this by moving quickly to ratify our recently signed trade agreements with Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong. I urge the Labor Party to support the swift ratification of these agreements so Australian farmers and business can start to reap the benefits.
We’ll also continue to progress negotiations on our free trade agreement with the European Union, working pragmatically with the EU in an effort to achieve a deal that delivers more opportunity for Australian farmers and businesses. We’ll also move to kick-off negotiations on a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement with the UK when they are in a position to do so, while supporting regional trade pacts via finalisation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and expansion of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
I will also ensure Australia continues to advocate for administrative reforms to modernise the World Trade Organisation, including negotiating a set of internationally accepted digital trade rules and finalisation of negotiations to manage fisheries subsidies.
We also have a clear plan to grow Australia’s $136 billion tourism industry, and in particular support regional tourism which is so critical to many local communities across regional Australia.
In 2018, Australia saw a record 8.5 million tourists travel to our shores and we’ll continue with our work to attract more international visitors through our record funding to Tourism Australia for cutting-edge marketing campaigns, whilst also enhancing the visitor experience through our commitment of $30 billion for major tourism-related infrastructure including airports, roads, and rail across Australia.
I welcome the reappointment of Mark Coulton MP to ably assist in the trade portfolio and congratulate Senator Jonathon Duniam on his appointment as an Assistant Minister, which will bring a particular focus to regional tourism.
It is with enormous pleasure that I also welcome my fellow South Australian Senator Anne Ruston to the cabinet table as Minister for Families and Social Services and Manager of Government Business in the Senate. Anne is a passionate, diligent and highly capable person who will be an amazing asset to the cabinet while continuing to be a vocal representative for South Australia.
Benn Ayre 0428 342 325